New challenge: Creating a segment of food ideas for the rest of my service!


So I love to cook.  Probably to my detriment, never trust a skinny chef!   I love to cook, I love to eat and I absolutely love to create with food.  Instead of buying a sauce that is essential a problematic compaction of chemical preservatives, I will often try to find a way to re-create this with more natural ingredients.  I do not know about you, but not once have I found Sodium Benzoate for sale by itself on the grocery selves!  One of my favorite things to create is dressings, tahini, miso, lemon vinaigrette, mustard vinaigrette, tomato based russian dressing, and even my own peanut sauce are just a sample of some the things I have created.

Today I am going to share some ideas for how to recreate some of these sauces and dressings!  To start I must tell you that I typically create to taste, not an exact science.  Also as a single person cooking for a single person I am not about to mass produce a sauce that really should not stick around more than a few days.  (That is the only good thing about preservatives, you can let it sit around for quite some time!)  So one of the basics I want to cover is what to keep on hand always.  I have a comprehensive list below:

ingredients

  1. Vinegars:  Rice Wine, Red Wine, Apple Cider, White, Balsamic, and any other variety you might like.  Each vinegar is needed for different things.
  2. Oils:  Sesame oil, Coconut oil, Olive oil, I never use vegetable oils or canola oil!  EVER!
  3. Lemon and lime juice, either fresh fruits or concentrates.
  4. Garlic, fresh or powder.
  5. Hot sauce and hot peppers to zip up the intensity.
  6. Liquid aminos, or tamari, not standard soy sauce, too salty.
  7. Dried and fresh herbs and spices.
  8. For a creamy dressing I use low-fat Greek yogurt and a small bit of sour cream, no mayo, I simply hate mayo.
  9. One final thing, Spirulina powder, this super-food is great mixed into a dressing.

It might be a bit expensive to get all ingredients at one time, so build up your pantry.  I suggest you find a recipe or two you and your family might enjoy and gather those ingredients first.  The other thing I do is flip through my on-line magazine subscriptions and modify the recipes with ingredients I have readily available here.

For those in more remote areas without refrigeration, you will want to keep only what you can use on hand and those dressings or sauces that have no need for refrigeration, not the creamy dressings!

I save all my jars, man sometimes I have too many, sometimes I struggle to find some.  I especially love the little caper jars and green olive jars.  These make great containers for the dressings and sauces and glass with screw top lids keeps ants and rodents out!  If an insect or rodent can bite into glass I am moving out!

First dressing I want to cover is:  Lemon vinaigrette:

Ingredients:

  1. Lemon juice
  2. Olive oil
  3. Spirulina
  4. garlic
  5. dried herbs
  6. salt

I start with One tbsp of olive oil and two of the lemon juice.  I always use a 2/1 acid/oil ratio.  I then chop the garlic up and add in what I think is enough, for me a whole clove is typically enough for a double batch of this.   A pinch of herbs, salt and Spirulina and let this sit for an hour or so to blend.  Shake well before using.  This one can sit at room temps for a couple of days.

Peanut Sauce/Dressing: This one I use for spring rolls and an Asian style salad with tofu and crisp veggies.

Ingredients:

  1. Peanut Butter
  2. Sesame oil
  3. Water
  4. Hot Sauce
  5. Garlic
  6. Salt
  7. Liquid Aminos
  8. Rice Wine Vinegar

Again one tbsp of peanut butter and sesame to 2 tbs of water and rice wine vinegar.  I always add water last.  This dressing will clump so you use the water to create a more liquid consistency and add it slowly, you do not want to water down the flavor.  I add a clove of chopped garlic or a tsp of garlic powder, be cautious about how much you add, taste as you go.  Salt is added as desired.  Liquid aminos start with 1 tsp and adjust to taste.  You can play with the ratios but this is the basics of the dressing.  Less liquid will create a thicker sauce.  I let this one sit overnight to really get the flavors blended together. I add a little hot sauce to kick it up a few notches, this is not essential and you should take into account who is going to eat this, little children might not like this with too much hot sauce, unless they are like me when I was a kid!  This is shelf stable for a few days.

Basic Vinegarette:

Ingredients:

  1. Olive oil
  2. Vinegar, your choice:  stronger flavor vinegar should be used only if you want to overpower the item you are dressing.  Ie:  a plain lettuce would be nice with apple cider or balsamic vinegar.  A busy salad might do better with a basic white or red wine vinegar.
  3. Garlic
  4. Salt
  5. Dried Herbs

The ratio is 2/1 oil/vinegar and add the rest of the ingredients based on taste.  Let this stand around for a few hours before use.  You can add Spirulina but just a pinch.  This is shelf stable for a few days.

Tahini Dressing:

Hopefully you can get a tahini paste but if not you can make your own by grinding up sesame seeds.  For those without a food process, I happen to be one, you can use a large mortar and pestal and get a serious arm workout!

Ingredients:

  1. Tahini
  2. Olive oil
  3. Sesame oil
  4. Garlic
  5. Salt
  6. Lemon juice
  7. Hot sauce (optional)
  8. Water

Mix 1 tbsp Tahini with 1 tbsp of Olive oil and 1 tsp of sesame oil, 1-2 cloves of garlic finely chopped or 0.5 tsp of garlic powder, inch of salt and 2 tbs lemon juice.  Add a splash of hot sauce at the end to taste if desired.  This will become paste if you do not add more liquid to break it down.  Add water and more lemon juice as needed to keep it from being a paste. Let this sit in the fridge overnight.  This is not really shelf stable and should be kept in the fridge for about a week.

Miso dressing, I love this and I use it in the same cases I would use the peanut dressing.

Ingredients:

  1. Miso paste
  2. Sesame oil
  3. Water
  4. Garlic
  5. Liquid Aminos
  6. Rice Wine Vinegar
  7. Hot sauce
  8. Salt

Mix 1 tbsp Miso paste, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 clove garlic, 1 tbs Liquid Aminos, 2 tbs rice wine vinegar, dash of hot sauce and pinch of salt.    Add water as needed to break this down from the clumpy paste form.  Allow to blend for at least an hour before use.  This is not a shelf stable dressing and should be kept refrigerated for no more than a week.

Creamy yogurt dressing:  I use this for veggie dips and I limit my consumption of this one.

Ingredients:

  1. Yogurt
  2. Sour cream
  3. Cream cheese (optional)
  4. Dried herbs
  5. Salt
  6. Garlic powder or cloves

This one is best using garlic powder.  I use Braggs 24 organic herbs and spices because it is delicious, but any mixture of dried herbs is nice.   1/2 cup of yogurt, 2 tbsp sour cream and or 1 tbs cream cheese, 1 tsp herbs and spices, 0.5 tsp of garlic powder or one clove minced, I prefer the powder for this one.  Mix together and add salt to taste.  Let sit for an hour in the fridge to ensure mixture is even.

Tomato based dressing:

Ingredients:

  1. Tomatoes
  2. Tomato paste
  3. Olive oil
  4. dried herbs
  5. Vinegar, prefer white but any will work
  6. Water
  7. Garlic
  8. Salt

Mix 2 chopped plum/Roma tomatoes, bonus if you fire roast them first.  If you want to get fancy add onions marinated in vinegar overnight.  1 tsp of tomato paste, 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbs vinegar, garlic minced or powder, pinch of salt and dried herbs.  Mix together and add water to get consistency.  ***Bonus: you can add yogurt or sour cream to create a creamy dressing.  Allow ingredients to mix for at least an hour, but better overnight.  This is not shelf stable and should be refrigerated for no more than a week.

One final dressing:

Chimichurri: I make this when I buy parsley and cilantro and have too much left over to use before it gets slimy.  Great way to use up those ingredients from another recipe.

Ingredients:

  1. Cilantro
  2. Parsley
  3. Garlic
  4. Salt
  5. Olive oil
  6. Vinegar and/or Lemon juice

This one is subjective.  I try to use 2/1 ratio for the olive oil and vinegar, and use white distilled vinegar, it works best or lemon juice. I put the rough chopped herbs into the blender with the liquids, based on how much I have in the blender, this is typically a large batch for me.  Add minced garlic and a pinch of salt to taste.  You do not have to have both herbs, but is better with both.  I blend until it is a nice consistency and will freeze in ice-cube trays if there is too much.  This dressing is typically poured over meats after cooking in many South American countries.  I use it for salad dressing.

***Note that I actually mix all dressing right in the jars except the Chimichurri.  I also use scissors designated for food only to finely cut up garlic, this is much more efficient than using a knife and cutting board.

dressings

 

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