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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Friday, May 08, 2009

Dip the Salad!

rWe eat some type of salad almost daily and quite often make a dinner salad in place of a hot meal during the hot, muggy summer months. As a result I am a salad dressing junkie! More specifically I love experimenting with homemade salad dressings. I'm not above occasionally buying a bottle of commercially prepared salad dressing. What I don't like about commercially prepared salad dressing is the added preservatives, artificial colourants and artificial flavours. Homemade salad dressings cost 30% to 50% the cost of store bought Using the blender mason jar method I can easily make up a couple of homemade salad dressings to last the week. Vinaigrettes will keep well for 5 days in the refrigerator while sour cream or mayonnaise based dressings should be used within 3 days. I like making them in the 250 ml (half-pint) mason jars.

New York strip steakNew York Strip Steak

When you eat a lot of salads sometimes it is nice to change the presentation a little. Pictured is the dipped salad I paired with grilled New York Strip strip steak and steamed potatoes. I cannot take credit for the dipped salad idea as I came upon it watching oldest grandbaby who is a very accomplished dipper! It doesn't matter what the food is as long as there is some kind of dip. So that gave me the idea of serving salad fixings with the dip in a small dipping bowl basically an individual version of a vegetable tray. The salad dressing was a homemade Balsamic vinaigrette.

Vinaigrettes are very versatile yet extremely easy to make. The basic ingredients are 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil, a binder (eg. mustard, honey, sugar), optional fruits or vegetables and optional seasonings. So just look at how many possibilities you can change ranging from using home flavoured vinegars to varying the oils to the binder and that isn't even considering the optional ingredients! Any vegetables used should be chopped fine and added after the oil, vinegars and binder is mixed. Add either dried or fresh chopped herbs, salt and pepper if desired. If you want a thicker dressing, thicken with an eighth tsp xanthan gum per cup of liquid using a blender before adding vegetables and herbs.

Balsamic Vinaigrette
recipe by: Garden Gnome

½ tbsp finely chopped onion
½ clove garlic, finely chopped
½ tbsp Dijon mustard
¼ tsp sea salt
1 tsp dried parsley
½ tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ tbsp balsamic vinegar
⅓ c extra virgin olive oil
pinch xanthan gum (optional)

Pour olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, salt and vinegar into a mason jar. Attach the blender base. Blend. Add xanthan gum if using to thicken. Blend until smooth. Remove from blender. Mix in vegetables and parsley. Shake before using. Pour into small salad pitcher for serving.

1 food lovers commented:

Michelle said...

It's a shame not more people make their own dips and sauces because as you said it's cheaper and tastes much nicer than store-bought ones. Your recipe looks great!