February 17, 2013

Lemon Basil Dressing

I used to stay far, far away from salads.
In fact, the only time I would torture myself would be if I could smother those tasteless greens with crispy bacon*, loads of cheese, and [at minimum] two different dressings: usually a creamy parmesan plus italian.
But then it happened: A few stars somehow aligned, and I found myself being one of those women-who-loves-salads. This is what happened:

  • I realized I was obsessed with any/all kinds of vinegar.
  • I did the math and figured out how easy [cheap] it is to make my own oil+vinegar dressing. I haven't bought salad dressing in years.
  • I began to be mildly obsessed with fresh lemon juice and fresh lime juice.
  • I grew myself a little garden.
  • I discovered fresh herbs.
  • I found out what a tomato is supposed to taste like [straight off the vine in aforementioned little garden].
  • I started watching The Food Network.
I also discovered how much I love sourdough bread. And what better way to soak up all remaining dressing than with a piece of yummy bread! I'll be sharing my smelly adventures of making sourdough bread, completely from scratch, in an upcoming post.
But I still find it hard to want a salad during the tomato-off-season. Lately, my salads have simply been lettuce [the best mix of dark greens that London has to offer- which has been surprisingly tasty] and my Lemon Basil Dressing.
This is a great dressing to break out for guests who are not fond of oil+vinegar (more for me!).
Admittedly, I cannot claim the brains behind the recipe, for I have found versions of it everywhere and it, itself, is very basic. The ingredients also change depending on what I have in stock. Enjoy!

Ingredients: Fresh basil, fresh lemon juice,
Colman's Spicy English Mustard, EVOO, Salt, Pepper, Sugar

Combine dry ingredients.

Whisk in wet ingredients.

Make your salad! This particular photo was from the fall. Hence why the avocados and ripe tomatos are present. Apparently, I still like to drown my salads with dressing!

Lemon Basil Dressing
Fresh Basil (to your liking)
Dijon or spicy mustard (a dollup)
fresh lemon juice
salt/pepper/sugar (to taste)
-I begin with 1 part lemon juice to 3 parts EVOO and then adjust to taste.
-For less clean-up, just throw all ingredients in a jar and shake.
-If you use a sweet mustard (such as dijon), you may not need the sugar.
-Instead of mustard, sometimes I use minced garlic.
-Instead of minced garlic/mustard, sometimes I use a homemade garlic-infused olive oil.
-Instead of fresh basil, you can use any fresh herb that you want.
-You don't even have to use fresh herbs. I've also made this with dried herbs.
-I usually keep a jar of this on my shelf and add more lemon/oil/spices as it starts getting low.
-I freeze any fresh herb that I do not use in the summer. To do this, dice the herb, place in mini-icecube trays, saturate in EVOO, cover, and freeze. Then when you are ready to use, just pop the cube out. So far, I've had success freezing thyme, basil, chives, and cilantro.
So I'm curious- is there a specific dressing that you like to make? I'm always on the lookout for new ways to spice up my salads!
*Obviously, eating bacon-topped salads happened during my pre-vegetarian days. Bacon was the last meat that I could get down. And I never thought I could live without it-- but, well, I'm proud to say the day has come and the impossible has happened: I haven't eaten bacon in years. It doesn't even smell good to me anymore! Wha??! And here you thought that bacon, along with food, shelter, water, and love, was one of man's most basic needs.

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