You know, my mother is one of the best cooks around and certainly the best I have ever known. It’s no wonder, she was trained at the finest culinary school of all time, the elbow of her grandmothers. So when I can give her one of my recipes and have her, Daddy, and both of my grandmothers singing its praises (not to mention making it three times in one week) I feel like I’ve really accomplished something in my life.
Todays recipe is the one that did just that. This is one of my favorite salad dressings that I like to whip up and it’s so very easy to do (my other favorite salad dressing is Mama’s homemade Thousand Island, the link is at the bottom of this post). I gave this recipe to Southern Living to print in the October 2010 story they did on me and I was just tickled with the reviews it got there as well, so now its time for me to share it with you.
A lot of folks don’t make homemade salad dressing anymore because bottles of every shape and flavor are available at pretty good prices at the grocery store, but those bottled ones don’t hold a candle to homemade and you’re really going to be surprised at how easy this is!
Oh, about the rest of the post title…
Close your eyes for me and spell Vinaigrette. Seriously, could there be a harder word to spell? With a bachelor’s degree and English honors, I still have so many words that trip me up and I always get a good giggle at some of the simple ones that seem to present a persistent problem to my short circuited brain cell.
I’m gonna mention a few more throughout this post as they come to me and I’d love to hear the words that trip you up in the comments section on this post. To keep it fun, I’ll pick one person at random and send ya a “Whatever Cranks Yer Tractor” sticker (I’ll pick one tomorrow night and put their name here after I do).
You’ll need: Cider Vinegar, Vegetable Oil (or your favorite oil), Dijon Mustard (honey dijon will do), Honey, Vidalia Onion (or other sweet onion), Salt, and Pepper.
Necessity- Oh good grief this word is a hard one for me. I never know how many c’s and s’s to put in. Thank goodness for spell check.
In a sauce pot or skillet, place a tablespoon of oil over medium heat for a few minutes.
Add chopped onion and cook, stirring often, over medium heat.
Opinion: For years, I wanted to put an extra “p” in opinion. Even though I don’t do that now, every time I spell that word I stop and look at it to make sure I have it right.
Your onion will start to brown after a few minutes, keep stirring and cooking while it caramelizes and develops that yummy flavor.
Souvenir - the mother of all messed up words. My definition of this word is “Cheap plastic junk that you buy out of compulsion while on vacation.” Now seriously, close your eyes and spell it for me. See how hard that is? If you got it right, you deserve an attaboy so here ya go “ATTABOY!”.
You want them to be nice and browned all over – but at this point I’m usually tired of fooling with it so this is good enough for me.
Your onions could stand to cook for another minute or two if you want but this will do just fine.
I just love low maintenance recipes.
Maintenance isn’t the easiest word to spell either, ya know.
Now pour your cider vinegar into the pot.
This part always makes me think of dying Easter eggs…
Oh, I forgot to warn ya about that vinegar facial you are about to get..
Now I want you to take your spoon and just kinda rub all around on the bottom of your pot.
Fancy folks call this “deglazing” the pan but we can just call it for what it is, rubbing the bottom of your pot to get the stuff up.
The vinegar will clean off all of the wonderful caramel glaze on the bottom of the pot and pull all of that delicious flavor up to be used in your dressing.
I know there are a gazillion other words that trip me up but I’m going on about two hours of sleep right now due to a wild case of insomnia among my children last night so I just called up Mama and asked her what words tripped her up the most. She said : worcestershire, jalapeno, occasionally, and necessary. See how normal we all are?
Now we’re going to put all of that into a blender and add our oil, salt, pepper, mustard, and honey.
Oh how I love honey…
Now put your lid on your blender (I like to state the obvious from time to time) and press that button!
Whichever button you press depends on your mood. If you’re having a pretty good day, just hit “whip”. If you’re feeling a little tension in your life “pulse” might work better for you. If you need to work off a little stress before the kiddies get home, go straight to “liquify”.
Now the trick is to let this just go to town in the blender for a few minutes, even though it will appear to be perfectly blended after just a few seconds.
You want to form an emulsion here, which basically means you are whipping the ingredients to within an inch of their life, thereby causing them to be too frightened of your awesome blender-given power to separate too quickly.
This will make your dressing nice and creamy and it will mostly stay that way.
After storing it in the fridge for a time, you will need to give it a good shake, though. This is why I like to store mine in mason jars because they are so handy to shake and keep around, taking up very little space in the fridge.
You can serve this over greens, with vegetables, or any salad combination of your choice.
My favorite is a salad of dark greens with pecans or almonds, cranberries, and apples.
YUM! Now thats some good eatin’!
To get Mama’s Homemade Thousand Island Dressing recipe, please click here.
“Everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish by it’s ability to climb a tree,
it will spend it’s whole life believing it is stupid”
This excellent quote was submitted by Tamara and holds a great significance to me. Thank you so much, Tamara! To submit your quote, please click here to visit our Give A Penny page.