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In the Garden: Basil August 10, 2010

Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Garden, random stuff.

I’ve been trying to phase out of store-bought salad dressings this year.

Don’t get me wrong – you can still find the occasional jar of Marie’s in our fridge or even some Hidden Valley Ranch.  And it tastes pretty good, too.

PhotobucketProblem is . . . there’s a lot of stuff in those dressings, isn’t there.  Stuff that I’m not exactly sure what it is.   But it’s so easy – just crack open a bottle, and there you go.  And it can be cheap, too – if you watch the sales and use coupons.

Once I started making my own mayo, though, you had to know it was only a matter of time, didn’t you?

An aside:  When Surly Boy was just a surly toddler, he used to get SO EXCITED whenever we’d have store-bought hamburger rolls!  Do you wonder what took me so long to get on board the homemade salad dressing bandwagon?  Me too.

Now the other day, I looked at my garden and saw the basil bushes, threatening to go to seed and all.

Then I looked in the freezer and saw the basil pesto we made last year, and I knew I had to do something different.  We can’t deal with YET MORE pesto!

And it just happens that I stumbled upon a recipe for a basil vinaigrette – and I knew it was meant to be.

Sure, it’s got stuff in it, but at least I know what all the stuff is!

PhotobucketAnother aside:  The garlic guy is back at the public market.  We (heart) the garlic guy.  If you ever see someone selling German hardneck garlic, grab it.  This stuff is amazing!  The bulbs consist of several HUGE cloves of the most lovely, garlicky garlic.  Garlic that doesn’t have the harshness that garlic can have. . . it’s beautiful.  And one clove weighed in at close to an ounce.


We start with an ounce and a half of basil.  For those of you playing along at home, that’s, um, half a Cuisinart full.

I do like to measure by weight sometimes – an ounce and a half of fresh basil doesn’t sound like nearly as much as a cup of chopped basil, does it?

Combine the ingredients in the food processor (or a blender):

  • 2 garlic cloves (or, um, one giant clove)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 ounces fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cracked pepper
  • 1 cup olive oil


And that’s it – just give it a whir in the food processor (or the blender) and you are good to go.

What can I say about this?  Besides, of course, that it is . . . green.

It’s super-herby (um, an ounce and a half of basil!), and it’s slightly sweet, with the honey.  There’s a savory hit of acidity, from the vinegar (they don’t call it a vinaigrette for nothing, you know!) – and it’s thick.  Mustard acts as an emulsifier, making this dressing much more, um, clingy than your average vinaigrette.


Sure, I licked my fingers off after tasting it – several times, actually.

But the real test came when I cut up a fresh tomato and dipped it in the dressing.

And, um, shh. . .  I um, I sort of licked the bowl. A little bit.

This one is a keeper.



1. judy - August 10, 2010

That looks very simple to make! And I trust the taste tester so looks like a GO.

Oh, Jude, it is SO GOOD! Fresh and herbal. . . and fantastic on salad. Or tomatoes. Or, well, your finger. 😉

2. kayatthekeyboard - August 10, 2010

Oh, man. Sounds SO good. I was thinking pesto, but this….well. I think it’s a GO, as well!

Hi, Kay! I’m telling you, this is so good. I’m definitely putting the recipe in my “keeper” file. . .

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