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Blonde Cucina: Create your own salad dressings

by on September 30, 2015 3:00 PM

Whether you're at Target, Wal-Mart or Wegmans, you'll find a dedicated salad dressing aisle with so many options that it can be as overwhelming at picking out a good bottle of wine. What some people don’t realize is that these dressings are very mundane and full of unnecessary ingredients. Why do we need things like calcium disodium EDTA, caramel color and xanthan gum added to our salad dressings? Does anybody out there really know what they do or really want to put those into their bodies?

I’m here to tell you that there is absolutely no reason to go down that daunting aisle and purchase factory-made dressings. You can get better-flavored dressings with just a few easy steps and no preservatives or chemical additives.

A very simple formula for making your own dressing is “60, 30, 10.” You need 60 percent of your dressing to be oil, 30 percent to be acid and 10 percent to be other flavors that will make your dressing pop.

To begin with, some standard oils you can select from for your “60 percent” option include olive oil, grapeseed oil, sesame oil, canola oil or a nut oil. For your “30 percent” addition of acid, choose from vinegars including regular or white balsamic, red or rice wine or apple cider, or go with lemon. Your special “10 percent” tastemaker can include mustards, marmalades, shallots, garlic, soy sauce or herbs.

Here are two different salad dressing recipes that each make a quarter cup of dressing, which you can easily double, quadruple or increase in any way that meets your needs.

 

SWEET AND TART RASPBERRY VINAIGRETTE

2 teaspoons natural seedless raspberry jam or preserves

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

3½ tablespoons olive oil

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl or clean jar.

These simple ingredients yield a complex flavor that goes well with a salad made of baby spinach or romaine topped with pecans, blue or goat cheese and strawberries. You also can change the raspberry jam to orange marmalade and add salmon to the salad to create another flavorful option.

 

ASIAN DELIGHT

1 minced garlic clove

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

3 tablespoons canola oil

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl or clean jar.

Use this dressing with a salad made of romaine lettuce, napa cabbage, slivered carrots, cucumbers, peanuts and shredded rotisserie chicken for a quick and easy entree salad.

 

Remember, folks, cooking can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be.

 



Ciara Semack is the owner of The Blonde Bistro in Bellefonte. She is the mother of one and a lifelong resident of Centre County. Her column appears every other week in the Gazette. Questions, suggestions and comments can be directed to [email protected]
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