During my stints at Weight Watchers' meetings, I was often surprised at how many people used bottled fat-free dressings loaded with sugars and preservatives, but had no idea how to work the two required teaspoons of oil into their daily meals. Help me spread the word about how easy it is to make vinaigrettes and other dressings at home!
First, the pronunciation. The word has three syllables: vi-nuh-grette. If you really want to torture me some day, say it with four syllables: vi-nuh-gur-ette. Ack!
Next, finely chop or mince a small shallot, a clove of garlic or a slice of red onion. Place it in some vinegar in a jar and let sit for a few minutes. You don't have to let it sit, but doing so takes out some of the bite.
Sherry vinegar is one of my favorites, but you can use balsamic, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, or good old apple cider vinegar. Part of the beauty of making it yourself is that you can really tailor it to your tastes.
The next step is to add a little prepared mustard. If you want mustard flavor, add a couple of tablespoons. If you don't want too much of that, just add a teaspoon or two. It'll help the dressing emulsify. If you hate mustard, leave it out. You'll just have to shake it up more often.
Add a tablespoon of water and then put the lid on the jar and shake up the mixture.
The usual ratio for oil to vinegar is 3 to 1. I like it a little sharper, so I use more like 2.5 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. Pour in the oil and shake it up again.
Too sharp? Add a little more oil. Needs salt? Add a little more of that. Totally blah to you? Add herbs or spices that jazz it up the way you like it.
Use about a tablespoon for each serving of salad or steamed veg.
In case you want more specific measurements: Simple Vinaigrette from SeriousEats.com
And these are two recipes I plan to try in the next couple of weeks:
Sesame Goddess Dressing from Food.com
Homemade Ranch Dressing (ranch #2 in the post) from HeyWhatsForDinnerMom.com