Here’s a two-fer post on a weird ingredient and what to do with it…
Show of hands, who likes Ranch Dressing? Oh, yeah- we all do. Have you priced it? OMG!I get it, that old recipe from the dude ranch in California deserves to be paid for, but let’s not get carried away here folks. It’s not like there’s black truffle shavings in it! In fact, its ingredients are in most kitchens already. The key is the recipe. There are lots of variations out there, so feel free to mix away. I’ve found one I like and has only once even slightly expensive ingredient. Once you pick up this new addition to your pantry, it won’t be so expensive after you fin d a hundred things to use it in!
Here comes the ‘two-fer’ part of this post. The weird ingredient. Well, it’s really a staple in this kitchen : dried buttermilk. What? Oh, yes. I incorporate this into my ‘quick mix’ that I use for everything from waffles and pancakes to scones. In other words DIY Bisquick…but that’s another Blog post. I found out from one of my favorite magazine/blog/tv shows, ‘America’s Test Kitchen’ on PBS, that the carton of buttermilk isn’t what Grandma used to know (surprise!). Industry has discovered, what most house-frau’s have known for years, that you can make buttermilk by souring regular milk with vinegar. Since they’re already bottling milk, it’s easier and cheaper to just do that too. That’s great and all, but it’s a kitchen short-cut. The real deal now comes in a can in dried form and is, as I understand, the dried remains from the butter making process – buttermilk. You’ll find this little paper can in with the canned evaporated milks and such in the grocery store. Once open, though, it must live in the fridge. It is, after all, milk. So go and get some and while you’re at it check your spice rack and make up your own Ranch or Ranchero mix!
DIY Ranch Dressing Mix:
Step 1: Gather the goodies
1/4 cup Dry Buttermilk
2 Tbl Dried Minced Onion
2 Tbl Dried Parsley
1 Tbl Dried Chives
1/4 tsp Salt (to taste – or use Sea Salt, but way less of it)
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Dried Celery Flakes
1/2 tsp Pepper (white pepper is prettier, but black is available here)
1/4 tsp Paprika (no, not that hot stuff, well, maybe if you’re into that)
1/4 tsp Dried Dill
I put mine in a mason jar, because I have a ton of them, and it makes for nice photos – yummy.
Another photo – it’s just so cool in that jar – hmmm. Wouldn’t this make a nice gift for someone?
Next I put the mix into the Magic Bullet (or whatever small volume blender you’ve got), and whirled it into a powder. Hmm, looks just like that package stuff. Only way, way, way less money!!!
Now you can use this for salads if you mix it with some milk (fat-free is good too), and a touch of mayo (even Veganaise makes the list here) and there you have it – Ranch Dressing! If you’re into the thick stuff you can add some reduced fat sour cream, or even a pinch of Xanthan Gum. What’s that? Oh, you missed that blog? Well, it’s a natural thickener that’s used for many gluten-free recipes. You can Google it, or just search Kathy’s or my blog. Now, where was I – oh yes, dips. A bit of this in reduced fat sour cream is awesome! Did someone say Greek yogurt?…and a baked potato….Oh yeah. I even have a recipe for Taco Soup that I add a tablespoon to and it changes the flavor completely. One of the nice things about the open mix is that you can make it as YOU like. If you like it with taco sauce, ok. Maybe a teaspoon of spicy mustard, and you got an incredible potato salad. The list goes on and on. Have fun with it. You can make it as fattening as you want, because it starts out pretty darned low. The dried buttermilk is only 80 cal and less than 1 gram of fat in 4 tablespoons (about an envelopes worth) so add it with abandon my waist watching friends. You’re safe.
Michelle @ http://www.badzoot.com/