Tag Archives: salad

Using Salad Dressings

Taste buds are always looking to be stimulated. Salad dressings are a great way to make this happen. Some salads are one dimensional in terms of their flavour profile. This is particularly true with simple leafy green salads. Leafy salads are generally bitter but are not much else. Making a complementary salad dressing for these leafy greens would at least involve some sweetness, sourness, and saltiness. The making of each salad dressing will depend on each salad but here is an overview of some of the more popular salad dressing components.

1. Fat.

Salad

Photo by Irvin Mai

If your salad is mostly crisp vegetables, it’s likely that it lacks mouthfeel. This is where fat comes in. If you’ve watched the food network you’ve probably been conditioned to think that olive oil is the first ingredient in any salad dressing. Any fat however, can add mouthfeel, body, and luxuriousness to salads. It is most convenient to use various oils however one of my favourite fats to use in a dressing is brown butter.

2. Acidity.

Salad

Photo by Irvin Mai

Whenever there is fat you’ll want acidity to cut through it. I always feel unsatisfied when I eat a burger without pickles or at least an acidic condiment like ketchup.

3. Sweetness

Salad

Photo by Irvin Mai

This is not as essential as the first two but people generally like salad dressings that have an element of sweetness to them. The same can be said for spices. Dijon mustard is one of the more popular ways to add spice to dressings.

Salad

Boston Lettuce, Red Onions, Tomatoes, Radishes dressed with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Dijon Mustard, Maple Syrup, Salt, and Pepper.

 

Salad

Kidney Beans, Corn, Avocado, Tomatoes, and Dill dressed with Avocado Oil, Lemon, Cumin, Smoked Paprika, and Salt, finished with Dill.

 

Salad

Broccoli, Red Pepper, Yellow Pepper, Corn, and Shallots dressed with homemade lemon aioli and finished with grated gruyere.

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Beets | Brother’s Birthday

I’ve been tweaking this dish for a few weeks before my brother’s birthday. I first saw beets and feta put together a few months ago while browsing through Pinterest. One day I gave it a shot and it turned out brilliantly. Feta and beets do indeed work well together. Shortly after discovering what is now one of my favourite summer combinations, I was given my first catering gig. It was here I decided to test the combination again to see if it could stand up to paying customers. After seeing that it was being extremely well received, I decided to run with it.

Beets

 

This is what I ended up serving for my brother’s birthday salad. Beets are not something that is commonly consumed in a Vietnamese household so I knew that it would be a special experience for him. Again, it was well received. One would expect something that is so universally enjoyed to be something simple and conservative and you would be right. This salad is simply a cooked beet with some embellishments.

Beets

 

The sliced blanched beets sit atop a whipped feta cheese. This is the focus of the dish so I was rather generous with the portions of both the cheese and the beats. I then sprinkle on some pine nuts however most nuts will do. Personally, my favourite nuts I have used with this dish have been pistachios. Afterwards, I place some radishes around the dish and on top of the beets. Next, I place a generous hand full of pea shoots which I’ve been growing in my garden. I must admit that another scoop of whipped feta on top of the beets (as shown here) before the hand full of pea shoots never hurts (can you really ever have too much feta?). Last, I finish the dish with some olive oil and some crushed black pepper.

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Lamb Chop

Meat on the bone > Meat off the bone. There is a reason why everyone loves chicken wings and ribs. Meat that has been cooked on the bone has had the chance to develop more flavour.

Lamb Chop

 

This is just a simple lamb chop I did in a pan. The pan tends to hold on to bits and pieces of the lamb that fell off during the cooking process. After taking the lamb out to rest, I like to add a bit of water to the pan and dissolve all those bits and pieces into a nice and flavourful jus.

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Chicken Tandoori

I’ve always liked Indian food whether it be from the North or the South but I never would have dreamed of attempting it before I lived with an Indian. Living with him suddenly made me much more confident. Before I knew it curries, samosas, naan, and other Indian staples were things I made regularly. One thing I never got to really do properly was Chicken Tandoori. This is because, well, getting your hands on a tandoor in Kingston would be rather challenging. All I had was an old, partially rusty barbecue to work with. Lets just put it this way, the thermometer did not work and even if it did, it wouldn’t matter because only one burner worked. It was essentially a grill held over a bon fire. Nevertheless, fire is fire, and fire tastes better. Here I am now, still without a tandoor but I’ve come a long way with this particular classic.

Chicken Tandoori

I’m no longer using the gas powered bonfire nor am I using pre-made tandoori spice or paste . This makes all the difference in the world because I can now bring out my favourite elements in the tandoori spice like the cinnamon, cumin, and garlic. Bringing my favourite elements in such a complex mix to the forefront makes it easier for me to appreciate the individual flavours more thoroughly. I also like my tandoori chicken spicy so I balance that out with a cool salad. I serve it all with a cool creamy cilantro dressing which is what you see everything sitting on.

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