Vinaigrette // recipe illustration

I’ve recently emerged from a funk with the vigor of swamp thing. It wasn’t a jovial funk, where silky beats coated my eardrums as I bopped my afro-laden head. I definitely wasn’t in fancy cheese world with funky fragrances wafted from me. Well, I pray to God that wasn’t the case. This wasn’t a cool sweep of colors arranged into a beautiful, peculiar pattern. I was living in funky-town, and not the type you want to be taken to.

In the midst of this, writing and expressing was arduous. I didn’t want to magnify unfavorable feelings by shifting them into focus. I didn’t want to dive into or explore them, to sift through tons of sand to discover potential gems of emotion. Eating ice cream and nut butters with a spoon was easier and definitely more enjoyable.

My creative urges lived throughout this temporary relocation. I haven’t been a sloth becoming one with my bed and Netflix ALL of them time. I’ve been drawing and painting and taking pottery classes and reading way too much. I finally had the courage to turn on a Christmas-bulb-sized light inside to see what’s there. It’s tiny, but any bit of light helps. And it’s really not that bad.

I’ve also been cooking. Obviously, it’s my job. But lately, I’ve been steering clear from the onslaught of recipes hurled at us (or just me?) daily. Most of this hurling is self-inflicted; I try to obsessively devour any and all existing food content. But the amount overwhelms me, and I apologetically think that most of them are sub-par. It’s such a bummer. I always think about where the everyday home cook (94% of the population) gets inspired for easy but damn good cooking. Disappointingly, the prospects are bleak and low quality.

By taking matters into my own hands and paying such close attention it’s annoying (wait! I haven’t written that down in my notebook, yet! wait! don’t eat it, it needs to be photographed!), I’ve seen patterns emerge in cooking techniques and styles. Where, shockingly, you don’t really need a recipe. For the general home cook, this should not be scary. So, I’ve been making “master recipes” that are completely delicious and can be tweaked to your liking based on what you’re in the mood for and what you have at home. Stay tuned.

I’ve also been dabbling in recipe illustration. I love the visual dance this type of media does to our brains. I’ve dubbed mine informative-cute. Soooo here is my first one, vinaigrette! Food snobs should not be the only people who make their own dressing. Everyone should feel this type of love. If you’re hesitant, please go to your fridge, pull out your bottled dressing, and read the ingredients. How many are there? Six thousand, right? How many of these gross ingredients can you pronounce? Exactly. It’s kind of disgusting, which is basically the opposite of this one. It’s a fine, fine vinaigrette. Literally everyone that I have made this for has immediately raved about it and/or asked me for the recipe. My clients make me keep a stash in their fridge at all times and panic ensues when it’s running low. I bet you have everything in your kitchen right now. And if you don’t, substitute! Switch out different citrus juices, vinegars, mustards, oils. Add finely chopped herbs. Try different sweeteners or omit them completely. Go crazy. Make it yours.

I must admit that it’s scary to put certain things in the world that are precious and sacred to you. Like if you keep them to yourself they’ll be safe and not criticized. But that’s no fun, right? I’ve done a bunch more of these, which I’ll post as time goes on, and my anxiety about sharing my very personal art diminishes.

I’ve learned that the key to getting out of a funk is just…..getting out of it. Pulling yourself out. Or letting your friends pull you out. Becoming aware. Making a change. Getting out of your comfort zone constantly. Not watching the entire series of The Walking Dead and Scandal in two weeks. No, definitely not that.

I hope you make this vinaigrette.

Vinaigrette

Note: the garlic clove listed below is just here to offer its flavors and swim around in the dressing, not to be eaten entirely.

Ingredients

Juice of 1 lemon // lime // orange // other weird citrus if you can get your hands on it

1 shallot // ½ red onion // ½ onion // 2 scallions, finely chopped

1 tablespoon grainy mustard // dijon

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar // balsamic vinegar // white wine vinegar // rice vinegar

Drizzle honey (about 2 teaspoons) // maple syrup // molasses // sugar

⅓ cup olive oil

1 garlic clove, smashed

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

In a small bowl or mason jar, mix citrus juice, shallot, mustard, vinegar, and honey. Drizzle in oil, whisking constantly so it emulsifies. Add in garlic clove, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Other variations I like:

orange // scallions // grainy mustard // rice vinegar // honey // sesame + olive oil mix // garlic // some grated ginger // S&P

sour orange & lime // shallot // dijon // white wine vinegar // honey // olive oil // dash cumin // S&P

lemon // shallot // dijon // balsamic vinegar // molasses // olive oil // dash oregano // S&P

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