Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cook With Style Tuesdays - The Secret Vinaigrette Formula

Q. When serving salad to guests is it o.k. to use a store bought vinaigrette or should I make my own?

A. When you toss store bought vinaigrette onto a salad what you’re really saying to your guests is they're nice, but not overly special.

On the other hand homemade vinaigrette says you care and that they are worth the extra effort. It also screams that you know what you are doing in the kitchen and you have the confidence to put your own special creation on their salad.

The true beauty of vinaigrettes is they allow you to express your true personal style, as there are unlimited combinations. They may seem complicated at first but in reality they are quite simple to make. They are based on a basic formula just like all those Nickelback songs you hear on the radio.

I prefer to start with equals parts sweet (sugar or honey), sour (vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice) and oil (such as Extra Virgin olive oil). Then I tweak the ratios based on my sweet and sour preferences. For instance if you have a sweet tooth, add one part more honey. If you enjoy a vinaigrette with more body, add an extra part of oil.

In most cases you'll require an emulsifier, a fancy term for an ingredient that’ll help the ingredients combine more easily. Mustard is exceptionally good at accomplishing this task. Dijon, Honey Mustard or Grainy Mustard all work well. Add some of your favorite herbs and spices if you wish then lightly season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Here's a tasty one you can whisk together! It’s excellent on a bean salad!

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper for seasoning

Attention Strawberry Lovers! Strawberry season has arrived! You may find this strawberry vinaigrette of special interest for your next salad!

Is your cooking style not satisfying you the way it should? Email The Kitchen Roadie at brent@cookapalooza.com

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Brent Garell
The Kitchen Roadie

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