It’s a new year! So let’s talk about an old favorite salad dressing recipe–one that I’ve been making regularly for years. Why not? The start of a new year is a great time to determine to eat healthier, and for many of us that probably means more greens!
And to make eating leafy greens more pleasant, you probably need a new recipe for a scrumptious salad dressing like this one, eh? There has not been a time when I’ve served this salad dressing that I haven’t had a request for the recipe. It’s so good!
Bethie’s all grown up now, but when she was still at home (many years ago) and going through a rough patch, I made this recipe for this first time. Sometimes a brand new recipe is what is called for, you know? I was suffering along with her in her troubles, as moms are wont to do.
She was (and is) a dancer, and for a time the mirror was not her friend. Though she always looked (and looks) beautiful to me, what she saw in the mirror during those troubling years was not what the rest of us saw. In her opinion, she was carrying around extra poundage. And when she got anxious about the (supposed) extra pounds, she would do the natural thing and . . . eat.
So it happened that one day while I was out working in my garden, my daught brought out a fresh notebook and a pencil, an old towel to sit on, and we talked. We made a plan that we would then follow and eventually lose quite a bit of weight from, between us. (If there’s one constant in my life, alas, it’s an extra 10-15 pounds around my middle, so I didn’t mind jumping in to a weight-loss plan with her. It was a sacrifice that any mom would make *cough*.)
Our “eating plan” (we refused to call it a “diet”) included lots of healthy, filling–but not calorie-rich–foods. Green salads every day! That was our rallying cry. We knew that lots of leafy greens would fill us up, and–of course–would contribute to our good health, as well.
I tried to keep a big green salad in the ‘fridge most of the time, already prepared. If it was there, I knew that we would eat it. If it wasn’t there, quite often on the anxious cusp of mealtimes, I’d not bother to pull out all the veggies and greens and so forth and make it happen.
Bethie lost enough weight to get back to her “sweet spot” weight-wise, and she proceded to muster up the courage to do the growing up that was necessary to pack up and move away from home. It was a tough time for her. But she faced it, took the necessary steps, and got through it.
In fact Bethie was sitting in our living room just last week, and we played with her adorable tiny man Gideon (nearly a year and a half old now), while her tired hubby napped on the other side of the room. Bethie is as poised and lovely of a young wife and mother as you can imagine. She is everything I wish that I might have been at her age, but I
kinda/pretty much certainly doubt I ever carried it off with such panache. She’s got a beautiful smile, and must have made a motto for herself many years back that if she couldn’t think of anything good to say, that she’d just keep mum. She is always encouraging.
I sat watching her, admiring her patience with her little guy, as he pitched a soft foam ball (that was okay) and then a hard block (not so good) at Amma’s (that’s me) face. He didn’t see the difference between them. He was just tossing something to (at) me. It was a game; it was fun. He was laughing and so was I.
Bethie would wince and try to catch him before he pitched the block, and then shrug apologetically. So adorable, the two of them. I thought briefly of those tough couple of years in high school when she was struggling to figure out her own self. She didn’t like the skin she was in, but she wasn’t sure how to change it.
I think about that stretch every time I make this salad dressing. Behold, the memory-jogging abilities of good recipes, eh?
It’s the day before company is to arrive (by the way.) I am in the kitchen, chopping capers for this very salad dressing, and my patient better half Bryan trudges in with a couple more bags of groceries. This is exciting company that we are looking forward to–our kiddos from Missouri–and we’ve been stocking up all week long. Bryan swings open the ‘fridge door, studies the situation, and notes: We have three ‘fridges (Monty, Steve, and the garage ‘fridge). Why do we never have extra space in any of them?
(I make a mental note: choose the slim bottle for the salad dressing.)
Naturally I didn’t have an answer for him, so I turned to my phone (kidding) “Okay, Google. Why are my ‘fridges stuffed so full?” Google doesn’t know the answer to this question. (HAH. And there are those who think Google knows everything.) I think I do know the answer: I am busy. Ergo, I don’t take the time to clean out said ‘fridges as often as I probably ought. So mayhaps I ought to delegate that chore to somebody else who is bothered by it . . . honey?
Time goes by so quickly, gentle reader, does it not? It’s that time of year where I look over photos and journals and wonder where 2018 went. It has been a hectic, difficult, crazy year for us. Lots of troubles. Many challenges. I hope to write a post or two in the next week about 2018, before I forget any of it. Whether I write it or not, however, this year will not likely be one that I can forget.
Here is one thing that I’ve learned from 2018: a current trouble may be all-consuming when you are in the midst of it–like when Bethie was struggling during those couple of years in high school–but if you hang on and stick with it, pray yourself through it and hope for the best, hopefully it will pass. Then you can look in the rearview mirror and be grateful that you’re not struggling with that one any longer.
And isn’t it a mercy that the utterly beautiful world God created for us can lift us out of our troubles? That what we see out the window every day is (or can be) breathtakingly amazing. Looking at a beautiful sunset, the face of one of my grandchildren, a night sky full of stars, a strikingly colorful wild bird, my garden (on a good day, ha!) . . . all this pulls me out of the troubles in my life, and points me to God.
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” –Romans 1:20
The day that I found the recipe (that became this recipe) was a good day. (It’s Rachael Ray’s, which I have tweaked over time, natch’, and which I originally found in this cookbook.) This recipe was definitely a turning point, in two ways. 1. We started eating green salads regularly, since with a really good homemade dressing, you really want to eat them, and 2. I added capers to the master grocery list.
Here ‘tis. It only has a few basic ingredients and takes less than ten minutes to mix up, as long as you can find everything in your o’erpacked ‘fridge. Make it. Enjoy your leafy greens.
And share it, if you have a mind. (Thank you!)
- 4 T mayonnaise
- 4 T plain Greek yogurt
- 6 T capers, drained and coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 6 T fresh flat parsley, chopped, or other herbs (dill is good too, if you have it)
- 2 T Dijon mustard
- freshly ground black pepper
- 6 T good extra virgin olive oil
- Low tech: In a small bowl combine the mayonnaise and yogurt with the capers, red wine vinegar, herbs, mustard, and some pepper.
- In a slow, steady stream, whisk in the 6 T of EVOO. Taste. Adjust seasonings to your own preferences.
- OR high tech: Do the same as above, only use your blender, which will yield a smoother product. Your choice, darlin’!