Louisa from Living Lou is back with her incredible recipes! I know how to make a very limited number of things in the kitchen, and I’m missing a lot of the basics in my repertoire! I love that, while these recipes are “basic,” they still teach great kitchen lessons (great for practicing!) and can be used with other recipes to create great meals. (This one is definitely the perfect start for me because there was one day that I overdid it on the balsamic and ended up with a totally ruined salad… whoops.)
Now that schools are back in session I thought it would be fun to take my little cooking series here back to the basics and share some of my go-to simple recipes. When it comes to food, I’m a firm believer in taking a minimalistic approach. There is always time for experimenting with new flavors and ingredients, but I always come back to my simple favorites. Over the years, I’ve realized that it’s really the fundamentals that make you into a good cook. Once you learn and understand the fundamentals of flavors and textures, you can start to build on them and add your own little flair to your favorite recipes. As they say in one of my favorite movies “Fundamentals are the building blocks of fun.” (Bonus points if you knew that reference was the one and only Uptown Girls.)
So everyone, here’s the deal, you need to make your own salad dressing. I cannot emphasize this enough. It’s so much healthier than store bought and it’s incredibly easy. Ridiculously easy. Now this is my favorite recipe for balsamic vinaigrette that I’ve been making for years. I used to bring a salad with this dressing every day for lunch during my senior year of high school. Now when it comes to making your own salad dressing, there are a couple of things you need to know.
1. It’s a ratio
Don’t be scared off, I promise you, this isn’t math class, but the first thing to understand about making a salad dressing is that it’s all about balance. Typically in a vinaigrette your ratio should be 3:1. Three parts oil to one part acid (vinegar or lemon juice). Now if you like your dressing a little more on the tangy side you can play around with this (I usually do more of a 3:2), but as I said before taste as you go.
2. What does “emulsify” mean?
Emulsion is basically mixing two or more liquids together that typically would not blend together (think oil and water). It is through whisking the ingredients in this salad dressing together that you end up with a thicker dressing.
Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette (makes 1-2 servings)
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
½ tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp honey
2 tbsp olive oil
1. In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, and honey.
2. In a steady stream, slow pour in olive oil while whisking to. To emulsify and thicken the dressing, continue whisking for about 30 seconds.