Even when I was little, I was always doctoring up recipes. I always had to get my taste and two cents into the meal. These days, that hasn’t really changed. I have a hard time buying bottled salad dressing because I always end up adding this or that and essentially, changing it to be my own. Next thing I know, I have 20 bottles of sauce in my fridge. I’m certainly not anti-sauces, but dressing is a bit personal for me and I usually think it needs fresh pepper, lemon and/or vinegar. A trick I’ve found pretty helpful is when I’m at the store and can’t bear the thought of another meal with balsamic vinegar and oil, I check out the bottled dressings for inspiration. Think of a raspberry vinaigrette, for example. Read the ingredients: raspberry puree, apple cider vinegar, oil, salt, pepper, sugar, etc. These are all basically pantry items, and if you have to buy a bag of frozen raspberries, you can use them in yogurt for the next few days. Two birds, one stone.
Using this logic, I made a very simple salad the other night for friends. When you’re cooking at someone else’s house, your staple items are not always theirs. Be flexible, but maybe bring your own kosher salt the next time…
Salad for six:
1 lb mixed greens (including but not limited to arugula, red lettuce and spinach)
3 golden beets, peeled with a vegetable peeler and julienned
4 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
1 clove of garlic, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon of honey
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
In a glass jar, combine all ingredients for Mustard dressing, screw lid on tight and shake to combine.
In a large salad bowl, combine greens and beets, and then dress with vinaigrette. Sprinkle with salt/pepper and serve.