Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Dress yourself

Why buy salad dressing? I mean, honestly. It is one of those things that is solely for convenience. Once one has experienced the pleasures of good olive oil, experimented with flavored vinegar, or tried combining things Iike dates and nuts to make your salad dressing it is hard to go back to things in a bottle. And who needs one more soy- or corn-derived product in their body? (most packaged dressings have many of those products in them)
Not to mention summer potlucks. Someone always has a wonderful homemade salad dressing. For instance, there is usually a cucumber salad with a sweetened white vinegar dressing. And there are so many delicious variations of cole slaw...way beyond Marzetti's. If you read my previous "why buy" you will know I love homemade mayonnaise. Put that on your cole slaw or egg salad.....mmmmmmm.
The traditional proportion of vinegar to oil in a salad dressing is 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil. Our family tends to like a lot more acid, and I don't limit myself to vinegar. There is lemon and lime juice, too. I do make a lot of the normal balsamic/olive oil/mustard/ salt and pepper dressings.
My aboslute personal favorites are dressings that come from a raw un-cook book called The Raw Truth.
Here are a few of those recipes, with a few minor alterations, all blended per your appliance of choice

Miso-tahini dressing

2 tbs. Tahini
2 tbs. White miso
1 seeded, soaked date
1/4 cup lemon juice
Sesame oil or water to thin

Avocado-parsley dressing

1 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
Handful of fresh parsley
1/4 cup or more of lemon juice
Bragg's or tamari to taste
Water or olive oil to thin

Cashew Ginger dressing

Two pieces of fresh ginger the size of your thumb, peeled
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for 4-6 hours and drained
Tamari to taste
Generous dollop of agave nectar
1/4 cup rice vinegar (or to taste)
Water or sesame oil to thin

I love to experiment with almond butter, dates, lemon juice, fresh herbs, and fresh ginger, since I do like a bit more of an oriental taste.

I can also approximate the dressing you get on salads from a Thai or sushi restaurant:
Mix together 3 carrots, a stalk of celery, 1/2 cup of rice vinegar, a sprinkling of sucanat, and 1/2-3/4 cup of mayonnaise. You may have to experiment with the proportions....I always do.

And someday, I would like to try Martha Stewart's Caesar salad dressing (on her website).
Stick around here...I have a giveaway on Friday!

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