Monday, June 29, 2009


For my parents’ generation it might have been Italian (pronounced EYE-tallion by some), but for most of us born in the 70’s and on it has been Ranch Dressing. Sure, I can vaguely remember a time before Ranch, but just barely. And Ranch isn’t simply a salad dressing. It’s a dipping sauce, it’s a condiment, it’s a food flavor with its own sub-flavors e.g. cool, zesty, fiery. But, aside from buttermilk, I never really thought about what was in Ranch Sure, you can buy the original packet of dry ingredients and add buttermilk to it, but I needed to make a from scratch recipe.

So, I scoured the internet for ideas. Ultimately, I came to find that MSG was the secret ingredient. Unlike others I am an MSG hater. So, I concocted my own list of ingredients:

½ cup Crème Fraiche

½ cup mayonnaise

¼ cup buttermilk

1tsp Cilantro (minced)

1tsp Parsley (minced)

2TBSP Onion paste

2TBSP Garlic paste

1TBSP Lime juice

Kosher salt (to taste)

Cracked pepper (to taste)

1tsp Red wine vinegar

Most of the recipes I found called for sour cream. I felt that using Crème Fraiche would satisfy my uppity, foody instincts. So, I made my own. This is the first time I’ve ever made Crème Fraiche that actually set up.

I think the secret was that I used buttermilk as opposed to sour cream. Simple recipe really:

2 cups heavy whipping cream

¼ cup buttermilk

Let sit at room temp for 24 hours.

Regardless, I was also able to purchase and use a new kitchen gadget. A citrus reamer.

I’ve wanted one of these low-tech gadgets for a very long time and finally parted with the five ninety nine needed to get one. It proved to be everything I had dreamed i.e. it reamed. I highly recommend getting one.

So, I added all of the ingredients together and tweaked and tweaked. Don’t be afraid of the salt. It does a pretty good job of substituting for the demon MSG. The concoction I came up with could pass for Ranch anywhere.

The initial taste is very nearly identical, but the finish is lighter and more subtle. I think I would use white vinegar next time, and there was a bit of onion aftertaste. So, maybe dried onions. Overall, though, this a Ranch you can be proud to dip your carrots in.

Or if you like me, just drink it straight.

It’s like liquid manna.


  1. It looks delicious. And I, too, have longed for a citrus reamer. Perhaps I'll part with the cash and make my own dream come true. Well done as always, sir.

  2. I enjoyed the hell out of that. Looks like you did too, from the extra mustache.

  3. Phi Alpha Tau Alpha Alpha Sigma Sigma lives! I approve of your choice of beverage and love your ranch (koolaid) mustache!