Balsamic Vinaigrette

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3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste
Optional additions:
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
1 tablespoon fresh herbs, minced
2 teaspoons minced garlic or shallots


  • Place vinegar, salt and mustard in bowl and whisk well until salt is dissolved.
  • Add the oil in a steady stream and whisk until the mixture has the appearance of a smooth sauce.
  • Taste and adjust to your liking by adding more vinegar or oil.
  • If adding fresh herbs and shallots, refrigerate any extra dressing. It will keep for one week.

Sesame Ginger Sauce

Adapted from Cooking Up the Good Life, by Jenny Breen

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1/8 cup chopped garlic (about 5 cloves)
1 – 2 inches fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped or grated
¼ cup tamari
2 tablespoons tahini
Juice from 1/2 lemon (~2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons maple syrup


  1. Sauté ginger and garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil for 2 to 3 minutes to infuse the oil with the flavors. Set aside to cool.
  2. Whisk the remaining oil with the tamari, tahini, lemon juice, and maple syrup. Then add the cooled ginger and garlic.

Homemade Mayonnaise


1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (lemon juice may be substituted with vinegar)
1 ½ teaspoons white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
3/4 cup sunflower oil or olive oil


  1. Whisk the egg yolk vigorously until thick and sticky (2-3 minutes), then whisk in the vinegar, lemon juice (if using) mustard, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in medium bowl for about 30 seconds.
  2. While constantly whisking, add oil, one drop at a time, using a teaspoon until ¼ cup of oil has been whisked into the yolk mixture. The mixture should be thick like heavy cream.
  3. Now, gradually add remaining 1/2 cup oil in thin stream, whisking constantly, until mayonnaise is thick.
  4. Cover and chill.

Can be made up to 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.

Basil (Fresh Herb) Pesto


Fresh Basil Pesto

2-3 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons pine nuts (or ¼ cup walnuts, pistachios, toasted almonds, cashews, etc.)
½ cup olive oil
3 cups fresh basil leaves (can also use a combination of other seasonal fresh herbs.)
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan

Combine all ingredients in food processor. Blend until smooth.

Basic Tomato Sauce

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2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, small dice
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried marjoram
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 – 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Heat oil in a wide 4-quart sauce pan, add onions and herbs and saute until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients along with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and bring to a simmer.
  3. Let sauce simmer until the flavor is fully developed and sauce has thickened, about 30 minutes.
  4. Run sauce through a food mill, or puree in a blender.
  5. Taste for salt and season with pepper.

Makes about 2 ½ cups

Curry Cheese Sauce

1 cup firmly packed grated mild cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons curry powder


  1. Grate cheese, set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a saucepan, whisk in flour and salt and heat until there is a nutty aroma.
  3. Slowly add the milk while constantly whisking and heat to just under boiling.
  4. Whisk in the cheese, a little at a time – making sure to not let the sauce boil.
  5. Remove from heat, and stir curry powder into the sauce.

Fresh Salsa

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4 large tomatoes, finely diced
1 small red or white onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced (optional)
1 jalapeno, seeds removed, minced
1/2 large bunch cilantro, minced
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons salt

Combine all ingredients in bowl and mix well.  Makes 6 cups.
Variations: Add 1 cup of any one of the following: fresh corn, cooked black beans, diced ripe avocado, or a combination of all.