A Week of Homemade Salad Dressings

My garden has been blooming with lettuce and veggies. Store bought salad dressing just does not do my home grown lettuce justice and I have been searching for a decent salad dressing recipe for some time. I used to be completely obsessed with balsamic vinaigrette but have overcome the obsession. I’m now on the hunt for a new flavor, preferably something that will comment my home grown lettuce and kale and has a earthy tone to it.

I found 5 different homemade dressing recipes that I will be making later tonight, Im super excited! They are all include simple ingredients and of course are all natural. Rather than eating the same dressing everyday, I can switch it up and use lots of these for cooking different meals. These are pretty summery flavors but all of them look delicious.

Recipes and images via theviewfromthegreatisland.blogspot.jp

Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette
the juice and zest of 1 large lime
a palmful of fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (plus more if necessary)
salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste 

  • Put the lime juice and zest into the bowl of a mini food processor.  Add the cilantro and process until the cilantro is very finely chopped.  Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  • With the machine running, drizzle in the oil slowly through the small hole (s) in the top.  Stop the machine and taste the dressing.  If it is too tangy, drizzle in a little more oil.
  • Season with salt and fresh black pepper to taste.  Refrigerate until needed.
  • Note:  Olive oil partially solidifies in cold temperatures, just bring the dressing to room temperature before using.

 

You’ll really taste the shallot in this dressing, and the color will be a coral-y pink.  Very pretty and elegant.

Shallot and Pink Grapefruit Dressing 
1/2 large shallot, rough chopped
juice of 1/2 pink or red grapefruit (approx. 1/3 cup)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp sherry or champagne vinegar
a dab of honey (about a tsp)
salt and fresh black pepper to taste

  • Put the shallot and the grapefruit juice in the bowl of a small food processor.  Blend until the shallot is very finely processed.  If using a whisk, mince your shallot as finely as possible.
  • With the machine going, drizzle in the oil through the top.
  • Stop the machine, add the vinegar and honey, then process again to combine.  Add the salt and pepper to taste.

 

Blackberry vinegar is a thick deep purple vinegar that has a lot of body due to the blackberry puree.   This kind of vinegar married with fruit puree is a new item in the gourmet market and they can be really pricey.  I’ve fallen for them several times, and they are so good, the flavors just explode.  I’m actually recycling one of the bottles that I paid big $$ for.   Just mix this with olive oil for an instant dressing.

Blackberry Vinegar 
6 oz box of blackberries
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar 

  • Rinse the berries and put them in a small saucepan.  Heat over low to medium heat for about 5 minutes until the berries start to break down and release their juice.  Add the vinegar, bring back to a full boil, and then take off the heat.
  • Let cool a bit and then process in a small food processor until the berries are completely pureed.
  • Strain through a mesh sieve, pushing the thick juice through but leaving the seeds behind.
  • Bottle and keep in the refrigerator.

 

This is another classic.  The tarragon gives it a little unexpected flavor.  The whole grain mustard gives it a kick.

Lemon Mustard and Tarragon Vinaigrette
juice and zest of 1 lemon
a heaping Tbsp of fresh tarragon leaves
1 Tbsp whole grain mustard
1/4 (plus extra if necessary) walnut oil
salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

  • Put the lemon juice, zest, and tarragon in a small processor.  Process until well blended.  Stop and scrape down the sides if necessary.
  • Slowly drizzle in the oil as the machine is running.
  • Stop and taste, add more oil if it is too tangy.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

This one comes from my friend Mary.  The color is gorgeous, and it’s a little thicker than the rest.  I think it has potential as a glaze for chicken or pork, too.

Roasted Strawberry Vinaigrette   ~~~ adapted from Barefeet in the Kitchen
oven to 450F
a heaping cup of strawberries, about 10
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves
juice of 1/2 lime 
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

  • Halve the strawberries and spread them out on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Roast for about 15 minutes.
  • Transfer the strawberries to the bowl of a mini food processor.  Add the rosemary leaves, lime juice and vinegar.  Process until the berries are pureed.  Slowly drizzle in the oil through the hole in to top as the machine runs.
  • Add the salt and pepper to taste.

 

Best Cucumber Salad Ever

Garden season is finally here, which in my eyes is the best food you could ever have. Cucumber salad is a Summer staple and so delicious. I could, I do, eat it almost everyday and never get sick of it. It’s refreshing, healthy and perfect for hot Summer days. Eat it as a side or a snack, either way it always hits the spot. I have been using the same recipe for years but always ended up with a really runny sauce. I wanted to thicken it up a bit so I altered my recipe and came up with this one. It’s a little more creamy than my other and tastes better the next day, when all of the ingredients have mashed together.

Ingredients:

1 large Cucumber (or 2 medium)

1 tsp chopped onion

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp vinegar

1 tsp dill (fresh preferably)

1 TBL sour cream (or Greek yogurt)

Directions:

In one bowl mix together chopped onion and sliced cucumber. Mix together salt, sugar, vinegar and sour cream, until creamy consistency. Add to cucumber and onions and sprinkle with dill. Mix until sauce is evenly distributed.