Eva’s Salad Dressing -Vinaigrette

BEST HERB Vinaigrette SALAD DRESSING
Change your salad dressing from ordinary to extraordinary!  When we serve salad greens, everyone knows they will be getting my fresh ‘herb’ dressing with it.  Friends and family still rave about it to this day. “When are you going to add your salad dressing to your blog?” I hope you like it!
SECRET FORMULA:  The secret is twofold (1) The ‘FRESH’ herbs speak for themselves.  (2) You are looking for the right balance of oil and vinegar. Taste the dressing before serving.  I can not emphasize this enough.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 vinegar – (blueberry + balsamic vinegar)
  • 2/3 oil – avocado, olive or hazelnut
  • 1/4 tsp pepper*
  • 1/4 tsp salt*
  • FRESH Herbs: Italian parsley, thyme -lemon thyme, tarragon, basil

The amount of herbs varies -no exact measurement.  Over the years, I have found that  you never put in too much herbs.
*FRESH ground pepper corn (and salt) adds a specific aroma
Hint: If you don’t have everything ..improvise.  Also, use best ingredients because you are not using that much of it.

Salt and Pepper

DIRECTIONS

  • Mix avocado oil with pepper + salt
  • Add vinegar – blend/shake in a small jar.
  • ADD HERBS**

**BEFORE YOU ADD THE HERBS – TASTE the dressing using a piece of lettuce [ This is an important step]

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TASTE TEST: The best way to test this recipe is with a piece of lettuce. The taste should be dull. You are looking for the balance of oil and vinegar. The dressing should not be too vinegary.  You need to keep in mind that the taste should be dull. The herbs will add a tangy lift.  A mistake some people make is to have the vinegar overpowering.
Last step ..add the herbs. They provide an exquisite bright flavour to your dressing. I add lots of herbs.

FARM TO TABLE 
The new trend serving prepared meals  directly from the farm to the table has captured a lot of chefs/restaurants.  I support this wonderful trend in natural eating, as we dig into our herb ‘farm’ to prepare this salad dressing.

Fragrant Basil Growing In Your Garden

FRESH SALAD DRESSING
I have heard people say that once you have had fresh salad dressing, you never go back to store bought again. It is true for me. I always have oil and vinegar in the house. There is no excuse not to make a quick dressing or vinaigrette in 5 minutes.

ARE YOU ABLE TO TELL IF VINEGAR IS BAD?
Vinegar has an indefinite shelf life. It can still alter in appearance and strength after five to ten years. Balsamic vinegar has a tangy-sweet taste.  It  is aged in oak caskets and becomes darker and sweeter as it ages.  Hints of the oak casket linger in this vinegar. The best place to store vinegar is in a fairly cool, dark place. aside: My friend who has wine from Abe Lincoln’s private stock  said, ” You don’t want to drink it. It tastes like vinegar. “

Blueberry vinegar is good for your health. Blueberries improve eyesight and memory.  The list goes on. You can even buy blueberry vinegar capsules for health therapy ( sometimes called ‘Nordic Tonic‘). Remember the apple cider vinegar trend? Everyone was taking a shot of apple cider vinegar as a daily tonic.  Healthy trends are good trends.

WE SHOULD EAT LOTS OF SALADS  Let your salad dressing wake up your taste buds.  A five minute marvel. Voila!

Modern Raw Carrot Salad

Ingredients

2 cups thinly sliced carrots
1½ cups fresh orange segments (about 3 oranges)
1/2 cup dried black currants (or raisins or quartered dates)
½ cup green onion, thinly sliced on the diagonal
⅓ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley or mint or cilantro
zest and juice of 1 large orange
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
salt to taste
½ cup toasted almond slivers (optional)

Instructions

1. Place the orange juice, rice vinegar, lemon zest, cumin, and crushed red pepper flakes in a bowl and whisk together
2. Add the carrots, orange segments, dates, green onion, chopped parsley, and toss to combine.
3. Add salt to taste.
4. Refrigerate to chill.
5. Just before serving toss in the toasted almonds.

This salad can be made 2 or 3 days in advance and brought to your family picnic or event. It had no mayonnaise or egg products so it is safer to bring on those hot summer days and it is so tasty too!

Forbidden Black Rice Salad

Black Rice was once “only” enjoyed by the Emperor and his royal court. It was forbidden for the commoners to eat this exquisite black rice. The tender, nutty flavoured rice is presumed to enrich one’s life and promote longevity.rice3 After I brought my chilled rice salad to the office,  I noticed that all the staff made it the following week!  It travels well and is a great picnic salad.  A refreshing change from your typical summer salads.
I researched and tried out several versions but this recipe from the Bon Appétit June 2012 needs no improvement. black rice salad photo provided by Jason Lowe, Bon Appétit

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BLACK RICE SALAD – WITH MANGO AND NUTS
INGREDIENTS
2 oranges
1/4 cup or more fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
2 cups black rice
Kosher salt
2 just-ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted, cut into 1/2″dice
1 cup finely fresh cilantro leaves
1 cup finely chopped red onion (about 1/2 large onion)
1/2 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts or unsalted cashews or other nuts
6 scallions, thinly sliced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded, minced
black-rice-ingredients
INSTRUCTIONS
1 ) Remove peel and white pith from oranges.
2 ) Working over a medium bowl to catch juices and using a small sharp knife, cut between membranes to release orange segments into bowl. Squeeze membranes over bow to release any juices. Strain juices through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl; reserve orange segments.
3 ) Add 1/4 cup lime juice, oil, and fish sauce (if using) to bowl with orange juice; whisk to blend.
4 ) Set dressing aside.
5 ) Bring rice and 2 and 3/4 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Season lightly with salt. Cover, Reduce heat to low and simmer until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 25 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let stand, covered for 15 minutes.
6 ) Spread out rice on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with dressing and season lightly with salt; let cool.
7 ) Place mangoes and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add rice and toss gently to combine.
8 ) Season lightly with salt and more lime juice if desired.
Serves: 6–8

didyouknowDID YOU KNOW?
While whole grain brown rice and red rice also contain beneficial antioxidants; only black rice contains special variety of antioxidants known as anthocyanin antioxidants. (Thus the dark purple colour -like blueberries)  Additionally, black rice also contains an important antioxidant – Vitamin E, which is useful in maintaining eye, skin, and immune health in addition to other important functions. Forbidden Black Rice contains 18 amino acids (same as Aloe Vera), iron, zinc, copper, carotene, and fiber. Mangos are #1 ~ the most popular fruit in the world.

black-rice

Emperor’s Dining Room

In ancient times, Emperors reserved this wonderful black rice for their own consumption because it was thought that it would extend their lives. Black rice does provide many health benefits that the western world is now embracing with gusto.  It helps fight against heart disease, cancer, and diabetes with high amount of flavanoid phytonutrients and protects heart health (plaque formation). Herbalists use black rice as a prevention and treatment for ailments and as a blood tonifier. 

Black Rice was also considered to be somewhat of an aphrodisiac at one time.  I suspect the Emperors down throughout the ages shared their black rice stock with their consorts or concubines.

Heirloom Forbidden Black rice is a strain from Indonesian Rice.

Heirloom Forbidden Black rice is a strain from Indonesian Black Rice. photo provided by Spikenard and Myrrh

Black Rice is surely ‘one of the’… if not ‘the most’ special variety of rice that is cultivated today. Its special, near medicinal values is truly stunning, even today with all of our medical knowledge and tools. Every time you sit down to enjoy a few servings of this awesome super food, you can remind yourself that you are eating something that was once reserved for royalty. If a commoner was caught eating this rice it was “off with their heads”.

VARIATIONS
If you are trying to find something else to do with your avocados, my friend Monique from Ambitious Kitchen added avocado to her black rice salad. It is a nice touch and goes well. Instead of unsalted peanuts (Bon Appétit version), I used cashews while Monique added almonds to her salad. If you have the time and patience, roasted pecans would be wonderful too.
avocado-mango-blackrice-salad

Another gluten-free recipe that is filled with flavour , colour and the YUM-Factor!

kids32BACK TO SCHOOL LUNCH!
A light touch: For milder flavour, use leeks instead of red onion and yellow or red bell peppers instead of jalapeno peppers. Forget the nuts (allergies)  if you like.  Substitute other herbs for the cilantro. e.g. parsley, basil, fresh mint, fresh-soft rosemary (my favorite) or even peppery rocket lettuce. Know what your kids like to eat. I would even test out fresh oregano in this ‘forbidden’ black rice salad.  COLLEGE KIDS: Add a smidgen of fresh pressed garlic ~ to boost the immune system.  If it is not fresh I would not use the herbs. The dried herbs taste different. They have flavour, but are better suited in baking and cooking.

Y-U-M-M      Y-U-M-M-M!