Khai Look Khoey (Son-in-Law Eggs)

6 large eggs
4 Tbsp Palm sugar or brown sugar
3 Tbsp fish sauce
2 Tbsp seedless tamarind paste
5 Tbsp hot water
Cooking oil

GARNISHES:
2 Tbsp Crispy shallots
Small bunch of fresh coriander leaves
1 Thai red chili chopped or sliced at an angle

Let the eggs sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before cooking. Bring a medium pot of water (enough to cover the eggs) to a rolling boil. Gently add the eggs into the pot. Turn off the heat and cover the pot with lid and let sit for about 12 minutes.

Remove from the pot and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Peel the shells off and set aside and pat dry with absorbent paper towel to prevent splattering when you pan fry later.

MAKING THE SAUCE:
Place the tamarind in a small bowl. Add in the hot water and let sit for 15 minutes. Use the back of the spoon to gently press on the tamarind paste that has softened and continue to do so until it turns into mush.

In a small saucepan, add in the softened tamarind, sugar, and fish sauce. Cook until the sauce turns into a thin syrup consistency. If it’s too thick, add a bit more water. If it’s too thin, reduce the sauce a bit longer. Have a taste, it should be sweet, tangy, and savory.

PUTTING TOGETHER:
Make sure the surface of the boiled eggs are dry before you pan fry them. Preheat cooking oil in a frying pan, about 1/2-inch in height. When the oil is hot, lower the heat to medium, gently place the eggs in the pan and use a slotted spoon to turn the eggs around to let them blister and turn golden brown all over. They turn brown very quickly, so watch the heat and lower it further if needed.

Remove from the pan into a paper towel. Cut into half and place on serving platter. Drizzle with tamarind sauce, crispy shallots, fresh coriander leaves, and chili. Ready to serve.

Ketoprak (Indonesian Noodle and Tofu Salad with Peanut Sauce)

INGREDIENTS:
1 block of firm tofu
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
250 gr dry rice stick noodles / bee hoon

PEANUT DRESSING:
3 cloves garlic
6 red chilis more if you like it spicier
100 gr roasted peanuts see notes
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2-inch block of tamarind paste
200 ml warm water
2-3 Thai chili more if you like it spicier

GARNISHES:
Indonesian sweet soy sauce
Fried shallots
Prawn crackers or whatever crackers you like
2 hard-boiled eggs quartered
1 large cucumber

Blanch the rice stick noodles briefly in hot water until it softens but not mushy. Drain and then refresh with cold water. Set aside. You can also blanch the raw garlic briefly if you don’t like the raw taste of it.

Peel the cucumber and then half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop the seeds out. Cut into 1-inch slices.

MAKING THE PEANUT DRESSING:
Mix the tamarind paste with warm water. Once it softens, use the back of the spoon to mash the tamarind and then discard the solid. In a food processor, blend the peanuts, garlic, chilis, tamarind juice, and sugar. Process into a thick but pourable consistency. You can add a bit more water if it’s too thick. Season with salt to your taste.

PREPARING THE TOFU:
Place the block of tofu on an absorbent paper towel and then another layer of paper towel on top of the tofu. Place a heavy object like cast iron pot or pan on top of the tofu for about 15 minutes to press all the extra liquid out. Cut the tofu into 2-inch chunks. You can deep fry the tofu or pan fry it with a little bit of oil on the pan until all sides are golden brown. Set aside.

Assembling:
In a large serving plate, place the noodles, cucumber slices, bean sprouts, fried tofu, and egg pieces. Pour sauce over and garnish with fried shallots, a drizzle of kecap manis. Serve with prawn crackers.

Note: You can sub the roasted peanuts with creamy/chunky peanut butter. It’s up to you. You may need to play with the amount of liquid so that it’s thick but still somewhat pourable.

Sate Ayam Kecap (Indonesian Chicken Satay with Sweet Sauce)

1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 inch tamarind + 2 Tbsp hot water
4 cloves garlic
4 candlenuts Pinch of salt
1 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp Indonesian kecap manis
1 Tbsp coriander powder
2 Tbsp coconut sugar
15-20 bamboo skewers soaked in cold water

SWEET SAUCE:
1 Tbsp of cooking oil
1 Tbsp grated garlic
2 shallots peeled and diced
2 red chilis -optional seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup of sweet soy sauce kecap manis
Juice of 1/2 lime
Pinch of salt

GARNISH:
Fried shallots crisp bawang goreng

PREPARING CHICKEN AND MARINATE:
Cut the chicken into roughly about 1.5 inch pieces. Place 2 inches of tamarind in a bowl and put 4 Tbsp of hot water and let it soak for 10 minutes. This will be divided for marinade and peanut sauce later. Use the back of the spoon to mash the softened tamarind and squeeze out as many liquids as possible from the tamarind. Discard the solids.

Place candlenuts and garlic in a food processor and pour half of the tamarind juice and process into a paste. Add the rest of the ingredients for marinade in a large mixing bowl and add in the paste. Add chicken pieces and toss to make sure all pieces are coated with marinade. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes if you are pressed for time. You can let them marinate overnight too.

Meanwhile soak the bamboo skewers in cold water for at least 1 hour so they don’t break easily when you grill them.

After the meat is marinated, thread the meat on each bamboo skewer.

Preheat your grill and grill the chicken until it is golden brown and cooked through and basting the meat with some cooking oil for that shine.

MAKING THE KECAP SAUCE:
Meanwhile, make the sauce by preheating a small saucepan with cooking oil. Add in garlic, chili, and shallots and saute for about 1 minute. Add in the sweet soy sauce followed by juice of 1/2 lime. Have a taste, it should be more at the sweet side, but I like to add a pinch of salt to bring out more flavor.

SERVING:
Serve with the sauce on the side or drizzle some on top. You can also sprinkle on some fried shallots crisp (bawang goreng).

Pressure Cooker Sambal Terong Belado (Eggplants with Sambal)

INGREDIENTS:
500 gr long purple eggplants or you can use dark purple kind

SAMBAL BALADO:
100 gr cayenne pepper see notes
8 shallots peeled
3 garlic peeled
1 large tomato quartered
1/3 cup cooking oil

AROMATICS:
3 daun salam leaves
2 kaffir lime leaves tear edges to release flavor

SEASONINGS:
1 tsp salt or more to taste
1 Tbsp sugar
1 lime

PREPARE EGGPLANTS:
Prepare a large pot of water with 1 tsp of salt in it.

Rinse the skin of the eggplants clean with water. Pat dry. Trim off the stem. Halve and then cut into about 3-inch pieces. Make sure you cut them into roughly equal in size so they cook evenly.

Place the cut eggplants into the pot of water to prevent them from turning black while you are cutting the rest of tge ingredients.

PRESSURE COOKING THE EGGPLANTS:
Pour 1 cup of water inside the inner pot of the instant pot. Arrange the eggplant in a collapsible veggie steamer that you can fit inside the inner pot. Cover the lid and turn the steam release valve to seal. Press pressure cooker, high pressure, and set timer to 15 minutes.

When the timer is up, wait 5 minutes and then release pressure completely.

PREPARE SAMBAL BALADO WHILE THE EGGPLANTS ARE COOKING:
Place all the sambal balado ingredients in a food processor. You can either roughly chop them for that rustic look or process them into finer texture. The oil will help to move things inside the food processor.

Preheat a large skillet and pour in the sambal mixture along with the aromatics. Stir fry for about 5 minutes and then add the seasonings. Keep stirring to prevent sambal from scorching. Have a taste. It should be savory, lightly sweet, with a hint of tang. Add more salt and/or sugar if needed.

PUT EVERYTHING TOGETHER:
When the eggplants are done cooking, add the eggplants pieces onto the skillet and stir to mix everything. Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately, with lots of rice.

RECIPE NOTES:
If you can’t find fresh cayenne pepper (cabe keriting), you can substitute with dried Chile de Arbol or Guajillo. Just soak them in water until soft and then proceed with recipe.

Ideas for Egg Lunches: Sambal Lalep Terasi

6 shallots peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 Tbsp shrimp paste
120 gr Cayenne pepper (cabe keriting), stems removed
4 Thai red chili optional, stems removed
1 large tomato quartered
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp palm sugar or coconut sugar
Juice of 1 lime
3 Tbsp cooking oil

Preheat cooking oil over medium heat. Add shallots, shrimp
paste, cayenne pepper, and Thai chili (if using) and stir fry until really fragrant, about 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes can be easily mashed. Remove from the heat and transfer to a food processor.

Add salt, sugar, and lime juice. Pulse a few times to give you that rustic-looking sambal or process further if you want the sambal smoother. Can be stored in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Fish in Ginger Sauce

INGREDIENTS:
1 lb white fish fillet : sole, swai, cod, or tilapia
2 Tbsp cooking oil

AROMATICS:
2 inch knob fresh ginger peeled
3 cloves garlic peeled

SAUCE BASE:
250 ml chicken broth
1 Tbsp cornstarch + 2 Tbsp water

SEASONINGS:
1 Tbsp Shaoxing wine
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt or more to taste

Place the aromatics in a food processor and finely chop them (or you can manually chop them by hands).

Cut the fish fillet into large chunks, about 2-inch pieces. Don’t cut too small or the fish will break apart easily when you cook them.

Preheat a large wok or skillet. Add cooking oil. Add ginger and garlic mixture. Stir fry until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Pour in the chicken stock and seasonings and bring to a boil.

Add the fish fillet pieces in and let them cook until the fillet changes into opaque white color and cooked through. It shouldn’t take too long, about 2 minutes or less.

Carefully dish out the fish fillet from the stock into a serving platter.

Have a taste for the stock, add more salt if needed. Bring it to a boil and then give the cornstarch mixture a stir and pour in. Continue to stir until the stock is thickened.

Gently add the fish fillet pieces back. Gently stir to let the fillet pieces coated in the sauce. Turn off the heat. Sprinkle with chopped green onion. Serve immediately.

Rojak Buah

2 to 3 cups of the following fruits: cucumber, jicama, pineapple, underripe mango and papaya, tart apples like Granny Smith, peeled and seeded where necessary and cut into bite-sized pieces

Optional add-ins: A handful of baby spinach or bean sprouts and pieces of fried firm tofu

SAUCE
2 to 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
Juice of 1 lime
2 teaspoon coconut sugar
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup toasted ground peanuts

In a large bowl, add hoisin sauce, lime juice, coconut sugar, chili powder, sesame seeds, and half of the ground peanuts. Mix well to combine into a sauce. Then add the fruits and toss to coat with the sauce. Sprinkle on the rest of the ground peanuts and serve.

Malaysian Tofu Salad with Peanut Sauce

PEANUT SAUCE
3 shallots, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 lemongrass, white part only, chopped
3 to 5 dried chillis, soaked in warm water for a few minutes, chopped
1/2-inch galangal, peeled and chopped (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup peanuts, roasted and coarsely ground
1 tablespoon tamarind paste* or lime juice
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup water, and more as needed
2 to 3 tablespoons coconut sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

10 to 12 pieces fried tofu puffs*
2 cups carrots, shredded
2 cups cucumber, shredded
2 cups bean sprouts, blanched in hot water for a few minutes and drained
1/4 cup peanuts, roasted, for garnish

To make the sauce, start by making a spice paste. In a blender or food processor, add the shallots, garlic, lemongrass, dried chillis, galangal, ground coriander, ground cumin, and ground turmeric and blend until you get a smooth paste, scraping down the sides and adding a little water when necessary.

In a saucepan, heat up the oil over medium heat and stir-fry the spice paste for 3 to 5 minutes until fragrant. Add the ground peanuts, tamarind paste, dark soy sauce, coconut milk, and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with sugar and salt to taste. Add more water if the sauce gets too thick. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl.

To assemble the salad, in an individual serving plate, place 3 to 4 pieces of fried tofu puffs, 1/4 cup shredded carrots, 1/4 cup shredded cucumber, and 1/4 cup bean sprouts. (Use the amount suggested here as a guide and feel free to adjust as you please!) Top with the desired amount of peanut sauce and garnish with roasted whole peanuts to serve.

*NOTES:
· Prepare the store-bought deep-fried tofu puffs by briefly dipping them in hot water to remove excess oil and pat dry before toasting them in the oven until browned and crispy.
· Fried tofu can be substituted with extra firm or firm tofu cut into cubes either straight from the packet or lightly pan-fried or grilled.

Alison’s Edamame

1 bag frozen edamame

Sauce:
3 tablespoons chili paste
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Pinch of sugar to taste
Dash of black vinegar to taste
Dash of toasted sesame oil to taste

Steam or boil edamame until just done.

Mix sauce ingredients to taste.

Serve edamame with sauce on the side.

Alison’s Edamame and Rice

1 bag shelled frozen edamame

Sauce:
3 tablespoons chili paste
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Pinch of sugar to taste
Dash of black vinegar to taste
Dash of toasted sesame oil to taste

Cooked rice for serving

Steam or boil edamame until just done.

Mix sauce ingredients to taste.

Toss edamame with sauce.

Serve over rice.

Spinach Salad with Beets and Balsamic Vinaigrette

For the Salad
Optional: pecan halves (or walnuts, toasted)
2 to 3 slices bacon (diced, or about 3 ounces of diced pancetta)
1 pound beets (trimmed, cooked, peeled, and diced)
4 cups spinach
1/4 cup red onion (thinly sliced)
Optional: shredded cheese (or crumbled goat cheese or feta)
For the Dressing
1 clove garlic (crushed and minced)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (or a similar gourmet mustard)
4 tablespoons honey
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2/3 cup olive oil

Arrange the pecans or walnuts in a dry skillet and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly until the nuts are lightly browned and aromatic.

In a skillet over medium heat, fry the diced bacon until crisp or fry the pancetta until browned.

Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Dice the bacon and set aside.

Arrange spinach leaves on 4 salad plates. Top with diced beets, diced bacon or pancetta, red onion, and pecans or walnuts. If desired, top with cheese.

In a skillet over medium heat, fry the diced bacon until crisp or fry the pancetta until browned.

Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Dice the bacon and set aside.

Arrange spinach leaves on 4 salad plates. Top with diced beets, diced bacon or pancetta, red onion, and pecans or walnuts. If desired, top with cheese.

In a bowl or blender, combine the garlic, salt, pepper, mustard, honey, and balsamic vinegar. Whisk or blend in the olive oil in a steady stream.

Drizzle the dressing over the salad or serve on the side.

Tips
Boiled Beets: To boil beets, first start by washing and trimming the beets, leaving about 2 inches of the stem and root ends. Place the beets in a large saucepan and cover with salted water (about 1 teaspoon of salt per quart). Add a few teaspoons of vinegar or lemon juice to the water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook for about 40 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the beets.

Roasted Beets: To roast beets, first wash the beets and trim, leaving an inch or two on the stem and root ends. Rub the beets with a little vegetable oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper; wrap in foil and bake at 375 F for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until tender. The time varies depending on the size of the beets. You can also roast the beets in the slow cooker.

Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Blueberries

1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
6 cups fresh spinach leaves (torn)
2 cups fresh strawberries (rinsed, dried, hulled)
1 cup fresh blueberries

For the Red Wine Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon dry mustard

In a large bowl, toss spinach with sesame seeds. Prepare strawberries, cutting large ones in half. Add strawberries to the spinach mixture. Cover and refrigerate.

Combine dressing ingredients in a screw-top jar or shaker; shake well then refrigerate to chill.

To serve, pour chilled dressing over strawberry and spinach salad mixture in a bowl and toss gently to distribute well.

Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing and Figs (or Pineapple or Mango)

For the Dressing:
3 to 4 slices bacon (diced)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup red wine vinegar (or red wine vinegar with pomegranate)
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Dash of salt

For the Salad:
3 to 4 cups baby spinach leaves (washed)
12 to 18 fresh figs (washed)
1/4 cup red onion (thinly sliced)
3 to 4 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
2 tablespoons pecans (or walnuts, toasted*)

In a skillet over medium heat, cook the diced bacon until crisp; remove to paper towels to drain.

In a medium saucepan, combine the granulated sugar, red wine vinegar, water, cornstarch, and salt. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the bacon and heat through. Remove the dressing from the heat and let cool slightly.

Arrange the spinach leaves on four salad plates.

Slice figs in half and arrange them on the spinach. Sprinkle thinly sliced red onion over the spinach and then sprinkle the salads with the cheese and toasted pecans or walnuts.

Spoon some of the warm dressing over the salads. Make sure there are some bacon pieces on each salad.

*To toast the pecans or walnuts, spread them out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 F oven for about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir and turn frequently. Remove them and transfer them to a bowl when they are lightly browned and aromatic.

Tips and Variations

Simple Red Wine Vinaigrette: Combine 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil with 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, and 1/8 teaspoon each of onion powder and garlic powder. Shake or whisk until thoroughly blended.

Replace the blue cheese with goat cheese.

Substitute fresh pineapple or mango chunks for the figs.

Use fresh sliced strawberries instead of sliced figs.

Spinach Salad with Eggs and Warm Bacon Dressing

10 to 12 ounces fresh spinach, washed and torn into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup minced red onion
5 to 6 radishes, thinly sliced
2 hard-boiled eggs,* 1 chopped, 1 sliced
2 to 4 slices bacon
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons bacon drippings
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place prepared spinach in a large bowl. Add onions and radishes.

Refrigerate the salad, tightly covered.

Fry or microwave bacon until crisp; remove to paper towel and set aside.

In a small jar or measuring cup combine the bacon drippings with sugar, vinegar, water, salt, and pepper. Refrigerate all ingredients until just before serving.

When ready to serve, microwave the dressing on HIGH for 30 to 45 seconds, or until mixture boils. Toss the chopped egg with the greens then pour the hot dressing over greens mixture; toss again lightly.

Arrange the salad on salad plates and top each with a few slices of egg and crumbled bacon.

*In a saucepan, cover 2 large eggs with water. Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a full rolling boil. Cover the saucepan and remove the pan from the heat. Let stand for 12 to 15 minutes. Run cold water over the eggs and peel them.

Tips

Make Ahead: Prepare the spinach, onion, and radishes in a serving bowl; cover and refrigerate. Prepare the eggs and bacon and refrigerate them in separate containers. Prepare the dressing and refrigerate. Just before serving time, toss the chopped egg with the spinach salad mixture. Heat the dressing; drizzle over the salad and toss. Garnish with the sliced eggs and bacon.

Variations

Add about 1/4 cup of pine nuts, sunflower seeds, toasted slivered almonds, or toasted pecans to the salad for additional crunch.

Add about 1/4 cup of raisins or dried cranberries to the salad.

Add sliced fresh mushrooms to the salad.

Omit the radishes, if desired.?

Spinach Salad with Apple Vinaigrette

1 bag/10-12 ounces fresh spinach
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons grated sweet onion (or purple onion)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup apple (finely chopped)
Optional Garnish: crumbled cooked bacon and walnut or pecan halves

Gather the ingredients.

Wash spinach and let dry.

In a bowl whisk together the sugar, vinegar, grated onion, mustard, salt, and vegetable oil. Add the apple.

Refrigerate spinach and dressing separately until serving time.

Pour dressing over spinach just before serving and toss. If desired, sprinkle with crumbled bacon and nuts.

Spinach Salad with Rhubarb

2 cups chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons grated onion
1-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt

SALAD:
6 cups torn fresh spinach
6 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup bean sprouts
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 to 2 hard-boiled large eggs, chopped

In a saucepan, combine rhubarb, sugar and vinegar; cook over medium heat until the rhubarb is tender, about 6 minutes. Drain, reserving about 6 tablespoons juice; discard pulp.
Pour juice into a jar with tight-fitting lid; add oil, onion, Worcestershire sauce and salt. Shake well. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Just before serving, combine salad ingredients in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss to coat.

Note

If using frozen rhubarb, measure rhubarb while still frozen, then thaw completely. Drain in a colander, but do not press liquid out.

Spinach and Fennel Salad with Grapefruit

3 tablespoons red grapefruit juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 large fennel bulb
2 large red grapefruit, sectioned
1 cup fresh baby spinach
1/4 cup shaved Romano cheese
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

In a small bowl, whisk the first five ingredients. Remove fronds from fennel; set aside for garnish. Cut bulb into thin slices and coarsely chop the slices. In a large bowl, combine the chopped fennel, grapefruit and spinach. Drizzle dressing over salad; toss to coat.

Divide salad among four plates; sprinkle cheese and pomegranate seeds over salads. Garnish with fennel fronds.

Spinach and Fennel Salad with Apple

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
8 cups fresh arugula or baby spinach
1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 large tart apple, julienned
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
1 cup glazed walnuts

In a small bowl, bring vinegar to a boil; cook 4-5 minutes or until thickened to a glaze consistency. Cool slightly.

In a large bowl, combine arugula, fennel and apple. In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice, oil, pepper and salt until blended. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Add cheese and walnuts.
Drizzle eight plates with balsamic glaze. Top with salad.

Spinach, Apple, and Pecan Salad

2 packages (6 ounces each) fresh baby spinach
1 medium apple, chopped
1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
1 cup glazed pecans
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/3 cup dried cranberries
5 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled, optional

DRESSING:
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup canola oil

In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients; stir in bacon if desired.

For dressing, in a small bowl, whisk vinegar, sugar, mustard and pepper until blended. Gradually whisk in oil. Pour over salad; toss to coat.