Monday, August 29, 2011

Herbed Ranch Dressing

Herbed Ranch Dressing 3

First let me say thanks for all your well-wishes and prayers for the past weekend. Hurricane Irene wasn't as horrible here as we expected, but she did pack a wallop. We didn't get too much rain, but we got a lot of high winds. At one point I thought my river birch tree was going to come crashing through my front window.

We lost power for the whole day. It didn't come on until sometime early this morning. I panicked later on in the evening and had my hubby drive to my brothers house (he had power). I pulled all my blueberries, t-bones and bacon from the freezer in the garage and had him bring them to him. I got sick thinking about going through fall and winter without my berries. So they are safe and sound.

We didn't open the fridges but maybe twice during the whole storm, so I think I managed to save everything else.  Irene caused a lot of downed trees and power lines. We took a quick drive later in the day and saw lots of damage. One house down the road lost 2 cars to a fallen tree.

The clean-up is going to be intense, but we all made it safe and sound through the storm. That's enough hurricane fun for this season, now we'll just wait for a big snow storm! On to the recipe!

I have two teenage boys.

Two teenage boys eat...a lot.

Then they bring other teenage boys over to the house and soon you have not two, but maybe five or six boys in the house, boys who are always looking for food.

I have discovered that there is one dressing that almost all these teenage boys love. It's ranch. They slather it on all sorts of things. My nephew is so addicted to the stuff that I literally have to stop him from putting it on his pasta. It's a sickness I tell ya.

Herbed Ranch Dressing 1

I try to get them to eat healthy snacks, and although I know ranch isn't the healthiest of dressing, knowing that it's homemade and filled with herby goodness makes me feel a little better about it.

It is a great way to get them to eat their veggies!

Herbed Ranch Dressing 2

Herbed Ranch Dressing
makes about 2 cups
From the
3 scallions white and green parts chopped, about 1/4 cup
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon nice olive oil
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
1 scant teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup good mayonnaise
1 cup plain yogurt

If you're using a food processor, add the scallions, basil, lemon juice, mustard, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper to the work bowl and pulse a few times to incorporate. You don't want to puree this, just blend it up a little. Add the mayonnaise and yogurt and pulse once or twice again to blend. Scrape into a jar and refrigerate.

Alternatively, you can just stir all the ingredients together in a bowl. Just be sure you've chopped the onion, basil and garlic fine enough.

I find that the flavors are best after a day's rest so if you can, make this a day ahead of serving. It lasts about a week in the refrigerator.

If you are using this as a dip, you may want to use a thicker yogurt, such as Greek-style. If you are using this as a salad dressing and you think it's too thick, thin it with a splash of milk or buttermilk. A very forgiving recipe!

If you want to use the traditional buttermilk, substitute the plain yogurt with 1/2 cup Greek yogurt and 1/2 cup of buttermilk.

If you don't have green onions, you can substitute finely chopped shallots or sweet red onion to equal 1/4 cup.

Basil is my preferred herb here but you can replace it, all or in part, with parsley. A bit of fresh tarragon is nice, too, although I add about 1 tablespoon of finely chopped tarragon to the 1/2 cup of parsley instead of doing the full 1/2 cup substitute.

Variation: Sprinkle in a bit of powdered chipotle or smoked paprika for some smokey heat!

Herbed Ranch Dressing

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