Close the refrigerator door - there's salad dressing!

This post has two purposes: to wax poetic about how absolutely wonderful clementines are, and to brag that I made salad dressing.
First off, the clementines. They have to be my favorite winter fruit, and are doubly exciting because no citrus fruit has yet to win me over quite like them. I can never get into oranges fully because they take too much effort for too little reward, tangerines have seeds, grapefruits have their moments but not enough of them, and while I love lemons and limes I can't eat them quite like a clementine. No, I am convinced that clementines are pretty much darn near perfection, easy and quick to peel, generally seedless, sweet as anything, and still fruit, therefore, it can't be a bad thing. I was talking with Sara about this last night and we agreed pretty much the only downfall is that they have yet to figure out how to get them year-round.
Now that I've got that out of my system . . .

The other winter fruit I adore are cranberries. I generally like really tart things, so whole fresh cranberries don't bother me and I like storing them in the freezer, where they keep for ages, so I can make cranberry scones and muffins (and I know I want to get to Peabody's Cinnamon Cranberry Cake and Rachel's Cranberry Bread, and right now I'm going through a loaf of Cranberry-Dark Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread - yum yum yum) throughout the year. But there's not much of a venue for poor cranberries outside of cranberry sauce and baked goods.
Enter food processor. Food processors are my equivalent of a power tool: I don't use it nearly as often as I might want to, though it's indispensable when I need it, and really, it's kind of a thrill to lug out this big huge thing that makes a deep loud noise and finishes the job in seconds. Though that's probably just me.
Though I originally made the dressing for a salad with apple slices and baked goat cheese, as I discovered last night it is also fantastic tossed in a salad with some clementine slices, scallions, reduced-fat parm and walnuts - looks a bit psychedelic, but tastes great. I do recommend making it at least a day ahead, so the tartness comes out nicely - if you're making it to serve right away, I'd reduce the oil down to about 1/2 cup.

adapted from Bon Appetit, November 1995

1/4 c fresh or frozen and thawed cranberries
1/4 c orange muscat champagne vinegar
1 large shallot, chopped
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3/4 c grapeseed oil
salt and pepper to taste

Puree cranberries in processor until smooth. Add the vinegar, shallot, brown sugar and mustard and process until well blended. With processor running, gradually add oil and process until well blended. Transfer to bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate, covered, for at least a day before using. Whisk well before serving.
Yield is about 1 1/4 cups dressing.


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