For many years now, we’ve decided not to fight crowds for “special” (read overpriced and overdramatic) Valentine’s Day menus, and made dinner at home. Which is why we had Steak ‘n’ Shake the night before.
Often the Valentine’s Day dinner will be lamb chops (Costco’s loin chops the shape of the Great Pyramid of Cheops are a frequent feature)… this year I said, “Wow, it’s been a long time since we’ve had Shrimp DeJonghe.” The point is that it’s a lot more romantic to serve each other.
Bonus post for today. Since I’m talking about salad dressings, here’s a recipe of what to make with those condiments.
Most of the time, I’ll make my own dressing: most often just a simple vinaigrette. This is one of my favorites, modeled after Dave’s Italian Kitchen in Evanston, and it’s a pretty good match after some experiments. You have to let this sit, as the garlic blooms over time.
You can definitely get away with light sour cream. I haven’t tried it with greek yogurt but it would probably still be pretty good.
1/2 Cup Sour Cream, can use about 3 parts sour cream to 1 part mayo if you like it a little tangier
3 or more cloves garlic, grated on a microplane
1 tsp lemon juice and some grated rind
large pinch salt
large pinch white pepper
Thin to desired consistency with buttermilk
Mix together and let sit for at least an hour before serving.
For the real Dave’s experience, the salad should have shaved carrots, shredded mozzarella, and pepperoncini.
Note: I previously posted this recipe at LTHforum.com.
OK part 2 of the “what would you run out and buy if you had an empty fridge to fill?” exercise.
This time, let’s concentrate on fatty condiments, and mustards. I’ve got an aversion to plain old yellow mustard, can’t stand it on sausages, burgers, etc., but it’s fine as an ingredient. I used to think I despised mayo too, but it turns out what I really hated was miracle whip. Even so, I’m not ever going to be seen putting mayo directly on a sandwich unless it’s mixed with other things… and often, I’m happier with the “other things” without the mayo (chipotle, wasabi, roasted garlic…).
So what’s in my fridge today?
- Hellman’s Mayo. If you’re south of the Mason-Dixon line, Duke’s is your choice, I’m sure.
- Dijon-style mustard. Mild, smooth, perfect for sauces and vinaigrettes.
- Dusseldorf/ballpark mustard. Best for sausages, a little spicier than ordinary or dijon mustard.
- Yellow mustard. I may use this in a slaw or BBQ rub, but it’s just not for my hot dogs.
- Sour Cream. Probably my all-time favorite condiment, but right now I’m out (trying to lose weight). Berries to Potatoes, it’s fantastic stuff. It’ll probably be on my tombstone as what killed me.
- Tahini. I don’t use it all that often, but there’s no substitute when making middle-eastern foods. I swear half the items in Ottolenghi’s “Jerusalem” use it. I’ve got a jar of Chinese Sesame Paste too, which is pretty close but a little toastier. I could probably skip that and just use Tahini with some Sesame Oil (which isn’t in the fridge).
- Plain Greek Yogurt. Like I said with soy sauce, the fewer ingredients, the better. I also have a big tub of Fage Fruyo Vanilla from Costco, but that’s food not condiments.
- Thousand Island Dressing. Yeah, could make it myself, but for a Reuben sandwich, gotta have it. (Thanks, Cathy, for the homemade sauerkraut)
- Blue Cheese Dressing. Again, could make it myself, but it makes a good semi-healthy snack as a dip with with raw veggies.
- Walnut Oil. Some kind of fancy oil should be on your list, for special occasion salads.
- Chili Oil. If you use commercial, probably doesn’t need refrigeration. I use Gary Wiviott’s recipe with garlic in it, so in the fridge it goes to try to keep the botulism out.
- Deli (Horseradish) Mustard. Less-used now that I’m stocked in Dusseldorf again.
- Chinese Mustard. Or keep a few extra packets from carryout, it’s probably not necessary to have a whole jar.
- Japanese “Kewpie” Mayo. Nice for Japanese-style spicy mayo, some salad dressings. Sweeter and sourer than American mayos.
- French Dressing. Every once in a while you don’t want to make your own salad dressing, and this is what you want. It’s got an orange glow and it’s sweet and just right. Guilty pleasure.
- Argan Oil. I think I’ve used this twice.
- Submarine Sandwich Oil and Vinegar Dressing. I think I bought this for a party.
- Nam Prik Pao. Essential to make Thai Tom Yam soup, good for a chicken salad too. I think I’d like to either have this or Rick Bayless’ Chipotle Paste around at all times but it seems extravagant to have both and the Chili Oil.
- Honey Mustard. Not sure why I bought this when I have honey and dijon around (1:1).
- Horseradish Sauce. For when I want to replicate that Arby’s experience with real meat.
- Prepared Horseradish. I buy a new jar every Passover for the gefilte fish (which I can’t stand). I’ve got a couple recipes which use this.
- Truffle Oil. I can’t remember what I bought it for… probably needs to be thrown out.
- Miracle Whip. I think son #2 left this when he moved back from his college apartment.
- Submarine Sandwich Dressing (oil and vinegar). I probably bought this for a party, I’m certain it’s past its expiration date.