Simple Basil Buttermilk Salad Dressing

January 17th, 2008  |  Published in All, Basil, Delectable Dairy, DIY Food Projects, Honorable Herbs, Lettuce, Veritable Vegetables  |  2 Comments


Simple Basil Buttermilk Salad Dressing

1/2 c. chilled buttermilk
1/2 c. organic / all natural mayonnaise
1 large packed handful of fresh basil leaves
large pinch of sea salt

Combine all ingredients using a regular or hand blender. Alternatively, chop basil finely and combine ingredients by hand. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups. Keeps refrigerated for a week (at least).
Ideas for use: dress a green salad, drizzle over cubed pan-roasted tofu, toss with boiled chunks of fingerling potatoes and chopped green onions

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My thumb is ever-so-slightly more green today! Why? Because I just harvested the first lettuce plants from my winter garden! I started a mixture of heirloom red and green lettuce seeds in containers way back in November, transplanted the seedlings in December, and have been watching them grow ever since. During these short winter days, everything grows ….very….. slowly, but it does grow nonetheless. I’ve been waiting, not quite sure when I was supposed to harvest, but when I went to check on the garden a couple days ago, I finally knew that the time had come! (can you tell I’m excited?)

Lettuce Close Up

I am using the ‘cut and come again’ method for growing and harvesting my lettuce plants. With the ‘cut and come again’ method, the young leaves from a single head of lettuce are harvested up to three times during its growing season. You simply wait until the head of lettuce is a decent size (somewhere between a softball and a soccer ball), then cut the entire head approximately 1-2 inches from the base. New leaves will then grow to replace those you just harvested. Besides having a steady supply of young greens, this method allows a gardener to plant seedlings much closer together than a traditional garden–planting on as little as a 4 inch diamond provides the lettuce plants with enough space to thrive.

Also in the garden I’ve got lacinto kale, broccoli, collard greens, spinach, and peas. So far, only the lettuce is mature enough to harvest. I think the kale is next, then probably the peas and broccoli. The collards and spinach haven’t grown too much since I transplanted them as seedlings, which makes me think that those might be a bust, but hey, four out of six ain’t bad…

I decided to plant lettuce because I love salads, and because lettuce is one of the easiest, quickest plants to grow (it needs only about three inches of soil, and can be grown in mobile ‘salad tables’ or even in old dresser drawers with some holes drilled in the bottom). Until now, salad dressings for me were either a simple homemade vinaigrette, or came from the grocery store. I like creamy dressings a lot, but had never tried my hand at making them. A simple base mixture of buttermilk and good-quality all-natural mayonnaise is a great canvas for experimentation. Here I added a large handful of fresh basil since my indoor plant was sagging under the weight of its own leaves. Some other ideas are:

-dill and green onion
-cucumber (and dill — optional)
-parsley and moroccan preserved lemon
-apricot and poppy seeds
-granulated onion and garlic
-chopped chipotle pepper with a little adobo sauce

… just use your imagination!

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