Simply Delicious Vinaigrettes

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Chef Carol Cotner Thompson has worked as a culinary professional for more than twenty three years. She graduated from the California Culinary Academy in 1986. Thompson has cooked professionally in many positions in the food industry and has taught cooking for fifteen years. She worked at City Restaurant, was co-owner of Adventurous Cooks Catering, has been a food stylist, private chef, on-camera chef, and menu designer and consultant for restaurants. Cotner Thompson designed the professional baking series for The New School of Cooking.

Simple Vinaigrette

1/4 cup wine vinegar (red, white, champagne, sherry)
1 small shallot, minced
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Dijon mustard
citrus zest
citrus juice
delicate herbs

Soak minced shallots in vinegar for 10 minutes.  Whisk in olive oil.   Season with salt and pepper.

Date and Orange Salad With Feta and Pistachios
Serves 4 to 6

2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup cider vinegar
pinch salt
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon orange blossom water, optional
2 romaine hearts, chopped, washed and dried
3 navel or temple oranges, peeled and sectioned
3/4 cup chopped dates
1/3 cup toasted and chopped pistachios
1/2 cup feta cheese
pinch cinnamon

Mix vinegar with honey, salt, orange juice and flower water.  Set aside.

Just before serving, pour most of the dressing over the lettuce and toss.  Arrange orange sections overlapping around the edges and top with dates, pistachios and feta.  Drizzle over remaining salad dressing and dust with a little cinnamon.

Mixed Spring Vegetables with Creamy Sherry Vinaigrette
Serves 4

1 small shallot, minced
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/4 cup creme fraiche
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups mixed spring vegetables, blanched and shocked (fava beans, carrots, baby potatoes, asparagus)
1 tablespoon snipped chives

Soak the shallot in vinegar for 10 minutes.  Whisk in creme fraiche, olive oil and tarragon.  Season with salt and pepper.  Toss vegetables with vinaigrette and top with chives.

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