Posted by: smortimer | 2009/05/13


I have been asked several times over the last week or so for recipes of things that I cook.  Kiru wants salad dressing recipes, a co-worker has also asked me for salad dressing recipes along with some of my deepest bar-b-q secrets!  I have to give him my rub recipe and some tips on using smoke pouches on a propane grill.  Another of my friends bugs me fairly regularly for my “Mushroom Thingamajiggy” a name he coined actually.

Here’s the problem . . . I seldom cook from a recipe.  The aforementioned mushroom dish is a duxelles covered brie baked in pastry.  The duxelles is chopped, sauteed mushrooms(I use fresh on their own or sometimes add some dried that I have soaked) with onions or shallots and/or garlic, red or white wine(brandy or cognac will work too) if you like, fresh thyme and/or rosemary, salt, pepper, butter, parmasean cheese and cream if you like (or have it on hand).

Melt butter in the pan, you can add some canola or olive oil if you would like to help prevent the butter from burning.  Add mushrooms, onions/shallots sautee for a few minutes, add garlic, herbs keep sautee’ing, once you can really smell the garlic add your wine if you want.  Depending on your mushrooms at some point the whole thing might get a little soupy, just keep on the heat and stirring, the liquid will evaporate.  Add cheese and cream if desired stir gently so that you end up with an almost paste like substance.  This is not a very fair description, I have never had this turn out as anything short of fantastic.  While it is somewhat pastey in consistancy, if you like mushrooms this is close to mushroom perfection.  Now you can let it cool slightly before spooning generously over a wheel of brie that is resting on a sheet of pastry that is slightly larger than your brie.  Top with pastry and seal up all the edges.  Bake at 375 or so until the pastry is flaky and golden brown.  Serve with crackers, croustini or as my friend prefers a spoon!  Also with the duxelles you can add to freshly cooked noodles, I prefer a broad flat noodle, tagliatelle or maybe a penne.  You could make awesome ravioli or dumplings with it.  Mix into your risotto, or anywhere else you enjoy a rich sensuous kick of mushroomy goodness.

Salad dressings I approach in much the same way.  Common culinary wisdom says that a salad dressing should be 1 part acid, to 2 or 3 parts oil.  So use that as your base.  1/3 of a cup of vinegar, citrus juice or combinations thereof, 2/3 cup of oil or a whole cup until you get the consistancy you prefer.  Then you need to add your flavours, dijion or thick grainy mustards, fresh herbs, freshly cracked pepper, minced garlic and shallots, the sky is the limit.  Here’s a white wine vinagrette I have made:

  • juice of 1 lemon
  • enough white wine vinegar to make a 1/2 of a cup with the lemon juice and use good vinegar here, it’s not going to be disguised so you will taste quality
  • canola or olive oil, canola has a neutral taste, if you like the fruitiness of a cold pressed extra virgin then go for that
  • fresh thyme leaves picked off the stems
  • salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • dijion mustard, I like a really strong one for something like this

Whisk together the mustard and the vinegar/lemon until it’s combined very well, add your salt, pepper and thyme.  Very, very slowly, like by the drop start adding your oil as you whisk the vinegar mix vigorously.  As your dressing starts to emulsify you can add the oil a little faster, you can work your way upto a fairly steady stream.  Until you are used to this though I would suggest you take it slow.  Once you have added approx one and a half cups of the oil I would stop and taste.  You may need to adjust the salt and pepper, you are also checking for the acidity of the dressing.  If you find the dressing too sharp add some more oil, if you like where it is now then you are done.  If you keep your dressing in a resealable jar or bottle, you can just give it a good shake when you want to use it.

I first used this dressing on a salad of fennel, granny smith apples, red and yellow bell pepper slivers.  Fennel bulb is a great addition to a salad, you will most likely find you can surprise quite a few people with it in your salad.

These things all have one thing in common, I just made them up based on what I thought would taste good, and what ingredients I could get my hands on.  Well I didn’t invent duxelles of course, but my version is not a traditional recipe.

I do want to start trying to capture some of these things, so you will most likely get to see more “recipes” in the future.



  1. a good dressing is something i love i make it
    1 olive oil
    1 fresh lemon juice
    1 tsp good mustard mix

    mix well. make to the amount u need

  2. The tip on 1/3 acid to 2/3 oil will help me a lot! I had no idea where to start with making my own salad dressings.

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