I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. - Mark Twain

Monday, September 7, 2015

Time to dress up

Long time, no nada. That's what happens with Facebook competing for your time and attention. It becomes the blog. But I think it's starting to wear thin. There has been some noodling around in the kitchen and elsewhere 'round here, but a lot of the noodling has been following all of my cooking groups on FB, in particular the Gentle Chef (new cookbook just released! It's awesome!), Vegan Meringue- Hits and Misses!, and several others, as well as all of the cooks/chefs I keep madly collecting cookbooks from. 

How cool is this- most of my cooking heroes are now FB friends. And food science is transforming plant-based cuisine. And I am just in awe of the developments we've seen in only a couple of years.

Most of my own concoctions of late have been condiments/seasonings/quick mixes, so here follows a pantry mix cobbled up today. I have been craving dippy stuff (which is normal) but also salads, and Ranch dressing/dip has always been one of my fave complements for both rabbit food and munchies. So after perusing various other versions of that famous dressing-mix-in-a-packet this Labor Day weekend, my own version is now tucked away in the pantry for many jars of dressing (and dip) to come. 

Note that this mix is not going to look like the white stuff in the packets, because it does not have fillers. This is straight essence, babies (i.e., seasonings, and yes I am channeling my inner Emeril), so you don't need that much. I use and recommend non-dairy milk (such as soymilk or cashew milk), and eggless mayo (such as Just Mayo or the homemade mayo from the Gentle Chef cookbooks) as the bases. I also doubled the batch (so there would be no dressing emergencies in the near future...)

Kicked Up Ranch Dressing Mix

4 Tbs. dried parsley
2 Tbs. onion flakes
1 Tbs. garlic powder
1 Tbs. onion powder
1 Tbs. dried dill weed
1 Tbs. dried chives
2 tsp. dried basil
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. chile powder
1 tsp. paprika

In a food processor, pulse all ingredients a few times to chop up the larger flakes, transfer to an airtight jar with some headspace (for re-mixing ingredients that have settled), and store in a cool, dark pantry or cupboard. Shake jar vigorously before measuring out mix.

To make dressing or dip:

2 tsp. mix, or to taste
½ cup + 2 Tbs. mayo, and 1/4 cup + 2 Tbs. milk for dressing,  OR
¾ cup + 2 Tbs. mayo, and 2 Tbs. milk for dip
½ tsp. lactic acid powder OR 1 Tbs. vinegar or lemon juice (this gives the buttermilk flavor)
¼ - ½ tsp. xanthan gum, if a thicker dressing is desired (xanthan gum is often available in the gluten-free baking section of the grocery store)

Blend ingredients vigorously, transfer to a bottle or jar, and chill for at least a couple of hours to blend flavors. Dressing/dip will also thicken somewhat with chilling, especially if you add the xanthan gum, although this may not be as 'thick' as the store-bought versions.