Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Recipe week: My semi-famous salad dressing

As I child, I was blissfully unaware of bottled salad dressings. My mom always made her own and I loved it so much I'd beg for the dregs from the daily salad bowl so I could drink it straight up. Although I love salt & vinegar potato chips, I think my tastes are a bit more refined now and I'm happy to report I no longer drink vinaigrette.

This oil and vinegar combination--which I've gotten more compliments on than a lifetime of cute shoes--still bears some resemblance to Mom's, but it's been informed by Martha Stewart and Mark Bittman as well. Grab yourself an old jam or mustard jar (we save them and store everything from salad dressing to nuts, candy and dried fruit in them) and come play.

Peel 1 or 2 garlic cloves, slice them in half lengthwise, and place them in your jar. Then fill it 1/4 full with extra virgin olive oil. Add a nearly equal quantity of corn or canola oil until your jar is 1/2 full. Pour in unfiltered apple cider vinegar until your jar is about 2/3 to 3/4 full. There should be approximately 2 times as much oil as there is vinegar. If you like a touch of sweetness or want to lower the fat content of your dressing, now is the time to splash in a tablespoon or two of apple cider or juice. Add 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, a few shakes each of salt, freshly ground black pepper, dried oregano and celery seed. Put the top on and shake vigorously until the all ingredients are combined.

We pour this salad dressing over salads, which usually contain some combination of dark leafy greens; carrots; tomatoes (in season); pear, apple, grape or strawberry slices; sunflower seeds or pistachios; and crumbled feta or blue cheese.