April Cooking Tip – Salad Dressings

Salad dressings often contain lots of unnecessary and often unhealthy ingredients.  Rather than purchase pre-made dressings, why not try making your own?

If you are not sure about experimenting, you can look up all types of salad dressings at Epicurious or be brave and simply make your own.  I have an easy way to make delicious salad dressing that is tasty and healthy. 

 

Here’s the trick:

 

1.       Purchase several types of cold pressed oils such as olive, walnut, and hazelnut.  I even buy two or three different kinds of olive oil as they all taste different.  Don’t hesitate to get some high quality ones as they taste the best.  Even though they are more expensive, they go a long way as you don’t need much at any one time.  (Save your cheap extra-virgin olive oil for cooking.)

2.       Purchase several types of vinegars.  Some of my favorite ones are balsamic, champagne, apple cider, and sherry.  As with the olive oil, I purchase a few different types of balsamic.  Some of them, as the one in this months’ recipe, are sweeter so they combine nicely with champagne vinegar for a totally different taste.

3.       Always have a fresh lemon on hand.  It can either take the place of the vinegar or can be combined with it.

4.       Keep good quality Dijon mustard around.  I like to have both the regular type as well as the seeded type.

5.       Keep either some dried herbs or fresh herbs on hand.  Any combination can be great.

6.       A little honey or maple syrup is a great enhancement to most dressings.  With honey, try to find local so you get all the added benefits.  As for the maple syrup, go with the Grade B as it is higher in nutrients.

7.       Last keep celtic salt and whole peppercorns in the kitchen.  The taste of fresh ground salt and pepper is so much better – you will be amazed.

 

You can either combine everything in a jar and play with the taste until you like it or do it the easy way…

ü  Drizzle a little oil on the greens before adding anything else.

ü  Mix it in with your fingers to coat the leaves.  I like the way the salad turns out by doing this plus you use less oil with this method.

ü  Toss in the rest of the vegetables and whatever other yummy ingredients, like goat cheese, fresh herbs, cranberries or nuts.

ü  Then drizzle the vinegar(s) on little at a time.  Taste to make sure you are not getting too much.  You can always add more but not take it away!

ü  Grind your fresh salt and pepper to taste.

 

Be willing to experiment and note what tastes the best for future salads.  If you would like an entire list of recommended ingredients to keep in your pantry, check here.

 

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