Lemon Poppy Seed Vinaigrette

In the past few weeks, we’ve gone from winter to summer in Louisiana with spring barely making an appearance.  Or maybe it did, but I was so busy with book and blog stuff that I missed it.  Either way, I’m a little bummed and it’s hot outside.  And if you were reading our blog last summer, you know how much I love summer in Louisiana.  Let’s just say that I’m already looking into ways we can get away this summer so I don’t harm myself and those around me.

After coming out to the realization that I’m not nearly as stressed as I was two weeks ago (as well as the fact that I totally blinked and missed spring), I took a look at my yard and was horrified.  Leaves, acorns, overgrown who-knows-what, grass that needed to be mowed, all covered with a generous dusting of pollen.  So we spent the weekend cleaning up the yard, ripping out dead bushes, finding good homes for a whole bunch of roses that I refuse to take care of in the manner to which they’re accustomed, and shopping for plants.  I was even brave enough to buy some veggies and herb plants and a garden and I are having a trial run this summer.  My husband has very low expectations of success (not without reason).

When we spend so much time outside in the heat, I never really want to eat much, and I definitely want something light and fresh.  In a few days, I’m posting a yummy little salad that my sister-in-law Stephanie made a long time ago when we were both newlyweds.  I couldn’t remember the salad dressing recipe, but I remembered what it was like, so I did a little experimenting.  I love, love, love how light and fresh this dressing is–it totally brightens everything on the plate and is perfect for a spring or summer salad.

You’ll need about two lemons, rice wine vinegar, sugar, canola oil, a little bit of onion, a clove of garlic, some salt and pepper, and some poppy seeds.

Now…when we did our cooking demonstrations at Orson Gygi last week for the book launch, in both classes, we were asked what our favorite kitchen tools were.  We pretty much agreed on everything and 100% believe that the Microplane is a totally essential item in your kitchen arsenal.  Mine got a lot of love in this recipe.

Using a Microplane, grate the zest off both lemons and then grate 1 tsp. onion.  Place the lemon zest and onion in a container with a lid (I just used a Tupperware container). In the same container, add the sugar, salt, pepper, oil, vinegar, poppy seeds, pressed garlic, and about 1/3 c. lemon juice (more or less–if you’re almost there or a little over, don’t toss it or juice another lemon).  Close the lid and shake vigorously.  This is best if it can stand for at least an hour before you serve it–just pop it into the refrigerator and then shake well before serving.

I could eat just this dressing on plain spinach all the time and totally not feel bad about myself.  But the salad I’m posting later this week is even better, so stay tuned!


  1. That looks divine…!!

    Any chance you guys will post a recipe for coconut cake before Easter?? I’m dying to find a good one, and I only trust you!

  2. This sounds WONDERFUL! Good luck with the garden, if we were neighbors I would garden for your family and you could cook for us! lol I put in a big enough garden so the squirrels & deer damage does not wipe out the whole thing (darn buggers anyway) around 20 tomato plants about that many hot peppers along with tons of corn, come watermelon-cantaloupe-cucumbers and Pumpkins that did nothing last year. LOVE my garden and all the goodies it produces! I canned last summer for the 1st time and found a new passion 🙂

  3. You can use the microplane to grate your garlic, too. I like it a lot more than the press…especially since I broke my press.

  4. Sounds delicious! Excited to hear about the salad!

    I exercised my black thumb last year and got some beautiful tomatoes so we’re trying a few herbs and a few more vegetables this year! I don’t have a lot of hope with my garden vs. the deer/bunnies/ground hogs and moles but at least we’ll have some well fed wildlife! 🙂

  5. That’s so funny that you remembered that salad. It was probably Britney’s recipe that I still have to call her for every time because I never can seem to hold onto it! By the way I love that you micro-planed the onions. I’ve never thought to do that but I hate big chunks of raw onions so that’s the perfect solution!

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