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1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 to 2 tsp. sea salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp. white or black pepper
1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil

Combine ingredients, whisking or blending together well.

Mustard Honey French Dressing:

Add 1 teaspoon French Dijon or yellow prepared mustard, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 1 tbsp. honey.

Herbed French Dressing:

Add 1/4 cup chopped parsley, 1 tbsp. fresh minced basil, and 1 tsp. marjoram, chives or tarragon to Mustard Honey French Dressing.

Herbed Italian Dressing:

Add 1/4 cup chopped parsley, 5 cloves minced garlic, 2 tbsp. fresh minced basil, 1/2 tsp. dried oregano, 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes.

Chiffonade Dressing:

Add 1 chopped hard cooked egg, 2 oz cooked or canned drained beets, 1 tbsp. minced parsley, 1 tbsp. minced onion, scallion or shallot.

Piquante Dressing:

Add 1 chopped hard cooked egg, 1 tsp. dry English mustard, 1 tbsp. finely chopped or grated onion, 1 tsp. paprika.

Avocado Dressing:

Add 1 cup pureed avocado and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Blue Cheese or Roquefort Dressing:

Add 2 oz blue cheese crumbles or Roquefort cheese and 2 oz heavy cream; blend in processor, gradually adding basic dressing until smooth.

Sour Cream Dressing:

Add 1 cup sour cream to basic dressing and blend until smooth.

Buttermilk Dressing:

Add 1 cup buttermilk to basic dressing and blend until smooth. Add 1 tbsp. Mrs. Dash Garlic seasoning, if desired.

Almost any herb desired can be added to salad dressings. Ratios of oil to vinegar may be varied, but keep in mind that a basic French dressing has a ratio of 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar.

Dried herbs are more potent and need extra time to rehydrate and release their flavorings, but fresh herbs are always preferred. Dressings using dried herbs can be prepared 2 to 3 hours in advance. Grated vegetables such as onions and garlic or vegetables that have been pureed in a high-speed blender such as a Vita-Mix (seeded cucumbers, tomatoes, beets or carrots, even seaweed!) can be added to dressings to make lower-calorie and healthy versions.

Dressings may be thickened using pectin or gelatin in small amounts. Egg yolks may be blended in to stabilize vinegar and oil emulsions (help keep them from separating).

Submitted by: CM
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