Why is the prudent foodie thinking about salad dressing? Seems like a pretty minor topic, but when you are, as my daughter recently said "the woman who actually lives on salad" it can loom large in your thinking. Personally,I am quite happy just drizzling a little high quality olive oil and putting some salt and pepper on my salad. My favorite being Nunez de Prado, an organic spanish olive oil you can buy at Whole Foods at a very reasonable price for its outstanding quality.
But my family likes its salad dressing, which presents a problem. First, because I hate the salad dressing you get at the store - it's expensive and never tastes right. Or, it's cheap, full of chemicals and doesn't taste right. But, I also hate having to make salad dressing, which seems to be a never ending chore, when you make just enough for each day. My daughter has developed a taste, moreover for ranch dressing, something I dimly remember liking at her age, so maybe there is hope for her palate yet.
So, with the objective of increasing salad consumption by my offspring, I've been experimenting with homemade ranch dressing, which turns out to be pretty easy to make in larger batches (a pint), and very popular with the consumer at my kitchen table. You can do this two ways - traditional ranch style, or, because I was putting fresh blackberries in my salad last weekend (they were on sale for $1.50 /box, how could I pass it up?) I came up with a faintly sweet variation using balsamic vinegar that I really really like, so I 'm sharing it here. I make ranch dressing by basically making some mayonnaise, mixing it 50/50 with nonfat yogurt, and adding garlic,sage and herbs de provence mix, as well as salt and pepper. Super easy, very good and really cheap too. For the sweeter version, I substituted balsamic vinegar for the regular vinegar or lemon juice in my mayonnaise recipe. This resulted in a subtle flavor and hint of sweetness that I really enjoyed. Here's the recipe - your greens will love you for this. DeeDee
Homemade Ranch Dressing
1 TB vegetable oil (I usually use canola) plust 1 to 1 1/4 vegetable oil
2TB balsamic vinegar, or 1TB lemon juice or white wine vinegar
2 tsp dijon vinegar
1 1/2 cup nonfat yogurt (I use Stonyfields)
1 1/2 TB herbs de provence mix
1 tsp dried sage rubbed or crumbled1 tsp lavender (fresh or dried, chopped fine)-use in the balsamic vinegar version
1-2 cloves garlic minced or pressed
salt and pepper to taste
Put the egg,1 TB vegetable oil, vinegar (or lemon juice if you are making the sharper version) and dijon mustard in your food processor with the chopper blade and process 1-2 minutes. While you are doing this, pour 1/4 cup oil in the presser and let it drip through while the processor is running. When it has run through, pour another 3/4 to 1 cup of oil in and let it run through until the mayonnaise thickens. You can actually hear the sound of the processor change when this happens. Open it up and add the yogurt, pressed or minced garlic, herbs and salt and pepper. Process for 30 seconds.
Pour it out and over your salad!