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Posts Tagged ‘help’


I must admit that it’s not all it seems. Yes, I entertain fairly often. Yes, I’ve been known to do an intimate dinner for 40. Yes, I bake my own bread.
But then there’s the salad.
Each week from my CSA box I receive a head of lettuce so beautiful that I want to photograph it or turn it in to an elegant centerpiece. Lettuce so amazing that it deserves a vase in a central location. Instead the precious leaves are slated for the most degrading of spaces as to be tucked into the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Most humiliating of all… it then sits there, neglected. Though, in principle, I believe in serving a simple salad with every meal… I envision myself doing so, yet rarely do. Not because of the time it will take to clean the vibrant ruffles but because of the conflict of what to put on it.
Yes, my friends, I’m scared of that little condiment known as salad dressing.
I know the most economical answer is an easy one made here on my counter and I’m determined to find it. So, bottles of the pre-made stuff are out in my book. That, and, the idea that if I can master execution of complex recipes, I should (blindfolded) be able to drum up something to slather on a salad. I’ve been known to throw on a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar at the last-minute. I’ve followed recipes both straightforward and involved… but I’ve never taken joy in the outcome. Persevere though I may, I’m still really lacking. Most salad nights, I wait until the very end to make a dressing, and if I’m lucky Amanda will show up and, while filling me in on the contents of her day, effortlessly put forth something delicate and delicious. Those nights when she doesn’t show I am left to my own devices. Yes, I know that mustard is a great emulsifier and that shalot is lovely and that, and that, and that, and that…
YET, I failed again tonight. My vision was to serve the lasagna with a huge bowl of lightly lemoned greens, I referenced a cookbook for a simple vinaigrette. It emulsified beautifully with the addition of a small bit of warm water (thank you Mark Bittman) and looked stunning: glossy, healthy looking greens in a deep wood bowl. Eagerly served onto my plate, I was deflated after the first bite. The lemon was too sharp in a way and the olive oil tasted somehow green. Theoretical Erin makes a jar of dressing a couple nights a week and confidently drizzles it on the salad. Real Erin fears the salad and opts not to serve one at all. So, I say to you: I am weak, help me. That’s the first step, right? Knowing that you have a problem.
My name is Erin and I have a problem making salad dressing.
I plan to start my recovery by speaking to my mom, who is known in the potluck world for her salads (and their dressings), then to read up on Evan Kleinman‘s recent workshop on the topic of mixing ones own salad potions… after that, I’m lost. Can you help me? Comments welcome.

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