WTF is a salad dressing recipe doing here. I know. I know. Absurd.
But seriously, anyone who has spent any time with me knows that I eat A LOT of salads. In fact, I think I am addicted to salads. But that is another blog post.
I make monstrously huge salads. Why? A calorically restricted gal's gotta fill up on clean, green foods. Usually, I am doing calorie restriction or intermittent fasting as I talk about here.
Plain old oil and vinegar gets boring after awhile. Eat two salads a day every day of your life and you know what I mean.
Awhile back, I started combining ridiculous ingredients to create interesting and -- let's call a spade a spade -- weird salad dressings. Since I mainly cook Indian and Asian foods, I have a lot of chutneys and spices and hot sauces and stuff like that banging about my fridge. Not to mention a pretty awesome selection of vinegars. Nothing fancy, just a solid collection of vinegars for any occasion or persuasion. (Vinegar is my favorite food. True.)
So this is installment #1 of my kitchen hustle.
I can imagine doing posts about how to make a few of my epic salads, a post about my vinegar shelf, a couple other posts about the other salad dressings I've perfected, etc.
Whatever. I can imagine doing none of this as well and dumping all that time into my guitar … or my songs, or my voice, or my bass, or my pandeiro, or my piano, or, or, or.
Most of my friends don't cook. I often invite these friends over to eat at my place and, after a few insanely good meals cooked on my BOOTY stove and in my tiny, poorly-lit kitchen, they start to express a desire to learn to cook. Best way to learn to cook is to cook with someone. How do you think I learned? Started cooking with my aunts -- Reeve and Ellen. Watched my Mom cook great, basic food my whole life.
#1 thing I notice about my friends who say they want to learn to cook: They're wimps. About cooking. They think if they don't have the EXACT ingredients the recipe calls for, they can't make the dish. WTF?! This comes from people who are HUGELY successful in ALL other parts of their lives. WTF?! They would never let a minor detail like that stop them from doing their other kinds of work. They'd figure it out. WTF?! So, why, when they try cooking do they get hung up on the details? This is a whole other blog post -- the psychological barriers we see, we let stop us when we are out of our element. But you can hire me as a life coach if you want me to go deeper into this question and into YOUR psychological barriers … that is, why you let obstacles stop you in your life. Seriously. I study this shit. Have been for years. And now I coach people on how to blow those barriers away. But I digress ...
The most important thing about kitchen hustle and cooking is: don't get fussy. 80% right is better than 0% cooked. Do something. Action in the kitchen matters. Don't get so hung up on everything. Simplify. Substitute. Improvise. Think laterally. Notice. Pay attention. Make changes. Mess it up. Start it over. Just do something, for crying out loud. Cooking for yourself is political. It's good for your moral fiber. It's sexy. It can be cheaper or it can be expensive. It can be whatever you want it to be. That's the whole f*cking point.
Enough ranting …
Tang Shebang Yogurt Dressing
1 teaspoon Chunky Chaat -- i use MDH brand
1 cup Acidophilus yogurt -- i use Erivan kind
1/4 cup (or less) seasoned rice vinegar
Black pepper to taste
Adjust the whole thing to taste
Put all ingredients in a mason jar and shake it around. If you're mason-less, whip it real good.
Go easy pouring it on your salad; a little goes quite a long way.
You could substitute the seasoned rice vinegar for regular rice vinegar, thereby cutting down on the saltiness (overall) and cutting out all the sugar.
I like the sugar in the seasoned rice vinegar -- it adds to the tang shebang of the whole thing. If you wanted to be in control of the sugar, use the regular rice vinegar and add sugar to the dressing yourself. Don't be fussy -- just add whatever you have on hand: honey, agave, regular old white sugar.
You can find Chunky Chaat at an Indian Grocery Store. My favorite one in Manhattan is Dual Specialty Foods on 1st Ave at 6th Street. It has everything those fancier ones have up in Curry Hill, at half the price, and the guys that run it are super helpful. I got hip to Dual Specialty from the chef Hemant Mathur at Tulsi. I took a cooking class from him and have eaten at Tulsi many times since. He is the man; that place is legit.
This salad dressing is kind of reminiscent of a salty lassi. I just had it on a spinach salad with sprouted sunflower seeds, avacado, and raw chopped cabbage and it was delicious!
The best deal is to make this and then put it back in your fridge for a few hours to let the tastes marry. It is definitely not as tangy if you let it rest for a bit.
I make a double batch when I make it and use some right away and some later (for my second salad or the next day or whatever).
Troubleshooting -- before you start whining about not living in Manhattan and how you don't have access to special ingredients and whatnot:
Order Chunky Chaat online at Amazon
Learn how to make your own (but that is WAY harder than just buying some)
Use any yogurt you want … 80% right is better than 0% cooked, fool!
Taking it further:
Steam some broccoli and pour this on top.
Spread this on crusty, chunky bread and make a sandwich or an open faced sandwich with it.
Make a dip out of this for raw veggies and such.
Make a kind of cold soup out of it. Garnish it with cilantro and eat it out of a small bowl as an appetizer.
Make a popsicle out of it. Not kidding. Doing it right now. It's already in my freezer in a popsicle mold.
This post is ridiculous. I know it.
A lot of shit is going down in my life right now: Mom still on chemo, aunt Ellen getting back on chemo … Traveling back and forth from NYC to Chadds Ford, PA to be with them both, etc.
Go easy on me.
I mean it. And let me know how I can help -- with your kitchen hustle, with blowing away the barriers in your life, with your salad dressing, with whatever.
And a little visual for the folks at home. I have no effing clue why these pics are SO large, and I don't feel like making 'em smaller at this point.
Cheers to my iPhone camera and zero food-styling knowledge and effort. Enjoy!
Also, this first one is really a picture of my rugs.