A Thought For Food » where ideas are brought to simmer

Oil dribbled off my finger tip, which I quickly caught with my tongue before it fell to the countertop. The dressing was getting there, but it was missing something.  A touch more soy sauce and maybe some red pepper flakes would do the trick.  My goal was simple: I wanted this bowl of snow peas to pop.

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From an early age, salad dressings were one of my favorite things to make. Before I was allowed to pick up a knife or light the stove, I was put in charge of seasoning the salad.  There were simple creations of olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, but sometimes a sweeter balsamic dressing was more fitting.  On other occasions, a lemon vinaigrette acted as the perfect match.

Salad without dressing has no chance of being anything more than a variety of textures. And we don’t eat something for the crunch alone.  Even a little olive oil, salt, and some lemon juice can go a long way.

A salad, like the one presented here, is not always your green-based variety.  It can be a single, seasonal vegetable that needs some love to liven it up.  And, being one that will most likely be consumed alongside other dishes (maybe some soy-marinated chicken or fish that you’ll be throwing on the grill this Memorial Day weekend), it needs a dressing that stays true to the meal as a whole.

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I coated the snow peas, pulled out a fork from the drawer and dug in.  My senses were overwhelmed in the best possible way.  Looking down at the bowl, I smiled and thought, “This is what cooking is all about.  This is magic.”

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  • May 25, 2012 - 8:03 am

    Catalina @ Cake with Love - Love how simple, clean, healthy and delicious this recipe sounds!ReplyCancel

  • May 25, 2012 - 8:11 am

    Ken┃hungry rabbit - I can probably eat a bowl of naked snow peas because of the crunch, but this dressing definitely makes me want more snow peas.ReplyCancel

  • May 25, 2012 - 8:11 am

    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - This is perfect and light for summer. Yum!ReplyCancel

  • May 25, 2012 - 8:47 am

    Sommer@ASpicyPerspective - We eat snow peas and snap peas ALL THE TIME. I love the poppy sesame dressing. Making this weekend!ReplyCancel

  • May 25, 2012 - 9:02 am

    Maria - I love crunching on snow peas! Great little salad here!ReplyCancel

  • May 25, 2012 - 9:18 am

    Kristen - This is so fresh and simple – the perfect salad, Brian!ReplyCancel

  • May 25, 2012 - 9:43 am

    Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. - I love snow peas! I’m going to put this on my list for next week!ReplyCancel

  • May 25, 2012 - 9:50 am

    Carolyn - I love fresh snowpeas! And I love all things sesame. Good by me!ReplyCancel

  • May 25, 2012 - 12:22 pm

    naomi - LOVE this recipe, especially since I’m a huge snow pea fan. I love the sparing use of ingredients.ReplyCancel

  • May 25, 2012 - 2:26 pm

    Aimee @ Simple Bites - I picked up ingredients to make this today. And I’m weird, as mentioned on Twitter, I may add radishes because I just love them with snow peas!

    Thanks for the inspiration and enjoy your long weekend!ReplyCancel

  • May 25, 2012 - 3:33 pm

    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel - Red pepper flakes make me happy :)ReplyCancel

  • May 25, 2012 - 4:13 pm

    Jeanette - I make something similar for my kids – with just a splash of soy sauce, sesame oil, and a sprinkling of organic sugar and toasted sesame seeds. Love how pretty your salad came out with the red pepper flakes, white and black sesame seeds.ReplyCancel

  • May 25, 2012 - 5:02 pm

    kankana - LOVE snow pea! I can eat just that .. need no side or anything else to pair with it.ReplyCancel

  • May 25, 2012 - 5:09 pm

    Sarah - Simple and elegant, this could stand alone or served with a delicious protein! I love ingredients that allow for flexibility and this certainly does!ReplyCancel

  • May 25, 2012 - 5:39 pm

    MikeVFMK - Love this salad. And love snow peas as a salad idea! Great flavour and so healthy. I could eat a bowl of this now!!ReplyCancel

  • May 25, 2012 - 7:59 pm

    El - It looks fabulous. I’m bookmarking so I can try this soon.ReplyCancel

  • May 25, 2012 - 10:37 pm

    foodwanderings - This is super tasty dish. Reminds me to make if for S as he loves this simple yet flavor packed snow peas. Got to make it before he is off to Israel next week.:)ReplyCancel

  • May 26, 2012 - 1:57 am

    chinmayie @ love food eat - Written so well.. I can actually taste the salad through the screen :)ReplyCancel

  • May 26, 2012 - 4:33 am

    Jenn - I love snow peas! This is a great way to serve them :)ReplyCancel

  • May 26, 2012 - 7:48 am

    Jamie - You made me realize that I don’t do salad dressings with Asian flavors often enough. Now I am craving it. And with flavors like that, who needs anything more than a bowl of crunch?ReplyCancel

  • May 26, 2012 - 8:18 am

    Angie@Angie's Recipes - Love snow peas. The salad looks very appetizing.ReplyCancel

  • May 26, 2012 - 8:19 am

    Andrew Frishman - Mnnn. . . I loves me some peas, especially when they really pop.

    mi bebé necesita una dosis adicional, porque “Pop” dice la comadreja.ReplyCancel

  • May 26, 2012 - 10:10 am

    Barbara @ Barbara Bakes - Love this simple but fabulous side dish idea.ReplyCancel

  • May 26, 2012 - 11:25 am

    Chez Us - I love that making salad dressings was your contribution to helping out in the kitchen. What a creative way to have a child think outside of the box. I adore the combination of sesame with snow peas; a marriage made in foodie heaven. Will have to add this recipe to our list of easy lunches at home!ReplyCancel

  • May 26, 2012 - 3:40 pm

    Hester @ Alchemy in the Kitchen - Lovely simple salad Love the asian flavours.ReplyCancel

  • May 26, 2012 - 5:27 pm

    Shaina - This dressing sounds amazing.ReplyCancel

  • May 27, 2012 - 5:25 am

    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen - Simple but sublime, this is my kind of salad!ReplyCancel

  • May 27, 2012 - 8:26 am

    Elaine W - Happen to have the peas in the fridge….know what we’re having with the grilled salmon that’s for sure. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • May 27, 2012 - 8:29 am

    Daisy - That sesame dressing is great! I was looking for something like this to use in a noodle salad. Thanks a lot!ReplyCancel

  • May 27, 2012 - 12:23 pm

    Barbara | Creative Culinary - I’ve been making my own dressings for as long as I can remember too; I find it somewhat comical to remember all the years when I was younger that I wondered why that oil and vinegar bottle was always on restaurant tables…and now that I want it, they are gone!

    My daughter was over recently and quite verklempt that there was no Thousand Island in the fridge (between you and me I could not WAIT to pitch that mess) but we rescued the day by making our own. She is now enlightened; she just never knew how easy it is to make and how much more flavorful the end result could be.

    Love the snow peas…perfect with a dressing with sesame seeds!ReplyCancel

  • May 27, 2012 - 2:18 pm

    Lora @cakeduchess - Love your evocative way of introducing this simple salad that pops with flavor. I really need to eat more salads like this on a daily basis:)ReplyCancel

  • May 28, 2012 - 1:32 am

    Vijitha - I love the simplicity in this salad and absolutely easy recipe, I am going to make this as they are South beach diet friendly.ReplyCancel

  • May 28, 2012 - 8:16 am

    Joanne - A simple dressing really can elevate a bowl of veggies from eh to WOW. And you definitely achieved that transformation here!ReplyCancel

  • May 28, 2012 - 9:39 pm

    Monet - Isn’t it amazing how many people don’t make salad dressings? I have always loved how they can turn a simple salad into something extraordinary! This looks like such a lovely and light summer starter. Speaking of summer…I can’t wait to see you in Boston! I’m looking forward to meeting up with you already.ReplyCancel

  • May 29, 2012 - 12:57 pm

    Vicky - Sounds like the perfect simple side dish!ReplyCancel

  • June 4, 2012 - 9:42 pm

    Nicole - Made this tonight with some pan-seared scallops and shrimp. Delicious!!!ReplyCancel

  • November 21, 2012 - 10:07 am

    Sunday Snapshots: Snow Peas | Spicie Foodie Food Photography - […] Snow Pea Salad with Sesame Dressing by A Thought For Food […]ReplyCancel

Waiting for us when we arrived at the Moroccan restaurant, Al-Andalus, which is located near Porto Palazzo in Torino, was a handsome gentleman with a warm, welcoming grin.  Our host, Vittorio Castellani, promptly brought us to the dining room.  Pitchers of blood orange juice and kettles of sweet tea brewed with mint leaves were served to us as the chef described the dishes, which consisted of crepes and honey, cornmeal biscuits and other delicious (carb heavy) treats.

From here, we traveled to an Arab bakery, where more sugary confections were consumed.  It was a modest space and the baker, who provided lots of heartfelt smiles, was equally so.  But the baked goods, ranging from baklava to a pastry made with couscous, were all beautifully made.

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Before I met Eric, I wasn’t much of a gin fan.  Like most booze-related stories, this was due to a night of excessive consumption back in my college days.  There was plenty of mixing, I’m sure… but the big drink from that night was gin.  And it didn’t end well. For a while, I couldn’t even stand the smell of it. The scent of juniper berry gave me an instant hangover.

When Eric and I got together, I quickly learned that I needed to get over my aversion to it.  In the summer, his family drinks gin and tonics nightly as they watch the sunset over the lake at the Cape house. So, I caved.  It didn’t take long for me to fall in love all over again.

I have had the opportunity to sample quite a few different gins over these last few years, both locally produced and from all over the world.  There are a number that I am fond of, but the gin that I am head over heels for is Watershed Gin in Columbus Ohio.  As stated in the description on their website, juniper notes are layered with hints of citrus and this creates one of the most delicate gins I have ever tasted.  If you are at all a gin fan, make friends with someone in Ohio and have them ship you a bottle.

Now that I’ve hyped up this fabulous spirit, let me tell you about this cocktail here, which was created by the folks at The Inn At Honey Run (located in Holmes County), which is where I stayed with a few other food bloggers when we toured Ohio’s Amish Country earlier this year.  While the inn originally prepared The Tarragon with Watershed Vodka, I requested Watershed Gin and, I have to say, I think I liked it better this way.

These are irresistibly delicious and after your first one, I can promise you’ll be refilling your cocktail shaker.  The tarragon simple syrup adds an additional component that brings the flavors in the gin together.

If you can’t get a bottle of Watershed Gin or Vodka, the simple syrup would be great with any other vodka or gin (heck, it even goes well with tequila).  Happy weekend everyone!  Cheers!

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  • May 18, 2012 - 4:28 pm

    Michelle Jaffee - It IS gin & tonic season and I love tarragon… Hmmmm. : )ReplyCancel

  • May 18, 2012 - 4:32 pm

    Sarah from 20something cupcakes - Bourbon. :)

    Looks fantastic. Love me some gin.ReplyCancel

  • May 18, 2012 - 4:39 pm

    Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence - LOVE this. I’ve always been a big fan of gin. I just love the woodsy notes. Perfect with tarragon. Totally making this over the weekend :)ReplyCancel

  • May 18, 2012 - 5:48 pm

    Heidi @foodiecrush - Looks delish and I love the “action” in the pics :) congrats on getting your post done by 5. With that cocktail it’ll be easy to start happy hour now.ReplyCancel

  • May 18, 2012 - 7:30 pm

    Chez Us - Pour me another one, Bartender! I have heard amazing things about this gin; have yet to find it in my neck of the words. I couldn’t agree more with Eric’s family, gin and tonics are perfect during the summer. In fact .. I am going to go make one now!ReplyCancel

  • May 18, 2012 - 8:14 pm

    Barbara | Creative Culinary - You know this has my name all over it, right? After being introduced to a local gin from Boulder and touring their distillery, it was one of the most interesting liquors that I had really never put much thought into. Why? Not sure but now know how different they can be depending on the botanicals. Juniper is a given…the others are varied depending on the maker and the notion of citrus? Perfect. Send me some! :)ReplyCancel

  • May 18, 2012 - 10:35 pm

    MikeVFMK - Love this cocktail, Brian!! Any gin based cocktails with herb simple syrup is a sure winner. And love the shots! But that goes without saying.ReplyCancel

  • May 18, 2012 - 11:08 pm

    Marnely Rodriguez - Love this! I enjoy tarragon in my food, but have never had a drink using it. It’s not an herb I really “grew up eating” and I remember during CIA at one of our first classes, we had to ID herbs and the only one I missed was tarragon. Never again my friend, never again!ReplyCancel

  • May 19, 2012 - 12:34 am

    Stephanie - I actually do like dry gin. Never really drank it before though..ReplyCancel

  • May 19, 2012 - 4:36 am

    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen - I love an herb inspired cocktail! I can relate to how you used to feel about gin, my bad college memories revolve mainly around tequila, still not my beverage of choice.ReplyCancel

  • May 19, 2012 - 10:50 am

    elisabeth@foodandthrift - The only time I’ll have a cocktail when going to friends’ house who makes cocktails. I agree with Sylvie about the herb inspired cocktail…love tarragon, and I can only imagine how refreshing and awesome this amazing gin cocktail must be.
    Even at my daughter’s we just have wine, and an occasional aperitif!
    I love your photos, as well…the action shots are great!

    Brian, thank you so much for your kind words on my blog. Lora adores you, as well; it’s as if I know you already, myself:DDDReplyCancel

  • May 19, 2012 - 2:16 pm

    Cooks&Books&Recipes - It’s Saturday. It’s hot. I need one of these…ReplyCancel

  • May 19, 2012 - 5:03 pm

    Lora @cakeduchess - Beautiful shots…so handsome! This is such a perfect summer drink. I’ve never had a tarragon syrup and imagine it must be wonderful. Gin or vodka…I think I’d like mine with gin. I think it’s cocktail time now and I’ll be right over;)ReplyCancel

  • May 20, 2012 - 9:59 am

    Marc @ NoRecipes - I had a similar run-in with gin in college but now it’s one of my favorite spirits. I still have a tough time with Tanqueray though. Never tried Watershed how does it compare to Hendricks? Anyway, the tarragon simple syrup is genius! I wonder how this would taste with a bit of cucumber water.ReplyCancel

  • May 20, 2012 - 12:52 pm

    Winnie - I have yet to fall for gin but this looks really delicious, Brian!ReplyCancel

  • May 20, 2012 - 9:48 pm

    Liren - I think the allure of tarragon and the calm of a lake at the Cape would help me fall for gin, too :) Sounds perfect :)ReplyCancel

  • May 21, 2012 - 7:56 am

    Ken┃hungry rabbit - I have always loved gin and so did M, so when we got together it was double happiness. The tarragon infusion is intriguing, perfect summer refreshment.ReplyCancel

  • May 21, 2012 - 8:27 am

    Joanne - I definitely had quite a few gin-and-tonic infused nights in college that have left me with an aversion to it, but maybe it’s time that I give it a try but in another context. I love the licorice-y flavor of tarragon…sounds like a tasty cocktail!ReplyCancel

  • May 21, 2012 - 12:26 pm

    Andrew Frishman - Mnnn!. . . I LOVES me some Gin, especially when it’s not rummy.

    Aqui hoy, y mañana . . . ¿quien sabe?ReplyCancel

  • May 21, 2012 - 2:05 pm

    Eileen - Not a gin fan? How can this be? :) Gin is by far my favorite liquor, and this cocktail sounds like the perfect way to consume it. Fresh tarragon–genius!ReplyCancel

  • May 21, 2012 - 6:55 pm

    Russell at Chasing Delicious - I’ve never been a huge gin fan – I mean my martinis are always vodka martinis – but I am thinking I need to give this cocktail a fan. I am enthralled by the idea of incorporated tarragon.

    p.s. look at your furry man arms! Why haven’t I noticed this before? ; )ReplyCancel

  • May 21, 2012 - 6:57 pm

    Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet - It just so happens that I have a giant bunch of tarragon that I just picked yesterday! Hello Tarragon Cocktail…I heart you! Thanks Brian for great inspiration.

    xoReplyCancel

  • May 23, 2012 - 2:32 pm

    Restaurant supply gal - I like this take on gin cocktails. I have had then best juniper flavored soda and gin. Great and refreshing. Thanks for the tip!ReplyCancel

  • May 23, 2012 - 8:14 pm

    Amy @ FragrantVanillaCake - I could totally go for one of these right now! Gin is one of y favorites for warm weather and the tarragon and lime would be so refreshing with it! I need to try this!ReplyCancel

  • May 24, 2012 - 9:00 am

    Becs @ Lay the table - This sounds like a really interesting cocktail – I can’t imagine how it tastes!ReplyCancel

  • May 24, 2012 - 5:57 pm

    Debi Shawcross - Definitely know I will love this one even more than the Woman & Work cocktail we had at 21C!ReplyCancel

  • May 24, 2012 - 9:03 pm

    Chef Dennis - I have never been a big gin enthusiast, but you make me want to give it a try……I love the idea of the tarragon infused simple syrup, and I do love lime! We can put it on the list of drinks for the BPSReplyCancel

  • June 7, 2012 - 8:22 am

    What I'm Craving: Cocktails | Naturally Ella - […] Tarragon Cocktail from A Thought for Food (I’m completely intrigued by tarragon and gin together- sounds amazing!) […]ReplyCancel

  • July 2, 2012 - 1:24 pm

    BLOGGER CRUSH - […] shares his personality—the good, bad and the naughty often topped off with an inspiring cocktail recipe and drool-worthy photography—Brian creates a welcome space in the blogosphere to sit back and […]ReplyCancel

  • July 4, 2012 - 2:35 pm

    10 Delicious Red, White, and Blue Cocktails | The Daily Muse - […] The Tarragon Cocktail (A Thought For Food) […]ReplyCancel

  • September 6, 2012 - 9:01 pm

    Alanna Taylor-Tobin - This looks delicious! I never thought to combine tarragon and gin in a cocktail (though I have made tarragon olive oil ice cream!). They sound like an excellent combo. Lovely post!ReplyCancel

  • December 2, 2012 - 1:44 pm

    Nicole - We recently had a cocktail infused with basil. With a surplus of tarragon around the house, I searched for a gin-tarragon drink and came across your blog. We are drinking this right now. Soooo herbal, light and refreshing with a little tang from the lime. Thank you for the recipe! Gorgeous photography, by the way.ReplyCancel

  • April 1, 2013 - 10:38 pm

    Episode 27: “Don’t feel your gin.” | Alphabet Soup Podcast - […] gets a GIN-ducation thanks to fine folks on Twitter like Ken, Marnely, Swabreen, Felicia, Gail, and Brian. (p.s. Bryan’s got a fantastic terragon-gin cocktail recipe) Got a favorite gin cocktail? […]ReplyCancel

  • June 11, 2013 - 9:47 pm

    Eric Rodgers - I finally tried out tarragon in cocktails this year, after getting a ridiculously good deal on some fresh tarragon at the grocery store one day. For me, the first effort was in a tarragon kamikaze, using Ketel One vodka and Grand Marnier, on top of muddled lemon and lime. Absolutely delicious.ReplyCancel