Pass The Salad - Stevie's Crazy Kitchen Blog at - 278690

Stevie's Crazy Kitchen

Pass the Salad 
Jul. 2, 2012 9:34 pm 
Updated: Jul. 10, 2012 10:30 am
I've only recently begun thinking about making my own salad dressings...  I've never really read the labels on the bottles of my "fav" flavors, frankly because I think I'd pour them all down the drain with all of the chemicals etc. that are added to bottled dressings.  So, true to my weekly "norm," I recently read an article in the Food Section of the paper, all about making salad dressings, how to, adding "extra" ingredients, shelf life, and the like.

Now, you can imagine that now summer has hit the desert, I'm not craving all sorts of baked side dishes, not to mention that the fresh produce is beginning to "go on sale" at the local markets.  I happen to have an abundance of lettuce right now, today I picked up a couple of tomatoes (broke my heart at the price, but I wanted tomato!)  I still have some of the "Zukes" or "mini seedless cucumbers" in the frige...  grate some carrot, shred a little cabbage, and chop some celery... what more could I ask for?

Not only did the paper list a number of vinegarettes, but also some "cream" style dressings.  The first suggestion that I've taken to heart is, to only make the amount that you will be using within a few days.  Next, was that vinegar should be stored in a "cool dark" cabinet...  So much for my seven varieties sitting in a pantry cupboard, behind a frosted glass door, and directly beneath a skylight!  Choosing a new spot and subsequently moving the bottles followed later that day!  "Who Knew?" 

I've also, in times past, enjoyed a dressing of (I believe,) juice of a fruit - like lemon juice, and oil...  Or perhaps if I add dried fruit to a "salad," I could use a "sweetish" fruit based dressing, rather than the "tart" of a vinegar based...  I do, however, need to learn more about the different flavors of  vinegars...  I once used balsamic in a recipe, and totally did not enjoy the dish...  Too much, perhaps, or "cheap" vinegar?  I don't have the answer... YET, anyway!

My one pitfall regarding salad dressings, after 30 years of turning my nose up to it, is Blue Cheese, and my dear friend who had a "secret" recipe for making his own, took that to the grave with him...  How dare he NOT share?  Of course, his recipe which he kept since a young man working as a bus boy in a CA restaurant, made enough to last 30 households for 2 years!  He had, however cut the recipe down... and truly it WAS the best that I think I've ever eaten! 

So, once again, the Wed. Food Section of our local paper has provided me with a wealth of information!  I wonder, with this Wed being the 4th, if there will be a food section, grocery ads, and the like...  I can only hope!

After keeping a dozen or so bottles of store bought dressings in the frige, so that we'd have an assortment at any given time, or that if we were entertaining, I could offer guests a variety, I do believe that I may use up the few bottles left, and then make simply one dressing, planning on dumping the remainder after no more than a week.  It is, afterall, salad season!  Find an "all purpose" light dressing, and simply call that "good" for the most point!  Seasonings could always be added the following day, to give it a new "twist." 

So, with the arrival of "summer" most of the way across the United States (from what I'm seeing on the weather,) I do believe it's time for all of us to slow down, and rely on the almighty salad as a side dish!  No HEAT required the the preparation!  On tomorrow's agenda, is to make a batch of coleslaw, thinking for the 4th, but might just find it's way onto the table tomorrow evening...

Let's be happy, be healthy, and (not) cook "too" crazy, but still crazy!
Jul. 3, 2012 2:05 am
hey stevie, sounds like a plan, thats what i have been doing all last week and this far ...too hot to eat or cook, salad every day, some days i boil eggs to put on them, some days just veggies's all well my friend...judy ...oh what happened on face book ?i can't see you there...later friend
Jul. 3, 2012 5:00 am
I agree with you on the "might not eat it if you knew what was in it". I've only tried to make one homemade dressing, Tyler Florence's Lemon dressing. It was quite good. I do make my own bleu cheese. Lately, I have been playing with dipping sauces for spring rolls. Since discovering how to make them properly they have become my new lunch favorite! Stay cool!
Jul. 3, 2012 7:48 am
I made Spaghetti Yesterday from the tomatoes from my garden, and I have had many salads to try to try to use up all the tomatoes. In the next day or so I should have 50 more tomatoes. I think I am going to freeze them I am not sure I can eat another salad for a few weeks.
Jul. 3, 2012 8:09 am
Hello Stevie. Salads are my favorite side dish. My mom made this wonderful lemon dressing that I can't get right. Some kind of herb and I don't know what it was. I have tried many different recipes for lemon dressing and haven't found one that taste like my mom's. She didn't measure, she just put a pinch of this and a pinch of that.
Jul. 3, 2012 10:16 am
My most used dressing is my Creamy Honey Mustard. (No Measurements. To Taste.) A couple gobs of plain yogurt, brown or grainy mustard and honey. We like it on any salad. For cabbage, I'll add some horseradish sauce.
Jul. 3, 2012 10:43 am
Marianne shared her Blue Cheese Dressing and I have been using it ever since. I must admit I rarely measure, I go by how it looks and tastes. This gets better and better as it sits in the fridge.
Jul. 3, 2012 10:56 am
Judy, I'm still a carnivore at heart, so need some meat every day... Am enjoying even a bowl of lettuce as a side, with dressing, of course, and maybe something additional (like other veg's.) I closed my facebook... my email got hacked (I think) so It's been a nightmare changing all my passwords and such... Be well, I'll send a (safe) email soon!
Jul. 3, 2012 11:02 am
Cat, enjoy the blue cheese! (YUMMM) and the spring rolls! I MUST find a convenient place to buy wrappers! I've made my own often, but it's a lot of work, really... Be well, and enjoy the dipping sauces.
Jul. 3, 2012 11:04 am
King, I'm jealous that you've so many tomatoes! I wouldn't eat them raw till just recently (couple years...) but sure would enjoy a basket full over course of the summer! Be well, and enjoy!
Jul. 3, 2012 11:12 am
Lela, good luck with the "hunt" for just that right lemon dressing! If I come up with anything, I'll be sure to share... Be well, and enjoy!
Jul. 3, 2012 11:13 am
Mike, I just made some "honey mustard" dressing, but haven't used any yet... I'll make a point to try it! Be well!
Jul. 3, 2012 11:15 am
BigShotsMom, I'll check out the link, thanks for sharing! Keep forgetting to get buttermilk, nor do I have any blue cheese right now! Guess it's back to the grocery! UGGH! Be well!
Jul. 3, 2012 2:20 pm
I have been shopping specials at markets I never visited before I retired. Tomatoes this week at one of the new markets I tried for the first time were $.99 per pound for tomatoes on the vine. Lg., red, ripe, juicy and surely the price is right. Take a look in your Wed. circulars, you may be surprised. I also got 6 ears of corn for $1. Beat that!
Jul. 3, 2012 5:56 pm
Stevie, and I have more today, I am going to have to think of something else for the tomatoes. I did bake chicken, tomatoes and potatoes the other day (that's a first for me) It was good.
Jul. 3, 2012 7:39 pm
Covergirl, I look at the ads every Weds morning, and begin my "lists," often one for each of 3 stores. Yesterday, "on the vine" were advertised at the store I went to, at $1.99/lb, but I noticed that Roma's were only .79, so I got 3. Also, 3 ears of corn @ 6/$1 - didn't want 6, they'd probably rot in the frige! Be well, and thanks for the suggestion, but I've learned that sometimes "non advertised" items are a better value...
Jul. 3, 2012 7:42 pm
King, do you do any canning? If not, I guess freezing is the next best choice, that is, if you have the freezer space... I'm still jealous! Be well!
Jul. 4, 2012 7:43 am
Stevie, I do have a large freezer, so I put everything in there. I did the canning thing when I was younger. Normally I don't have a whole lot of stuff to can so I just freeze it.
Jul. 6, 2012 8:03 pm
hi. I come from an Italian family, and amongst the most amazing Northern Italian cuisine hides the most excellent salad dressings. I have also been trying my hand at them and know how incredible they can be. My family will use, olive oil, rice vinegar, agave... brown sugar... or honey for sweetener and spices. We agree.... light oils and vinegars are vital... from there, fruits or different sweeteners are added, but the secret IS the oil and vinegar. This is true even for an apple flavor, or berry.
Jul. 9, 2012 11:05 pm
Firewhirrrl, thanks for sharing! I have a dear friend who lived in Italy for 10yrs married to an Italian man. She cringes when I make certain dishes... "you CAN'T make it that way!" Well, guess I do what I do... If you care to share any reicpes, please do; be well!
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Stevie crazycook

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About Me
Started cooking many years ago, and learned as I went. First meal may have been "steak & chips" at age 15, in Birmingham England, where I lived for several years. Mostly grew up in MI, transplanted to the desert 30yrs ago, or so. Favorite cookbook is "Better Homes", also enjoy "Great British Cooking, a well kept secret." Hesitate to call myself "expert," but friends do rave...
My favorite things to cook
Italian has been my "specialty" for some time, and my "signature" meal is Lasagne, salad, garlic bread, which I first made 20yrs ago... from SCRATCH, very first time I made it. (Never again, folks...) Now start with a big jar of sauce!
My favorite family cooking traditions
Thanks to my heritage, I have enjoyed trying foods from different cultures. We still have beer battered fish, and chips of course; ground meat dishes often, chicken occasionally, pork too. I would love to submit a bean dip recipe, however, my ex who gave me the original has passed, and I have no way to verify that it didn't come from another source! I also enjoy British cooking (with a few yankee twists) and once made Plum puddings, also known as Christmas puddings, as far as I know... what an ordeal that was, but well worth the effort. Today, there is mail order!
My cooking triumphs
Greatest triumph was not too long ago, when I held a sit down dinner for 12, Lasagne being the entree. It was a fund raiser I chose to sponsor, and am proud to say that "we" raised over $1000 from that meal alone, minimum donation being $25. All proceeds collected were donated; my partner and I provided the meal and beverages.
My cooking tragedies
MEATLOAF of all things! Went through a stage of "winging" it each time, and I pulled one after another out of the oven that were almost unedible. As yet, not too big on baking... no sweet tooth here! Have dabbled, but find doughs/pastries especially difficult, perhaps as it's 90 degrees in my kitchen much of the year.
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