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Friday, October 19, 2012

Ranch Dressing

I made this for lunch today and was reminded that it's definitely a recipe worth sharing. Several years ago, a local friend of mine was asking me how to make ranch dressing without packets. She had worked for foreigners most her life, and her kids had developed a particular taste for it. With foreigners the only source of the occasional imported dressing packets here, that means those packets are guarded as precious treasures for only the most special occasions. I find that often I guard those so much they expire before I get to use them! I did some digging for my friend back then and found this recipe. Having had packet dressing this week the night before making this one, I could really do a good comparison. Honestly, they taste very similar. So, here's a quick and easy ranch dressing with local ingredients. It takes literally about 3 minutes to make if that much.

Ranch Dressing
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup plain yogurt or buttermilk
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried dill or 1 Tablespoon fresh, chopped finely
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley or 1 Tablespoon fresh, chopped finely
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients together with a whisk to get out any lumps. Keep refrigerated up to a week.

A few notes about this recipe. First, make sure you get a decent mayonnaise as it will really affect the flavor of the dressing. American Garden seems to be fairly priced for a quality mayo. Fun Foods....not so good. Adapt the second ingredient to the thickness you like. For a more thick dressing, you might even drain yogurt over a cloth first. I like dips thicker and dressings thinner so I actually use almost 1/2 cup yogurt and add a little water to top it off. Lastly, if you want a classic ranch flavor, use the recipe as is or even cut back on the dill. If you want a dilly dip, omit the parsley and up the dill. The flavor will increase over time too so don't go overboard. I never have parsley on hand so I just use dill. This time of year, most of the people who sell a variety of leafy greens will also carry dill. Just sniff, and you'll know.

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