elevating the status of the salad

Tag Archives: dressing


This Japanese-inspired dressing is good on top of most fresh vegetables. If you use less water, it can make a great dip, too. I used this recipe on Epicurious, and only adjusted the amounts of each ingredient. Also, rather than use both a food processor and a blender, I put all the ingredients in the Vitamix at the same time and blended for about a minute until smooth. 

  • 4 medium carrots, peeled
  • 1/3 cup fresh ginger
  • 2 shallots
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup water (or more to thin out as necessary)

It will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for a week or so. The salad in the picture has lettuce, roma beans, cherry tomatoes, sprouts, and thinly sliced cucumbers. I actually think a great appetizer would be thicker cucumber slices with a dollop of this orange gold on top.



This post features a bunch of recipes. Not only is there the salad and dressing, but I also want to share  this simple way to make baked chips. I served it with leftover vegan cashew avocado “cream” from these incredible tofu tacos I discovered on Love and Lemons. 

To make the salad (I measured nothing):

Put some chopped romaine lettuce in a bowl.

Top with the following: I chose to do it cobb-salad style, but you can toss it all together, too. Go loco.

  • radishes
  • cherry tomatoes
  • grilled corn (Soak it first for about a half an hour. Grill on medium-high for about 10 minutes, rotating a few times. Then, let it cool and cut it off the cob)
  • shredded carrots
  • chopped red bell peppers
  • thinly sliced red onions
  • drained black beans
  • optional: shredded cheddar cheese
  • You can also do: avocado, jicama, etc.

Basic cilantro-lime dressing:

Blend the following until smooth:

  • 2 handfuls of cilantro
  • juice of 2 limes
  • a little bit of honey (or agave or sweetener of your choice)
  • salt/pepper
  • a few tablespoons of olive oil
  • water to thin out as needed

For the chips:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Prepare oil: Mix together a few tablespoons of olive oil with spices of your choice. I did a few shakes of cumin and paprika, and then a few pinches of salt.
  3. Put a stack of corn tortillas on a cutting board and cut them into sixths (first cut in half and then cut each half into thirds)
  4. Arrange tortilla triangles in a single layer on a cookie sheet (no overlapping) and brush both sides with the oil mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until slightly brown and crispy.
  5. Serve with salad and dip of choice.


My challenge this morning was to create “salads” that could be eaten on a boat, picnic style. Whether you’re heading to a barbeque, movie night in the park, or any other occasion where utensils are a hassle, here are a few easy ideas:

The first is  caprese salad…on a stick. You need:

  • small mozzarella balls, cut in half
  • a bunch of grape tomatoes
  • basil leaves
  • salt
  • your favorite balsamic vinegar dressing (you can make your own by whisking/shaking equal parts vinegar and olive oil)
  • toothpicks

Assemble toothpicks with the mozzarella on the bottom, flat side down so it can stand. Then, fold one basil leaf in half and put it on the toothpick. The grape tomato tops it off. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Just before serving, drizzle with balsamic dressing.

The other option is chopped up vegetables and some great dressing as dip. I went with Sang Lee’s sweet ginger dressing. The farmer’s market had quite a selection for dippable vegetables today. I went with: wax beans, red and green bell peppers, burpless cucumbers and carrots. I also used some home-grown roma beans.

OK, it may not be rocket science… but it’s August and sometimes we just want to cut vegetables and use them as a vehicle for good dip.



It was one of those perfect-weather weekends in Brooklyn. Even though yesterday included a devastating playoff loss for the  Nets, nothing was going to bring me down. We were so inspired by the weather that we grilled for the first time. You can roast this asparagus in the oven if a grill is not nearby. This recipe makes more than enough dressing for 1 bunch of asparagus, and I figure it would taste great on any green salad throughout the week. 


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 T honey or brown sugar
  • 2 T peeled and minced ginger (I’m a big fan of the ready-to-go minced ginger in glass jars)
  • 1 t sesame oil
  • sesame seeds, for garnish (optional) (Really, everything is optional…let’s be honest here)
  • 1 bunch asparagus, woody stems removed


  1. Heat a grill to high heat.
  2. Place the first 7 ingredients (through the sesame oil) in a food processor (a mini one works) and blend until smooth. Add water to thin out if necessary. Set aside.
  3. Lightly coat asparagus with cooking spray or a touch of olive oil, and put in a grill basket. Heat on a grill for 2-4 minutes, shaking the basket once or twice, until spears are slightly tender and starting to brown. Remove from grill.
  4. Place asparagus in a large bowl, and coat with a few tablespoons of the dressing. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using, and serve.


Although this salad doesn’t highlight local ingredients (for those of us in the northeast), it is a great way to beat the winter blues. To turn it into a meal, try adding some chopped avocado and putting it over a bed of farro. Happy New Year everyone!

From Food and Wine, December 2012 (makes 8 servings)


  • 6 oranges
  • 2 red grapefruits
  • 2 limes
  • 1 large shallot, very thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup crème fraîche or sour cream (I used Vermont Creamery’s crème fraîche)
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • Salt


  1. Using a sharp knife, carefully peel the oranges, red grapefruits and limes, removing all of the bitter white pith. Working over a small bowl to catch the juices from the fruit, cut in between the membranes to release the sections. Cut the lime and grapefruit sections into thirds and leave the orange sections whole. Transfer all of the citrus to a serving bowl and add the sliced shallot and chopped parsley. Reserve the citrus juice for another use.
  2. In another small bowl, whisk the lemon zest with the lemon juice, crème fraîche, maple syrup and poppy seeds. Season the dressing lightly with salt. Pour the dressing over the fruit, toss the salad gently and serve right away.

Hooray for the CSA!

This sweet and spicy combination is also a combination of two CSAs.  (For my original post about the CSA, click here).For the past few years, I’ve been a member of Dumbo/Vinegar Hill’s CSA. I loved so many things about it: Sang Lee’s incredible organic vegetables, the serene location in Phoenix House’s courtyard, and the neighborhood friends I made while volunteering at weekly pick-ups. I also loved the convenience factor; the pick-up location was just a short and cobblestony walk along the river from my apartment. 

Within the last year, I moved a few neighborhoods away, so I knew I would have to switch. I did a little research to find CSAs near my new place (ok fine, so I just read a sign posted outside Stinky). I was intrigued by Local Roots’ slightly different model for CSAs: For example, instead of joining for June-November, the season is broken up into Summer and Fall. There are other differences as well. I also liked the idea of picking up at 61 Local, the locavore-friendly (where I once spotted a dog sipping her weekly Guinness, and was assured that she prefers stouts and only has one per week) bar/restaurant just off Smith Street. Their vegetables come from Rogowski Farm, located in Orange County, NY. We also signed up for a meat share, which will come from Arcadian Pastures. Some friends in the neighborhood also got their fruit share, and I hope to get a sampling of that as well 🙂

And so, although I felt a little bit like I was cheating on Sang Lee, I went ahead to pick up my first share of the season. The vegetables have been delicious so far. The spicy greens are, in fact, very spicy. This strawberry dressing is an interesting contrast. The dressing recipe is from Sang Lee’s recipe blog, so I think of this salad/dressing as a CSA merger. 

I used the spicy greens mix from the CSA share, and topped it with some goat cheese. I actually halved this dressing recipe and it was plenty for the week. Since I went a little overboard on strawberries from the farmer’s market a few weeks back, I had fun with canning and freezing a few quarts.

By the way…Do you know that to freeze strawberries you just chop off the tops, lay them on a baking sheet in a single layer with none touching overnight? Then, put in a freezer bag and they will stay good for up to 6 months)

I just let a cup of the frozen guys thaw for an hour or so before starting the recipe. 

Strawberry Dressing


  • 1 pint strawberries, washed, hulled, and cut into quarters
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or honey (I used honey)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons or more good vinegar — wine, sherry, rice, balsamic–preferred for this recipe (I used balsamic)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 6 pieces of mint, finely diced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Dice your strawberries and add the sugar and lemon juice to a small bowl. Muddle them together until somewhat liquid. In a blender, add all other ingredients(imersion blender/food processor work too).
  2. Then add the strawberry mixture and blend for a few minutes to immulsify everything and make the strawberries smooth.

Here is another take on lemon dressing (remember the first one?). This one is Alice Waters’ version, and is great served on something as simple as romaine leaves alone. It involves heavy cream, but don’t be scared–just a small amount goes a long way.

One of my favorite stops at the farmer’s market is Milk Thistle . They have different types of milk, yogurt, and cream, all served in glass bottles that you return to them. Also, once I tasted the freshness of their products, I realized what milk is supposed to taste like. Now I understand that milk is much more than just an excuse to get a milk moustache.

Since this recipe requires just a touch of heavy cream, what can one do with the rest of the bottle? Perhaps add a bit to a tomato sauce for pasta, or to pureed carrot ginger soup (recipe to come in fall…) Also, you can quickly and easily make fresh butter or sweet whipped cream. Here’s how:

1. Butter: Pour room temperature cream into a jar with a secure lid, at least double the size of the cream. Start shaking. Keep shaking. With Milk Thistle cream, you only need to shake for 5-10 minutes. (I have tried this with store-bought mass-market cream and it takes longer. I have also tried this with 26 5th graders from NYC and they think it is the absolute best thing ever.) Then, the cream will turn into a ball. Shake a few more times. Then, strain out the liquid. That liquid is buttermilk, which you can reserve for pancakes, dressing, etc. Now, get back to shaking. Strain out more liquid. Add a few tablespoons of water and shake some more, then strain (once you add water you will not save that liquid anymore). Add water, shake and strain 2-3 more times until liquid runs clear. Optionally, add salt. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate. 

2. Whipped Cream: Pour cream into a large bowl, and start whisking. Keep whisking until it starts to get very thick. (Apparently, peaks will start to form but since I don’t bake I just know to stop when it starts to get thicker and a bit harder to whisk.) Then, add a a little bit of vanilla and some sugar depending on how sweet you like it, and whisk a little bit more. DO NOT overwhisk or it will basically turn into butter. This whipped cream is delicious of fresh berries or any other fruit. 

And now, the Creamy Lemon Dressing Recipe!!


  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream


  1. Stir together vinegar, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust as necessary.
  2. Whisk in olive oil and heavy cream. Taste and adjust as necessary.
  3. Toss with greens. Optionally, top with chopped herbs you have on hand, such as basil, chervil, chives, and tarragon.

You know how it’s time to get out of the water when your fingers turn into prunes? Well, I loved red wine vinegar so much as kid that the only sure way I knew to stop consuming it was when my lips would turn white. Back in the no-fat nineties I used to order oil and vinegar dressing, “hold the oil.” I just could not get enough of the stuff. 

By the way, If you are interested in learning about more fads from the 1990’s  click here. Be prepared that the information is from the perspective of people who were most likely not born until this century.

I still enjoy red wine vinegar as much as the next gal, and I am so thankful for the mainstream popularity of salt and vinegar potato chips (Clearly, I am not as opposed to fat as I was back in the day). However, through the years I have branched out with my dressing choices. 

Which brings me to this incredible lemon dressing. It is another winner from Didi Emmon’s Entertaining for  Veggie Planet. This dressing is great on a bowl of greens, or you can pretty much put it on top of anything, like tofu or chicken. You can make the whole batch and keep it in the fridge for a week. If you are serving it with greens, be sure to have a good loaf of bread ready…You’ll need something to sop up the extra  dressing that gets left in the bowl, and it is not polite to use your finger.


Finely grated rind and juice of one lemon

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1 teaspoon honey (you can use sugar if you want)

1 garlic clove

1/2 cup canola oil or olive oil

salt and pepper to taste


In a food processor (if you have s mini one that would work), combine lemon rind and juice, mustard, honey and garlic and process until smooth. With the machine running, slowly add the oil through the feed tube. Season with salt and pepper.



These days I am making most of my salads from the vegetables that come from Sang Lee’s CSA. The salad pictured above is made with Red Boston Lettuce, cucumbers, and snap beans. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Members of a CSA pay in advance for all their produce for the season, and get weekly shipments of fresh food from a local farmer. Our CSA also has cheese and fruit shares; others have meat, eggs, flowers, and more. Its all about what the community wants. Last night was my volunteer shift for the season. There is not much better than spending a beautiful summer evening in a courtyard greeting your neighbors, and ogling fruits and vegetables. If you are interested in learning more about this particular CSA, click here. If you are interested in learning more about CSAs in general, check out Just Food’s site.  

The Perfect Dressing for a Big Salad

There are some days when I just crave a big salad. I know I am not alone, and there is that famous Seinfeld episode to prove it. 

Here’s the Seinfeld episode

And here’s the commentary on that episode

You don’t need a ton of ingredients to make a great salad. For example: Fill up a bowl with crunchy greens. Add whatever vegetables are fresh and happen to be in your fridge. Today I did not have much–just cucumbers, tomatoes and red onions. Sounds boring, huh?

But a good vinaigrette is like a fairy godmother to a ho-hum salad.  The vinegar/oil emulsion magically swoops in at the Cinderella salad’s saddest moment, and dresses up a plain old bowl of greens so that it is fit for royalty. 

The Vinaigrette

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

pinch dried oregano

pinch dried thyme

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Whisk vinegar, salt and herbs until salt dissolves. Whisk mustard. Slowly drizzle in olive oil and whisk constantly until dissolved. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Variation: Add a bit of fresh minced garlic  and/or squeeze of fresh lemon juice when you add the spices