Eek! I’m sliding in right under the wire for Day 5 of our #Write31Days series focusing on Learning to Love Your Kitchen. If you would like to see all the posts from this series, head over to Day 1 for links to everything.
As I promised you yesterday, I want to share with you a quick and easy way to move your cooking towards from-scratch goodness – no fillers, preservatives or extra sugars. An added bonus is that you can custom make the flavor to fit YOUR tastes, not the flavor that appeal to the average consumer in a grocery store. Are you ready? It’s time to ditch bottled salad dressing for good and start making your own!
The key to a dressing is starting with a ratio of oil to vinegar (or lemon juice if you prefer), and then working by taste to get to a custom concoction that you love and your dinner guests will gobble up. The ratio I prefer to start with is 3 to 1. I begin by adding three of oil to one of vinegar. You may be asking 3 of what? 1 of what? Well, anything! As long as you use the same measuring device for both it doesn’t matter, just use a size appropriate for how many servings of dressing you would like to make. Need to feed 2? Start with teaspoons or tablespoons. Need to feed a huge crowd? Start with a whole cup! Now these are really broad guidelines more than anything, and you may find that with the types of oil and vinegar you end up liking the most that a 2 to 1 or even 1 to 1 is a better starting place for you personally, but if you’d like to see my go-to dressing check out my easy house salad – nothing but oil, vinegar, salt & pepper!
After you get the oil to acid balance where you want it, season to your hearts content… Below I have some suggestions on oils, vinegars and seasonings that you may want to try to mix and match to find your favorite, but an easy start for seasoning any oil & vinegar combo is always the trusty duo of Salt & Pepper. Just start small and keep adding until you like the taste… It’s always easier to add more instead of having to double the recipe because you added too much seasoning.
Here are my favorite flavors to mix & match in my homemade vinaigrettes:
Oils: Sunflower & Olive Oils
Vinegars: White Wine, Balsamic, Apple Cider & (occasionally) Sherry Vinegars
Add-ins & Seasonings: Salt & Pepper (almost ALWAYS a good idea), leftover freshly chopped herbs, dijon mustard, fruit juice (lime or lemon are always winners), minced garlic (fresh or roasted, but use sparingly & I would guard against trying to store it for a few days as the garlic intensifies), and for those with a sweet tooth you can even try adding some honey.
Now, go get in the kitchen & make up your own special “house” dressing! If you have any fun ideas on vinegars, oils or add-ins to try, please do share with everyone in the comments below!