• 1/2c olive oil
  • 1/4c red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp dijon or dry mustard
  • 1 clove minced garlic (optional)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme, oregano, or provence herbs optional)

It’s been well over a year since I’ve posted anything on here. Having started working as a baker full-time, not only do I spend most of my free time sleeping or binge-watching horrible television (every installment of Real Housewives, Scandal, the Carrie Diaries, etc), but most nights, I have a hard time finding the motivation to cook or bake anything that isn’t as easy as instant ramen. I’ve also started incorporating meat back into my diet, and while I’ve made some pretty incredible stuff, I’m hesitant to post recipes that I’ve only made once–sure, I made amazing braised lamb tacos a few weeks ago, but it could have been a fluke. I wouldn’t want to subject anyone to a disastrous, maybe-deadly meat pile just because something worked for me once. That brings me to this post. Experimentation is something I crave when it comes to food. I rarely use recipes, I push myself to try new things, and am always grabbing the weirdest looking produce I can find at the grocery store (orange cauliflower ? buddha’s hand ? sunchokes ? gimme them all), whether I know what I’ll do with it or not. Going into my kitchen with a semi-reckless, let’s-see-what-happens attitude normally pays off, and for that I’m thankful. But sometimes, especially now that I’m always at least half-asleep, I fall back to simplicity, to the tried-and-true. A few days ago, my mom sent me a copy of my grandpa’s family-famous salad dressing. My grandpa (who we called Pal…even typing “grandpa” feels uncomfortable) had a pretty traditional set of recipes under his belt–I’m pretty sure we ate the same dinner of cut up steak and salad every time we visited, but they were always flawlessly made, and that simple green salad with dressing still holds a place in my memory and my (food)heart. I specifically remember Nana (my grandmother) dressing and serving our salads, and my sister and I secretly waving Mom over to give us extra dressing. It’s a simple vinaigrette with endless possibilities for variation, but I prefer it the way he made it. Tart and spicy and perfect, it works with anything from simple mixed greens or spinach to a salad loaded with nuts, cheese, and fruit–I recently put it on a pear, blue cheese, toasted walnut, and dried cranberry salad, and it was amazing.

So here it is, in Pal’s own handwriting:

pals dressing
The basil should be dried, if that isn’t obvious, and a clove of fresh minced garlic makes it extra delicious (though it shortens the shelf-life, as it can go rancid). I think Pal always used red wine vinegar, so that’s what I always use, but this recipe will work with pretty much any kind. As for the oil, use the best quality olive oil you’ve got.

So there’s that. Hopefully I can keep myself motivated and hold myself accountable enough to be back soon !! Off to nap away this stupid Winter cold. Spring, I’m ready whenever you are.

-K