Thursday, January 19, 2012

Recipe Thursday: Spicy Southwestern Dressing

If there's one thing I truly love in this world, it's spicy food (and Carl, of course). I'm not sure when this came about; I never cared for spice growing up- but then again, there weren't many foods that I didn't have qualms with. For the life of me, I can't pinpoint when that all changed. In college, maybe? It's quite possible that I developed a taste for hot sauce as a way to mask the funky flavors of Craig Cafeteria, and my love for all things spicy continued to evolve from there. Anyways, given the choice I will always opt for the spicy version of any food. Bring on the heat! A few years ago, in a recipe that my mom sent me for black bean burgers, I was introduced to these little gems:

Chiles in adobe. Spicy, flavorful, and surprisingly delightful, despite
what the picture on the can would have you believe.

The recipe called for a spicy mayonnaise, which was made by mincing several of the chiles in adobo and mixing them with mayonnaise. It's something that I've made with frequency since then, substituting Vegenaise for regular mayonnaise. Vegenaise is pretty awesome. It tastes exactly like regular mayonnaise only it's about 74 times healthier and costs a few dollars more, but it's totally worth it.

A few weeks ago when I made black bean soup I was really hankering for a Southwestern-inspired salad (and now that I'm writing about it I'm wishing I had the fixings for another one). A light bulb went off in my head when I spotted the chiles in our fridge and wondered if there was a way to incorporate them into a dressing. Here's what I came up with:

1/2 cup Vegenaise
3 chiles in adobo (or more if you're feeling crazy)
a little bit of the adobo sauce
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
a tiny splash of water

Blend with an immersion blender* and, voila! By adding some liquid my favorite condiment was instantly turned into a salad dressing. I'm a genius, right? Here's a picture of the whole salad put together, in case you missed that particular post:

Ingredients: Spring mix, romaine lettuce, cucumber, tomato, red bell pepper, corn,
avocado, and Spicy Southwestern Dressing. Talk about yum.

*I bet you're wondering why I didn't use my beloved Vitamix, huh? Well, in my defense I did try, but I found that when it's such a small amount of dressing it a) doesn't go high enough up in the blender to reach where the blades sit, and b) it's challenging and time consuming to get it out of the blender once it's actually blended. Basically, had I made a bigger batch of dressing and with a runnier consistency it would have been perfect in the Vitamix, but an immersion blender was just the better candidate for the job in this instance.

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