For March’s Daring Cooks’ Challenge, Ruth, Shelley and Sawsan asked us to totally veg out! We made salads and dressings, letting the sky be the limit as we created new flavors and combinations that reflect our own unique tastes.
Of course, for those of us who usually make our own dressings this was not really a challenge. So, in order to make it one, I decided to do something that was. Make my own oil for the vinaigrette!
Or have someone else do it. The project and the coconuts have been waiting, but then a friend interfered with that idea and gave us a big jar of his own macadamia nut oil. He has an oil expeller, and also has a large grove of coconut palms, and makes coconut oil. An amazing dude, who actually runs his car on that oil. I thought the mac nut oil would be lovely in dressings and an aioli, which I made immediately.
And, I'll be honest here, the interference was a relief, I was not really wanting to husk, shell, shred and make coconut oil. We'll save that for an emergency of some kind. I added lemon juice, garlic and a bit of honey to the aioli, while whipping it up in the blender. It was fantastic on some of those beets with the pretty concentric rings, especially with an added scattering of fresh tarragon.
For another dressing I used some basil oil I had made, which had turned out to be not as tremendous as expected. You're supposed to drizzle it about very artistically, and frankly, I'd rather have pesto. However, it did make a super salad dressing, with fresh lemon juice, and a dash of homemade mustard added.
Basil Oil Dressing
For the oil: (Courtesy of Mario Batali in the Babbo Cookbook)
1 cup packed basil leaves, chopped
2 cups extra virgin olive oil, chilled for 2 hours
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Ingredients for dressing:
1 cup basil oil
1/4 - 1/3 cup lemon juice (I like the proportion higher on the acidic side)
1 tablespoon country style coarse mustard
2 teaspoons honey
salt to taste
Pulse all of the oil ingredients in a blender and puree until nearly smooth and uniformly green. Strain through a fine sieve.
Add the dressing ingredients to a jar with lid and shake well.
Serve on your favorite salad. Deliciousness in a jar. Check the top link to see all the creative dressings posted at Daring Kitchen.