Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Spoiled by homemade

I think I've been spoiled by making my own salad dressings. Salad dressings were one of those things where I justified buying bottled brands because I was pressed for time in making dinner. I've been making my own since I received this book from my mother for Christmas.

Have you seen this book? They test thousands of recipes and tell you the best way to make it. I made some pancakes from the directions in this book the other morning and my husband said they were the best he's had!

But back to salads. There's a great section in this book for making simple vinaigrettes for different greens. I thought I'd share. Warning: you will not go back to bottled dressing after making these. They are so simple, too!

The key to tossing these salads, is covering the greens lightly. You don't want wilted lettuce sopping with oil. So I usually put on as little as possible first, and then try it it see if the greens are covered enough. I then add more as needed.

Red Wine Vinaigrette for Mellow Salad Greens

Use this dressing for mellow-flavored greens like Boston, Bibb, red and green leaf, red oak, lolla rossa and iceberg lettuce, as well as flat-leaf spinach. I usually double this recipe for a big family salad.

3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
2 t. red wine vinegar
1/8 t. salt
pinch ground pepper

Combine ingredients in a jar, seal, and shake until emulsified, about 20 seconds.

I like to put citrus in these kind of salads: grapefruit sections or orange sections. Minced shallot is also good with it.

Mustard and Balsamic Vinaigrette for Spicy Salad Greens

Spicy greens include arugula, watercress, mizuna, and baby mustard greens. Again, I double this for salads.

3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
2 t. balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 t. Dijon mustard
1/2 t. finely minced shallot
1/8 t. salt
pinch of ground pepper

In these salads, I will add shredded carrots, cut up red pepper, red onions,  and toasted pine nuts, generally.

Creamy Garlic Vinaigrette for Bitter Salad Greens

Bitter greens include escarole, chicory, Belgian endive, radicchio, frisee, and young dandelion greens.

2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 T. sour cream or yogurt
1 1/2 t. white wine vinegar
1 1/2 t. juice from 1 small lemon
1 t. Dijon mustard
1/2 small garlic clove, minced to a puree
1/8 t. salt
pinch of ground pepper

I think these bitter greens go well on their own, and I usually will not add anything else to these.

all recipes from The New Best Recipe Book from the editors of Cook's Illustrated

My latest other favorite salad is this one.  I like to squeezed lemon juice to this as well. (Half of a lemon will do.)

Happy salad making!


Courtney said...

yummmm, Andrea! Thanks for sharing! I'm now inspired to make my own. THanks!

Dawn said...

This book looks like a good one. Thanks for sharing the recipes.

Terry said...

Salad dressing is one of my few remaining "not from scratch" items when cooking. Truthfully, I've never considered making my own. I will try these recipes, though. They look pretty good.

realworldmartha said...

LOVE !!!! America's test kitchen. I have that book. There is also a light version! YUMMY! Have you seen their PBS show. It's on Saturday's (here). If you like the book, I think you will like the show.

Beverly said...

Hmmmmm ... they look very yummy. I am definitely going to try these. Thank you so much for sharing!

MamaMonk said...

Thanks for these great recipes. I just realized I am out of store-bought dressing!

Janel said...

I have the older version of the book.

I bought an empty bottle with recipes print on it at the health food store early last year. It was a fluke, but turned out to be a great thing! Now Rich won't eat anything but the honey mustard recipe off the side. :)

I've expanded though and make others too. Most only take just a moment or two.

Thanks for the new recipes! :)

Holly said...

You mentioned some salad names I've never even heard. I see that you live near a better market/grocery store than I do. :)

I LOVE our homemade dressings, too!

Anonymous said...

I love all these ideas! We've been eating salads really well lately and it's great to have some new ideas as well as the dressings.
Mary Brooke

Wheelchair Mama said...

I have been really trying to be more "homemade". Thanks for the salad recipes. I've enjoyed reading your blog--I've seen it on so many that I read! I figured I'd better check yours out. It seems we both homeschool--I have 6 1/2 and 4 yr old boys.

Katherine@Raising Five said...

Oh, Andrea, you always inspire me with your cooking. I need to think "outside the bottle" (har-har!). I've sunk to the depths of despair when it comes to "fresh." Especially since my entire house is covered in an inch of dust right now...

I'm so glad you mentioned the book. Nature deficit disorder is huge, even in suburbia. I see it in my kids but didn't have a name for it. I played for HOURS outside as a kid (my Mom had NO IDEA where we were, I'm sure). One more reason I'm excited we're moving OUT!!

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

I love the Cook's Illustrated series. I have a Cover and Bake book--which is casseroles (without cream of mush soup!) and long-cooking things.

:..Rebekah..: said...

Oh wow! These recipes sound so good. I love a good salad, so I'm going to have to try at least one of these. Thanks!

payton said...

I agree. Homemade is the only way to go. I do keep Ranch in the fridge for Jason because he likes it. Thanks for the new recipes to try. I have a good sweet one that can go with a salad with fruit and almonds as toppings. Let me know if you want it.

Sara said...

Oh yes...after I started making my own, bottled dressing tastes so...well, bottled. Have you tried my balsamic dressing from my food blog? You'll DRINK that stuff it's so good!

MondaythroughSunday said...

I love Cook's Illustrated...awesome, yummy looking recipes!