simply perfect

 

Sometimes I go a little overboard with dressing up my salad.  Just a little over the top.

Sometimes I layer it in creamy sauces and deep, rich, lively vinaigrettes. 

Sometimes I want my salad to be ready for the ball, when it really just wants to hang out with lettuce and tomato, on some casual, laid-back Friday afternoon.

 

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For a girl who enjoys practicing the art of simplicity, I sure did lose sight of the simply dressed salad. 

Until tonight, of course.

 

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Honey, here’s your wake up call…

 

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…sometimes you can’t beat simple.

A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

A dash of freshly ground sea salt.

A squeeze or two of honey.
   

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Simple.  Perfect. 

Simply Perfect.

 

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Question: What is your favorite way to dress a salad?  Vinaigrettes?  Creamy dressings?  Oil and vinegar?

a taste of summer

 In my house, an overripe avocado is like an overripe banana.  It doesn’t exist. 

This explains why we rarely eat banana bread.  Why banana fro-yo is such a prize.  Why avocado dressing is some sort of far reaching dream. 

But now and then, every once in a while, there comes along an avocado with just a few brown age spots.  Some unsightly blemishes; an avocado with no personal faults aside from having been left in the fruit bowl for one too many days. 

I love overripe avocados, just like I love overripe bananas.  They’re perfect.  Creamy.  Soft.  Full of possibilities.  Practically begging me to smoosh them with a fork (not together, of course, although I have seen some promising avocado banana bread recipes over the past couple of days!)  Begging to be loved and used and appreciated.  I’m asking you, how could a girl possibly say no?

“It’s about time,” I thought to myself, “that I have an avocado dressing sitting in my fridge.”

I also decided that it was about time I use up some of the frozen, “fresh” basil that a friend had given me over the summer.  Despite my fears, it still tastes just as good as it did when I first recieved it.  Bright and brimming with summer!

Once all the ingredients were in the processor, I just let them do their thing.  Mixing and mingling and just hanging out.

And then I made a tropical salad filled to the brim with black beans, fresh pineapple, garlic rubbed chicken and diced bell peppers.

And then I made an oath to always have an overripe avocado on hand.

Avocado Citrus Dressing—adapted from the Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health Cookbook
(Makes 2 cups)

Be sure not to use too much water when you’re thinning out the dressing.  Otherwise, the result will be a watered down guacamole look-alike.  Not a good thing!

This dressing can also work well as a veggie or a pita dip, if you keep it thick and creamy.  In the same way, it can also be used as a spread on sandwiches and things like that.  The bright lemon flavors add a summery note to this zingy avocado dressing.  You’ll enjoy it any which way you serve it. 😀

(p.s. As is true with many dressings, this tastes best when served the following day!)

  •  1 large ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
  • 1/3 c. orange juice
  • 4 T. lime juice
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro or basil
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • salt to taste
  • dash of cayenne or ground black pepper
  • honey or agave to taste (optional)
  • 1-2 T. olive oil
  1. In a blender, puree all ingredients together until smooth and creamy.  Add a little water if dressing is too thick.  Add salt to taste.  Store in refrigerator for about a week and bring to room temperature before serving (this prevents congealing.)

 Question: How do you make use of overripe fruit in your house?  If apples are over done, I like to make applesauce or muffins.  Bananas are obviously turned into banana bread, or frozen for later use.  And pears?  I’m hoping they overripen soon so I can find out. 😀

adressing the salad

I’ve been known to add random, unexplainable things to my salads.

For example, I like to fill my salads with lots of leftovers.  Christmas leftovers—I think—are especially good.  This did, however, raise some eyebrows at the dinner table.

But—really—you have to admit, brown sugar glazed carrots are good on anything.  Turnips too.

And then there is one of my most favorite combinations, which includes chicken, black beans, corn and avocado.  This also raised some eyebrows, but in a good way.

Roasted squash isn’t exactly your typical salad fare, but my tastebuds sure are happy with it.

When all is said and done, there is one thing that is always true.  One thing that the entire family continues to agree on. 

Homemade, viniagrette dressing.

I made it during the Christmas holiday, and one of my uncles declared it was the best viniagrette he has ever had.  I wish I could pat myself on the back, but the truth is that this recipe can be made by anyone.  It’s not at all stuffy or fancy, and can be made in under 5 minutes.  Ready for any ol’ time, when you just want a simple but snazzy homemade dressing to grace your salad. 

This dressing will turn strange salads into something normal. 

And it will turn boring salads into something extraordinary.

It’s kind of a win-win.

Family Favorite Vinaigrette Dressing

This dressing is a family favorite, hence the name.  It goes lovely with all kinds of vegetables and pairs well with strong cheese.  And considering how simple this is to put together, you can throw it together directly before your meal.  It does, however, taste even better with age.  Enjoy! 😀

  • 1/2 c. cider vinegar
  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. parsley flakes (or 1 c. fresh, loosely packed)
  • 1/2 c. chopped red onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Blend the above ingredients together in a blender, until smooth. 
  2. Drizzle over your favorite salad and ENJOY. 😀

Question: What is your favorite salad topping/mix-in?  I love feta cheese, cranberries, and anything that has been roasted!