Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette

Please excuse my language here, but I am just not one of those people that has their shit together.  Ever.  I’ve been known to bring presents without bows, I’m habitually late, incredibly forgetful, have a hard time making the simplest decisions, and organization is not my strong point.  And I might scream, cry, and curse at the drop of a hat (or boot).  I haven’t been to the gym in ages, but yet that hasn’t stopped me from eating dessert, or indulging in an extra cocktail.  I’ll never have the greatest food blog and the most followers; my writing isn’t engaging & witty, and my photos never seem to nail proper composure, exposure, & focus in the same shot.  While I am proud of my accomplishments at my job, I never feel it’s good enough because someone else edited something better/faster/more important.  My house never stays clean, has ZERO art on the walls, and something I need is always either two floors up or two floors down.  I didn’t respond to an email, FB message, tweet, phone call, text, writing in the sky, etc.  And I just can’t seem to catch up to my bills.

But you know what?  No one is perfect.  And not everything I do is insufficient.  Every once in a while, it seems the stars align, and I actually have ALL the ingredients I need to throw together something I feel like eating.  Such was the case with this salad.  A sale on spring mix & strawberries, some leftover blueberry goat cheese, a handful of chopped walnuts and voila!  Salad.  And I even had all the ingredients to make my own dressing.  I didn’t have any bottled dressings that matched the flavors of the salad, and didn’t want to have to stop at the store, so I just made my own.  If your looking for a way to impress people, let me suggest whipping together a salad dressing.  To people who don’t know how incredibly simple it is, it looks as though you’ve accomplished some an impressive feat.  What they don’t know is that I threw together this salad & homemade dressing in a matter of minutes while my husband gave me the evil eye because I was making us late.

So stop beating yourself up.  And I’ll try to do the same.


Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette

Yield: about 1 cup

Total Time: 10min

This dressing was a delicious combo of tangy, zesty, & sweet. I used high quality olive oil, and I could definitely taste the difference. I also used strawberry balsamic vinegar, because I've had it for AGES and never could figure out what to use it for. But any balsamic vinegar would work. You can use this dressing for a salad like the one I suggested, or for whatever salad you have ingredients on hand for.


1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil


Beat the vinegar in a bowl with the sugar, garlic, salt and pepper until sugar and salt dissolves. Then beat in the oil by droplets, whisking constantly. (Or place all the ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake to combine.) Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Toss a few tablespoons of the dressing with the salad mix and desired salad ingredients, and serve immediately.

If not using dressing right away, cover and refrigerate, whisking or shaking again before use.

adapted from FoodNetwork.com

I know I got a little photo happy in this post.  It’s unlike me to want to post 3 photos!  But I went from thinking all the photos of the salad & dressing were awful because I couldn’t quite compose it correctly, to finding 3 I liked.  Funny how that happens when you let up on beating yourself down!

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15 Responses to “Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette”

  1. 1
    Beth — May 24, 2011 @ 8:14 am

    Well, I for one think your photography is incredible!! And I’d much rather read your funny, quirky posts than most of the other food blogs floating around cyberspace!

    And as for having your shit together….well, I USED to be that person that made sure everything was just so, but no longer. Over the last couple of years I’ve figured out that it’s impossible to keep up and I’ve come to a place of acceptance that I’m never gonna be able to do it all! In fact, you should see my disaster-zone of a house right now.

    Lastly, I really love that you posted on this salad and dressing. R compliments my salad concoctions every time I serve one, and it just makes me laugh because he truly thinks they are the best in the world. Little does he know how simple they are to throw together!

  2. 2
    Sharon — May 24, 2011 @ 8:26 am

    You’re a woman after my own heart! I thought I was reading about myself when I read your first paragraph! It’s good to see another person with the same ailement as me. LOL! Going to try this Balsamic Vin recipe because I have all the ingredients right now and it looks delish. Keep ’em coming! 🙂

  3. 3
    Lindsay — May 24, 2011 @ 8:51 am

    Honestly, I like my presents better without bows! 🙂

    I love making homemade salad dressings, sometimes it’s the simplest ones that just work best! This sounds delicious… would be a great way to use the blackberry balsamic that we have.

    <3 you!!

  4. 4

    THANK YOU for this post. I needed to read those words today! 🙂

  5. 5
    Courtney — May 24, 2011 @ 6:45 pm

    1. I think you’re awesome
    2. I think your blog/photography/writing rocks!
    3. Blueberry goat cheese? OMG YUM
    4. I’m salivating right now, thanks. I’ve already had dinner but looked in my kitchen to see if I have the ingredients for this salad dressing.

  6. 6
    Katie Gosser — May 24, 2011 @ 6:49 pm

    Yes, you should stop beating yourself up. You’re an amazing friend and this salad/salad dressing looks amazing. I love you Erin Lynn! Haha, we both know I can relate big time, tardiness, punctuality, etc. has never been my strong suit.

  7. 7
    jessica lynn — May 24, 2011 @ 7:08 pm

    Loved this post! And you’re right, because there will always be someone doing it sooooo much better. It was really great meeting you this weekend.

  8. 8
    jaclyn — May 24, 2011 @ 7:20 pm

    i never ever in my wildest dreams have i ever had my shit together! you’re so not alone, trust me.

    if it’s any consolation, i think you’re pretty damn wonderful, and i’m so glad that we met and hit it off this past weekend. you’re so much fun!

    and for the record, i think your photos are lovely, and your posts are always charming and witty. so in essence, you are great. the end!

  9. 9
    Jessica — May 25, 2011 @ 12:10 am

    You were doing that whole fishing for compliments thing weren’t you? Well, even if you weren’t they should all make you feel good! Trust me, none of us ever has our shit together all the time.

  10. 10
    Kelly — May 26, 2011 @ 8:10 am

    Ha, we’re two peas in a pod! I never have my shit together, I’m the epitome of the absent minded professor (without the professor job). I think you keep your shit together just nicely! And I love your blog. I’m totally making that dressing too. Just as soon as I figure out where I put my brown sugar.

  11. 11
    Virginia Osborne — May 26, 2011 @ 1:58 pm

    Often I make a balsamic vinaigrette at home, but I’ve never made one with the inclusion of brown sugar. I can’t wait to try this the next time I put a salad together!

  12. 12
    bianca — May 26, 2011 @ 2:29 pm

    That looks delish! I love balsamic dressing!

  13. 13
    Megan — May 31, 2011 @ 9:18 am

    This is such a good post!

    AND I just love that bottom photo. The salad is a rainbow and you can totally tell the dressing is the star.

  14. 14
    Allison — June 25, 2011 @ 9:48 am

    I LOVE reading your posts! I think one of the things I love the most is how much I can relate to you. I read this post and cracked up because I am everything you said you are. But, you on the other hand, you manage to keep up a very interesting blog and take gorgeous pics of food. Thanks for sharing your wonderful cooking joys with the web-world!

  15. 15
    Amanda — July 6, 2011 @ 7:40 pm

    Erin, I’ve been meaning to make this since the day you posted it, and I finally got the chance tonight. It was awesome! My husband and I loved it, and it was super easy. It had such great flavor and really clung well on the salad ingredients. Thanks for posting.

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