Saturday, March 10, 2007

What is the distinctive flavor of ranch dressing?

Who's asking: Me

This question came up at breakfast this morning, but it's only 9:15 and I've already forgotten the context. Chris and I are visiting the Lavinders, and that's how it goes here. Options for the day include kite-flying, miniature golf, and (of course) playing with trains.

Anyway, I looked it up, and it appears that the distinctive flavor of ranch dressing is a mix of garlic powder, onion powder, and dill weed. Garlic powder and onion powder are seldom in my cupboard -- I don't really see the point of them, when I have actual garlic and actual onion -- so I probably won't be making ranch dressing from scratch any time soon.

Yesterday was a travel day, and I've reached a point of maximum distraction. Blogging will be erratic until normal service resumes on Wednesday.

What I Read This Week

Chuck Hogan, The Killing Moon. The first two-thirds of the book is a fairly conventional thriller; the last third is something different altogether. Don Maddox returns to Black Falls, Massachusetts, a dying mill town dominated by a corrupt police force. Neither Maddox nor Black Falls is what it seems to be, and this moody thriller explores questions of identity, obligation, place and redemption.

Joe Meno, The Boy Detective Fails. Thirty-year-old Billy Argo had a short, brilliant career as a child detective, working with his sister Caroline and their best friend, Fenton. It all ended when Billy went to college, Caroline killed herself and Billy wound up in a mental hospital. Ten years later, Billy returns to the world to try to find his own place in it. This odd, brilliant, lovely book is almost too precious and self-referential, but I kept reading and was glad I did. It winds up being not about its plot at all, but about the question of what happens to child prodigies who grow up, and how adults learn to live with mystery.


Anna said...

Just a little kitchen tip - I use a lot of garlic powder and onion powder when I'm making vinagrette dressing. The real thing suprises people too much in a gentle salad but the taste of the powder is a nice addition!

Bryan Knox said...

You should try this then:

Ranch Dressing

1/2 cup mayonnaise or sour cream
1 clove garlic, peeled
2-3 pinches kosher salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
2-3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon cilantro or parsley, minced
1 tablespoon fresh chives, snipped
kosher salt
black pepper

1. Mash together the garlic cloves and salt until a paste is formed.
2. Remove to a small bowl or a jar with a tight fitting lid.
3. Add and whisk together buttermilk, lime juice, cilantro or parsley and chives until well blended.
4. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.
5. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate.

Personally I love it and add other fresh herbs such as thyme and dill when I have it. Enjoy!