Kitchen Focus

Since spring is supposedly on its way, I thought we might continue last month's focus on using screw-top jars to make yummy meal additions. After all, before you know it, it will be salad season and I can't think of an easier way to make a terrific salad dressing than tossing all of the ingredients into a screw-top jar and shaking it to combine them.

The recipes included in this month's column are some of my favorite quick salad dressings and range from a basic oil and vinegar mixture to a creamy combination of cheese and seasonings. Feel free to share your own special dressing ideas and recipes by using the message board form at the bottom of the page. In the meantime, enjoy the ideas below!

Asian Vinaigrette

This yummy oil and vinegar dressing takes advantage of soy sauce, orange peel and minced shallots to add a touch of the orient. Drizzle it on cucumbers and onions to make a light and simple side salad for an Asian meal.
  • 1 T. ginger-garlic paste (look for in the Asian and Indian section of groceries)
  • 1/4 c. rice wine vinegar
  • 2 T. soy sauce
  • 1/4 c. dark sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)

Combine all of the ingredients in a resealable jar. Seal with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously until the ingredients are well mixed. Store the dressing in the refrigerator for up to three months.

  • Yields: 3/4 cup
  • Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Goat Cheese Dressing

This rich dressing is surprisingly light and perfect when paired with other intense flavors like fresh, juicy peaches or tangy sun-dried tomatoes.
  • 1/2 c. evaporated skim milk
  • 1/4 c. crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 clove garlic -- minced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 T. snipped chives
  • 1/2 tsp. dried dill

Combine all of the ingredients in a resealable jar. Seal with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously until the ingredients are well mixed. Drizzle over salads featuring bold flavors.

  • Yields: 3/4 cup
  • Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Fruity Vinaigrette

The addition of apple cider to this basic vinaigrette makes it a fruit treat for everything from elegant salads to fresh fruit.
  • 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 c. light olive oil
  • 2 T. apple cider
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Combine all of the ingredients in a resealable jar. Seal with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously until the ingredients are well mixed. Try this lightly drizzled over fresh strawberries. Yum!

  • Yields: 3/4 cup
  • Preparation Time: 5 minutes

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