I love this time of year – farmers’ markets, roadside stands and grocery stores are filled with local, fresh produce! It’s easy to plan menus around the fresh harvest. Friends came for dinner Sunday evening and brought us fresh tomatoes and newly dug potatoes from their garden. We’re quickly devouring the tomatoes, and the potatoes will be featured for dinner tonight.
This time of year, and especially in the midst of this heat, we have salad most nights. Sometimes it is a side dish, but frequently it is the main course. When I roast chicken, I always freeze the leftover meat (boned, skinned and sliced or chopped) so it is easy to add to the top of a salad along with some fresh grated cheese and fresh cracked pepper. Yum!
Today I’m featuring some homemade salad dressings you might want to try on your summer salads. I buy fewer bottled salad dressings now, preferring to make them up fresh. You can adjust the amount of fat, etc. to your own taste and once you have a basic recipe, add herbs and seasonings to experiment.
The first one is from our dear neighbor, Myrtle, in Parma, Michigan. Myrtle was an elderly lady who lived in the apartment below us during our seasons of “firsts” – first apartment out of college, Paul’s first job after graduation, and the birth of our first daughter. She was a surrogate grandma for two kids running full-out in the adult world. She shared food, recipes and her family history with us, along with daily doses of encouragement.
Myrtle’s Salad Dressing
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup catsup
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 Tablespoon celery seed
- 1 Tablespoon mustard seed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
Beat all ingredients together. I use a blender to mix it all.
Note: My dad loved this dressing on burgers and hot dogs! As with most things these days, I decrease the oil and sugar a bit; so feel free to adjust.
This next one is from our daughter, Jessica. Yes, she is the first-born that we brought home to the apartment over Myrtle’s. And some nights when Jessica kept us awake, we were glad Myrtle took her hearing aids off at night! She’s grown now, sleeps through the night, feeds her family well, and shares recipes with me too. It is quick and easy, and you can use any vinegar – I’ve used apple cider, white, balsamic, and red wine. I have also used a vanilla balsamic vinegar and omitted the sugar. Experiment and enjoy!
3 Tablespoons vinegar
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
Shake or whisk all together and serve.