Break it down

I like recipes that have simple ingredients that I know how to either find locally or grow myself. I find myself constantly trying to break down a recipe the the point where I feel like I have the knowledge to make each ingredient from scratch, myself.

For example, I was reading a blog the other day that had a balsamic vinaigrette dressing recipe. Even though I haven’t tried it yet, it seems like a great dressing recipe, but upon reading the ingredients list my mind still wanted to know more.

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Ok, I just learned a couple weeks ago reading another blog that making vinegar at home is actually fairly easy, but that was cider vinegar. How do you make balsamic? Add that to the “need to know” list to Google later.

  • 3/4  cup olive oil

I have absolutely no idea how to get any oil separated from vegetables at home, and olives don’t really grow much around Illinois. This will have to come from the store, but almost any oil could be substituted, with slightly different taste and texture resulting.

  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard

That sounds do-able. Google it now, “dijon mustard recipe.”  That leads us down a road to a new recipe that contains the ingredient “dry mustard.” Ok, I suppose that’s just powdered dried mustard seeds, ground with a mortar and pestle.  I have grown mustard greens before and I could do so again, let it go to seed, and collect the seeds myself.  Ok, knowledge acquired, moving on.

  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon tarragon

These herbs seem fairly straightforward to grow and save. We have thyme outside right now. Check.

  • salt and pepper to taste

Ok, two more imported ingredients that just really can’t be grown or harvested around these parts.

So now? Now I want to learn how to make Balsamic Vinegar and I’m a bit curious about how they get the oil out of olives or corn or sunflower seeds. These are the patterns of my mind.

[Thanks to The Apartment Farm for putting up with this bit of nonsense.]

4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Roseanne on September 11, 2010 at 10:33 am

    I would imagine you need a press to extract oils


  2. This is awesome! 🙂 Making my own mustard has been on my to do list, maybe I’ll finally get around to it now.


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