Recipes, Salads and Dressings

Balsamic Vinaigrette

We’re back from vacation and I’m happy to report that I’m just about unpacked (I’m still avoiding the beach bag full of sandy towels sitting in the laundry room.)

While we were at the beach, we ate at a restaurant on the boardwalk which served the most yummy balsamic dressing. My first order of business after restocking our fridge and pantry with groceries today was to try to recreate that dressing for our salads tonight. I didn’t quite duplicate the dressing I had at the shore, but it turned out quite yummy in its own right! Here it is (along with a pretty photo of my dinner plate – LOL – I gotta hand it to my resident photographer hubberman, balsamic dressing isn’t the easiest thing to photograph, but hopefully you get the idea!)

Balsamic Vinaigrette


1/3 cup Balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup olive or canola oil
2 tbsp minced shallot
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp mustard (I used honey mustard)
1 tbsp agave nectar
2 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste


Whisk together all ingredients except oil. Slowly drizzle in oil, whisking vigorously to emulsify. I use a hand held immersion blender (love that thing!) and not only does it perfectly emulsify the oil with the other ingredients, it also blends in the shallots so that they are not chunky/crunchy in your dressing.

Taste test and add more sugar, salt or pepper to taste.

Recipes, Salads and Dressings

Ranch Dressing

Ranch dressing, the favored condiment of elementary kids everywhere, needn’t be store bought. This super-easy homemade ranch dressing tastes a gazillion times better. The best part? I know every single ingredient that goes in it. No Polysorbate 60 needed, thank you very much.

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon dried dill weed
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper

In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, buttermilk, chives, parsley, dill, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

This tastes even better the next day. Works great as a dressing or a dip. Feel free to add more or less seasoning depending on your taste buds.

*edited to add on June 12, 2012: Today, I wanted to make a quick, small batch of this recipe for a salad but I didn’t have any sour cream. I used 1/4 cup mayo, 1/4 cup buttermilk, and I just eyeballed the spices and it turned out really yummy. All that to say, if you don’t have sour cream or don’t want to use it, try this with just the mayo and buttermilk – it’s richer and just a little thicker.