Wednesday, March 11, 2009

WDW - Homemade Salad Dressings

I don't buy any bottled salad dressings. Well, that isn't entirely true. I confess to sometimes buying Bob's blue cheese dressing. I can't help it. It's just something I grew up with and it's just so doggone delicious. And I just love the jar it comes in - so retro - it just looks cool in my fridge. Bob's Big Boy is still one of my favorite restaurants and I just have a very real connection to Bob personally. If you think that is strange, you obviously have never tried dipping their french fries into this dressing. Nor have you stolen the humongous statue of Bob from the front of the restaurant in the middle of the night and put him in the courtyard of your high school. Ahem.


Isn't he a hunk? He truly takes my breath away.

Anyways, back on track, here.

Bottled salad dressing, besides Bob's, is not in my fridge for the following reasons:

-It won't fit in the door because I have about 8 different types of mustard jammed in.
-I can't read the super-long ingredient list on the bottle without my glasses on. Wait, I think I can make out "partially hydrogenated" and "soybean oil" ...
-I can't stand the names. Cheese Fantastico? Green Goddess? Weird.
-One word: Goopy. Artificial. OK, two words.
-I can make it for pennies and it tastes better (best reason).

I have already posted my all-time fave dressing, the one I use for my Caesar Salad. I make that about 72 times a week. I constantly crave it. No wonder I can't lose weight.

Well, today I'm going to share two other dressing recipes I go to often. One is a simple vinaigrette and the other is a creamy ranch dressing. If you have kids, you really should have a good ranch dressing in your repertoire. Every mom knows this is the secret a helpful way to get kids to eat their vegetables. And my kids still love chicken tenders with my homemade ranch dressing. And so do I - I admit it.

cilantro ranch

This ranch has cilantro added in. Beautiful color!

Ranch Salad Dressing

1-2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp. salt
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 T. dried or fresh parsley
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. red wine or white wine vinegar
fresh ground pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients with a whisk or in the blender. Add more buttermilk if too thick.

For a great variation: Add 1/4 - 1/2 (depending on how hot you want it) of a canned chipotle pepper (find it in the Mexican section - they're called "chipotle peppers in adobo sauce"), and a good handful of fresh cilantro for a Mexican ranch dressing. Lime juice can stand in for the vinegar in this variation, if you like. Use the blender for this to pulverize the cilantro. Toss this dressing with romaine, corn kernels, black beans, chicken or tri tip, avocado, diced tomato or salsa, Cotija cheese (Mexican crumbly cheese- optional) and crushed tortilla chips for a truly superb main dish salad. Mmm.


This vinaigrette's color is due to the addition of cumin and chili powder.

For the vinaigrette, the basic recipe is to begin with 1/2 cup good olive oil and 1/3 cup acid. The acid can be any kind of vinegar (I usually use red wine, apple cider or balsamic), or you can use a combination of half fresh lemon or lime juice and vinegar. Add some salt and pepper to taste, a clove of minced garlic, and a drizzle of honey. This is the basic dressing -whisk either by hand or in the blender. Sometimes I add a small splash of half and half, or a teaspoon of dijon or a tablespoon of mayo for a little creaminess. In addition, you can add fresh or dry herbs. I sometimes even throw in a little cumin and chili powder, like today. I seem to make it different every time. And if you don't like the garlic just leave it out. Just remember the olive oil to acid ratio, that's the important part.

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a H.I.T. said...
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