The salads of spring don't need a lot more than beautiful lettuces and colorful toppings, such as red peppers, carrots and tomatoes, if you're lucky enough to find some with flavor. But to me, the dressing is still the most important part of a salad.
Since Pisa Pizza closed, I've been longing for its balsamic vinaigrette. I used to pick up a large container of it every now and then to take home, and it would last for quite a while. It was the best balsamic in town -- thick enough to stick to the lettuce and really tangy.
I've been at a loss for a similar recipe. Fortunately, Scott Courter, who owned the pizzeria, was gracious enough to send me the recipe. I am printing it as I received it, along with a couple of my notes for measurements.
Be forewarned: This makes a lot of dressing, but it will last in the refrigerator for quite some time. Or you can put some in a bottle and give it to a friend. Those in my family who have tried it thoroughly enjoyed it.
As a side note, I've been doing a lot of shopping at Aldi lately, primarily in the produce department where I can always find really big avocados for 89 cents each, as well as a beautiful container of lettuces for $1.98. They're the best prices I've found in town, and the quality is wonderful.
Pisa Pizza's Balsamic Dressing
Equal parts fresh basil and oregano, enough to fill to the top of the blade of a food processor
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
1 tablespoon brown mustard
1/4 cup Egg Beaters
Extra-virgin olive oil
Place fresh herbs in food processor to height of steel blade. Add balsamic vinegar so that it covers blade. Add garlic, honey, salt, pepper, mustard and Egg Beaters; blend till herbs are very finely chopped and mixture is smooth. As you are mixing, add extra-virgin olive oil until the mixture thickens and turns a light brown color. If the mixture is too thick, add a little water. The mixture should fill up the bowl of the food processor.
Notes: If you know someone with an herb garden, oregano should be available. It will take about 2 packages of fresh basil unless you have it growing in your kitchen window. I ended up using about 20 ounces of olive oil. Also, after sitting in my refrigerator for a couple of weeks, the dressing became extremely thick. I didn't want to add water that might dilute the taste, so I microwaved it for about 1 minute, and it thinned it out perfectly.
New on the market ... Remember when the first undercabinet appliances came on the market? Can openers, toaster ovens, even radios and televisions took the market by storm. Cooks loved them because they freed up much-needed counter space, seemingly enlarging the kitchen by taking advantage of once unused space.
But it didn't take long before they disappeared. Kitchen designers began housing appliances in counter "garages" or customizing space inside cabinets rather than underneath them so they would disappear completely when not in use.
Now, one manufacturer, Vogel, has come up with a clever device that reminds me of those undercabinet days. Fast-forward a few decades, and you'll see it's just what today's cooks need: something to hold your iPad at eye level while you cook.
The RingO Tablet Holder installs with just a few screws and is compatible with not only your iPad but also iPad 2 and Galaxy tablets. It is available at all Apple stores as well as Apple resellers. Check it out at www.tablet onthewall.com.
The RingO is designed to get your tablet off the messy counter and onto a safer environment. This is something that would be a great graduation gift for any college-bound cook. It's priced at $69.99.
I'm sold on this idea because I'm always printing out recipes, not wanting to take my laptop into the kitchen when I'm cooking. This saves on printing. Now I just need a tablet!