Saturday, June 25, 2016

Berry Delish Vinaigrette

The engaging article and fabulous recipe below are courtesy of Esther Kennedy, better known as 'Esther the Zester'.  She writes a compelling food blog with recipes, her thoughts on food and food issues, and about her quest to write her first cookbook.  She is personable, charming, and best of all, can write.

She has graciously given us permission to republish her recipe, which involves her meeting us at one of our shows (you'll understand when you read her words).  However, we suggest you take some time and enjoy her full body of work by going to her food blog, here.

"There are a few splurges in life that I truly enjoy — a glass of dry, aromatic Cabernet or a rich dark chocolate bar, preferably together if at all possible. So when I was given the chance to go wine and chocolate tasting, you bet I jumped on that train immediately!

A couple of weekends ago, Paradise, a small town in NorCal, put on its annual Chocolate Festival. I was cordially invited to be entertained the evening prior to the official festivities, where I donned a glass of red wine in one hand and an elegant chocolate bite in the other.

While walking around and tasting the different wines, chocolates, cheeses, meats and a little of everything in between, I came to a stand where Brad Roth was handing out samples of his infused oils and vinegar's.

As a cook, I love infused vinegar's and oils because they bring a whole new level to dishes. For instance, a basil-infused olive oil is a perfect addition for a pasta dish or a fruit-infused balsamic vinegar goes phenomenal over sautéed vegetables.

After careful consideration — and sampling — I came away with a bottle of delicious raspberry balsamic vinegar. While chatting with Brad for quite sometime, in between sampling of course, I mentioned that I was working on a cookbook and promised to incorporate the balsamic into some of my dishes.

I highly recommend adding an infused oil or vinegar to your kitchen — you’ll definitely thank me later. You can order one from Brad’s website (there are other delicious foods on the site so definitely check it out!). However, if for some reason you cannot, there are specialty olive oil stores in many cities that offer tastings, as well, or check out a local specialty grocery store in your area.

My first recipe is a simple but delicious dressing to top your favorite salad. I incorporated certain flavors and profiles that I thought would mesh perfectly with the dressing, creating a fresh summer salad.

Let me know your verdict. Enjoy!"

  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup raspberry balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lemon, juice and zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

In a small bowl, stir all ingredients (except the olive oil**) together; slowly whisk in the oil until fully blended. Transfer to an air-tight container — mason or glass jars are perfect — and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes serving over salad.

Pro tip: Dressing will keep up to 5 days if refrigerated.

** Whisking in the olive oil last will give you the consistency you want in the vinaigrette. The 3/4 cup is a guideline — it could be more or less, depending on the viscosity you desire.

summer salad

Of course, you can use your favorite veggies, nuts, cheeses and fruits, but here are my recommended toppings:

  • Red leaf lettuce
  • English or Persian cucumbers
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Strawberries
  • Slivered almonds (or crushed walnuts)
  • Feta cheese
  • Fresh basil
  • Shredded chicken (for the meat lovers)

For more recipes by Esther the Zester, go to her blog:


  1. I pruchased a bottle of Pastamore Sundried Tomato and Harissa oil at the San Ramon Festival this weekend. I'm looking for a recipe on your blog. Haven't found it yet. Do you have one?

    1. There is one recipe on our blog for the Sundried Tomato Oil - it is a Late Summer Corn & Bean Salad. You can find it on the right side list under Sun Dried Tomato. We need more for this product! Just FYI, we love this as a salad dressing and on pasta.