everyday-blackberry-basilDon’t you just love a good salad? I know I do! Salads are kind of my “thing.” I often use whatever fresh fruits and vegetables we have in the refrigerator to come up with new concoctions. The thing is, I don’t particularly care for bottled vinaigrettes and dressings. It’s so easy to whip up a fresh, homemade dressing!

A few ingredients, a small bowl and a whisk is all it takes to make your salad sheer perfection. This week, I’m sharing a few of my favorites. Enjoy! (Photography by Paul Nurnberg)

Blackberry-Basil Vinaigrette (above)
5 tablespoons seedless blackberry preserves
¼ cup red wine vinegar
6 fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Place preserves, vinegar, basil, garlic, salt and pepper in a blender. Pulse until blended. With blender running, pour vegetable oil through lid in a slow, steady stream; process until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Warm Brie Vinaigrette

everyday-brie-dressing8 ounces brie cheese
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup sherry wine vinegar
3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 teaspoons minced green onion, tops only
Remove rind from brie. Cut cheese into small pieces and allow it to soften to room temperature. Heat oil in skillet over low heat Add garlic and saute until tender. Blend in vinegar, lemon juice and mustard. Add cheese and stir until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in green onions. Drizzle warm dressing over salad. Serve immediately.

Creamy French Dressing
everyday-creamy-french2/3 cup ketchup
½ cup vinegar
¼ cup sugar
2½ teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¾ cup vegetable oil
Combine first 7 ingredients in an electric blender. Process until smooth. Add oil, ¼ cup at a time, processing after each addition. Cover and chill for 2 hours. Refrigerate leftover dressing.

Citrus Dressing
everyday-citrus-dressing1/3 cup fresh grapefruit juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Combine grapefruit juice, honey, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil until blended. Cover and set aside until ready to serve. Refrigerate leftover dressing.

Cranberry Sauce Vinaigrette
everyday-cranberry-sauce1 (14-ounce) can whole berry cranberry sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon orange juice
¼ cup vegetable oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
In a small bowl, whisk together cranberry sauce, garlic, white balsamic vinegar, orange juice and vegetable oil. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate leftover vinaigrette.

The writer owns Catering by Debbi Covington and is the author of two cookbooks, Gold Medal Winner of the Benjamin Franklin Award, Celebrate Everything! and Dining Under the Carolina Moon. Debbi’s website address is www.cateringbydebbicovington.com. She may be reached at 525-0350 or by email at dbc@cateringbydebbicovington.com