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Make a luscious salad dressing for a Valentine's Day evening

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When you are serving a meal that has been planned to appeal to the senses, you could factor in the salad dressing easily, even if you don't want something conventional like Thousand Island dressing for the creamy factor.

I make Thousand Island dressing with mayonnaise, mild salsa and sweet pickle relish, all to taste, just so you know. The following dressing will not have "islands" of sweet pickle and peppers in it, and it is just right over an elegant wedge salad.

As a French dressing, the recipe includes ketchup, but one thing you could do to give it another twist is use Cheri's Prickly Pear Syrup instead. That would transform the dressing from a peach color to a pale pink, which could be appealing depending on the other flavors you are going to have in the meal.

I buy Cheri's products (Prickly Pear Honey, jelly and jam) at Whole Foods in Tucson, and they do carry prickly pear products from other companies, which are a possible option for you. Be sure you taste the dressing to be sure that it tastes the way you expected; it you use an unsweetened prickly pear product you may need to add some simple syrup, agave syrup or whatever you prefer.

CREAMY FRENCH DRESSING

From Cafe Margot

Ingredients:

1/4 cup organic apple cider vinegar such as Bragg's
1 large organic egg, at room temperature
1 cup of organic salad oil such as safflower or canola
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons organic blonde sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Dash of cayenne pepper
1/3 cup organic ketchup

Place the egg and vinegar in a blender or food processor and blend while adding the oil slowly. Do not blend too long; it should not thicken up like mayonnaise.

Add the paprika, sugar, salt, cayenne and ketchup and blend until the dressing is thick and completely combined. Place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator until serving time.

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