Culinary Fun Fact: Emulsifiers – Vinaigrette

Oil and vinegar do not mix. The only way to combine them is to whisk them together so strenuously that the vinegar breaks down into tiny droplets. The two fluids are then effectively one homogeneous mixture, called an emulsion.

To enable an emulsion to stay stable, add an ingredient that acts as an emulsifier, in this case mustard. Emulsifiers form a barrier around the droplets in an emulsion, keeping them from recombining and separating out. The mustard might not be enough to affect the flavor of the dressing, but it can have a serious impact on the chemistry of the mixture.

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Pecans

 

A classic Southern salad you won’t soon forget.

½ cup pecan halves
½ medium onion, sliced
About 6 cups fresh spinach
2 cups strawberries
¼ cup fresh goat cheese, crumbled
1 medium orange
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon poppy seeds

Spread the pecans in a dry skillet over medium heat and toast, stirring often, until fragrant. Cool and chop coarsely.

Wash the spinach well and dry. Remove the thick stems and tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Place in a large salad bowl.

Remove the hulls, the leafy stem, from the strawberries with a paring knife. Slice the strawberries and add to the spinach with the pecans. Add the onion to the salad with the goat cheese. Toss well. Grate the orange zest and sprinkle over the salad.

Squeeze the juice from the orange into a small bowl (this should yield about ½ cup). Whisk in the salt, dry mustard, and vinegar. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the oil. Stir in the poppy seeds.

Add just enough dressing to the salad to moisten and toss well. Serve immediately.

 

“Chico Hot Springs (Pray, MT)” Inspired Spinach Salad Dressing

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  • 4 bacon slices
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 teaspoon Italian herb blend
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons half and half
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh spinach in bite size pieces
  • 2 1/8 inche thick onion slices
  • 1 hard boiled egg, sieved

cook bacon and crumble. Blend mayonnaise, Italian seasoning, garlic and sugar.  Add oil and vinegar, the half and half.

Toss spinach and onion in a large bowl with enough dressing to taste.  Sprinkle with bacon and egg.

“Kimchi Chronicles” Inspired Quick Hot Kimchi

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  • 2 tablespoons gochujang
  • 2tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon gochugaru
  • 1 head napa cabbage, coarsely chopped, core discarded
  • 1 Korean cucumber (or ½ hothouse cucumber, seeded), coarsely chopped

Whisk together the gochujang, vinegar, and fish sauce in a small bowl.

Heat the oil in a large wok over high heat. Add the onion, coriander seeds, and gochugaru. Cook until the onion begins to brown, about 1½ minutes.

Pour the gochujang mixture over the onion, stirring to combine. Cook for 1 minute, until the liquid is nearly evaporated, then immediately stir in the cabbage and cucumber. Cook until the cabbage is wilted and the flavors are nicely combined, about 5 minutes. Taste and season with additional vinegar or fish sauce if you think it needs it.

Serve.

Frozen Fruit Salad

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This simple throwback frozen fruit salad has a special place in my heart as my family enjoys it every Thanksgiving, Just once a year.

  • 3 ounce softened cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 5-6 large marshmallows cut up
  • 1/4 cup drained mandarin orange slices
  • 1 pound can drained fruit cocktail
  • 2 tablespoons chopped maraschino cherries
  • 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts

Blend cheese, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Beet egg whites until foamy.  Beat in sugar a tablespoon at a time, until stiff peaks form. Beat cream until stiff.  Fold cream into egg whites.  Fold into cheese mixture. Fold in rest of ingredients.  Pour into eight inch square pan.  Freeze.

Israeli Salad

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Israeli Salad is really a misnomer as it’s Arab, but extremely popular in Israel.  A simple salad that is served at pretty much every meal.

  • 3 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 3 cups chopped cucumbers
  • Chopped onion optional to taste (traditionally no onion)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Toss well to combine and serve.