Thursday, May 10, 2012

Homemade Vinaigrette

 Making my own salad dressing has been on the list of lifestyle changes to adopt for awhile now.  Not only can I save money by making my own, I’m quite confident I can make dressings that taste better than most of those found in supermarkets. Salad dressings are also notorious for that long list of ingredients.  (A great way to look for more natural, healthy foods is to look for a shorter list of ingredients on the bottle, preferably words that you can pronounce and know what they are without research.) 

So, last week I finally made my first batch of balsamic vinaigrette.  The how-to on homemade vinaigrette is so easy, I’m kicking yourself for not trying it sooner.  I know I should have been doing this long before now.

1.     Find a jar – preferably one that you can seal and shake to mix ingredients right before using.  A cocktail mixer is ideal, but any jar will work.
2.    Mix olive oil with vinegar – the ratio can vary according to your pucker preference.  I recommend about an 80/20 mix.  You can choose from any number of vinegars – I’m a balsamic fan.
3.    Add sugar and salt to taste (I like my vinaigrette a little sweet, so I use a teaspoon of sugar for about a half cup of dressing.)
4.   Add fresh, minced garlic.  Remove the garlic after letting it set for about 10 minutes, and it will leave traces of garlic flavor (or leave the garlic in if you’re a garlic lover…too strong for me).

Delicious!  Most of the precise recipes you will find (for those who aren’t comfortable with “a pinch of this and dash of that” style recipes) follow this basic formula, with minor variations.  I still need to play with things a little to try to get the consistency to where it will stay blended longer.  Perfect house vinaigrette at great restaurants doesn’t separate immediately in the little side dish like mine!  Of course, I didn’t have a jar for giving it a good shake before using either…just a stir.  That alone may help.

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