7.22.2014

How to Make a Vinaigrette Without a Recipe




If you want to make a fabulous salad, take a look at what you are dressing it with.  Homemade vinaigrette's are so simple to make and they will push your salads over the top.

I cannot remember the last time I purchased bottled dressing for a salad.

Many years ago, while visiting my parents in Tahiti, we were invited to some friends house for dinner.  We were served a salad that consisted of greens and a vinaigrette.  That's it!  My first bite nearly knocked my socks off.  It was STRONG, PUNGENT, and burned all the way down.  Being polite I continued to eat the salad.  I was soon addicted to the salad dressing.  I couldn't stop eating it.  I was given a demonstration as to how it was made.  The recipe consisted of white vinegar, about 100 cloves of garlic (I'm exaggerating, but seriously close), brown spicy mustard and oil whisked together.  It was fabulous!  It cleaned out my insides. It was one of  the best salads that I have ever had and one of the most simple as well.

I have learned that fabulous salad greens and a great dressing is all that is needed.  Remember the greens make the difference.  Choose fresh leafy lettuce varieties.  Skip over that head of iceberg lettuce. PLEASE! Toss with a quick and easy vinaigrette that you can whip up in just a few quick minutes.  Fresh and fabulous.

No recipe is needed.  You just need to remember a few simple key ingredients.




Acid:  Lemon juice or vinegar are my favorite acids to use.  You can really create some fabulous salad dressings by finding different flavors of vinegar.  If I'm making an Asian flair salad or slaw, I use a seasoned rice vinegar.  Italian flair - Balsamic vinegar is amazing.  


2.  
Oil:  Olive oil, grapeseed oil, avocado oil (canola or vegetable not allowed)
Choose your oil carefully.  If I want the flavor of the salad to come through I will choose a light extra-virgin olive oil.  For stronger flavored greens like kale and Brussels sprouts I like a strong flavored extra-virgin olive oil.  My daughter tuned me into using Avocado oil, which makes one fabulous salad dressing mixed with lemon juice.  

A word on nut oils.  Nut oils are generally used as a flavoring oil.  I only use a 1-2 teaspoons of nut oils in a salad dressing for flavor.  If you used 1/2 cup of a nut oil in your dressing, it would be too strong and that is all you would taste.  

The oil you use should taste great on it's own.  



Seasonings:  salt and pepper, garlic, shallots, fresh herbs (dry herbs = yuck)

I have had some salad dressings made with a red onion.  I think that a shallot is a better option.  Shallots and a little milder in flavor.  A raw red onion can be very strong.  (my opinion).



Fresh herbs create a new level of flavor to a salad.  Like this French Vinaigrette from a previous post.




Emulsifiers:  Dijon, honey mustard, brown spicy mustard, creme fraiche, sour cream or mayonnaise.

Emulsifiers are optional and not completely necessary in making a salad dressing.  Once again a spoonful of Dijon adds another layer of flavor.  I'm really into layering flavors, if you haven't already noticed. 

Emulsifiers do exactly what the words says.  Adding a spoonful of mustard, then whisked really well will help the acid and oil stay together.  Preventing the vinaigrette from separating.  How's that?

I rarely use mayo because not one person in my family likes the stuff with the exception of myself.  Ranch dressing in my home was never an option because it contained the "m" word (mayo).  This led me to making and creating my own dressings.  Sometimes we are forced into creativity, which leads to learning and succeeding.  

Now that you have the basics down let's make my favorite vinaigrette.  It's the most simple of all.



I have the juice of 1/2 a lemon.  Sprinkle in salt to your taste.




Add a few grinds of fresh ground pepper.  Let me repeat that...FRESH GROUND PEPPER.  If you only have canned black pepper, give it a toss into the waste basket.  I have no use for canned ground black pepper.  Try it.




Stir.




Drizzle in your favorite oil slowly while whisking.




That's it!  This is what I like best tossed with fresh leafy lettuce.

Let's change it up a bit.  Let's say I want a stronger flavored dressing because I have tossed in kale or spinach.




Add a spoonful of Dijon mustard.  This happens to be lemon dill Dijon that I made.




Using an emulsion blender or whisking vigorously.




Begin to mix.




While slowly adding the olive oil.

I have read that one should use a ratio of 1 part acid to 2 parts oil for a salad dressing.

I say the least amount of oil used the better.  Adjust to your taste buds.




This takes about 10 seconds.

Taste.

If the lemon flavor is too tart for your liking, just whisk in more oil.




How easy is that?

Let's mix it up and make a sweet vinaigrette.



I'm going to use a pomegranate flavored vinegar (oh yum), mustard with maple syrup, light flavored EVOO, spring honey that I purchased from a stand at the side of the road that is so delicious I'm probably going to be eating it with a spoon, salt and pepper.




Same process.  Add some vinegar to a bowl.




Drizzle in a spoonful of honey.




Pinch of salt.




A few grinds of black pepper.




 A spoonful of that amazing mustard.




Give it a whisk.




Slowly add olive oil while vigorously whisking.



Taste.  Adjust the flavors if needed.

Add poppy seeds.  So much better than the bottled poppy seed dressing (ick)

Remember, this is your salad dressing so you can adjust to your taste.  If you want it sweeter add more honey.  If you don't like honey, use sugar.





Don't forget to find a variety of leafy greens.  I love using a mixture for color and flavor.

Remember to lightly dress not drench the lovely greens. Making your own vinaigrette will brighten your salad.

Start creating and share your ideas with the rest of us.

Be sure to check my recipe index for other salad recipes.  There are 10 recipes all  tossed with a homemade dressing.  You can find exact measurements for each recipe with step-by-step photos and instructions, but I want you to try creating without a recipe.

YOU CAN DO THIS!


Simply So Good No-Recipe for Homemade Vinaigrette

1. Acid:  Lemon juice or vinegar
2. Oil:  Extra virgin Olive oil, Grapeseed oil, Avocado oil, etc.
    Nut oils should only be used for flavoring.
3. Seasonings:  salt and pepper, garlic, chopped shallots, fresh herbs
4. Emulsifier (optional): Dijon mustard, creme fraiche, sour cream,       mayonnaise.

Whisk together.

NOTE:  Vinaigrette will keep in the refrigerator for a day or so, but I make mine fresh as needed.

Print no-recipe















7.15.2014

How to Make a Fruit Galette with one recipe






Why make a pie when you can whip up a French galette that will impress absolutely everyone. The perk is more crust.  Sometimes the crust is the best part of a pie, but it has to be a good crust made with melt in your mouth butter.

Pick your favorite fresh fruit that is in season at it's peak and you can personalize this recipe to suit your pallet.

I have one basic recipe that I use to make a delicious fruit galette.  If you have a few ingredients on hand you can whip this up in no time.

You're going to love it.



Any Fruit and Almond Galette

Pie crust dough for one 9-inch pie

Almond Cream:  use 3/4 cup of the following recipe:
1 cup (230 g) blanched almonds
2/3 cup (130g) sugar
6 tablespoons (180g) unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups fresh fruit (wash, peel, or pit fruit)
2 tablespoons sugar

1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon raw turbinado sugar

The the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse the almonds until coarsely ground.  Add sugar and continue to process until mixture resembles sand.  Add sugar, butter, flour, cornstarch, 1 egg, and vanilla extract.  Process until creamy and smooth. Reserve 3/4 cup and refrigerate any leftover almond cream.  

Roll out pie dough into a large 14-inch circle.  Carefully place the circle onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  Spread 3/4 cup of the almond cream in the center creating a 7-inch circle.  

Mix fruit and sugar in a large bowl.  Mound up fruit on top of the almond cream.  Bring up the sides of the crust around the fruit/almond mixture, pleating the dough forming a circle.  Pinch pleats closed. 

In a small mixing bowl, beat egg and milk and brush the pie crust.  Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Place in a preheated 375 degree oven and bake for 40-45 minutes or until crust is golden brown and fruit is beginning to bubble in the center.  The filling should be somewhat set and not soupy.  Serves 8

Print this recipe




You will need to use 3/4 cup of the following recipe for almond cream.  Left overs can be refrigerated for later use.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process the almonds.







Add sugar.




Process until the the sugar and almonds are mixed well.




Add the flour and cornstarch.




Add the egg.




Add the softened butter.




Add the vanilla extract.




Process until all the ingredients are blended into a creamy consistency.

Measure out 3/4 cup to use in galette and refrigerate remaining almond cream for later use.




I like to keep premade pie dough in my freezer.  It makes a quick dessert and is just great to have on hand.



On a floured surface roll out pie dough into a large circle.


Roll into a large 14-inch circle.


Roll the dough over the rolling pin.


Carefully unroll onto a parchment lined baking sheet.


Spread the 3/4 cup almond cream in the center of the crust.



Spread into a 7-inch circle.




Prepare your favorite fruit.  I was lucky to score apricots and cherries at my farmer's market.

Remove the pits, seeds, or peel fruit.

Use locally grown fruit that is in season and at it's peek.  I've said this before, "garbage in garbage out".
Basically if it isn't for sale at the side side of the road or at a farmer's market chances are it isn't in season.

Please support your local farmers.

I have this reoccurring nightmare that our local farmers stop growing because people only shop at Costco and I can't find a farmer's market.  




Coarsely chop fruit.






I'm using a combination of Bing and Rainier cherries.  The Bing are slightly tart which is a great contrast against the sweet apricots and Rainier cherries.



Place in a large bowl and toss together.


My fruit is very sweet so I am only using 2 tablespoons of sugar.



Mound the fruit on top of the almond cream.




Lift the pie dough over the fruit and almond filling creating pleats around the fruit.  Inch the pleats closed.







Mix 1 tablespoon of milk with egg.


Beat.


Brush crust with the egg wash.


Sprinkle with turbinado sugar.



Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 40-45 minutes or until golden and fruit is bubbling in the middle.

The center should be somewhat set and not soupy.



Remove from oven and allow to cook for a minute or two before digging in.

It's best to let the galette sit for about 30 minutes giving the almond cream and fruit a chance to set up.




Tips for a successful Galette:
  • Use fresh locally grown fruit that is at it's peak and in season
  • Let you imagination run wild with fruit options and combinations.  (Can't wait for peaches)
  • Don't use frozen fruit.  It will make the galette too soupy.
  • Make a rich buttery crust
  • Make pie dough and almond cream in advance for a quick dessert
You can do this!



Fruit and Almond Galette...easy as pie...easier than pie.

Any Fruit and Almond Galette

Pie crust dough for one 9-inch pie

Almond Cream:  use 3/4 cup of the following recipe:
1 cup (230 g) blanched almonds
2/3 cup (130g) sugar
6 tablespoons (180g) unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups fresh fruit (wash, peel, or pit fruit)
2 tablespoons sugar

1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon raw turbinado sugar

The the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse the almonds until coarsely ground.  Add sugar and continue to process until mixture resembles sand.  Add sugar, butter, flour, cornstarch, 1 egg, and vanilla extract.  Process until creamy and smooth. Reserve 3/4 cup and refrigerate any leftover almond cream.  

Roll out pie dough into a large 14-inch circle.  Carefully place the circle onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  Spread 3/4 cup of the almond cream in the center creating a 7-inch circle.  

Mix fruit and sugar in a large bowl.  Mound up fruit on top of the almond cream.  Bring up the sides of the crust around the fruit/almond mixture, pleating the dough forming a circle.  Pinch pleats closed. 

In a small mixing bowl, beat egg and milk and brush the pie crust.  Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Place in a preheated 375 degree oven and bake for 40-45 minutes or until crust is golden brown and fruit is beginning to bubble in the center.  The filling should be somewhat set and not soupy.  Serves 8

Print this recipe