Summer Sunshine Salad Dressing - "Get's the Grey Out"

Tomorrow is Black Friday or, perhaps better known to folks reading this blog,  Buy Nothing Day.  And to honour this gift-giving season, I thought I'd share a few recipes and ideas on herbal gifts that you can make yourself.It's part of a campaign that I'm hoping will become an annual practice called...

D.I.Y. instead of B.U.Y.

(and no, b.u.y. isn't an acronym for anything, but without the dots, you won't read it as "B","U", "Y" and then it looses it's puntastic zing entirely.  and just to be sure we're on the same page DIY = do it yourself)I'm going to dedicate this years recipes to the striking Walmart employees all over the place.  Did you know that there are 1000+ stores with striking employees right now?  Walmart's the largest employer in the US with an average wage of $8ish.  Click the pic for an article...Ok, let's get onto the recipe.

Summer Sunshine Salad Dressing

I used to call this vinaigrette my Anti-depressant salad dressing, but I had to change it cause that's a terrible gift idea.  "thanks for the gift.  what are you trying to say?"2 parts...Infused Oil & Infused VinegarThere are 2 ways to do these.  Use either method for either part.Infused Vinegar...

  1. Put 1 cup of dry Lemonbalm - crushed or powdered - in a 1 L jar.
  2. Cover with Apple Cider Vinegar.  You can replace this with other vinegars, but don't go too dark or you won't taste the herb and never, ever, ever use bleached vinegar.
  3. Shake every day for a full minute
  4. After 2-4 weeks, strain through cheese cloth & squeeze as much liquid out as you can.

Infused Oil...

  1. Put 1/2 cup of Calendula Flowers + 1/2 cup of St. John's Wort flowers in a double boiler.
  2. Add 1 L of your favourite cooking oil.  Olive/sunflower/grapeseed all work fine, but like the vinegar, lighter is better. (don't use an oil that goes rancid with heat.  rancid oil is a terrible gift!)
  3. Cook 3-4 hrs.  The double boiler should be on a low heat so that the oil is warm, but not hot.
  4. The colour will turn a gorgeous deep red.
  5. Let it cool before straining so you don't burn yourself.  Just because this oil also makes a great burn remedy doesn't mean it won't hurt if it's hot.
  6. Strain through cheese cloth.

Serving Instructions...If you're just going to eat it, I'd suggest blend roughly equal parts of oil & vinegar with a pinch of salt (and i'd add a clove of garlic).Or shake well, the bottle containing both, before serving. (because they separate)Gift Presentation ideas...This sort of gift is a great way to use old wine bottles.  Salad dressing from a wine bottle gives it a more authentic italian feel.I'd mix it 50/50 in the bottle, again with a pinch of salt and 2-3 cloves of garlic - cut in half so they actually add some flavour.  If you've got some unused calendula flowers (fresh will look best), put them in the bottom of the bottle before adding liquid.  And don't worry, the garlic's not going to go bad sitting in a jar of oil and vinegar as long as it's covered.Last thought, tinted bottles and jars are ideal for preserving the qualities of both oils and herbs.  BUT this oil is so beautiful that it seems a waste to hide it.  A clear bottle will mean that it get's used up quickly.  This also prevents spoilage.Oh, and make a nice label with the titleSummer Sunshine Salad Dressing.Why these herbs? you may be asking.  They're all great to elevating your mood and have been used to treat S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder).  In particular, the St. John's Wort and Calendula hold a tremendous amount of sun energy.  St. John's Wort has a reputation for being an anti-depressant largely because of it's influence on serotonin levels in the brain.This dressing isn't going to give a medicinal dose, per se.  But the power of your attention and intention while making it (and the fresh flowers in the bottle help this A LOT) will definitely bring a smile every time it's seen &/or used.Bon appetite!