January 18, 2012

Mason Jar Dressings

A very good childhood friend of mine sent me some salted caramels over the holidays and I have been rationing them out on a daily basis.   Needless to say, when I see commercials for all of the various weight-loss companies it makes me cringe a bit knowing I'm a few bites away from needing an intervention.
Therefore, I've taken it upon myself to get back into the swing of things.  Like everyone else, I get a bit out of control during the holidays and then, when all of the over-eating makes me feel like Jabba the Hutt, the pendulum swings back the other way and I get myself back in line.

As you well know from previous posts, I have no shortage of mason jars in various shapes & sizes cluttering my cabinets and there is a reason for this,  besides canning.   They are useful for many different things,  quick salad dressing being one of them.

It honestly couldn't be easier...  pour everything in & shake it up.   The best part of making your own salad dressing aside from it being much less expensive, is that you know exactly what's in it.   There are no dyes, no high-fructose corn syrup, no ingredients that require a Ph.D. in Chemistry to pronounce.

The basic ratio for a vinaigrette is 3:1 or 4:1 (oil:vinegar) depending on how acidic you like it.  I love vinegar so I tend to go a bit on the acidic side with my dressings, which consequently means less oil and that is usually a good thing.

Orange Ginger Dressing
  • a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled & grated
  • zest & juice of 3 oranges
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
Add all ingredients to a jam jar & shake.
I use grapeseed oil because of its neutral flavor.   The orange and ginger should be the stars here, not the oil.   Olive oil, although it is delicious isn't what I want to taste in this particular dressing. 

 Lemon-Fennel Vinaigrette
  • juice of 3 Meyer lemons
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped fennel fronds
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup olive oil
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

I purchased fennel for the "roasted roots" and I only roast the bulb, so I had the frilly tops just sitting on my counter and didn't want them to go to waste.
I decided to use them in place of other herbs for a salad dressing.  This is generally my mind set about throwing things in the garbage... in a professional kitchen, very little goes to waste.
The first time I made this dressing I put it in the blender.  It came out a shocking flourescent yellow-green color, so if you chose to do this...  don't be disturbed. 
I often still put it in the blender, but if you are running short on time or energy the jam jar works just fine.

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