Thursday, September 10, 2009

Basic Techniques Series Lesson 2: Vinaigrettes (Part 1 of 2)

(Vinaigrettes Part 1 of 2) Making Hearty, Deli-style Salads - Potluck fare or a quick meal on-the-go


Video for this future blog post:

This is Part 1 of 2 of the Basic Technique Series Lesson 2: Vinaigrettes. This cooking demonstration shows how to make one of the simplest sauces found in most American kitchens - the Vinaigrette (aka. oil and vinegar-based salad dressing and marinades). Homemade vinaigrettes take only moments to prepare and have MANY advantages over their store-bought counterparts. They are better tasting, less expensive, generally use better quality ingredients, and come in flavors limited only by your imagination. See the "Vinaigrettes Part 2" video to see a demonstration of how to use the vinaigrette made in "Part 1" to create "Southwestern Vegetable & Brown Rice Salad with Lime Garlic Vinaigrette." The recipes, detailed written instructions and additional information will be posted to the blog soon!


  1. This is a great recipe, especially for our family! My mom and I have lots of varied diet restrictions. In order to have a meal together as a family that everyone can eat, it needs to be gluten free, nut free, dairy free, egg free, and low glycemic. I'm trying to put together some recipes to give my mom for Christmas that we can all have and are relatively easy and preferably low cost. Do you know any other recipes or cookbooks that would fit these constraints?

  2. Hi Annie - I know that all of this can seem overwhelming, but you can make it work. There is a lot of information online about dealing with multiple food allergies (search "multiple food allergies" on Google and you'll get a lot of good resources). There is also a magazine called Living Without (an unfortunate title, I know) that may be helpful. The key, however, will be learning to use substitutions for the off-limits items and to learn to incorporate minimally processed foods if you're aiming for low glycemic meals. A lot of the recipes out there for multiple allergies are hit-or-miss. Anyone with a moderate comfort level in the kitchen is likely to be able to create meals that they enjoy much more by making substitutions in dishes that they're already accustomed to. The best substitutions for gluten, nut, dairy and egg-containing foods differ depending on what the dish is. For example, substituting coconut milk for cow's milk may be great in a dessert that you want to have a coconut flavor, but less desirable in mashed potatoes. Bananas may be a substitute for eggs in banana bread, but not in savory crepes. I find it best to imagine what taste, texture, smell and look I want the end dish to be/have when deciding what substitutions to use. It's also helpful to think about the purpose that the item being substituted has in a recipe. For example, eggs help cakes to rise, stay moist and stick together. Eggs in omelets have a totally different purpose. You may be able to substitute a couple of eggs in a cake recipe with a commercial egg replacer such as Ener-G Egg Replacer, but this powdered mix would make a terrible omelet. All of this to say that even with the recipes that are out there, a fair amount of experimentation will be required for you and your family to find the recipe adjustments that are most palatable for you. There are long lists online of substitutions for wheat and other gluten-containing flours, nuts, dairy and eggs. I would direct you to find them at any of the links in the aforementioned search, and also to look on vegan websites for dairy and egg-free recipes which you then only have to replace flours with gluten-free versions and just omit nuts. There are also a lot of gluten-free vegan recipes online that you could modify just by leaving out the nuts. You also can find a bunch of cookbooks by searching for “allergy-free” on Amazon Books. In terms of keeping things low-glycemic, including as many fresh fruits and vegetables, plant oils, whole grains and lean proteins as possible and limiting processed foods and added sugars will almost guarantee low to moderate glycemic meals. Luckily these items (making sure to include only gluten-free grains) are also safe for the dietary restrictions that you mention here. If you get stuck on any specific substitutions in a recipe, please feel free to contact me for a recommendation as well. I hope this is helpful!