Strawberry Poppyseed Vinagrette

Strawberry season is still going strong here in western North Carolina and I just can't get enough of them. I've made numerous pound cakes to slice and serve with juicy berries and mounds of whipped cream, along with muffins, trifles, shortcakes, ice cream and crepes. Tomorrow I'll be jamming with berries and rhubarb. I can already see in my mind's eye, those lovely little jars lined up on the counter. There's been strawberries in my yogurt, smoothies, and oatmeal. And sometimes I just stand over the sink and eat them as quickly as I can get them rinsed. It truly is a love affair.

Yesterday, I whipped up a strawberry vinaigrette to go with leafy greens from the garden. It was so good I thought I would share it with you. Salad dressings are super easy to make, and I rarely buy them. What you whip up with a few basic ingredients in your kitchen will always taste better than the stuff that comes in plastic containers. In July's cooking class, I'll teach you how to make popular salad dressings along with other sauces and dips that we often think only come from a grocery store.

Now, for this delightful dressing, start with a beautiful bowl of berries, that have been washed and trimmed. You'll need about a cup for this recipe. But seriously, who buys a cup of strawberries? Go ahead and get a gallon. You'll be glad you did. Add 2 T. sugar and 5 T. of white wine vinegar. I used rice vinegar today, because that's what I had. I've found that rice vinegar works well for many of the dressings that I make.

Add a teaspoon of salt and 1/4 t. black pepper. Let this marinate for 15 minutes. I have to admit, I thought twice before putting that pepper in there. It just seemed wrong. But trust me, it's all good.

Put the berries and their liquid into a food processor or blender and process until smooth, about 30 seconds.

While the food processor is running , slowly add 1/3 cup oil. I use extra light olive oil. If you like poppyseeds , stir a tablespoon in to the dressing after processing.

That's all there is to it. I drizzled the dressing over this salad I made for lunch, with mixed greens, sliced strawberries ( of course) , honey goat cheese and pistachios. It was yummy!

I hope you're enjoying the season's berries. They will be gone all too soon. Fortunately we won't mourn for long, because peaches and watermelon are coming up next! Oh summer food, I love you so!

Strawberry Poppy Seed Vinagrette

1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced and quartered

2 T. sugar

5 T. white wine vinegar or rice wine vinegar

1 t. salt

1/4 t. black pepper

1 T. poppy seeds

Toss the berries with sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper. Let sit for 15 minutes.

Blend mixture and process until smooth. While processor is running, gradually add oil . Stir in poppyseeds.

* I like to give credit, where credit is due, but sadly I have no idea where I got this recipe. I'm thinking maybe Southern Living?

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