Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Homemade Ranch Dressing

If I had to guess, I'd peg ranch dressing as the most popular salad dressing (and maybe dip, too!) I admit that sometimes I have a craving for a salad with a drizzle of creamy dressing on top. But we have a hard time finishing a whole bottle of dressing with just our little family, and I'm a little squicked out by using dressing that's been in the fridge for weeks, much less months. So I decided to make my own.

Making ranch dressing at home is surprisingly easy. I used fresh herbs, but you could use dried if that's all you have on hand.

The first thing I do is chop some garlic. Once it's roughly chopped, I sprinkle it with salt.

I used a really big clove of garlic. If you don't like garlic, I'd recommend either using a very small clove, or leaving it out (leave out garlic? I'm scandalized.)
Then I keep chopping, and once in while I run the flat part of the knife over the garlic. It turns big chunks of garlic into a paste-like substance.

Combine sour cream and mayo in a bowl, and add the garlic paste when it's ready.

I like sour cream more than mayo, so I added more of that. If you prefer the taste of mayo, or are short on sour cream, you could switch the amounts. And you could easily use the low-fat versions of these, if you're watching your calorie intake.

I love fresh parsley and dill. I grabbed a couple handfuls of both.

They got a quick chop.

Next I ran my knife through a bunch of chives.

I love chives. I've tried to grow my own a few times, but our house has very little shade outside, and anything grown inside is claimed by the cats. It looks like I'll be doomed to paying a premium on fresh herbs the rest of my life.

Add your herbs to the bowl, along with the zest from half a lemon (yellow part only, please!)

Don't forget to add the juice from the half-lemon!

Salt and pepper are your friends too.

Give everything a stir. Then add some buttermilk until the dressing is as thin or as thick as you like it.

I like to use mine as both a dressing and a vegetable dip so I keep it on the thicker side.

I wish you could smell this.

Give the dressing a little time for the flavors to blend, or just serve it right away if you can't resist.

Once you try this homemade dressing, you'll never want to go back to the kind in a bottle!

Recipe: Homemade Ranch Dressing

1 large clove or 2 small cloves garlic

1/2 c. mayo
1 c. sour cream

2 tablespoons each fresh parsley, dill, and chives (or 2 teaspoons dried)

zest and juice from half a lemon
salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 c. to 1 c. buttermilk

Roughly chop garlic; sprinkle with salt and continue to chop. Use the flat side of the knife to crush garlic into a paste.

Combine mayo and sour cream in a bowl. Add garlic paste.

Finely chop parsley, dill, and chives. Add to bowl.

Add zest and juice from the lemon; season with salt and pepper. Stir everything together.

Add buttermilk until dressing is the desired consistency. Serve right away or let sit in the fridge to allow flavors to blend.

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