People tell me that I’m a good cook. My husband talks about how flavorful my foods are, but things weren’t always that way. I used to be a pretty basic cook. I found recipes with five ingredients or less and made those, following the recipe to the letter.
A couple years ago a shift happened. It came from watching cooking shows, reading recipes (mostly on the internet), watching other people when I was at their home, and experimenting with different ingredients and spices. Experimenting was a huge leap for me. That was probably the thing that changed my cooking most.
I had mixed up oil and vinegar for a salad, but I had never made a dressing and certainly not on a daily basis. I thought it was too much work to mix it up every time we had a salad, so I didn’t bother. One day, while at a friends with my daughter for a playdate, she was preparing a salad. She pulled out a salad bowl and started mixing up a homemade salad dressing. I watched her like a hawk, memorizing everything she did.
I took that process home in my head and decided to alter it and make it my own. Here is my process.
- A few tablespoons (eyeball it) of extra virgin olive oil
- A tablespoon or two of vinegar – I change this up all the time, using red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar or any vinegar I might have on hand and feel inspired to use.
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Herbs & spices: I choose herbs/spices based on what I’m making for dinner, selecting ones that either match or compliment the herbs/spices I’m using in the main dish. Try parsley, basil, oregano, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, or anything that you think will work well. Get creative!
- Then I add the secret ingredient . . . homemade, cultured sour cream. YUM. You can find the culture here. I drop in a dollop, probably about a teaspoon or two. This allows the oil and vinegar to combine and adds a wonderful flavor.
My husband raves about my dressing and thinks it’s about the best ever. He makes a pretty mean blue cheese dressing, too. And I think it’s about the best blue cheese dressing ever. For this, you can use our Blue Cheese Starter Kit to make your own blue cheese. You will also need homemade cultured sour cream. Here is his process.
- 1/2 pint cultured sour cream
- 1/2 pint (homemade) mayo
- Garlic powder and onion powder to taste
- Salt to taste
- 1-2 cups blue cheese, depending on your taste – mix in half, then fold in the other half
- Let sit in fridge overnight to allow flavor to develop
- Add water to thin if necessary