Wednesday, February 17, 2010

"Dressing" Up the Salad

The one thing that I do miss about not going to the Fordham cafeteria anymore is the salad bar.  I know that sounds silly, but since I was a little kid, I have been a sucker for the salad bar.  Granted, I usually grabbed somewhere around three leaves of lettuce and covered the plate in other vegetables, but I will say that I have learned to embrace lettuce much more in recent years.

Our relationship is a good thing.

With that note, this entry is pretty simple, but it's a two-fer, so it makes up for the simplicity.  First, we'll make a Basic Balsamic Dressing, which was actually Joe's idea, and then we'll make an Apple-Walnut Salad to go with the dressing, which was also Joe's idea.  Basically, what I'm saying is that Joe does the cookin', I do the writin'.  For this entry, at least.

Here's everything you'll need for both recipes:

  - Some good balsamic vinegar (I found mine at Tino's Deli on Arthur Ave for only $4!)
 - Extra-virgin olive oil (get a decent quality one; it doesn't have to be super fancy, but you'll taste it in the dressing)
 - Honey
 - Fresh lemon juice
 - Salt and pepper
 - 1 Fuji apple (or your favorite kind)
 - Chopped or whole walnuts
 - Baby spinach leaves, washed (or whatever kind of lettuce you like)

What to do for the dressing...

1) The basic ratio for vinegar-to-oil in this dressing is 1-to-3.  So, let's start off with 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar in a bowl.

2) Now, while whisking the vinegar with a fork, slowly pour 1.5 cups of oil into the vinegar.  Keep whisking while the two incorporate.

3) Here comes the "hard" part... the amount of honey, lemon juice, salt, and pepper are up to you!  Start off with a little honey and lemon and adjust it to taste.  Because we didn't measure anything, I have no idea what measurements we actually used!  Maybe one of these days I'll recreate it and let you know.

What to do for the salad...

This is super easy, so no steps needed...

Slice your apple up into very thin pieces (the thinner the better!).  Place some spinach onto a place, apple slices over it, and walnuts on top.  Drizzle some of your homemade balsamic dressing over the top and voila!  Delicious Apple-Walnut Salad.

This is pre-dressing, but you get the idea.

One of these days I'll have a Balsamic-Mustard Dressing for you too... so try this one in the meantime and be on the lookout!  You can add almost anything to this salad... so let me know what you add!

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