All posts tagged: vinaigrette

Walnut Vinaigrette

I’m on a Walnut Vinaigrette binge, inspired by my brother-in-law, Travis. He left a bottle of walnut oil behind at our summer cottage. When I saw the bottle, I knew what I had to make. Now I’m hooked – it has replaced balsamic vinaigrette as my go-to salad dressing. I think of this as a “French” vinaigrette. It’s a variation on a dressing Susan Hermann Loomis taught me in her cooking class in Paris*. I didn’t realize quite how much of a variation until I went back to her original recipe. The original wasn’t a walnut dressing…it was a hazelnut dressing. And it used red wine vinegar and thinly sliced shallots, not sherry vinegar and Dijon mustard. Oops. Sorry, Susan. Oh, well, my walnut version is quite good anyhow…*Did I mention that I took cooking classes in France? No? I’m going to go back there someday… Recipe: Walnut VinaigretteInspired by: Susan Herrmann Loomis Cooking at Home on Rue Tatin Cook time: 5 minutes Ingredients: 1 tablespoons sherry vinegar 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard pinch salt 1/2 teaspoon fresh …

Fennel and Orange Salad

This week, I’m sharing recipes that were inspired by my winter CSA box.Other than the bags and bags of potatoes.  I know how this person at The Kitchn feels, but potato recipes will be coming later this winter. First up: fennel. I’ve discussed the “what do you do with fennel” question before.  This time, I’m not going to cook it, I’m going to slice it thin and use it in a salad. Raw fennel is very crunchy, and has a strong anise or licorice flavor. This pairs very well with orange.  This is good, because it is also the time of year where oranges flood into grocery stores.Yes, I know that’s not very locavore.  I view local and sustainable as a goal, not an absolute requirement.  If I had to live without lemons, limes, and oranges, it would be a VERY long winter. Recipe: Fennel and Orange Salad Ingredients: 1 large fennel bulb (I used 2 small ones instead) 1/4 tsp kosher salt (a small two-finger pinch) 1 large orange 1 head of leaf lettuce …

Grated Carrot Salad (Carottes Râpées)

Here’s a carrot salad that I’ve been making a lot, based on a recipe from my man in Paris, David Lebovitz.**By “my man in Paris”, I don’t mean to say I know him – he couldn’t pick me out of a lineup if I cut in front of him. Sorry, a little Paris humor there. I feel like I know David because of his wonderful blog, and because I relied so heavily on his recommendations when I went to Paris. The best one was to buy the pocket size “Paris par Arrondissement” map. I’m a habitual map looker, and I spent as much time thumbing through that map as I did looking at the city.*See the link at the end of this post for David’s book reminiscing on life in Paris as an expatriate American cookbook author who specializes in desserts. Recipe: Grated Carrot Salad (Carottes Râpées) Equipment: Julienne shredder. I use the Julienne Disc for my food processor. Ingredients: 1/2 lb carrots, peeled and julienned. (I get one bunch with the green tips still …

Blue Cheese Dressing

Vinaigrette week* wraps up on DadCooksDinner with another favorite of mine, Blue Cheese Dressing. A salad with blue cheese dressing goes wonderfully with a nice, juicy steak. And, of course, it’s the traditional accompaniment with Chicken Wings (recipe here). *And yes, I know it’s not Vinaigrette week any more. I made the classic Fencepost Error. I was thinking I needed five dressing recipes, one for each day of the week, but I forgot that the basic technique would take up one day. What really bothers me is that I’m a computer programmer, so I really should know better. I mean, I’m the kind of person who knows what you call that kind of mistake – you’d think I could remember not to make it! Oh, well, you get a bonus dressing out of the deal, so I guess it’s not all bad. Recipe: Blue Cheese Dressing See the Vinaigrette Basic Technique (here) for an overview Ingredients: *For a 10 oz bag romaine lettuce (about 3 quarts) 2 tbsp White Wine Vinegar pinch of salt pinch …

Caesar Salad Dressing

Vinaigrette week continues on DadCooksDinner. Here is the dressing that gets the most requests for the recipe – my Caesar Salad dressing. This is the dressing where I learned the power of the basic formula for vinaigrettes. A few years back, I was staying with my Aunt and Uncle in Chicago, and I was making dinner.* *You don’t cook dinner when you’re staying with your family? No? Hmm. Maybe that’s why my wife gives me strange looks when my first question on vacation is “is there a kitchen where were’ staying?” I’d figured out the variations I could do on my balsamic vinaigrette at that point, and was starting to get a little tired with them. (Also, I had made it the night before.) I wanted to do something different. I vaguely remembered the Caesar Salad dressing I had made, carefully following the directions in Cooks Illustrated, a few weeks before. As I was trying to reconstruct the recipe in my mind, it dawned on me – it’s the same formula! Just substitute lemon juice …

Red Wine Vinaigrette

For Vinaigrette Week: This is a classic French vinaigrette*, made with red wine and Dijon mustard.*Did I mention I took some cooking classes in Provence? And one in Paris? Stop me if I told you this one already… This is my what I make for a quick weeknight salad when I have mild lettuce. Romaine, greenleaf, bibb, or iceberg go well with this. The mustard and vinegar give this dressing some kick, to liven up the neutral flavor of the lettuce. Recipe: Red Wine Mustard VinaigretteSee the Vinaigrette Basic Technique (here) for an overview Showing off my Vinaigrette skills Ingredients:*For a 7oz bag of Romaine Lettuce 1 tbsp red wine vinegar pinch of salt pinch of freshly ground black pepper 1 tsp Dijon mustard 3-4 tbsp (scant 1/4 cup) Extra Virgin Olive Oil 1 tsp finely minced shallot (optional) Directions: Easy Way1. Whisk to blend: Whisk all the ingredients in a small bowl until creamy. OR: Directions: With Finesse1. Dissolve the salt: Whisk the salt, pepper and vinegar in a small bowl until the salt …

Lemon Herb Dressing

This is my new favorite vinaigrette. I love the mediterranean combination of lemon and olive oil. I think it’s the most verstaile dressing I make – it goes well with a wide range of vegetables, from salads, to potatoes, to shredded carrots, to green beans. It’s the dressing for Salad Nicoise, Greek Salad, and Carottes Rapees; all you do is vary the herbs you use. Recipe: Lemon Herb Dressing See the Vinaigrette Basic Technique (here) for an overview Ingredients: *For a pound each of boiled new potatoes and green beans, or a 10 oz bag romaine lettuce (about 3 quarts) Juice of 1 lemon (should be about 2 to 3 tbsp) 1 tsp lemon zest (from the lemon you just juiced) 1 tsp sugar pinch of salt pinch of freshly ground black pepper 1 medium garlic clove, minced 6 tbsp (1/3 cup plus a little) Extra Virgin Olive Oil Herbs: 1 tbsp, minced, of any combination of the following: Parsley Thyme Basil Oregano Directions: Easy Way 1. Whisk to blend: Whisk all the ingredients in …

Balsamic Vinaigrette

For Vinaigrette Week: here is the first vinaigrette I learned as a technique as opposed to a recipe. It’s still my favorite – the balsamic vinegar gives it a hint of sweetness that I really like. I was at a cooking class given by Fat Cats, a local restaurant. The chef did the recipes, while one of the owners kept up a running commentary. They had a good act – It was very entertaining. But, more importantly, I learned two things. The first is, this is just a technique – as long as you know the basics, you can do endless variations. They used Fig Balsamic vinegar, but it was fine if you couldn’t find it; just get good balsamic vinegar. The second is that exact measuring doesn’t matter – close enough is good enough, as long as you taste afterwards to adjust if you need it.I remember something like “Add a half a cup of olive oil. (Glug-glug sound as he pours from the bottle.) OK, that’s close enough. (Whisks madly, then dips his …

Basic Technique: Vinaigrette

This was probably the technique that made me a food snob. Once I learned it, I was ruined. Why anyone spends money on store-bought salad dressing, which tastes of nothing but the stabilizers they put in it, is beyond me.*Death to store-bought salad dressing! Who’s with me! Chaaaaarge! All you need is some good vinegar, some oil, and a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper. Whisk these together, and you’ve got vinaigrette! Michael Ruhlman’s new book, Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking, has the perfect recipe: 3 parts oil: 1 part vinegar That’s it! See? You never need to buy salad dressing again.No, really, I mean it. Put down the bottle of “Lite Italian”. Have you read the ingredients list on that thing? It should say: Oil. Vinegar. Spices. What is xanthan gum, and why is it in my salad dressing? I’ve got the recipes to prove it; you’ll be getting them for the rest of the week. The important part is the ratio, and the following technique.And, as …