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Unpopular opinion: Summer isn't great but at least there's homemade ranch
Issue 19: It's too hot to cook.
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Greetings from New York City where we’re at the tail end of our second heat wave in about one week. It’s around this time of year that I hate being hot and sticky so much that it nearly knocks out all the great things about summer. The produce! The long days! The grilling! But wow does it have to be so hot? This will not be the last time I complain about the weather and I will not apologize for that.
Perhaps the one saving grace of hot summer days is the insane abundance of produce available at local markets. I try to shop and eat as seasonally as possible and starting around this time of year I just wander through the markets grabbing things that look good with the intention of figuring out something later. Sometimes, I find a recipe to use, but a lot of times I just assemble a plate of things or a salad with a really great dressing. But you know what? The produce is so good that it doesn’t need much. A little bread, a little produce, a little cheese, a little meats with a swirl of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and you’ve just pulled together a single-serve charcuterie plate that is probably as good as any restaurant. Or toss it with a really good homemade dressing and you’ve got a Sweetgreen in your house and it didn’t even cost $17!
I tend to lean toward a pungent balsamic vinaigrette, but lately I’ve been working some other dressings into my routine. Molly Baz’s Classic Caesar Dressing in Bon Appétit is a perennial favorite. I also LOVE this quick miso dressing from Food52. Recently though, because of an abundance of leftover buttermilk, I decided to go the homemade ranch route and wow I was not disappointed.
I’ve never made homemade ranch which feels strange for someone who literally has this hanging on their wall. There are a lot of different homemade ranch schools of thought: mayo or sour cream? dried or fresh herbs? do you add apple cider vinegar or Worcestershire sauce? I checked out a few recipes and pulled something together that used up what I had a lot of (buttermilk, herbs) and didn’t require a lot of extra purchases. I think people tend to have ~ opinions ~ on ranch, but I think I came up with one of the best homemade ranches I’ve ever had.
Super Herby Ranch
This recipe is inspired by a few different ranch recipes I found online and leans on nearly equal parts buttermilk and mayo as the base and a (frankly) ridiculous amount of fresh herbs. While it’s excellent right after it’s made, it’s insane after a day or so. I went in on the garlic but feel free to dial it back a bit if that’s not your thing.
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup + 2 tablespoons mayo (I used Sir Kensington’s but use your favorite!)
4 cloves garlic, grated
1 large bunch parsley, finely chopped
1 large bunch chives, finely chopped
1 medium handful of any other herb that you fancy (basil, cilantro, dill), finely chopped
About 2 teaspoons garlic powder (If this feels like too much garlic, feel free to omit. Or add a little more if you’re really wild.)
A lot of fresh pepper
Salt, to taste (I gave it a heavy pinch)
To make the ranch: Whisk everything together. Serve with literally anything. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate.
If you make this dressing I would be delighted if you texted/tagged/emailed me with whatever you serve it with. I love ranch!