Thursday, July 24, 2008

Simple Things

Tonight we held our special event dinner for the month of July, our third annual garlic dinner, pairing wines with garlic-heavy dishes. Each time we hold one of these dinners, some particular thing in the dinner really resonates with customers and it's generally one of the simpler things, a background player rather than one of the headliners of the dinner.

Tonight, it was the creamy garlic dressing for the salad course. Before the course was barely served to all the dinner guests, the servers were back telling me that guests wanted the recipe.

Oh no! Not the recipe! If you've followed this blog for any length of time, you know that recipes and I are not really good friends. I just don't use them. Sometimes I record them after the fact to convey what I did to others, but for me, I have little use for them.

Here, then, is an attempt to capture the recipe for creamy garlic dressing. (I'm still at a loss how to express the concept of using however much sour cream I had left in the bottom of the 5-pound tub.) Also, I made about a liter and a half of dressing and this is an attempt—a wholly untested attempt I might add—to both recreate and scale down the dressing simultaneously. Caveat emptor, which is Latin for "this recipe is worth what you paid for it."

Creamy Garlic Dressing

1/4 c rice wine vinegar
1 T minced garlic
1 T minced parsley
1 T minced chives
1/2 t black pepper, coarsely ground
1/2 t salt
1/2 c sour cream
3/4 to 1 c vegetable oil (I used pure olive oil)

Place the vinegar, garlic, parsley, chives, pepper and salt in a blender container and blend until smooth. Add the sour cream and blend, then with the motor running, add the oil in a stream.

I let the dressing sit in the cooler for several hours and it tightened up, so I added a small quantity of hot water to loosen it back up.

I should mention that ratio of acid to oil is highly personal. I generally like 1 part acid to 3 parts oil, but I found in this recipe that I wanted more oil. Perhaps the sourness of the sour cream wanted more oil. Making any dressing is an exercise in balance. First, you have to know how tart you want the dressing and then add either more acid or more oil to get it to that point.

Bob, you said you'd tinker with this to refine the recipe. Have at it. And post the result as a comment if you wouldn't mind.

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