1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar (I love O brand to distraction)
1 scant tablespoon Dijon mustard (not the coarse kind)
Salt and pepper to taste
1-2 cloves finely minced garlic (seriously, just mince the hell out of it -- the more pulverized the better)
4-5 tablespoons good olive oil
Squeeze the lemon half into a small bowl. Squeeze it through the fingers of your other hand, so you can strain out the seeds. However, if you have paper cuts, just fish the seeds out with a spoon. Add the mustard and vinegar, and then pinch in a bit of salt and pepper. If you add the salt after you add the olive oil, it won't dissolve as happily. Add the minced garlic and whisk in the olive oil. Give it a taste -- is it so acidic that it's smacking you at the back of the throat? Okay, then add more olive oil. If you think it tastes dull, add a little more lemon juice or vinegar (one teaspoon at a time) to brighten it up.
Put your washed salad greens in a very large bowl. Drizzle in the vinaigrette very gradually -- you probably aren't going to use all of it -- and toss the greens just until they glisten. Please don't be grossed out, but I use my (insanely clean) hands to toss my salads. I've tried using two forks, or tongs, or these really huge wooden salad utensils we must've registered for, but I usually end up flinging perfectly dressed lettuce leaves everywhere. Grabbing handful after handful of greens is the best way to mix up a salad. If you have dressing left over, just store the rest in the fridge for almost forever. All you have to do is whisk to recombine when you want to use more. I use empty Grey Poupon jars for this and just shake them up when I need them.
Please, please try this -- it's really so much better than store-bought!
Headed by Ryan, the rest of the Matches head to the Wishbone test kitchens in New Jersey. Oh, man, I looooove test kitchens. Sunset's is so beautiful -- all blond wood, islands upon islands, and steel appliances. It looks right onto their test gardens and always smells like baking cookies. "These are the ingredients, huh?" Amanda says, walking in, "Not quite sure what all that stuff is over there." Marcela, like a true chef, lovingly checks out the appliances. Ryan sets her on the task of creating a dressing for them to taste. Marcela starts prepping her ingredients. There's a shot of her whizzing a few garlic cloves through a food processor that I'm (along with McCheese and Head Cheese, both chefs) going to have to call foul on. Putting garlic cloves in a food processor with a whole mess of other stuff? Definitely. Alone? Not likely. There's so much room for the cloves to bounce around that they don't really get minced adequately. It's like trying to make pesto in a food processor. Unless you are making a sizable amount, you spend so much time pulsing, then stopping to scrape the sides down because everything got flung up above the blade, then pulsing some more and scraping some more. It's much easier to make a large batch and simply freeze what you don't use until you want it again. Pesto freezes beautifully. But not single cloves of garlic. No. You get a much better result with smashing a peeled clove with the broad side of your knife and then running the knife over it a few times to mince. You can also use a garlic mincer. Anyway, I don't doubt that Marcela knows all that and just did it because the producers wanted a pretty action shot they could close in on.
Marcela puts down a bowl of fresh green dressing and tells her team she's starting them off with a Latin flavor that has cumin, poblano, and cilantro in it. Ew. Not a huge fan of cilantro in dressing -- it's just overdone at times and can taste soapy if there's too much. The Matches dip Saltines (shouldn't they be testing with carrots or leaves of lettuce to best actuate the salad flavor?) into the dressing and taste. Ryan says he loves it, but someone on the team objects to it being green. Dawna admits the green color "freaked" her out, and Amanda thinks it looks like vomit. Because green dressing going on green lettuces is...bad? Does no one remember Green Goddess? My mother will. She still stocks that in our fridge at home. Besides, I think Thousand Island pink is far more objectionable. I mean, it has CHUNKS! Talk about being vomit. Ryan is bummed by this reaction. Dawna confesses, "When Marcela made that first salad dressing, although it tasted wonderful, looked like something you'd find in a health food store where you kind of have to plug your nose and just drink." So, in other words, Bethenny Bakes? Marcela says she'll go back to the kitchen and make more stuff for them to try.