Thursday, November 8, 2012

Homemade Salad Dressing--Easier Than You Think!

Lately, I have been almost exclusively making my own salad dressings. From being in the kitchen with my mother, I knew it was possible to make a delicious salad dressing out of just a few ingredients. I also know that the list of ingredients on most store bought salad dressings are very long and contain words that belong in a chemistry textbook.

Anyways, the other day on a whim I bought a bottle of Annie's Woodstock salad dressing which is a tomato and tahini mixture. After one taste, I was hooked. However, at $4+ something for a tiny 8 oz bottle--that is some expensive stuff, especially when I am capable of going through one bottle in a week. Solution? Make my own. I searched "homemade Annie's Woodstock dressing" and came up with a couple of recipes. I decided to use this one from Spark People. The result? Next time I will probably add the water last and will drizzle it in slowly to get my desired consistency. I added it right away and the consistency was too thin. The flavor is great though! I really do not notice a big difference between my homemade stuff and Annie's. The cost? I got about 16 ounces of dressing and when I did a rough estimate of costs, it came to about $3.50. Awesome, twice as much dressing for half the price and no mystery ingredients. I'm sold.

You can do the same thing! Whatever your favorite is, look for a recipe and try to imitate it. You might surprise yourself with how well it turns out. It is so easy too! I swear people look at me like I must labor intensively in the kitchen to make a salad dressing.

Tips for Making Homemade Salad Dressing

1) Dressings have to emulsify--meaning two or more liquids need to come together as one mixture. Oil and vinegar do not mix well, but often adding something very acidic like a bit of lemon juice helps. I also prefer to use a food processor and let it run for awhile. I feel like it results in a much better emulsion compared to whisking.

2) Use good olive oil. I found out the hard way that rancid olive oil is pretty disgusting.

3) Oil and vinegar should be at a 2:1 ratio.

4) Here are some good vinegars to try: red wine, balsamic, white white, sherry, champagne or even some citrus instead such as lime, lemon or orange.

5) Here are some good flavor enhancers: chopped rosemary, oregano or thyme, garlic, shallots, sun dried tomatoes, soy sauce, ginger

6) Specific bottles for salad dressing are not necessary, but they do make it a lot easier to make and store homemade salad dressing. They also come printed with some hand recipes.

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