Thursday, November 21, 2013

Sweet Cider Vinaigrette

I made this dressing to go with my Autumn Harvest Salad, but you could certainly use it for any salad where a sweet vinaigrette would go well with or enhance the other ingredients. It would also make a really nice marinade for pork or chicken. Just be sure not to leave the meat in the marinade for more than a couple of hours. Any marinade that contains highly acidic ingredients like citrus juices or vinegar, will break down the fibers in meat as it sits, which (of course) is a good thing because it will help to tenderize meat. But... when it's left there too long, it can easily turn into one of those situations where you really can have too much of a good thing.

It's a very simple dressing to make and even though I used a food processor on this particular day, you can certainly mix it well with a whisk or shake it vigorously in a clean jelly jar or in one of those blender bottles. (large plastic salad dressing and drink shakers that have the little round "whisk ball" in them) Which, by the way, I highly recommend having in your kitchen arsenal for a number of applications.

Sweet Cider Vinaigrette
  • 1 Lg Shallot, chopped
  • 1/8 Cup Vinegar (I used White Balsamic)
  • 1/2 Cup Apple Cider
  • 1/2 Cup Light Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbls Honey
  • 1 Tsp Kosher Salt
This is a very light dressing, in terms of consistency. When taking a little "test taste" for me, my hubby initially thought that it might need a wee bit more oil added. (I disagreed. lol) However, when he actually put it on his salad and it co-mingled/combined with the goat cheese and other ingredients, he changed his mind. It's definitely one of those times where the individual components in a dish can be absolutely delicious on their own, but can be raised to a whole new level of flavorliciousness when it's combined with other ingredients.

The directions are pretty simple... Just combine all of your ingredients in the processor or blender and blend for about a minute.

Note: If you do decide to mix this up with a whisk or a blender bottle, make sure to mince the shallots very finely before combining them with the rest of the ingredients. I don't know about you, but I really don't enjoy biting into big chunks of raw shallots (or onions or garlic, etc.) in my salad dressing.

Also, when/if you are mixing this by hand, you'll need to drizzle the oil in slowly as you whisk vigorously, but using the processor (or a blender) allows you to add it all in at one time with the other ingredients.

There's a reason that I use honey (as opposed to sugar) in some of my salad dressings. (see below)

The dressing looks creamy here (and in a loose or maybe light way, it is) and that's due to the use of the food processor and the addition of the honey. A processor or blender will emulsify the oil and the other ingredients much more thoroughly than using a whisk or other utensil to mix it by hand. The honey also works very much the same way a Dijon mustard or an egg yolk would, as an additional emulsifier in a vinaigrette. (If you whip partially crystallized honey, it becomes quite a bit lighter in color and texture - it's how they make creamed or whipped honey) Either way, the dressing will still have enough body to cling sufficiently to the lettuce and other vegetables in the salad.

Serve with my Autumn Harvest Salad (HERE) or with any green salad. It also makes an excellent marinade for chicken or pork and a delicious dressing for a Fall themed fruit salad.

You can find the recipe for the spiced pecans HERE.

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  1. This sounds DELICIOUS! I'd only change it to organic apple cider vinegar and raw unprocessed honey to make it even healthier (mega benefits in both since processing removes those benefits!). I just read the other day that most bottles of honey on the grocery store shelf (esp. those made in China) are actually just colored karo syrup. Doesn't that just tick you off? I'm off to make your salad now - yum!!!

    1. I like the Braggs organic (non-GMO) vinegar, but it isn't always easy to find around here and I get organic local honey at the farmer's market whenever I can too. Trying to eat foods that are less processed and grown without pesticieds and strange chemicals - especially since the Lupus diagnosis. Hope the salad was a winner for you! I'm pretty happy with how it all turned out. I've actually made it a couple of times, since - with and without the chicken.


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