I’ve begun reaping the harvest of all kinds of greens from my garden and my sprouting supplies. But to me the greens are incomplete until I have the perfect dressing and other accompaniments to go with them. After discovering all of the canola oil or other hydrogenated oils and multiple forms of sugar that are making their way into the store-bought dressings, I long ago decided that I needed to just make my own. And boy am I glad I did! It never ceases to amaze me how much better something tastes when you make it from all of the raw ingredients instead of buying the highly processed version at the store. And it is so much less expensive that way too. Best of all the meal is always much more memorable.
Of course I want to make sure that you don’t miss out on some great homemade dressings and flavors that will liven up the beauty of your healthy greens that you grow in your garden, or that you sprout in your kitchen. So today I’m going to share with you one of my favorite basic dressing recipes and also give you several variations that you can use to liven them up depending on what you’re serving with the rest of the meal. Don’t let the odd variations fool you. The results are heavenly — and most of all memorable!
My favorite place to start with dressings is the good old standby French Dressing. In this particular recipe I use olive oil or coconut oil for the required oil amount, however you can feel free to substitute any other healthy oil that you’re more comfortable with. I have found some my favorite methods of flavoring and cooking in old-fashion cookbooks that are readily discarded at estate sales and garage sales for cheap. This particular set of variations is no exception. Though I cannot find the source there's no doubt they originated with an old-fashioned cookbook. Enjoy!
One clove of garlic 1 tablespoon salt
To get the most flavor from this recipe, soak your clove of garlic in the vinegar for about a half an hour before mixing all of the other ingredients.
Mix dry ingredients together and place in a covered jar or bottle. (I simply use my Mason jars)
Remove garlic from the vinegar and add the vinegar to the dry ingredients.
Pour in the oil slowly. Set aside until ready to use. Just before serving, shake or whisk vigorously for about two minutes. This will make about 3 cups of delicious dressing.
I enjoy this on virtually any kind of sprouts that I have available—so far—but I have also enjoyed the many variations of it on chicken, fish, vegetables, and even in a fruit salad.
One idea for tasty variations is to use flavored vinegars—even flavored balsamic vinegars. One of my favorites to use is a tarragon vinegar. When I use the tarragon vinegar I like to omit the mustard, sugar and paprika.
For a fruit salad variation I like to use ¼ cup of lemon or lime (or even orange juice) in place of half of the vinegar. I will reduce the mustard to about a ½ a teaspoon and the salt to 1 teaspoon, and reduce the paprika to ½ teaspoon. Go ahead and increase the sugar to ¾ cup. I would also suggest that you add a ½ teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce and then omit the pepper and garlic.
Here are some other variations that you can use in this particular French dressing recipe:
Consider anchovies: cream 2 tablespoons of anchovy paste with the seasonings. Then add 1 tablespoon of both minced onion and parsley.
Consider a chiffonade: add 2 tablespoons of each: chopped green pepper, black olives, parsley, canned pimento, and one hard-boiled egg, that’s been chopped. You can even add chopped red peppers and cooked beets if desired.
Curry really kicks this recipe up: add ½ teaspoon of curry powder and a few drops of onion juice. When I have a recipe that calls for onion juice, all I do is soak freeze-dried or dehydrated onions in water to reconstitute them and then I use the flavored water as my onion juice ingredient. If I’m cutting a fresh onion, then I will simply scrape the onion juice that weeps during the cutting process, and use that for my onion juice ingredient.
Horseradish: if you add 4 tablespoons of grated horseradish with the juice pressed out, along with a half clove of garlic, crushed, and a dash of cayenne, you will absolutely love this dressing on red meat—canned or fresh.
Mint: add 2 tablespoons of chopped mint.
Pickle: one of my favorite restaurants used to always serve their homemade French dressing with minced sweet pickles. As a result today it’s never French dressing for me without my ¼ cup of minced sweet pickles in this recipe.
Go Hawaiian: you can omit the garlic, vinegar, and dry mustard and instead use ¼ cup of pineapple juice and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and you will find a delicious result.
Go bananas: this particular variation might surprise you, but if you add to thoroughly mashed ripe banana and a quarter teaspoon of nutmeg to the “Go Hawaiian” version, you will definitely be serving a memorable meal. This particular variation is delicious on whitefish as well as chicken breasts.
This will be complete with one last variation. Make the Hawaiian version as noted above, but also add one to 1 ½ teaspoons grenadine or maraschino cherry juice, and then watch your guests try to figure out just what wonderful flavors are in that particular dressing. (I don’t know about you, but I love it when my guests are in love with the flavors but can’t quite put their finger on what it is that they are eating.) *GRIN*