We can’t all be good at everything. One of my serious weaknesses in the kitchen is the ability to make salad dressings.


Sometimes I find it refreshing to talk about things I am bad at. I have always tried to do more than I have time for and I like to do things well. The two traits do not always create the most relaxing pace or satisfied peace of mind. I am a pleaser who likes to succeed. I enjoy accomplishments, I seek challenges and I feel proud of successes.  But, all that can be a bit too much and from time to time, I feel like I need a break from myself.

I wish I could carve out the time to post on this blog 3 times a week consistently. I never do. I wish I had the willpower to turn down chocolate and doughnuts. I don’t. I wish I could learn to say no to things so that my life is not always flying at a break neck pace. I can’t. I am not good with punctuation and grammar and the three unread English grammar books I bought two months ago aren’t going to fix that. I was never good at basketball. I talk too much. I can’t make good salad dressing.

Sometimes I dream of going back in time and being a bad kid in school for a week, just to see how it feels. I wouldn’t do my homework. I wouldn’t care when I failed. I would skip school and hang out at the beach (probably smoking) without a single concern. I can barely imagine. When I first started my own consulting business, I worked out of my house.  Someone suggested that I get dressed and walk out of the house and then back in again to symbolically start the work day and make sure I stay on task. I wish that someone had given me the hint about how to symbolically turn the work day off!  For two years, I have been planning to skip out of my office one day and go see a matinee by myself. Some day I really am going to do it …

Regarding salad dressing, I have a new technique to tackle this weakness. It is very novel, it is called “following a recipe.” I always see people toss together a number of ingredients, tasting here and there until they have a wonderful emulsification of flavors to coat their veggies. Though I wish I could, I have never been able to do that. So, I am backing up a step and trying to follow recipes now and then to better learn the basics.

This buttermilk dressing was simple and tasty. I have mixed up the herbs to slightly change the flavors. Perhaps after I have made it a time or two, I will be able to save from dirtying the measuring tools and wing it like the pros.

Buttermilk Dressing
Found on Smitten Kitchen

1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives (or other fresh herbs)
salt & pepper

Whisk together buttermilk, mayonnaise, vinegar, shallot, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl until sugar has dissolved, then whisk in chives.

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7 Responses to “Basic Buttermilk Salad Dressing”

  1. Neil Butterfield Says:

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I don’t think you should be so hard on yourself. I am sure you have accomplished much in your life. :-)

  2. Cortney Says:

    Love the recipe! I’m going to try it, as I have never made a salad dressing. (And I agree with Neil.) -p.s. this is Cortney from Masters.

  3. Culinary School: Three Semesters of Life, Learning, and Loss of Blood Says:

    One of the things I loved doing best when I was a culinary school student (I wrote about it here, if you’re interested: “Culinary School: Three Semesters of Life, Learning, and Loss of Blood,” on Amazon Kindle – http://amzn.to/oqXw1R) was sauces. A good sauce – and, of course, vinaigrette – is really a thing of beauty.

  4. Abby Says:

    We can’t all be good at everything! This blog is gorgeous so I have no doubts that you’re a very capable woman. This salad dressing looks wonderful. I’ve never made any dressings homemade, other than mayo and ketchup. (My grandmother did it that way; a 1950s holdover, maybe?)

  5. Anne Says:

    I can’t wait to try this; I know I will love it. Everyone always says that making your own salad dressing is so easy and so much better. That bottle of Hidden Valley Ranch in my fridge has been hurting my foodie cred. ;-)

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