Monday, October 3, 2011

Wingin' It

Amanda tries to re-create a spectacular dressing....

It all started a little over a week ago. Sushi night at my house with some of my neighborhood girlfriends. I do it a few times a year. Lots of laughs (and wine) are regular components of the night. Usually I just order a few platters of different pieces of sushi and exotic rolls. This time, I wanted to add a salad to the mix. I was feeling inspired and wanted to make something special, (but easy) impressive and healthy. I had a hankering for carrot ginger dressing. I envisioned a pretty, crisp, fresh salad to begin our night, along with some Prosecco.

There are a few things I am very particular about, and like only when made in a certain style - hot and sour soup is one, gazpacho another, and carrot ginger dressing yet name a few.  I have a specific type of carrot ginger dressing that I like and I was in search of a recipe that sounded like it might meet my expectations. Right away I was attracted to one in particular - a recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop Newsletter. (the original recipe is at the bottom of the page on her site).

Seemed straightforward, looked pretty, and I imagined this was exactly what I was looking for. I bought the ingredients on Thursday, and the dinner was going to be on Friday. I decided I would make the dressing Thursday evening. I went to Whole Foods in search of the sweet white miso. Lo and behold, they were out of stock. The employee I spoke with recommended I use the red miso - that it wouldn't make much of a difference. As miso is not my forte, I took his advice and went with the red.

Once I began, right away I knew I would not have nearly enough. Having just got home from hot yoga, I was exhausted - it was 9 pm and I was ready for sleep. I made a quick batch, using the miso very sparingly as I did not know how it would taste. The recipe is for 1 serving. Knowing I would have 6 women over, I increased all of the ingredients. As I enjoy heaps of this kind of dressing on my salad, I wanted to have way more than enough. I took a small taste.  For me, the shallot was too pronounced and rendered the dressing very "oniony" - too much so. Plus, I felt it was missing something. This is what you get for rushing and trying to create something when your heart is not in it. All I could think of was my bed. Not sure whether to throw it out, or start over, I finally decided to put it in a container and deal with it the next day.

So, morning came and off to work I went. Once I got home, I knew I'd have about 1 1/2 hours to finish the dressing before my guests appeared. Plus, I had to straighten up, feed the kids, set the table and pick up the sushi. The day before I had picked up pretty black plates on which to serve the salad.  I was determined to make it a success. Before I did anything else, I had that dressing to contend with. I was on a mission!

I took the previous night's concoction out of the fridge. Got the Cuisinart out. Lined up the ingredients. I poured the dressing I had already made into the food processor. I knew I would not be adding anymore shallots. I would just add the other ingredients to balance it out. First, I re-tasted it. Definitely still too oniony. And it needed a touch of sweetness - perhaps that is what the sweet white miso would've helped with? I decided to add some mirin - a Japanese rice wine similar to sake but with less alcohol. And, it's sweet. So, I drizzled some in. Peeled 3 more large carrots, cut up a huge chunk of ginger, and added more rice vinegar, red miso, sesame oil, vegetable oil and water. Didn't measure anything - decided to just "wing it". After all, I was running out of time.

Pressed the puree button. When I felt it was the right consistency, it was time to try it. IT WAS INCREDIBLE! I couldn't believe it. I thought "this is it!" This is the recipe I've been searching for! It was literally 100% of what I had hoped for. I don't know how I did it.  When the time came, I put some cut up Bibb lettuce and sliced avocado on each plate. I topped it off with a few heaping spoonfuls of the carrot ginger dressing. It was a tremendous hit. Everyone commented that it was better than the dressing they get in Japanese restaurants! I was so happy with the result.

But now here's the problem - I don't know if I can do it again. Was it luck? I'll find out tonight when I try to re-create it. Stay tuned....I will let you know later. And, I'm going to pay closer attention to the quantities I use so I can post them! Gwyneth Paltrow's recipe is terrific and I highly recommend it! Check it out by visiting the link above. I will post my version later!

1 comment:

  1. Amanda- Bravo! That is the way to cook. Try roasting the carrots next time before adding to the dressing, it will bring out the sweetness, something you thought was missing the first go round.


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