I like to think I am a lady of sophisticated tastes. I have eaten at the French Laundry, I will spend $15 on a tiny jar of crushed French red pepper, I like anchovies in things, you know, très chic. But there is one place where I can’t keep up my fancy pretenses; where my refined palate is too embarrassed to show its face; where my eight year old self takes charge; a magical place called the salad bar. I love a good salad bar, which means, for me, that there are croutons and ranch dressing available. I know vinaigrette has a place, there is a wonderful ginger dressing on here that I adore, and there is a yogurt miso one from 101 cookbooks that is divine, but my first love is ranch. My salad tastes skew towards that of a picky kid. Creamy dressings, basic vegetables, eggs, bacon, lots of croutons, you know, the really good stuff.
Back in the day, ranch dressing was from a packet (way better than the bottle.) Add a little mayo and milk and voila – covering up the taste of vegetables in households with small children everywhere. But I have discovered something. When you make it yourself, like from SCRATCH, it really only takes about three minutes longer than the packet does, and you get to pick the herbs you put in, which means you can punch up the best flavors (i.e. dill) to your liking. Start with two parts buttermilk to one part mayo and work your way out from there. I added garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and chives, dill and chervil, because that’s what I had. I would say the chives are standard, but everything else can be just the way you want it. I add dill because it is my absolute favorite, but if you are not a fan of dill, use parsley. Tarragon would be interesting, thyme would be interesting and basil would add a great twist, I think. It truly takes about five minutes and is so much better than the packet or bottle. Much more sophisticated, for sure. Impressive AND crowd-pleasing.
What I am listening to: I am all over the map. Yesterday it was Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros in the morning and Top 40 for my run.
I got nothing else today. I am really tired and there are currently no sheets on my bed. How is it only Tuesday?
Homemade Ranch Dressing (makes about 1.5 cups)
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced to paste
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbl minced chives
1 tbl minced dill
1 tbl minced chervil or parsely
salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients in a jar or container with a tight-fitting lid. Close the top and shake like mad to mix. (You could also mix it in a bowl with a whisk, but it’s way less fun.) Feel free to mix up the herbs it whatever combo suits you best!
Serve over your favorite salad. (Or just dip random vegetables right in it. I won’t tell.)