Thursday, October 22, 2009

house dressing

As part of my degree, I spent a semester in Budapest, in Hungary. I lived on my own and was away from my family for the first extended period in my life. I made a great group of friends on the course, and learned to cook for myself for the first time (there were a few hilarious disasters along the way!). I went armed with The Joy of Cooking and a pink notebook with a few favourite family recipes copied in.

I was somewhat in awe of my friend Kate. She had a more well-defined notion of herself as an individual than I at that time. She was a vegetarian who loved to cook and regularly had our little circle around to eat. I still have a few of her recipes, copied into my pink notebook from her well thumbed cookbooks.

Over the years I have kept in closer touch with Sarah, one of my friends from Budapest, than with Kate. But when Sarah came to visit me recently she brought with her two cookbooks as a gift for me, one of which is the Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special. Sarah chose it for me because she also owns the Moosewood book, and got as a present from Kate. When I reconnected with Kate last year I told her about the cookbook. Every time I use it I think of how influenced I was by Kate's delicious cooking.

The house dressing recipe from the Moosewood book is an easy, tasty, and versatile mix. Simply combine all the bits and blend it up.

Moosewood House Dressing
makes 2 1/4 c
adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special

1 c canola or other vegetable oil
3 T cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice
2 t mild honey
1/4 c rinsed spinach leaves, packed
1/4 c fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
2 t Dijon mustard
1/4 t salt, or to taste
pinch pepper
1 c milk or buttermilk

Combine all the ingredients except the milk or buttermilk. Puree until smooth.
With the blender running, add the milk or buttermilk in a thin stream. The dressing will become thick and creamy. As soon as the dressing thickens, stop the blender or the oil may separate.
The dressing will keep for about a week in the refrigerator. Shake before using.


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