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All Dressed Up

Category: Recipe
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I’m back! Canada was fun, and BC is so beautiful. Last time I saw my niece, she was only 5 months old. Cute, yes, but not really fun to play with. Now she’s 18 months, and starting to walk, and babble, and get into trouble.

We had a lot of food together while I was there.

We had fresh tomatoes from my sister’s garden.
No, she’s NOT a zombie. We had been eating wild blackberries at the park.
Aunt Cathy maaay have introduced her to cotton candy.

After 10 days of bargaining with Goldfish crackers, watching kid shows (is anyone else addicted to Waybuloo?) and changing poopie diapers (which, I’ll be honest, I got out of most of the time.) I was looking forward to going home and seeing my own two babies (the BF and our kitty Gambit.). I came home just in time to experience to lovely 100+ degree weather we’re having in SoCal recently. Hooray. But I’m not cooking. Nope. You canNOT force me to turn on even a toaster. So for dinner the past couple of nights, the BF and I have been eating salads.

Hey! Come back! Just because I say “salad” doesn’t mean I’m talking about lettuces and tomatoes only. Salads are a blank canvas for any type of flavors and textures you can imagine would taste good together.

But then the BF wanted to go down the “dressings” aisle of the grocery store.

Hell.No.

Not only are those craptastic plastic bottles filled with loads ‘o sodium, but they’re also loaded with sugar, syrups, and fancy chemicals that make them taste good until practically forever.

I decided to make three completely different dressings, in a matter of minutes, to suite whatever mood he may be in next time we have a salad. And they are: peppercorn poppy seed ranch, orange sesame ginger dressing, and an Italian basil vinaigrette.

The “Instructions” for ALL dressings are this: “blend ingredients together.” I used a blender, but you can also do this all by hand with a whisk. So we’ll just get right into the ingredients then:

Ingredients for Italian Basil Vinaigrette
  • 1/3 C olive oil (something dark, and fruity)
  • 1/4 C red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
  • 1/3 C fresh basil
  • s+p to taste
  • 1 tsp of honey (or agave nectar)


My favorite way to use this vinaigrette is to make a marinated tomato and cucumber salad. Pour dressing over tomatoes and cucumbers and cover the bowl, and let sit on the counter for about an hour. This was the salad my family ate all throughout summer. If you wanna get your meat-on, this is a fantastic marinade for chicken too.

Ingredients for Orange Sesame Ginger Dressing
  • 1/4 C freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 C light oil (I used vegetable)
  • 3 Tbsp of rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
  • 1/4 tsp of ginger (either the dried powder, or fresh pulp)
  • s+p to taste


The orange sesame ginger dressing is slightly sweet, and pairs nicely with some spicy peppers finely minced in a vegetable chopped salad, or used as a dressing in a cold noodle salad.

Ingredients for Peppercorn Poppy Seed Ranch
  • 1/3 C Buttermilk
  • 1/3 C plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp mayonnaise (we don’t have to go over how “Miracle Whip” is NOT mayonnaise, do we?)
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 Tbsp fresh dill
  • 2 Tbsp coarse cracked pepper
  • 2 Tbsp black poppy seeds


I love the texture of the ranch, because it’s silky and thin. I don’t like heavy gobs of goop and slime plopped on top of my salad. Plus, it makes an awesome buffalo wing dipping sauce.

For storage, at first, I had no clue what to use. Sure, you can use plastic squirt bottles. But then I realized that I had leftover little bottles of club soda, which ended up making the perfect dressing bottle! These will keep, refrigerated, for up 6 days.


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