Ready for Summer

A few weeks ago, I put a new salmon recipe on the menu. The salmonĀ was tasty (probably a 3.75 on the Andy scale), but, for me, the dressing was the real winner. I love having something new for my salads, especially when it’s an easy as “cook, blend, stir, serve.”

The recipe called for fresh blueberries, but since I put several pounds of blueberries in the freezer last summer, I saw no reason to buy out-of-season, trucked-for-miles blueberries in the store. (Obviously, I did buy the out-of-season blackberries a few weeks later. They were on sale, and it’s a LONG time till berry season here, OK?) Per Annie’s instructions, I did remove a few tablespoons of blueberry sauce (to glaze the salmon) before I added the vinegar, but unless I’m making the fish again, I don’t think I’ll bother with that step. And since I’m still not the biggest fan of goat cheese, I opted for feta on my salad.

The result was a fresh, slightly sweet twist on a standard side salad, which will definitely come in handy when our lettuce is ready in a few weeks. (We planted seeds two weeks ago, and now we have the cutest little lettuce plants popping up in the garden!) Come on summer! We’re ready for you!

Blueberry Salad Dressing

Blueberry Vinaigrette

4 ounces of blueberries, fresh or frozen (no need to thaw if using frozen berries)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons of honey
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
kosher salt and fresh pepper

In a small saucepan, combine the blueberries, oil and honey. Cook over medium heat, stirring every so often, until the berries are soft and juicy.

Remove the pan from heat and use an immersion blender to puree the mixture until the berries are smooth. Add the vinegar and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Allow the dressing to cool before putting it on a salad.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. (Mine kept for a few weeks without any issues.)

From Annie’s Eats

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Dressing for One

Between our CSA and our garden, we’ve been blessed with an overabundance of lettuce this summer. Which means that we’re eating a lot of salads. Side salads. Grilled chicken salads. “Loaded” chef salads. Good thing Andy likes his greens. šŸ˜€

However, when it comes to salad, we are a house divided. There’s the normal my side (you know, the one with salads that are lightly dressed with a fresh vinaigrette or drizzled with a tangy buttermilk ranch), and then there’s the weird Andy’s side. The one with plain salads. Don’t get me wrong, Andy is all about toppings on his lettuce – as long as those toppings are things like peppers, strawberries, cranberries, onions, tomatoes, cheese, chicken, shrimp, broccoli, nuts… anything OTHER than dressing. He says dressing is unnecessary, and that his salads are healthier. Whatever. šŸ™‚

The plus side of this situation? I get to make/eat whatever dressing I want, and right now, that’s a zesty homemade Italian dressing. It’s made from pantry staples and mixes up easily. It also makes a great chicken marinade – you know, for those grilled chicken salads that we’re eating.

Italian Dressing

Italian Salad Dressing

For the dressing mix:
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons oregano
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

For a batch of dressing:Ā 
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2/3 cup olive oil (or salad oil)
2 tablespoons dressing mix

In a small bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. Store in an airtight container until ready to use. To make a batch of dressing, whisk together 2 tablespoons of dressing mix and vinegar. Pour the oil into the vinegar mixture in a steady stream, whisking constantly to combine.Ā (I actually prefer to use my immersion blender for this, as I’ve found that it emulsifies the dressing the best.)Ā Store dressing the refrigerator.

From Peace Love & French Fries

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Maple Mustard Greatness

When I was in college, one of my favorite places to eat on campus was a little chicken place inside the student center. I’d order a chicken strips and waffle fries, and then proceed to dunk them in eitherĀ barbecueĀ or honey mustard sauce. Or both. Mmm. (No judgment about my less-than-healthy choices, OK? I was young. And I did have to walk halfway across the KSU campus to get my dinner…)Ā 

Now that I’m all grown up (when exactly did that happen, anyway?), dinners of waffle fries and chicken strips are few and far between. However, my love for honey mustard has not faded, and this salad dressing is definitely a grown-up version of my favorite college condiment. It’s sweet, thanks to the maple syrup, with a little bit of a kick from the garlic and mustard. It’s good for salads, sandwiches AND chicken strips, in case you want to relieve your childhood (or college days).

And while I am a fan of dressings, sauces and all things mustard, Andy is not. Which means this stuff is all mine. šŸ˜€

A couple of notes: The full recipe makes a LOT of dressing (about two cups), which is much more than you need if you’re making this with the salad. It does, however, scale down very well, by both 50 percent and 25 percent. I’m including the full recipe below, since it keeps pretty well in the fridge, and if you’re making chicken strips, well, you want to have enough for eating with a spoon dipping. šŸ™‚

If you’re looking for a way to use up any remaining butternut squash, I would definitely recommend the salad. (I’ve made it for both a work potluck and our Easter dinner, and it’s been well-received both times.) If you do make the it, I’d suggest roasting the squash and apples separately, as the apples seem to get mushy long before the squash is done.

MapleMustardDressing

Maple Mustard Salad Dressing

4 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon stone-ground mustard
2/3 cup real maple syrup
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup canola oil
salt and pepper to taste, if needed (I found I didn’t need to add any.)Ā 

Combine all of the ingredients, except for the oil, in a large measuring cup or blender. (I used my glass four-cup Pyrex and my immersion blender.) Blend until the garlic cloves are smooth and integrated. Slowly stream the oil into the measuring cup while the blender runs. Blend untilĀ emulsifiedĀ and smooth. Store, covered, in the refrigerator.

From Two Peas and Their Pod

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