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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Ranch Dressing from Scratch

This is a base recipe, then you can freely add other ingredients here and there
to achieve the flavor you like. The flavor of the from-scratch recipe is incredible.

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Mayonnaise (NOT Miracle Whip), Sour Cream, Buttermilk or Regular Milk,
Garlic, Italian (Flat Leaf) Parsley, Chives, and Salt.

Other optional ingredients: Fresh Dill, Worcestershire Sauce, Cayenne Pepper,
Paprika, Fresh Oregano, Tabasco.
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First, start with 1 to 2 cloves of garlic. Chop up the garlic pretty finely.
Then, sprinkle about 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon (or a healthy pinch) kosher salt on top.
Regular salt would also work fine in a pinch.
By the way, Morton’s makes kosher salt and it can be found in most supermarkets.
Kosher salt is NOT kosher. Kosher salt is used in the preparation of kosher meats,
and it’s characterized by flat flakes that easily adhere to the surface of foods.
In this case, though, it will act as an abrasive.

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Now, with the back of the knife or a fork, begin mashing the garlic into a fine
paste.

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This starts out a little slow, but before too long it’ll start mashing up and changing
 in consistency. The coarse salt helps the process along.

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Now chop up some fresh chives. I am mildly obsessed with fresh chives lately.
They’re easy to grow, too! And they make the prettiest purple flowers…
but we’ll talk about that later.
Chop up around 2 tablespoons of chives to start with.
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And now for the parsley! You can be a little more generous here, as it doesn’t
have quite the bite as the garlic and the chives.


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Fresh parsley IS strong beyond a certain point, though. So start with about
1/4 cup and you can add more from there.

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Now! Before I proceed, let me point out the base ingredients for the creamy
part of the dressing: Mayonnaise, Sour Cream, and Buttermilk (though
regular milk will work, too.) I’ll show you the quantities I use, but I want
to emphasize that YOU can find the precise mixture that works for you.
But here’s how I approach it: the mayonnaise gives the dressing the solid, creamy,
tangy base.
I use more of it. The sour cream brings a thickness and a body to the dressing…
but it’s light and mild in flavor. And the buttermilk, or the regular milk, acts as
a thinning agent, bringing your ranch dressing to the proper consistency.
Buttermilk will be thicker and tangier; milk will almost be a non-flavor…
but will thin it quite a bit more. So if you like a highly pourable dressing,
regular milk would be best.

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I use a cup of mayonnaise and 1/2 cup sour cream. And the cool thing is,
you can substitute the low-fat or fat-free stuff if you’re feeling particularly
health conscious.

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Add garlic

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Throw in the parsley…

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And throw in the chives.

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Now give it a stir so you can evaluate the flavor and consistency…

DSC_0008Then add in buttermilk or milk as needed. If you find the flavor overwhelming or too salty, regular milk would cut/dillute that a bit.

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Now, I think fresh dill is REALLY delicious, so I add in about 1 to 2 teaspoons
at least.

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MPORTANT! Keep tasting as you go. And don’t just stick in the tip of your
pinkie and taste a little dab

DSC_0015That’ll always give you a more accurate gauge.

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Keep tasting as you go, adding more salt, if needed…

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Or more chives.... Or more parsley, or more dill…or you could go out on a limb
and add any or all of the following: white vinegar, black pepper, cayenne
pepper, a dash of worcestershire, paprika, fresh oregano, or Tabasco.
Just know this: If you make it the way YOU like it, you absolutely can’t mess it up!
I just made that up. But it sort of rings true, doesn’t it?
Enjoy!
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