Thursday, January 7, 2010

Salad Days - Learn to Dress Yourself


Who isn't craving fresh, leafy salads and crisp vegetables this time of the year?  I know I am. 

One of the best things you can do for yourself, and your salad, is learn to make your own salad dressings.  You don't even need to own a whisk - a jar with a tight fitting lid will work.  Oil, vinegar, a little mustard to help it emulsify, salt and pepper.  Anything else is a bonus - herbs, garlic, whatever floats your boat.  Develop your own signature blend and keep it in the fridge.  3 parts oil: 1 part vinegar.  Master the basics, then get creative with different flavored oils and vinegars.

The vast wasteland of bottled dressings in the supermarkets these days boggles my mind.  Remember when there was just one flavor of Wishbone Italian, a handful of Kraft flavors, and the dry stuff in the packets that came with a cruet?  Now there is at least 12 feet of dressing aisle in the average market.

Pick up one and flip to the ingredients label.  Doesn't that sound yummy?  What is half that stuff? 

My one and only exception to the bottled dressing rule is Cindy's Kitchen.  They are all refrigerated, and are sold at Mustard Seed Market and Whole Foods.  They cost an average of $5 a bottle, so they aren't cheap.  But they taste great and they aren't full of creepy ingredients.

My favorites are shown above, but there are at least a dozen other flavors.  All natural ingredients, no preservatives.  There are some sugar free and dairy free options available. 

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