Tuesday, November 12, 2013

ranch dressing running through my veins

Like all Utahns, I love ranch dressing.  Unlike some Utahns, I am picky about my ranch--they are not all created equal.  Begone Hidden Valley, Kraft, and your demon kin!  You are not the dressing I am looking for.  There is a moderately famous local restaurant near me that has splendid ranch dressing; thick, creamy, savory, perfection in a cup.  John shares my affinity for this dressing and I have given it to him as a birthday present more than once.  But then a few years ago I called the restaurant to beg them to share the recipe and they said, "Oh, we just make it from one of those packets."  Que decepcion!  Packets do make a better dressing than the stuff in the bottles, it's true, but it still feels like a cheat for a restaurant to be making packet ranch.

I have tried for years, literal, actual years to find a dressing recipe that tastes like ranch, but every recipe has just made me sad.  And yeah, supposedly I should be eating viniagrettes instead of creamy dressings, but sometimes I just want ranch, goshdarnit!  So I gave up that quest and just started looking for ready-made dressings whose ingredients didn't make me look sadly at my children, thinking about the tumors I was giving them. Lately we've been eating the Simply Dressed brand.  It's in the refrigerated dressings in the produce department.  It tastes quite good and the ingredient list is manageable.  We all like it.

But possums, there has been a miracle.  I checked out Ina Garten's How Easy is That from the library, and though she is syrupy and wasteful (her recipe for chicken stock is offensively, egregiously so--maybe they can afford to throw away three chickens' worth of meat in the Hamptons, but around here that is called food), that woman has never steered me wrong, taste-wise.  I have made enough of her recipes here and there over the years that I trust her.  So when I saw the recipe for buttermilk ranch dressing with Bibb lettuce I knew there was potential.  And I was so, so right.  I want to eat a hundred of that salad.  My long search is over and I'm thinking about dousing some greens in that dressing right now, it is so good.  Ina, I thank you for this superb ranch dressing.  Readers, the recipe can be found over here on the Food Network website, so you don't have to buy the book or even check it out from the library.  As Ina would chirp, how easy is that? 


beckster said...

OK, I am stoked over a ranch dressing recipe that is good. I, too, know I should be using olive oil on my salads, but sometimes nothing but ranch will do! I have been using the dreaded packets. How long does this keep in the frig? There are only 2 of us here most of the time. Thanks, Layne!

Marsha said...

So nice to find someone else who has never been steered wrong by Ina taste-wise, but who can't bring herself to waste so much perfectly good food (and I think my chicken stock is perfectly fine, thank you, made of roast chicken remains and hearts, gizzards, fat, and bones as it may be). But I echo the question - how long can you keep this dressing, refrigerated?

Layne said...

In the book she says she makes large batches of it in the summer to use as a dip for crudites, and though I don't know how many pop-ins she gets in the summer, I would take that to mean that it would keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge . . . does that seem too trusting? I wish she would just come out and say when it needs to be tossed.

Claire said...

YESSS!!!! I've always wanted to find a good homemade ranch dressing recipe, too. I love all of Ina Garten's recipes, too.