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.

Mandarin-Almond Salad

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This is a family recipe I grew up eating.  I always enjoyed and looked forward to this being served with dinner.  The only salad I liked more was my mother’s caesar salad.  I still view it as a special treat when I serve it.  I often make some changes like not using canned mandarin oranges.  On occasion I also add marinated artichoke hearts, pickled asparagus or whatever strikes my fancy.  A great salad to accompany a nice rare steak.

6 Cups Torn Romaine Lettuce Lightly Packed

1 Cup Mandarin Orange Segments, Drained

3 Green Onions, Sliced

1 Tablespoon Chopped Parsley

3/4 Cup Sweet & Sour Dressing

1/2 Cup Slivered Almonds

Place romaine, oranges, onions and parsley in a large bowl.  Just before serving toss with dressing.  Spoon onto individual plates and top with almonds.

Sweet and Sour Dressing

1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil

1/4 Cup White Wine Tarragon Vinegar

1 1/2 Teaspoons Sugar

1/2 Teaspoon Tarragon

1/4 Teaspoon Salt

1/8 Teaspoon Pepper

Dash Liquid Hot Pepper Sauce

Whisk together all ingredients until creamy.  Refrigerate at least twenty minutes to blend flavors.

Tomato Tartare with Pickled Vegetables and Jumbo Head-on Shrimp

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Tartare de tomate Avec Légumes Conservés au vinaigre Et Tête-Sur Crevette Géante

Serves 4

 3 Tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped

Kosher Salt & Black Pepper, to taste

2 Teaspoons Finely Minced Shallot

1 Teaspoon Minced Chives

Fresh Thyme Sprigs

 

1 Bunch White Asparagus

1 Jar Pickled Asparagus

¼ Pound Haricot Verts

8 Baby Carrots

½ Pound Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half

Baby Arugula

Fresh Herbs

 

8 Head On Jumbo Shrimp

2 Tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning

½ Cup Vinegar

½ Cup Water

 

½ Cup Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar

½ Teaspoon Dijon Mustard

Herbs de Provence, to taste

Take tomatoes in a bowl and toss with shallot, chives, finely chopped thyme and salt and pepper to taste.  In a bowl mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard and herbs de Provence.  Whisk to create emulsion.

Bring small pot of salted water to boil.  Blanch white asparagus, haricot verts and baby carrots.  Individually place the vegetables in boiling water for a few minutes or until tender.  Immediately move to an ice bath to stop cooking and preserve color.

In a pot add vinegar, water and Old Bay seasoning.  Bring to a boil.  Add shrimp and cover.  Boil for 2 minutes and check shrimp so as to not overcook.  Shrimp should be opaque.  Immediately remove to ice bath.

Place a 3 inch ring mold on a plate.  Place about 4-5 teaspoons of tomato tartare in the center and use the back of a spoon to spread mixture so it fills bottom of mold.  Lift the ring mold and repeat on other three plates.  Toss white asparagus, haricot verts, carrots with a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar mixture.  Place vegetables, baby arugula and fresh herbs carefully on top of tomato tartare.  Drizzle with balsamic mixture.  Add two shrimp to each plate and serve immediately.