Need a last minute gift from your kitchen for someone special? You’ll have most of these ingredients in your cupboard to make this great mix to make a nice flexible vinaigrette. You might want to include a pretty bottle, with a tight-fitting lid, that’s reusable. It’s a tasty little stocking-stuffer.It works great if you mix dry blends in a plastic bag. Because a plastic bag is easier to manipulate, you are able to more thoroughly blend ingredients. No pockets of one ingredient or another. This is pretty much true for all dry mixes or blends.
Xanthan gum (between the salt on the right and the dry mustard on the left) is a natural thickening agent and a stabilizer; you’ll see it in low-calorie liquid preparations, BBQ sauces, ice cream, and is pretty essential in gluten-free baking, as well as other things. The key to remember when working with gums, is that xanthan gum absorbs liquid like crazy. We’re talking sponge-like absorption. If you spill some, DO NOT use water or a damp cloth wipe it up until you’ve gotten up as much of the dry product as you can. If you use water before that point, you’ll end up with a gummy, sticky mess and there will be cursing. It’s entirely possible that The Goddess’s name might come up. We don’t want that. We don’t want bolts of lightning flying around here, do we?
In perhaps the last 15 years or so, we’ve been hearing the term “umami” with some frequency. Umami is MSG. Umami is sexy, MSG is scary. So let’s talk a bit about MSG (the little bit of white crystals between the minced garlic and bell pepper flakes. Glutamate, the “G” part of MSG, is an amino acid; it is produced in the body and plays an essential role in human metabolism. But we’re looking at MSG as a flavor enhancer, which has been around since the very early part of the 20th century. It’s sold under the name “Accent®” and “Ajinomoto®”. While there may be a small number of people who have some sensitivity to MSG, there is no concrete scientific evidence that it is an allergen. It occurs naturally in tomatoes, soy sauce, Parmesan cheese, mushrooms and many, many other things (including our bodies). If you’re interested, there’s an article here, here and here. Read them and then decide for yourself. This mix is good without it, but tastes much better with the MSG added.
Everyday Vinaigrette Mix
- 2 tablespoons dried basil leaves
- 4 teaspoons sugar
- 4 teaspoons dried minced garlic
- 4 teaspoons onion granules
- 4 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 4 teaspoons dried bell pepper flakes
- 4 teaspoons dried mustard
- 3-4 teaspoons kosher salt*
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
- Pinch of MSG (less than 1/16 teaspoon)
*If using Morton® Kosher Salt use the lesser amount; if using Diamond® Kosher Salt, use the greater amount.
Combine the ingredients; place in a container with a tight-fitting lid and store in a dark place. Will keep for at least 2 months.
If giving as a gift, you may want to include the following instructions:
To prepare the vinaigrette, in a 16-ounce jar (1 pint), place:
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup wine or cider vinegar (can be flavored, if you wish)
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup good olive oil
Shake well to combine. Then add 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) Everyday Vinaigrette Mix; shake well. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before using. Keeps well in the fridge.
COOKING NOTE: You can play with the water and vinegar ratios. If you like a sharper dressing, increase the vinegar and reduce the water or oil by an equal amount. A note about the MSG—The dressing will be better with it included, but if you prefer not to use it, then omit it.
Everyday Vinaigrette Mix Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2015. All rights reserved.
This is simple to prepare and makes up into a nice, sharp vinaigrette. I use it on steamed and roasted vegetables, baked potatoes, tossed salads and it’s great on a French-style Potato Salad. At times, I add bleu cheese or feta to the dressing, but you’ll need a larger jar to accommodate that addition. You can whisk the dry mix into Greek-style yogurt, adding water and some oil to make a pint. I haven’t yet written that creamier version down, as I just make it by taste and sight. Try it yourself, using a couple of teaspoons of dry mix to 1/2 cup Greek-style yogurt. Now, share this with others and enjoy!!