One of the things I enjoy doing the most is problem solving. When it comes to cooking, problem solving takes on a whole new meaning. For instance, you have a list of ingredients you would like to bring together but, you want them all to taste good together. When it comes to eating healthy, this is constant problem that comes up. But, what about when it goes beyond just "healthy" eating and goes to foods with a cause or purpose?
Not going into too many details, recently I decided that I wanted to combine the following ingredients together in some sort of way that would make them very tasty and appealing: Ginger, as in, gingerale or ginger bread; Curcumin, the ingredient that goes into almost every curry and can be found in Turmeric; Folate rich foods, such as spinach and dark green veggies; Antioxidant rich fruits; Cayenne, as in the pepper; and heart healthier oils/fats such as extra virgin olive oil.
After thinking about it for a minute or two, I decided that a salad dressing would be the best route to go with. The nice thing about dressings is they not only taste great on veggies but often work well with lean meats or even for just dipping bread in. Trying to maintain a minimalistic look at it, I decided a vinaigrette would be the way to go. The main idea was to load the recipe with the main ingredients and not a bunch of extras. I wanted to get the most out of the main ingredients that I could. The following recipe is what I came up with and I'll tell you right now, this stuff rocks!
Blue-Pom Ginger Dressing:
4 cups Pomegranate - Blueberry blend juice
1/2 cup Red Wine Vinegar
1 piece (half dollar size) Candied Ginger
1 Tbs Sugar
1 Tbs Ginger (standard powder form)
1 tsp Turmeric
1/4 tsp Cayenne
1/8 tsp Garlic powder
Grape Seed Oil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Start with the juice in a 2 quart sauce pan. Mince the Candied Ginger and add it along with the other Ginger, Turmeric, Cayenne, and Garlic to the juice. Bring the contents of the pan to a simmer and continue to simmer for about 45 minutes making sure to stir the mixture often. You are looking to reduce the mixture by about 1/3rd. Add the Red Wine Vinegar and sugar. Continue to simmer for 10 more minutes then remove from the heat and allow to cool. Once the mixture has cooled you are ready to mix the dressing. Mix 5 Tbs of the mixture with 2 Tbs of Grape Seed Oil, 2 Tbs of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and 1/2 tsp of mustard (the mustard helps to keep the dressing from seperating immediately). If you don't happen to have Grape Seed Oil, you can use just straight Extra Virgin Olive Oil instead. I've found it's easiest to mix this in a jar or a squeeze bottle. Make sure to refrigerate the mixture and dressing after use.
This dressing is superb on spinach salads but, I've also found it to be quite good with chicken as well. It is more of a sweeter dressing than a sour one. There is alot of flavor depth to it and the strange thing is, the more I eat it, the more I crave it. I also plan on doing some experimenting with the mixture by itself, I have a feeling it would work with many applications.