summery salads and ranch dressing


While I have certainly been enjoying the summer market bounty in the form of berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries), peas (sugar snap, english shelling) and beans (favas), I think that the best part about summer is the salads.  I really do enjoy a salad with my dinner and sadly most of the year this means produce that had to be trucked many miles (probably from California, bagged) and it inevitably is tasteless and a little disappointing.  But for a few months out of the year, everything is different.  

My salad spinner is bursting with lettuce from one of my favorite farmers.  Cucumbers are unwaxed and don’t have to be peeled.  Carrots with their tops still have a little dirt on them that once scrubbed off, reveals a vibrant orange with a sweet crunch.  Radishes in all shades of red, pink and purple (I didn’t even know that I liked radishes until this year!) Tomatoes that taste like the sun.  Early bell peppers that are tiny and purple.

It is wonderful.  But I think that I am enjoying my summery salads even more after discovering this *absolutely perfect* buttermilk ranch dressing recipe.  Anyone that is from TX knows that there are two kinds of ranch: good ranch dressing and really, really bad ranch dressing.  

A perfect example of really, really bad ranch dressing is Hidden Valley. It really should be called “The Original Bad Ranch.”  It bears no resemblance to the real thing.  Some of my favorite ranch is on the Chef’s salad, all beef brisket from Pappa’s BBQ in Houston (try dipping the brisket in the ranch….amazing).  Texans also know that you really can dip anything into good ranch (pizza, fries, fried okra, the list goes on).

It is no surprise that the Homesick Texan has hit the head of the nail with this recipe.  It is really, really good ranch.  I have made a batch once a week to keep in a jar in the fridge to drizzle over my nightly summery salads.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.  

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
From The Homesick Texan

This is an extra spicy version-leave out the peppers and cayenne if you are a wuss prefer things mild)

1/4 cup of mayonnaise
1/2 cup of sour cream
1/2 cup of buttermilk
1/4 cup of chopped cilantro
1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 serrano pepper, finely diced
1 teaspoon of chopped fresh chives
1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
Salt and black pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients together and let chill for an hour so the flavors can meld.
Makes 1 cup, keeps for a week in the refrigerator.

Add more mayo if you like your dressing thicker and if you want a sorta spicy version, use a jalapeno instead of a serrano.

I’ve heard that some people think that cilantro tastes like soap (and I feel sorry for you because cilantro to us normal people is really awesome) so use parsley instead.

Note: I take the Illinois Bar Exam in a mere 16 days so my posts might become sporadic (or really frequent if the lack of motivation hits me before the utter fear). So please excuse me if I am not responding to your questions, comments or posts with regularity

10 responses to “summery salads and ranch dressing

  1. Mmm…delicious! I’ve never made my own ranch dressing – have in fact just started diving into a world of homemade dressings beyond basic balsamic vinaigrettes. This one just got added to the list!

    I completely agree that ANYTHING can be dipped in ranch dressing, and I’m not even from Texas! Pizza is one of my favorites…

  2. I agree that ranch is PERFECT for pizza and wings and just about anything! I can’t wait to try making your buttermilk recipe! We usually get Hidden Valley and it’s good but nothing like homemade!

  3. I love all the colors of the vegetables. Your ranch dressing sounds delicious.

  4. Years ago, I started making my own habenero (grow my own plants now) buttermilk ranch dressing after frequent visits to the old Foley’s Express in downtown Htown. The dressing gave the taco salads so much great heat and flavor. Will try your recipe next batch. Hope my cilantro, jalapeno, cayenne, habenero, serrano plants have come through by then! Love habenero dressing on my tex mex salads that include black beans, corn, sour cream, pico, cilantro and shrimp, or konriko jalapeno seasoned chicken or bolner’s fiesta seasoned lime beef. Now I’m homesick! Thank goodness I was home for crawfish season!

  5. Not sure about putting ranch on pizza, but I did get a jug of buttermilk from Blue Marble at the market yesterday just so I could make ranch dressing…and we’re going to make a lovely summer salad for dinner tonight, as we have lots of CSA stuff lingering in the fridge that needs to be eaten. Homeade ranch is definitely a treat – thanks for the reminder!

  6. Yum! I love dipping pizza crust in ranch! I will absolutely be trying this recipe!

  7. Pingback: eat make read » market week wrap up: the recipes

  8. Delicious salad. I love salads and that one is a defo on my list….

  9. Your bounty is beautiful! Great photos. 🙂

  10. Geez my boys put ranch on everything and that bottled stuff is so yucky to me. Gonna try your recipe – looks like a healthier option.

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