.:avocado vegan buttermilk dressing:.

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there has been a deep freeze here in new york city for over a week now.  however, i had a craving for something spicy and creamy to put on my cold salad.  i had avocado, lemons, shallots, even a jalepeño in the kitchen.  i took out my mini cuisinart and started blending my ingredients.  what i had was far too thick to put on my salad, so i tried to thin it with olive oil.  while the oil made it really smooth and creamy it did not thin it much.  for whatever reason i remembered a buttermilk dressing that i grew up loving; it added a tangy punch to whatever salad i ate.  i knew i didn’t have buttermilk in the fridge, so i took to the interwebs to see if they had any ideas on how to make your own buttermilk.   i spotted many recipes only calling for milk and vinegar, and some calling for lemon juice. i had the vinegar, but i only had almond milk.  i combined the two, waited a few minutes, and after giving it a whiff i realized i had just made buttermilk! i have not made buttermilk with any other milk besides cow’s milk and almond milk, but i assume that unsweetened soy or rice milk would work just as well.  i used this as a dressing for my salad, but this recipe works perfectly for a dipping sauce as well.  i also can’t wait to use it on my vegetarian quesadillas and other wraps or sandwiches – the options are endless. oh! for those who don’t like the jalepeño heat as much as frank and i do, you can either leave it out or substitute it with a more mild pepper, like a poblano. **bradley, this one’s for you, xo.

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1 ripe avocado

1 chopped shallot

1/4 jalepeño pepper deseeded and chopped (or more depending on how much heat you want)

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup vegan buttermilk

salt and pepper (i used three large pinches of salt)

::directions::

combine avocado, chopped shallot, chopped jalepeño, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender – blend until smooth.

pour in half the buttermilk and process

depending on what you are using the dressing for add the rest of the buttermilk and process the mixture until desired consistency

::enjoy::

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::citrus salad::

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this time of year is the longest part for me – january, february and march.  however, the bright spot in these cold bitter months is citrus fruits! blood oranges, meyer lemons, tangelos, satsumas, the list goes on.  i also feel inspired to cook things or eat things that are colorful and beautiful and these fruits are just that.  today i used a cara cara orange, which has a rosy red flesh and is a little tangy but mostly sweet.  i thought the flavors of the red onion and the taste of citrus would play off nicely together.

::for the salad::

2 handfuls mixed greens

1 tablespoon chopped red onion

1/2 avocado

1/2 cara cara orange peeled and cut

(additionally you could toast a couple dozen pepitas for some nuttiness and crunch)

::dressing::

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon juice from a cara cara orange

pinch of salt

pepper

i find the best results when i whisk the salt and pepper into the vinegar, then whisk in the juice, last whisk in the oil – whisk for a couple minutes until all of the ingredients are combined.

::enjoy::