Sunday, August 2, 2015

Homemade salad dressing recipes with garden herbs

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Like spring, fall and winter is perfect for greens so lettuces are back in season, sweet and tender.  Today, there are even lettuces that do well in the hot days of summer.  It is great fun to make your own salad dressings using herbs from your own garden.  Many herbs can be harvested all year so you have fresh herbal dressings year round.  Here are a few favorites.

Ranch Dressing
Homemade version of Hidden Valley Ranch is easy to make.  Just mix equal amounts of buttermilk, mayonnaise, and sour cream (half cup each).  Then add parsley, dill, garlic, onion (half teaspoon), salt (quarter teaspoon), and pepper (eighth teaspoon) to taste.  If the mayonnaise is too overpowering, I substitute yogurt. 

To make buttermilk, buy cultured buttermilk from the store and add to milk, it will become buttermilk after leaving at room temp a day or two.  Since I don’t use it very often, I’ll top off the buttermilk jug with fresh milk and let it turn to buttermilk in the frig.  Add one cup of buttermilk to 3 cups milk.  You can also buy a powdered buttermilk starter on line from a cheese making company.

Hot Bacon Dressing
An old Southern favorite is hot bacon dressing.  Cook 4 slices bacon until crisp, reserving 2 Tbl drippings.  Crumble bacon; set aside.  Add 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 Tbl water, 1 Tbl sugar, 1 teas grated onion, 1/8 teas dried mustard, bring just to a boil, remove from heat and add bacon.  Whisk before serving.

Apple Mustard Vinaigrette
Apple mustard vinaigrette is another easy, healthful dressing and one of my favorites.  Mix together 1/3 cup finely chopped shallots, honey to taste, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 Tbl water, 2 Tbl country style Dijon mustard, 3/4 teas salt, 1/4 teas pepper.

You can make your own apple cider vinegar by purchasing cider when in season.  I covered this in a September blog.  Here is the link:  “Make your own vinegar” blog.

"Pasta House" Salad Dressing
We got the recipe from the "Pasta House" restaurant web page.  There are no garden herbs included, but I grow Pimento peppers every year just for this salad dressing.  It makes the dressing!  

Here are the ingredients: 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, 2/3 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese, 1/3 cup diced Pimento peppers, 1 jar chopped artichoke hearts, 1/4 teaspoon, 1 teaspoon sea salt.  

I mix together and let the flavors meld overnight.  Then toss with the lettuce.  The recipe calls for a head of iceberg lettuce and a head of romaine lettuce.  I just whatever I have in the garden.

Caesar Dressing
For Caesar dressing: mash 4 cloves of garlic and 1/2 teas salt.  Whisk in 2 teas lemon juice, 1 teas Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper to taste, 2-4 anchovy fillets, rinsed, dry and mashed to a paste.  Add in a slow steady stream 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil while whisking.

Caesar dressing was invented by Alex Cardini Sr., an Italian World War I flying ace who joined his brother Caesar in his restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico.  It was originally called Aviator’s Salad and was dedicated to the pilots at San Diego air base.  The airmen referred to it as Caesar’s salad and the name stuck.

The original Caesar salad contains an almost raw egg.  If you want the original, be careful since it does contains raw egg.  Use only fresh eggs.  The salad must be consumed immediately; no storing of leftovers.  It was served with garlic, anchovy bread.

Here is the full, original Caesar salad recipe, including bread.

Crisp the bread at 400 (we love using French baguette style, whole grain bread sliced lengthwise).  Brush olive oil over the crisp bread and return to brown.  Crush 3 cloves of garlic and 6 anchovy fillets together with 1 Tbl of olive oil.  Spread on bread slices.

Coddle 1 egg, the white should be opaque and barely starting to set.  Whisk the egg with 1 Tbl lime juice, 1 teas Worcestershire sauce, and 1/4 cup olive oil until thick.  Toss with a head of romaine lettuce, sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, and serve immediately.

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