December 06, 2006

Dressing Up

What's pissing me off about an association for dressings and sauces is their assumption of me. There's a whole organization, paid really well, I'm sure, to convince me I can't do it. That it's easier to just buy the bottle of Italian Dressing off the shelf. Yes it is. But it comes with loads of baggage - what's in it? how was it made? why does it last more than a year before being opened? how can it be better than something I make with my own loving hands? How? Why? How much?

I've bought into how easy salad dressing is to buy - and bought into how hard it must be to make.

Since I started cooking here in my lovely, little kitchen that has character and integrity, I haven't bought any manufactured salad dressing.

Last night I whipped up some scrambled eggs for Steve and I, and crumbled in some fresh thyme and some beautifully smoked wild salmon (it said wild on the label anyway). I made a green salad with cherry tomatoes, cucumber and toasted walnuts to go with it. On top - a whipped up takes 3 minutes.

I have some cranberry/raspberry jam in the fridge (hypocrisy alert: yup it's store bought), so I threw about a teaspoon in my mixing cup, dashed in some white wine vinegar, then mixed it up and drizzled in a little olive oil. I read somewhere you only ever taste the dressing with a lettuce I dunked away...slight sweetness, slightly tart, smoothed with the olive oil. We've done that with a few fresh raspberries too...

I've also juiced half a lemon, thrown in a dash of sugar and drizzled in the oil for a fresh, light zap on the greens.

And of course balsamic mixed with a little mustard so that it'll bite into the olive oil as it pours into the cup...yum.

That's some corporate secret...that's created a whole industry of processed food...

To soothe my rant, I thought I'd include something on the more exotic side of dressings and sauces.

I tried this recipe for sabayon on fresh fruit for dessert one night - for Jain's birthday. Its texture is beautiful, its colour a gentle backdrop for dramatic blackberries, kiwi or strawberries...or all of them. And Steve could eat it because it had no dairy, but looks like it does. It's courtesy of Lucy Waverman who develops lots of recipes for the LCBO website (one of my anchors for trying new stuff). And while I thought it would be in the souffle ballpark for hit and miss, it was dead easy. Thanks Lucy.

Late harvest sabayon - if you dare...
6 egg yolks
¼ cup (50 mL) sugar
¾ cup (175 mL) Late Harvest Riesling
In a heavy pot over low heat whisk together egg yolks and sugar for 5 minutes or until mixture is pale yellow and tripled in volume. Whisk in Riesling. Continue to whisk for another 5 minutes or until mixture is thick enough to see the bottom of the pan as you whisk.

In their recipe, they pour the sabayon over pineapple, mango, passion fruit and fresh figs quartered. I poured it over a selection of raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries...if it ends in berry...I'm in.

Look I found a prepared version on the internet...

I'm ranted out for now...enjoy. Peace.

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