Creamy Cucumber Herb Salad Dressing

Creamy Cucumber dressing 2

Smooth, creamy and absolutely delicious – this will make you crave a salad.

We used to love going to a small restaurant in Mexico City, no name on the building and just a few wooden chairs and tables on the sidewalk … but oh … the food!  For 99 pesos we received an amazing set menu with four courses and it was always fantastic.  The chef moved on … (we spotted him at another place finally).  If I could remember the name of his new spot I’d definitely give you a recommendation to try it!  Anyhow … what was I saying … oh of course … this is a salad dressing recipe.  He made this incredible creamy cucumber salad dressing that was divine.  I asked him the recipe and he gave me the basic idea but claimed the key was the sea salt he used.  We walked miles looking for the store he told us to go to, without success.  Eventually, on another trip we found the salt  (from Cuyutlan), and have continued to pick it up every time we go to Mexico City!  I’ve finally hit the right ingredients here and this is delicious.

  • 1 cup chopped cucumber
  • 3/4 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • handful of fresh herbs (I used basil, parsley and oregano)
  • 1 garlic scape
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper

Roughly chop the herbs and cucumber and place in blender, then add the rest of the ingredients.  Give it a really good whiz until smooth and creamy.  Depending on how juicy your cucumber is, if needed you can thin it out a bit with milk or buttermilk.

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My trusty little bullet whipped this up in no time.

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My herbs are so happy this year!

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Here it is, the infamous salt I had Grant, Wilson and Vivian trekking all over                              Mexico City looking for.  Was it worth the effort?  You bet.

 

 

 

 

 

Basil Chive Vinaigrette

Nothing smells like fresh basil – definitely my favourite herb.  Summer is the only time of year I make this vinaigrette, when the basil is plentiful and salads grace every meal.

Basil Vinaigrette 1

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 oz (45 g) fresh basil leaves (about 2 cups leaves)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup really good quality extra virgin olive oil

Blend all ingredients, except for the olive oil.  Give it a good whiz, until all the herbs are bright flecks of green, then slowly drizzle in the olive oil until creamy and smooth.

Basil Vinaigrette 2

I really think this needs either an immersion blender or food processor to get the consistency.  If you don’t have either, chop herbs very fine and whisk it all up.

This will yield about 1 pint jar, and I’d suggest trying it in a variety of ways …

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salad dressing   ~   vegetable dip   ~   blend with cream cheese for a spreadable bread topping   ~   toss with zucchini ribbons   ~   brush over grilled chicken or seafood

 

Creamy Buttermilk Ranch Dressing & Dip

This smooth, creamy and herb packed dressing packs a bunch of flavour into any salad – don’t use as much buttermilk and it doubles as a fan fave for vegetable dip (or chips, but who would do that????…)

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Served this year at the Wittal/Steli Family Reunion 2017, and it was a real hit.

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup mayonnaise (use the best quality you can find)

2 minced garlic cloves

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 – 2 tsp fresh minced parsley

1 – 2 tsp fresh chopped dill

1 – 2 tsp fresh chopped basil

1 tsp dry mustard

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

just a few dashes of hot sauce

Taste and adjust for seasonings ….. everybody has different condiments, and the level of freshness of your herbs will also affect the taste.  I think I went through a whole serving of salad dipping lettuce leaves in and adjusting for taste!

 

Blend everything together really well and allow to rest in the fridge for a couple of hours before using.  This keeps really well for a week or so in the fridge.

Vinaigrette

Try either of these vinaigrettes, easily done and keeps in the fridge to be your own "house dressing".

Try either of these vinaigrettes, easily done and keeps in the fridge to be your own “house dressing”.

I love making my own salad dressing vinaigrettes – and when the herbs are fresh and growing right outside my back door it is even more fun.

These recipes are written for whisking by hand – but if you have an immersion blender they will create a deliciously creamy dressing.

Here are a couple of my herby delicious faves.

SCALLION VINAIGRETTE

In a small bowl, whisk together:
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
3 chopped scallions (about 1/4 cup)
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
pinch of salt

Whisk well, and then slowly drizzle in 3/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil. Season to taste with more salt and pepper if needed.

HERB & GARLIC VINAIGRETTE

In a small bowl, whisk together:
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp whole grain mustard
3 tbsp fresh herbs (thyme, parsley, tarragon)
1 minced garlic clove
1 tsp honey
1 tsp coarse sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Whisk well, then slowly drizzle in 3/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil. Taste!! Season with more salt and pepper if needed.

Thai Noodle Salad with Chicken and Peanut Lime Dressing

This refreshing salad is delicious! A total meal in a bowl, but you will also find this to be the perfect salad dressing or dipping – go crazy and try it with sate also!

This refreshing salad is a meal in a bowl, so delicious and complete with crunch, salad and protein.

This refreshing salad is a meal in a bowl, so delicious and complete with crunch, salad and protein.

Peanut Lime Salad Dressing

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons peanut oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 -2 tablespoons Thai sweet chili sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1-1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 tsp roasted sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1-inch square piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves

In food processor – blend all ingredients, with the exception of the cilantro – taste and adjust for seasonings. I can’t say this enough – every brand of each ingredient is different, and will have a different profile. I start with the ingredient amounts listed above, and then continue to adjust as I taste. When smooth, creamy and you LOVE the taste, blend again with the cilantro. You want to see little bits of the cilantro.

SALAD

cooked, shredded chicken

spinach
red leaf lettuce
grated carrot
slivered coloured sweet peppers
slivered snow peas
cucumber – halved, seeds removed and sliced into half moons
bean sprouts
toasted cashews, peanuts and sesame seeds

Cooked, cooled noodles, either rice or wheat – (toss with a little sesame oil when cooled to prevent them sticking)

When cooking for a crowd, I like to place the salad in one bowl, shredded chicken in another, and the nuts, green onions and bean sprouts in separate bowls. Everybody can create their own, and drizzle the dressing over. If working with a smaller group, just blend it all and mix the dressing in.

Try serving this with my Thai Chicken Wings, and leave out the chicken from this recipe.

Sesame Miso Vinaigrette

I decided to do a play on Roger Mooking’s cooking show – with an obedient ingredient ….. Miso! Our halibut is marinating in a miso based dressing, and this seemed the perfect accompaniment.

Miso Sesame Vinaigrette

1/2 tsp chile flakes (to your taste of course – depending on how spicy you like it)
1/4 cup peanut oil
2 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
2 tbsp white miso
1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp sesame seeds
1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger

Combine all ingredients in a jar, and shake well. Delicious served over steamed vegetables or a bowl of crispy greens.

Asian Style Salad with Red Rice

I love salads that make a whole meal – perfect for hot summer nights that let you feel satisfied but not stuffed!

Asian Style Salad with shredded chicken on a bed of cooled red rice

Asian Style Salad with shredded chicken on a bed of cooled red rice

Tonights version included:

base – cooked red rice
mixed greens and fresh seasonal vegetables
poached shredded chicken (easily substitute prawns)
roasted peanuts and sesame seeds
slivered green onions

DRESSING
2 tbsp Thai sweet chile sauce
1/4 tsp chile flakes
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp raw sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 rounded tsp peanut butter
1 garlic clove

Blend all ingredients until smooth – gradually add in 1/4 cup peanut oil until well incorporated.

Every brand of these ingredients is different. Start from here and then taste it. I usually take a lettuce leaf and dip it in. If I don’t love it, keep adjusting! It should have a balance of sweet, salty, spicy and tangy ….