Sunday, February 15, 2009

February Challenge: Dress it Yourself

Making your own salad dressings is simple, cost-effective, and rewarding. Not only do you know exactly what is in your dressing, but you can also cater the blend and seasonings to match your main course. I typically only make enough for the night's meal (as olive oil gets quite hard in the refrigerator, and I never remember to take it out in time to return to room temperature before dinner). Once this becomes habit it takes all of 2 minutes to pour, shake, and dress. I use old glass spice jars to mix and shake. If you keep the top insert, it can also serve as a strainer for the smashed garlic.

As a very basic recipe, I do as follows (remember, dressings are totally subjective, use your nose and tongue to figure out what you like):

1 part vinegar (vary the vinegar to match your marinade/main course)
4-5 parts extra virgin olive oil
1 part flax oil (when I have it)
dollop of Dijon
squirt of lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste
Herby blend to match dinner
smashed garlic clove
In season, a smashed berry or two

For creamy dressings, omit fruit, add an egg yolk, and add an anchovy or two and some grated Parmesan for Caesar (but this works best in slightly larger batches in your food processor. Caesar is the one dressing I don't mind saving in the fridge).

If you are feeling like you already soak your oats and make your own salad dressings and that my challenges are not challenging....just wait until March, which will be Love Your Liver Month. I will be challenged along with you then, but we are getting a full cow butchered to share with friends and I will get to keep the liver and put it to good use (I anticipate it being much larger than the chicken livers I am used to).


  1. Thanks for the recipe for the dressing. We just do olive oil and vinegar, it will be nice to have an actual dressing. This week we were also going to try adding nutritional yeast flakes to the oil and vinegar. And coincidentally I just ordered a pound of chicken livers!

  2. Certainly! I need to update the Caesar recipe with specific proportions. Let me know how the nutritional yeast tastes.

    We shall have some fun with liver, me thinks.


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