Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Couple of Salad Dressings and a Side Dish

I don't think I bought salad greens more than once all winter. I do love a good salad, particularly if it is made with lots of the baby greens, or spring mix types, with all the different colors of green and burgundy, and all the different types of leaf shapes. Somehow though, this past winter I just wasn't much in the mood for salad, plus, when it is really cold out, the greens we get up here leave a lot to be desired. Obviously, even just the time it takes to unload the trucks is enough to seriously harm these tender greens.
Buttermilk Dressing on Spring Greens with Avocado

Last week though, with temps heading into the high 50s and even 60s on a couple of days, I was in the mood. But I had very little of salad dressings in the fridge. More often than not, I make my own, and have a couple of particular favorites like Chris's Oriental Dressing and Sherry Balsamic Vinaigrette. However, I had no homemade dressings in the fridge already. Why bother, when I wasn't eating salads? I was going to be serving salad with dinner that night though, so I needed something.

What I whipped up is one I called Ginger Sesame Dressing. I went for the oriental flavor of ginger and garlic and used some sesame tahini and soy sauce along with the rest of the seasonings. I did use olive oil rather than something with less flavor, because I mostly keep only olive oil in the house and use it for everything. If you keep light sesame oil in the pantry, this would also be an excellent choice. I added in a little of my Pepperless Piquancy Seasoning, because two of the main ingredients are ginger and Sechuan peppercorns; both oriental spices. This mixture is wonderful, but completely optional. The flavors of this dressing were certainly bold, and very little was needed for the salad. Not a bad thing, in my opinion. Here is my recipe:
Ginger Sesame Dressing

Ginger Sesame Dressing

makes about 1 1/2 cups

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup agave syrup
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced or passed through a press
2 teaspoons sesame tahini
1 teaspoon dry onion powder
1 teaspoon Pepperless Piquancy, optional
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil

In a large mixing bowl combine the agave syrup, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, tahini, onion powder and PP seasoning. Use a wire whisk to incorporate the tahini fully. Drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly to emulsify. Add in the dark sesame oil and whisk until incorporated. Store in a jar with tight fitting lid in the refrigerator.

Yesterday I wanted to try something similar to a mixture I saw in a photo somewhere. It was broccoli, bacon and cheese. This mixture had a creamy, thin mixture stirred in, but I was unsure what. It has also been a very long time since I ate broccoli. My husband will not come near broccoli, so I generally opt to omit it from our menus. This time, although he loves bacon and cheese, I figured this would be my own dinner dish as the bacon and cheese would be tainted, in this instance, by their proximity to the broccoli! I ate this as my dinner last evening, and was in heaven. I really missed the green things!

What I opted to do was create a buttermilk dressing to go on this mixture. There are any number of ways to combine ingredients and make a buttermilk dressing. I just added in a few, whisked, tasted, added a little of this or that. It came out absolutely stellar. It is now added to my favorite of dressings, for sure. 

Buttermilk Salad Dressing
Buttermilk Dressing

makes about 1 cup

4 teaspoons tarragon vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced or passed through a press
1 tablespoon finely minced shallot
3 tablespoons real mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh chives, minced
1 teaspoon dried dill weed (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
1/4 teaspoon sugar

In a large mixing bowl, combine the vinegar, garlic and shallow and allow to stand for at least 5 minutes. Add in all the rest of the ingredients and whisk briefly to combine. Store in the refrigerator up to a week in a jar with tight fitting lid.

This dressing is wonderful on salad greens, and was exceptional mixed with the broccoli, bacon and cheddar side dish:

Broccoli, Bacon & Cheddar Side Dish
Broccoli, Bacon & Cheddar Side Dish

Serves about 4

1 package frozen broccoli florets (about 12.6 ounces)
3 or 4 strips of thick sliced bacon
4 ounces sharp cheddar, in 1/4-inch cubes

1/4 cup Buttermilk Dressing (recipe above)

Steam the broccoli to desired doneness. Drain and place in a mixing bowl. Cut the bacon into 1/4-inch strips across the grain and fry to desired doneness. Drain on paper toweling, then add to the bowl with the broccoli. Once these two ingredients have reached room temperature, add in the cubed cheddar and the Buttermilk Dressing and toss to combine. Serve at room temperature.

I hope these salad dressings and this side dish will please someone else as much as they pleased me!

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of your own. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.