Monday, April 29, 2013

Krista's Honey Mustard Dressing

Do you have a signature dish? How about a go-to item? Something you make without giving it a lot of thought?

For me, one of those items is dressing. When I was writing The Diva Haunts the House, Sophie used my go-to quick dressing when she was making dinner. Here's the passage ~

I made a quick salad of soft baby spinach leaves, crisp apple slices, chewy dried cranberries, crunchy pecans, and thinly sliced red onion. In spite of my determination to act normal, I found I constantly looked out the kitchen window to be sure my assailant hadn’t returned. I whisked together tart apple cider vinegar, olive oil, honey, and mustard as a dressing and dinner was ready.

It's a book filled with Halloween fun, murder, vampires and a surprising kiss, yet the thing I'm asked about most often is that dressing. Now while I make it all the time, I never bother to stop and measure the ingredients. I just whip it together, taste it and add more of something if I need to.

I've finally measured everything and written it as a recipe. While Sophie used it at Halloween, it's good year round. If the salad ingredients are too fall-ish for you, swap out the apple slices and dried cranberries for sliced strawberries and blueberries. Power salad! Or try it with balsamic vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar.

It's worth noting that olive oil will change the flavor. I tried making it with my mother's preferred extra virgin olive oil, but it had such a heavy and distinctive taste that the dressing wasn't quite the same. I prefer Newman's Own Organic Olive Oil, but any olive oil without a strong flavor will do.

I typically use Annie's Horseradish Mustard but I've also made this with Dijon and it works just as well.

The dressing, as you might imagine from the honey, is sweet. I find it suits my picky eaters and as those who don't care for sweets much. Go figure.

And since this isn't much of a recipe, I'm sharing a favorite tip. My friend, Amy, never trusts the prepackaged salad labels that say it's already washed and ready to eat. I can't blame her. After all, there have been plenty of scares and recalls. Amy is very clever, though. She adds a big splash of vinegar to the water when she washes salads. You're probably going to dress it with something containing vinegar anyway, right? While vinegar won't kill everything, it does kill a lot of bacteria, mold, and germs.

One more thing! Quite a few of us from Mystery Lovers' Kitchen will be at Salt & Pepper Books in Occoquan, Virginia this Thursday, May 2nd, from 4PM to 7PM. We'll be signing books and having fun. Hope some of you can join us!

Fall Salad

spinach leaves
sliced red onion
chopped pecans (toast them first for company!)
dried cranberries
apple slices

Mix above, or arrange on individual plates.

Krista's Honey Mustard Dressing

1/4 cup olive oil (I like Newman's Own Organic)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons mustard

Pour all ingredients into a bowl and whisk together. Pour over salad and toss, drizzle over individual salads, or serve on the side.

Add a steak and it's dinner!


  1. I loved your "The Diva Haunts the House" book - in fact I love all the Diva books and can't wait for the next one to come out. I actually made that salad from your description of it when I read the book. Yummy. Glad you posted about it.

    1. Thank you, Sharon! I'm so glad that you like my books. I had no idea so many people would try the salad!


  2. Thank you all for coming out to welcom debut author Liz Mugavero yesterday. "Nutty" picked out 2 winners of KNEADING TO DIE--Tonya and Libby Dodd.

    Please email me and I'll get your addresses: raisleib at gmail dot com

    1. Congratulations, Libby and Tonya!!!


  3. This is a wonderful post, Krista. My mouth is watering for salad (and it's only 8:30 AM as I type this)! On the other the heat of summer, which is coming up fast, I actually enjoy a breakfast salad with nuts and dried fruit. This dressing is going in the Keeper file. Thanks to you...and Sophie!

    Have fun at Malice Domestic and Marc and I send your our very happy cheers again on your well-deserved nomination for 2012's Agatha Award for Best Novel.

    ~ Cleo

  4. Krista, love this dressing. Like you, I make a basic balsamic vinegar dressing, taste and go. My go-to food, however, is herb baked chicken. And like you, I have my protagonist (Jenna, in A Cookbook Nook Mystery - Final Sentence) make it. So easy and reliable.
    Daryl aka Avery

  5. Mmm, salad, steak, and perhaps a warm crusty roll. Sounds like heaven!

  6. Lovely dressing! I like mild olive oils for most dressings. This one is going on the list.

    Thanks, Krista.