Monday, June 25, 2012

Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

I do not know what it is about ranch dressing and kids. Kids + vegetables + ranch dressing = yes, please! My brother and I would put it on absolutely everything. I remember, most notably, that it always found its way onto our plates alongside Sunday pot roast. (I'm sure Mom meant it for the salad, but when ranch is offered, you can't control where it goes from there.)

Mom used to make it at home using the easy peasy packet from the condiment aisle, but I always thought it paled in comparison to the ah-mazing stuff from the bottle. (The buttermilk kind was my favorite!) Isn't that wrong? Homemade stuff is supposed to be better. Period.

And this, this is SO much better than the packet, and SO much better than the bottle, and you can make it your own in a myriad ways, which is something I love. I also love that it used up my surplus of garden herbs, which needed a haircut.

This recipe hails from the Pioneer Woman, so you know it's perfect. (How does she DO that?) In true pioneer spirit, you really should pour it over a giant wedge of iceberg lettuce, but, as my brother and I can attest, it's good on anything. Anything.

Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

1 c. mayonnaise (I used Best Foods/Hellmann's Light)
1/2 c. sour cream (again, I used light)
1/4 to 1/2 c. buttermilk
1 or 2 cloves garlic, finely minced or crushed into a paste (I used 2)
1/4 c. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1-2 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
1/2 tsp. white vinegar
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
dash cayenne pepper (more if you like it hot -- and I hear some like it hot)
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4. tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Stir all ingredients together gently, tasting and adjusting seasonings as desired. If you like a thicker dressing, use the lesser amount of buttermilk. If you like it thinner, use the greater amount of buttermilk, adding Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

Some variations on the ranch theme:
- Add 1/4 c. parmesan cheese, if you like cheese
- Add an extra 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cracked black peppercorns
- Mix in two slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- For extra heat, add a dash or two of hot sauce and up the cayenne to 1/8 tsp.

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