First of all, I need to tell you that you can make this dressing with yogurt and/or buttermilk if you do not have kefir. Also, if you don’t make kefir and you want to…I have some kefir grains for you.
Like so many people, I have gotten into food pets during the pandemic. I been making bread from a gluten free sourdough starter (Thanks to the new Canelle et Vanille Cookbook), sprouting mung beans and using kefir grains to make my own cultured dairy. You feed the kefir grains milk and they turn it into a highly probiotic yogurt or buttermilk! It’s amazing!
When you make kefir, your grains multiply and you have to discard them or give them away. I’ve given everyone I know kefir grains (or tried to) in the last few months. So, I’m posting this recipe now for all of my friends who are wondering how to use all their kefir. If you don’t have a kefir farm in your kitchen, you can use yogurt, buttermilk, sour cream or any combo of those things…. but also if you want kefir grains, call me.
I know that I’ve hardly posted on this blog in the last few years. I got a full time job and was also doing a bit of cooking and teaching cooking professionally on the side, all of which left me with less time for writing about cooking. Also, when I’m over-employed I tend to make the tried and true things rather than experimenting. If I find something I like, I will just it over and over and over just to make life simpler. Before the pandemic, I had been eating the same salad for lunch almost every day for three ? four? years. It consisted of 1) Little gem lettuce with radishes, celery and sometimes raw fennel with 2) a hard boiled egg and/or blue cheese, 3) something crunchy, like fried shallots or toasted sunflower seeds or pepitas and 4) this dressing. My husband eats the same thing but he likes carrots with his lettuce and skips the eggs and cheese.
Now I’m working from home and managing my anxiety by cooking. You’d think with more time to cook I would have shelved this dressing recipe, but I’m still making it every week…. but now I make it with kefir! Between the miso and the dairy this dressing is basically pure live probiotic goodness that tastes like a really nice ranch dressing. Lately, I’ve just been dipping watermelon radishes into it.
I have opinions about some of the other ingredients in this dressing, which you can take or leave. If you can get your hands on some good shiro miso, do that. My favorite brand is Yamabuki, but any sweet white shiro miso from a Japanese store will be better than the organic white miso. Don’t be intimidated by the size of the package. Miso keeps forever as far as I can tell, and you will use your miso if you buy delicious miso. I love hippies that make their own miso (I am that kind of person myself- read about my kefir colony above) but real Japanese miso is infinitely better than hippy miso. It’s like the difference between kraft cheese slices and aged gouda. That said, I don’t turn my nose up at a grilled cheese made with slices and this dressing is still very good made with whatever miso.
I’m sure this dressing would work with whatever mayonnaise you have on hand, but I really like Sir Kengsington brand. Before I found it I made mayonnaise from scratch, but theirs tastes as good as what I make so now I don’t bother. They aren’t paying me or anything. I just like their mayonnaise.
And finally, if you need some kefir grains… I can hook you up.
KEFIR MISO DRESSING
Makes enough for two people to have dressing for their salad for 5-7 days
- 4 small cloves of garlic (or 3 large)
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 Tablespoons shiro or sweet white miso
- 3/4 cup good mayonaisse
- 1 and 3/4 cup whole plain yogurt, buttermilk, sour cream or kefir (or some combo of those)
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- lots of freshly ground black pepper
- fresh chopped chives (optional)
Whisk everything together and store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week.