Lauri Sturdivant is interested in how our friends and families gather around a table sharing meals and telling stories. In this column she shares recipes and stories from people in Siskiyou County, and restaurant reviews from her travels. Read full interviews, find recipes and reviews at TheBillPlate.com.

While searching through my refrigerator for some item I knew was in there somewhere I found an abundance of near empty jam jars. I have made raspberry vinaigrette so why not try fig, peach and blackberry? So, I’ve been having fun playing with fruit vinaigrettes and salad ingredients. With these simple ingredients you can make some surprisingly flavorful dressings for green salads, asparagus, green beans, quinoa or bean salads.

Ingredients

2 tbsp to 4 tbsp of fruit jam – or more to empty a jar of jam

1/4 cup red or white wine or balsamic vinegar

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

Directions

Put all of the ingredients in a jar and shake well to emulsify. If you use a jar with measurements you can do this all in one jar.

Variations for the vinaigrette:

Add 1 tsp minced garlic and 1 tbsp Dijon mustard – makes a spicy dressing for a variety of vegetables

Substitute fresh lemon or lime juice for the vinegar – especially good with garlic on steamed or grilled asparagus & green beans

Add 2 tbsp chopped fresh herbs. Thyme, basil, parsley, or tarragon will all add flavor

Add 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese or feta or 1/4 cup of parmesan

Apple chutney adds a warm exotic flavor – use homemade or store-bought

Suggestions for the salad:

Add fresh fruit to compliment your dressing flavor, peach vinaigrette with fresh peaches

Fresh berries, grapes and chopped apples add freshness and color

Pecans or walnuts will add some crunch – roast in a dry skillet will bring out their flavor

Fresh or dried figs and toasted pine nuts with fig vinaigrette will take you to the Mediterranean

Blackberry vinaigrette goes well with feta cheese and roasted garlic.