Welcome to FOOD & FELLOWSHIP: Old & New Recipes from the Green Acre Kitchen. Each week we will share three recipes, both old and new. When the day comes—and it will—that we can sit at a table and break bread together again, perhaps we will all have a few new dishes to share.
Here are three simple recipes that can be whipped up in minutes. Why buy bottled dressing when you can make your own? Not only is it healthier, it’s more economical and it tastes better too.
Basic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
Yields: ½ cup
While the classic ratio of 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar has been the standard, you can experiment with the ratio according to how much of an acid tang you’d like. It also might be dependent on the type of vinegar or citrus juice you are using. A sweet, syrupy high-quality white balsamic can easily go one-to-one with extra-virgin olive oil. A sharp acid such as lime juice will need a higher ratio of oil and possibly some sweetener. Here’s a basic recipe for a White Balsamic Dressing.
¼ cup of premium white balsamic vinegar
¼ cup of premium extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
Pour vinegar into mixing bowl. Add salt and pepper. Whisk in a slow stream of oil. Adjust salt if needed.
Oil: When using an oil be careful not to use too high a ratio of a strong flavored oil that might overpower the salad. Certain nut oils and sesame oil can be used in lower ratios or blended with milder oils.
Vinegar: There are a wide array of vinegars to choose from including cider, rice and balsamic, many available in various infused flavors. You can blend vinegars as well as blending vinegars with citrus juices.
Seasoning: A simple oil and vinegar seasoned with salt and pepper can sometimes be all that is needed to brighten a salad. However there are also limitless ways to flavor the dressing using fresh or dry herbs, minced garlic or shallots, fresh ginger, mustard or miso paste. Sweetness can also be added with maple syrup, honey, agave, date syrup, pomegranate syrup, etc. There are also many varieties of salts and peppers that can be used. Whatever type is used, freshly ground is always best.
Emulsion: Oil and vinegar don’t naturally want to blend, creating an emulsion requires either whisking, shaking or machine blending. Added ingredients such as honey or mustard help keep the dressing from separating. Whichever method is used always add the oil last in a slow steady stream.
Carrot Ginger Dressing
Servings: 1 ¼ cups
One of the things I always look forward to when I dine in a Japanese restaurant, is their creamy carrot ginger dressing. It’s so easy to make from scratch. There’s no need to wait for a special occasion. You can have it any day of the week.
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
⅓ cup rice vinegar
2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons peeled and roughly chopped fresh ginger
2 tablespoons lime juice, fresh
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon honey
1 ½ teaspoons toasted sesame oil
¼ teaspoon salt
In a blender, combine all of the salad dressing ingredients until smooth and silky.
Adjust the salt and lime juice to taste. Refrigerate 30 minutes to an hour before serving.
Basic Creamy Salad Dressing
Food writer and salad master David Bez has created a template that allows you to create a limitless number of creamy salad dressings. As long as you stick to the ratio you can plug in whatever you want. He does recommend using only one assertive flavor at a time, such as paprika or seaweed. The dressings can complement lettuces, proteins or grains. Once you start making your own dressings you’ll never buy pre-made again. The recipe contains examples of ingredients. Aromatics (roasted garlic, scallions, ginger, etc.) and condiments (mustards, chili sauces, etc.) can be added to taste. Ingredients in each category can be mixed. If using an oil with a strong flavor that might overpower the salad, consider blending it with a milder oil.
3 parts oil
1 part acidity (vinegar, soy sauce, citrus juice)
1 part creaminess (tahini, nut butter, avocado, yogurt)
1 part sweetness (honey, maple syrup, date syrup, agave nectar)
1 part herbs or spices
Whisk all your chosen ingredients together in a bowl then slowly whisk in the oil or follow the same process in a blender or food processor.