Dress a Salad to Impress — Without the Stress
Photo: Bethany Grzesiak, MS, RD
Product reviewed: Whiskware Dressing Shaker with a BlenderBall wire whisk
Whether attending an elegant dinner or hosting a casual picnic, it is important to dress to impress — this also applies to your salad.
Grocery store shelves are stocked with dressing varieties ranging from classic Italian to apple fennel and everything in between. The creativity of ingredient combinations is inspiring, but what’s not desirable is the additives and artificial flavoring in store-bought versions. Though the Food and Drug Administration deems these safe for use, there is growing concern over the safety of some of these ingredients when excessively consumed.
Making dressing at home allows you to be the boss of your mixture, giving you control over the quality of the ingredients. For example, olive oil often is the base of a satisfying salad dressing. Purchasing a trusted brand in bulk helps you stay on budget and makes it convenient to whip up a new dressing at your leisure.
It may appear frivolous to have a special container simply for mixing oil and vinegar, but trial and error convinced me otherwise. The Whiskware Dressing Shaker’s benefit, as opposed to a plain mason jar, is in the added features. First, it saves you time. After searching for a balsamic vinaigrette recipe, in under two minutes I poured the ingredients directly into the container — it has measurement markings on its transparent plastic — secured the cap and shook until blended. The result was a salad dressing I felt good about serving and, I must admit, made me proud. Plus, the recipe can be adjusted to make as much or as little as needed, therefore reducing waste. One concern was how leftover dressing would preserve for later use, but the shaker's BlenderBall wire whisk efficiently whisks the fats, other liquids and natural sugars into a smooth solution. If the suspension separates, give the container a few quick shakes and the dressing re-mixes and is ready to pour. This leads me to the next feature: the auto-sealing spout. I accidently knocked over the dressing container when packing my lunch for the day. I’m thankful to say there was no spillage — my kitchen counter remained clean, and I made it to work on time.
Whiskware touts that the shaker is stain- and odor-resistant, and I will attest that the product was easy to clean and looked good as new after a couple uses. However, my vinaigrette had a potent smell and, despite my efforts, it took at least three washes before the aroma of balsamic vinegar was undetectable. Finally, a word of caution when blending heartier dressing concoctions: I made a blue cheese dressing and the BlenderBall essentially caged some of the cheese bits. It certainly wasn’t a deal breaker, but a bit annoying since I consider those bits to be the best part.
Overall, I would give this product my seal of approval for amateur and professional chefs alike. Preparing homemade salad dressings is an impressive skill in a culinary repertoire, and the Whiskware Dressing Shaker makes it easy.
Bethany Grzesiak, MS, RD, is a clinical dietitian at the Ann Arbor Veterans Affairs Medical Center and recently wrote restaurant reviews for the Examiner. Read her blog, Stuffed, and follow her on Twitter.