Slowly but surely salad season is beginning. Early in the local eating experiment it became apparent that greens would be a regular feature on the table. Salad is one of the simplest dishes to grow and prepare; it starts early in the season and can be stretched by cold-frames or hydroponic production well into the chilly months. Variety is also not a problem; no two of my salads ever taste the same. Surprisingly, I’ve never made my own salad dressing before. Preferring a drizzle of balsamic or the simple raw ingredients, it’s never been a problem not to have a local source. But there is a special place in my heart for one bottled dressing.
This week the May 2011 edition of Food Network Magazine arrived in my mailbox with 5 lower-calorie homemade dressing recipes. I jumped at the blue cheese (my all-time salad favorite) although it still has a few non-local ingredients (What is the Minnesota equivalent of Worcestershire sauce?). The blue cheese I bought was pre-crumbled and from a Wisconsin diary, part of Mississippi Market’s extensive selection of local cheeses. It’s as easy to eat on everything as it is to make.
Creamy Lite Blue Cheese Dressing
By Amy Sippl, adapted from Food Network Magazine
1/2 C. plain yogurt (used my own homemade yogurt which made a slightly thinner dressing)
1 Tbsp. skim milk
1/4 C. mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
pinch of chili powder
1/2 C. crumbled blue cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Place all ingredients except blue cheese together in a small bowl. Whisk until well-blended and smooth. Fold in blue cheese. The size of the chunks is preference–I tend to enjoy them a little larger than a typical bottled dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate covered for several hours to enhance flavors before serving (if you can manage not sneaking some right away!)