Category: Onions

The Vinaigrette

When Dan and I got married, dear friends gave us a wedding gift of a wooden salad bowl and tongs, as well as several favorite salad and vinaigrette recipes.

annekingma_20160927_2628

Eventually the tongs took on multiple uses, such as a drumstick for banging pots and pans when my boys were toddlers, and sadly, one day the tongs broke.  But we still use that wooden bowl for delicious salads, which, at their very core, consist of fresh greens and a vinaigrette.

The basis for every vinaigrette is three parts oil mixed with one part acid. The acid is usually a vinegar but can also be a citrus juice.  You can make any amount of dressing that you want and add all sorts of good stuff, but if you want the dressing to mix well and taste good, stick to an approximate 3:1 oil/acid ratio.  

How to choose your oil and vinegar?  1) Whatever tastes best to you!  2) Whatever complements your salad toppings. Here’s what I choose from most often:

OILS

  • olive
  • avocado
  • canola
  • sesame (in combination with olive or canola)

VINEGARS/CITRUS

  • balsamic vinegar
  • red wine vinegar
  • white wine vinegar
  • unseasoned rice vinegar
  • lemon juice

Combine your oil and vinegar in a jar or bottle, add a little sea salt and freshly ground pepper, and shake, shake, shake it! You’ve just made your own salad dressing. 

If you want to get a little more creative, here are some of my favorite ingredients to add, NOT all in the same dressing.

ADDITIONS

If you’ve never made your own dressing before, please don’t let all these lists intimidate you! Think of them as tools for unleashing your creative culinary genius on your next salad.  If you’d like specific recipes, here are a couple combinations I used in the past week.

For the single-serving salad I posted about on Monday, I made this:

Garlic Vinaigrette

  • 1 T avocado oil
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • one clove minced garlic

On Sunday I made a chopped spinach salad (8 oz spinach) with blue cheese, chopped Paula Red apples, and caramel corn.  (Yes, caramel corn.  What can I say–I ran out of pecans but had just opened a bag of Chicago style popcorn!)  We’ll call this a honey mustard vinaigrette because syrup mustard just doesn’t quite sound right.

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 olive oil
  • 1 T white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Rogers Golden Syrup (I ran out of honey.  Fortunately I had this cane syrup that, sadly, you can only purchase in Canada.  Thanks to my parents and Canadian relatives for keeping me stocked in this deliciousness!)
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Note: My 8-year-old Harper declared this salad delicious and a little sour–I took that as an okay to make it again this week. 🙂

If you don’t use all your vinaigrette at once, it can be stored in the fridge for a week or longer, depending on your ingredients.  Make sure to shake it up again before using to mix together the oil and vinegar.

What’s your favorite vinaigrette?

Photography: Anne Kingma 

Recipe: Greens with Maple Apples and Onions

In the spring and fall, when fresh greens are abundant and delicious, I often eat a salad for a lunch.  I throw a bunch of Perkins’ Good Earth Farm baby lettuce or spinach in a bowl, then search the fridge for toppings.  I know some people aren’t big fans of leftovers, but I’m not one of them.  Leftovers turn my bowl of greens into a meal complete with protein, veggies, fruit, fats, and carbs. 

annekingma_20151104_9128

For instance.  A few weeks ago, I made Pork Chops with Maple Apples for dinner, a recipe from Better Homes and Gardens’ weeknight cooking features.  Since pork chops are somewhat of a treat in our family, I didn’t have any leftover meat, but I did find surplus maple apples, aka apples sautĂ©ed with onions and garlic, then simmered in apple juice, cream, maple syrup and thyme.  I warmed up the apples, placed them on my greens, and topped the salad with toasted almonds for flavor and crunch.  My only disappointment was that I didn’t have enough leftovers for a second bowl.

annekingma_20151104_9111

While you don’t need to make pork chops to enjoy this salad, you just might want to.  When I first made this, I used my cast iron skillet to cook the pork chops, then used the same skillet—without cleaning it—to cook the apples and onions.  If you want only the salad without the chops, you could use a little bacon fat along with the olive oil to get some pork flavor.

annekingma_20151104_9033

First, fill four individual bowls or plates with one cup (for a side salad) or two cups (for a main dish) of salad greens and/or baby spinach.  Set aside.

If you’ve made the pork chops, your skillet should be hot and ready to go.  If not, heat it up over medium-high heat and work on your food prep.

Start by coring and slicing two cooking apples; I used Jonathan.  Next, slice a small red onion (or half of a medium-large onion), and mince two cloves of garlic

annekingma_20151104_9045

Once your skillet’s hot, add a tablespoon of olive oil and wait for it to sizzle.  Add your apples, onions, and garlic to the skillet and cook for just a couple minutes, stirring every now and then.

annekingma_20151104_9067

Add a quarter cup of apple juice or cider, and cook for 4-5 minutes, until almost all the liquid has evaporated and the apples are just beginning to soften.  

annekingma_20151104_9071

While the apples are cooking, mix 1/3 cup whipping cream, one tablespoon of maple syrup, and two teaspoons of chopped fresh thyme (about 5 sprigs).

annekingma_20151104_9085

Pour this mixture over the apples in the skillet and cook for a couple minutes, until the sauce is heated through and starting to thicken.

annekingma_20151104_9105

Spoon about a quarter cup of apple mixture over each bowl of greens, then top the salads with a sprinkling of toasted almonds.  Enjoy!

annekingma_20151104_9121

Note: If you’re making this topping for both pork chops and salad for four, I recommend doubling the recipe.

Scroll down for the printable, and let me know how your salad experience turned out! 

Photos and Food Styling: Anne Kingma

 

Greens with Maple Apples and Onions
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 4-8 cups salad greens or baby spinach
  2. 1 Tbsp olive oil and/or bacon fat
  3. 2 cooking apples, cored and thinly sliced
  4. 1 small red onion, sliced
  5. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  6. ÂĽ cup apple juice
  7. 1/3 cup heavy cream
  8. 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  9. 2 tsp snipped fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
  10. ½ cup toasted almonds
Instructions
  1. Fill four individual bowls or plates with 1-2 cups of salad greens and/or baby spinach. Set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil or bacon fat in skillet. Once fat is sizzling, add apples, onion and garlic to skillet. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add apple juice and cook for 4-5 minutes, until almost all the liquid has evaporated and the apples are just beginning to soften.
  4. While apples are cooking, stir together cream, syrup, and thyme. Pour over apples and onions in skillet. Cook and stir for 2 minutes, until the sauce is heated through and beginning to thicken.
  5. Spoon about a ÂĽ cup apple mixture over each plate of greens. Sprinkle with toasted almonds. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. If you’re making this topping for both pork chops and salad for four, I recommend doubling the recipe.
Adapted from Pork Chops with Maple Apples
Perkins' Good Earth Farm http://perkinsgoodearthfarm.com/
%d bloggers like this: