Friday, September 24, 2010

Glass Act

My friend, neighbor, gracious hostess and mother of three girls (she blogs at Three Pinks) told me about The Pioneer Woman. She blogged about mason jars, and I started thinking.

I have been storing everything in glass since before my mom told me Bill Maher was tested and had over 90 different plastics in his body. That may be true, it may be apocryphal, but are you going to argue with my mother? Me neither.

So I store everything in glass. Dried orange peel and dried figs, both from my garden. Bay leaves. Brown sugar, black beans, leftovers. I even freeze soup in glass jars - leave some room it will well up, and don't put the lid on until it has frozen. And don't microwave on high to defrost the jar will break. Trust me on this one.

I make vinaigrette right in the jar and stick it in the fridge. Dr Lemon says one of the worst things for your health is store bought salad dressing. It's also one of the slimiest ickiest things for your mouth. So make your own - one part vinegar to three or four parts extra virgin olive oil. Red or white vinegar, or sherry vinegar. More about that later. Or lemon juice but then use half as much olive oil.

Dissolve a little sugar and a large pinch of salt in the vinegar. Chop up a shallot or crush a clove of garlic and add that to the vinegar. Put in a dab or a glob of Dijon mustard. Then add the olive oil and shake like crazy.

A few words of wisdom born of hard experience: only extra virgin olive oil. I use Bertolli for salads, it's not terribly expensive and it does not make things bitter like Colavita can. Don't cheap out on the ingredients, this will still be cheaper (and better!) than store bought. And Maille mustard or another good Dijon - Fallot perhaps.

This keeps a long time in the fridge. Great over roast chicken, sliced avocados, as a dipping sauce with a marinade. Or on a sandwich. You get the idea. 

I love wide mouth jars - they are easier to fill - and more importantly to empty. And get a canning funnel! great for filling without spilling.

Since fall is coming here is my favorite fall salad dressing made with - you guessed it - sherry vinegar. 
 To your health - and happiness.

Fall Salad

This salad is a conglomeration of two recipes because I didn’t have all the ingredients for either recipe.  It was a success.  The sherry vinegar makes it different.

Serves 4

For the dressing:
1 tablespoon sugar
1 large shallot, minced 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dijon mustard 
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
7 tablespoons canola oil or olive oil

For the salad:
1 fuyu persimmon (this is the one you can eat before it’s squishy ripe)
1/2 cup hazelnuts
4 to 5 cups mixed greens, washed and dried
1 bunch watercress, stems removed, washed and dried

Preheat the oven to 350.  Roast hazelnuts for 15 to 20 minutes or until fragrant and darker, stirring and checking every 5 minutes or so.  Pour onto towel, and rub to remove as much husk as possible.  Chop coarsely and reserve.

Remove core from persimmon with a tug or a knife, and slice into thin wedges.  Do not peel.  Reserve.

Mix  sugar, shallot, salt, mustard and vinegar in a large salad bowl.  Whisk in oil.  Toss greens with oil and divide among plates.  Top with persimmon slices and hazelnuts.

Note:  I did not have ripe persimmons so I made this with dried cranberries and chopped apple and it was great.  Don’t peel the apple, and use about equal amounts of apple and cranberry.  I also like it best with olive oil and lots of dijon mustard.  

You can keep this in the fridge and I think it gets better as it ages.


  1. I just made the dressing. Hello Romaine lettuce!

  2. I love it on butter lettuce too...with nuts and blue cheese, or with pomegranate seeds and feta and a few cubes of orange.