Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Garlic Ranch Dressing

I dunno about you, but this summer I've been making myself crazy trying to find a ranch dressing that has neither high fructose corn syrup nor partially hydrogenated oils in it. I like my ranch light and California-style, thin-ish (not thick/gloopy like a tartar sauce), with a good buttermilk tang to it. Its okay if I can detect the flavor of mayonnaise, but if its going to be a greasy GLOP of nothing much more than mayonnaise on my salad, it shouldn't be labeled ranch dressing! That texture is okay for dips, but I want something entirely more... fresh on my salads! The only commercially available stuff I've been at all happy with has topped $5/bottle, and still has sweeteners in it, which are entirely unnecessary in my opinion. I simply can't afford to pay that much money when we are going through so much dressing: between the four of us in the summer, we're using a bottle a week!

Well, a revolutionary idea struck me, and I was flabbergasted that I hadn't considered it before in all the years I've been cooking-- why not make one myself? I don't have a clue why this had never occurred to me! I make many other kinds of salad dressings from scratch, but somehow ranch always seemed like something you purchase prepared, like mustard or something. Odd, I know. So, I set out to look for recipes, and I found many. I fiddled with a few, achieving varying degrees of success; this is the one I've liked best. I'm making this every week now, and the whole family likes it. My favorite way to eat this so far has been with steak salad and fresh, sweet tomatoes. Yum!

The secret to this recipe is the freshness of the ingredients; I would not advise making it with dried herbs or dried garlic. It is at its best when used within a day or two, and the garlic flavor seems strongest the day after it is made. It keeps about five days in the fridge before the herbs get icky and the flavor profile changes.

Garlic Ranch Dressing

(adapted most notably from this recipe ~ Emerils.com)
  • 4 sm. cloves fresh garlic (or about 1 1/2 T. minced)
  • 1/4 c. packed celery leaves
  • 1 stalk green onion (1/4 c. chopped)
  • 1/4 c. fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • juice from one small lemon (abt. 2 T.)
  • 3/4 t. fine freshly ground black pepper

  • 3/4 c. quality mayonnaise (no HFCS, I use Trader Joe's when I can get it)
  • 1/2 c. cultured buttermilk

Put the first seven ingredients into the food processor and blend till pulverized and minced finely. Add mayo and buttermilk, scrape sides, and pulse again to combine. Store in a glass container (unless you plan on only ever using your plastic container of choice for this purpose, because it will smell of garlic for all eternity afterwards) in the fridge with a tight-fitting lid for up to a week. Makes about 12oz or so.

2 comments:

Tim said...

This is super tasty stuff- but you do have to be very careful talking to people after eating! It's best shared with a loved one or friend! :)

Gwuinifer said...

Tim, I just love sharing the potent pleasures of fresh garlic with you! :D

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