Salad Days

August 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

One of the best things about summer is going out to the garden, picking some greens, a few tomatoes, maybe a cucumber and heading back to the kitchen to make a salad. Sometimes though I don’t feel like making a dressing after cleaning and chopping. Call me lazy but I’ll talk myself out of that salad unless I have a dressing already made.

Why not buy some you ask? I know there’s nothing easier than opening up a bottle but even the so-called “all natural” brands have added ingredients which I really don’t want to eat. (I won’t get started on all the extra unhealthy things that are in there) Besides, you know the taste of homemade anything is always better. So get a jar or even better a fancy bottle and make up your own, so you’ll be ready to go when that urge to have a salad overtakes you.

Here are some of my favorites:

Roquefort Dressing

3/4 cup olive oil

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

3/4 cup wine vinegar (I use red but white is just as good)

2 oz Roquefort cheese

In a bowl, add the oil, salt, pepper and slowly whisk in the vinegar. Add the cheese and use a fork to mash it up. You can add extra herbs to this, a few thyme leaves, or fresh chives. Pour into a jar and refrigerate until ready to use.

Basic Vinaigrette

1 cup olive oil

2 tsp red wine vinegar

4 Tbl fresh lemon juice

1 tsp salt

2 Tbl Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, smashed

Whisk oil, vinegar and lemon juice. Add the mustard and smashed garlic , then add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour into jar and keep in fridge.

Shallot Vinaigrette

about 2 shallots

1 cup olive oil

3 TBL balsamic vinegar

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp salt and pepper to taste

Mince the shallots, put in bowl with vinegar, mustard salt and pepper. Whisk in the oil. Put in bottle or jar and store in fridge.

Cilantro or Basil Lemon Vinaigrette

large handful of cilantro or basil

1 cup olive oil

1/2 cup lemon juice

1 tsp salt and pepper to taste

1 clove garlic

Put all in blender and puree until smooth. This is great drizzled over fish too.

Anchovy Dressing

This dressing comes from my Tuscan Kale Salad recipe. It’s my new favorite.

1/4 cup fresh lemon or orange juice

8 anchovy fillets, packed in oil and drained

1 clove garlic, peeled

1 tsp Dijon mustard

3/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Combine first 4 ingredients in a blender, puree until smooth. With the machine running, slowly add oil in a slow stream. It will thicken up as you do this, like mayonnaise. Transfer to a jar and add the Parmesan cheese. Stir and add salt and pepper to taste. This tends to be thick, you can add a little olive oil to thin it if you like.

 

So there you go, it takes only a few minutes and once you do you’ll never buy store bought again. Promise.

Remember you can change the ingredients, instead of lemon try lime or orange juice. Garlic is always good, a few spices like cumin, paprika or any herbs you may have can liven them up too. Experiment!

Just a tip: Before you start to assemble your salad, take the dressing out of the fridge as the olive oil will have solidified. Oh and the salad above is a simple tomato, cucumber, red onion, feta cheese with the basic vinaigrette dressing.

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