Lemongrass Dressing

It's possible to spend a huge amount of time looking at recipes on-line, as I discovered when I decided to make a spinach and orange salad with lemongrass dressing for a festive occasion. First I looked at variations of spinach/orange salads, or "spinage" as I just typed. Yikes. I wanted the salad to be really colorful, with red bell pepper, green sugar snap peas, and sunflower seeds. I was planning a red wine vinegar dressing for the salad, but couldn't find a recipe that seemed quite right.

Then I went off on a lemongrass tangent, to see if the herb could be used in a salad dressing. I needed basic information about what parts of the stalk should be used, how much to peel away, and what quantity might be appropriate.

To be honest, I didn't follow any of the recipes, but the salad turned out pretty tasty. Just a few days ago I made the world's worst pesto by attempting to follow a recipe. For some reason, I confused "clove" with "bulb", and put about twenty times too much garlic in with the basil, pine nuts, and olive oil. I also didn't know that using a garlic press results in a ten times stronger flavor than slicing cloves with a knife. We sure haven't seen any demons, werewolves, or vampires around the condo this week.

This was my concoction for a lemongrass dressing, but don't follow it too closely. Like a big truck, it might make wide turns.

In a blender:
Juice of a lime
2 whole cloves of garlic
3 peeled stalks of lemongrass about 4" long
A big dribble of soy sauce
A lot of fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup cooking oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. sugar
Pinch of salt
4 fresh basil leaves
Add more sugar, salt, and black pepper to taste after blending.

The preschoolers were playing a choosing game by telling their favorite color, finding something that color in the classroom, and thinking of rhyming words for their color. In a survival of the fittest evolution, this game weeds children who prefer orange or purple out of the breeding pool.

According to the Oxford Rhyming Dictionary, "Orange is one of those words that famously has nothing perfectly to rhyme with it. The other one is silver."

I've never met a preschooler who prefers silver. Silver is an acquired taste. Just ask any woman over fifty if she saw Bjorn Borg sitting in the front row of the Wimbledon men's final last weekend!

Purple is problematic, with no rhymes in the vocabulary of most English speakers. Thanks to the wttygrrl blogger for reminding me that door hinge rhymes with orange. Tasting my pesto effort was like pinching your forehead in a big door hinge. Spinage! Yikes!

© 2008 Nancy L. Ruder

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