Q. I would like to start making my own salad dressings to avoid unnecessary sugars and chemicals. Do you have any easy homemade recipes and techniques? — Pepper, Neenah
Salad dressings are versatile, fun and easy to make. Basic vinaigrette is prepared with three parts oil to one part vinegar seasoned with salt and pepper. A little prepared mustard can be added to help form a temporary emulsion and give a great base flavor. Unlimited variations of this recipe can be prepared using the numerous flavored oils and vinegars on the market. Many of the olive oils and balsamic vinegars on the market are so good that they can be used all by themselves right out of the bottle! Emulsified dressings can be prepared by using a blender and a pasteurized egg product (like Egg Beaters). While whipping the egg, slowly drizzle in the oil to form an emulsion. From there you can add the vinegar to complete the emulsified dressing which is basically homemade mayonnaise. Your vinaigrette or emulsified dressing can be seasoned with many of the herbs, spices and other fresh ingredients that are available. For example, Green Goddess is a classic dressing recipe that features green onions and fresh chives to form its piquant flavor profile. Pepper, I think you will have a lot of fun once you start experimenting!