Make you own salad dressings and save

Episode 4 of Culinary Nunnsense

Published On: Apr 26 2013 12:53:31 PM EDT
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

On this episode of Culinary Nunnsense, we are dressing your salad.

I was shocked on a recent trip to some of our local grocery stores at how much oil and vinegar-based salad dressings have become. Really?  $3 -$5 for veggie oil, some vinegar and herbs?

Not only that, have you read the ingredient list on these bottles? If I can't pronounce it, it probably doesn't need to be on my salad.

So with a whisk, a shaker or a blender and some Culinary Nunnsense, I am going to help you become a salad dressing master. The first thing to remember is ratio. For most salad dressings the oil to acid ratio is 2 (sometimes 3) to 1. That is 2 to 3 parts oil to 1 part acid. Acid can be vinegar, citrus juice or even as we'll show fruit juice. As far as the oil, vegetable oil is the most common, but a light olive oil works well.

The key to blending these two is slowly adding the oil to the acid. Drizzle in the oil while blending the acid.

How do you know it's well blended? You can use your finger or something your guests may prefer the spoon method. Dip a spoon in your dressing and see if you can draw a line through the dressing and have the line remain. SNEAKY TRICK: to tone down the vinegar "bite" add a pinch of sugar or a teaspoon of honey.

If the oil and extra calories doesn't fit your diet then try this fruit juice based lower calorie favorite.

Fresh juice works best as it has not been altered. Also some of the fruit juices in the refrigerated produce section of your local grocery stores will work well.
The trick here is the addition of a pinch or two of corn starch. This will add body and help with the thickening. Hydrate the corn starch in the fruit juice over medium heat. We are not cooking the juice, just activating the starch.

The oil to juice ratio here is 1 to 1. Same method for blending here. Drizzle the oil into the fruit juice and whisk or blend until the dressing is emulsified.

I know it sounds like a lot of work, but once you give it a try I think you too will be saying, when it comes to dressing your salad with your own Culinary Nunnsense, there is Nunn better.

Next week we get some help from a local restaurant for Cinco de Mayo!