Monday, May 19, 2014

Make It From Scratch: Ranch Dressing

One of the things I just gave up without a thought back when Big Sis was first diagnosed with food sensitivities was mayonnaise.  I just stopped eating it.  I was of the mind that there was no use moaning and crying over all the different foods we could no longer eat.  Just move on!  Eat something else!  Cut if off at the limb!  (I guess it is all or nothing with me sometimes.  Not always a good thing!)

It is very hard, though to recreate some salads and sauces and dressings without mayo.  They are just not quite the same without that flavorful, rich binder.  Sigh.  We now make our tuna salad with a vinegar and olive oil based dressing, and it is very good.  I have since discovered a recipe for AIP mayo that is out of this world, too.  Find it in this cookbook, by this author.

One of those foods I gave up on was creamy salad dressings and dairy based dips.  You know the ones!  Clam dip, onion dip, blue cheese dressing and ranch.  Oh, the ranch!  I guess I do miss blue cheese more, but there is absolutely no substitute for a stinky blue cheese.  Oh, well.

Maybe you have kids who will only eat vegetables if they are dipped in ranch dressing.  Maybe you have kids like mine who were so little when they had to give up eggs and dairy that they do not even understand the awesome-ness of ranch dressing, so refuse to even taste your lovingly recreated allergen friendly version.  Maybe someday.  I try not to take that sort of thing personally...

That just means we don't have to share our dip.  More dip for us!  Full of win!

The trick to make your homemade ranch nice and creamy and thick is to use a nice fatty coconut milk, and emulsify it with additional melted coconut oil.  What this extra coconut oil does is become solid when it is chilled, so your dressing thickens up and is perfect for dipping or drizzling all over your salad.  Creamy goodness, people!

 Ranch Dressing
Dairy free, egg free, AIP friendly
 
Recipe:

1 can full fat coconut milk, or about 2 cups
2 teaspoons granulated onion
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon sea salt
6 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted

Method: 

Pour your coconut milk into a medium bowl, and add the rest of the ingredients except the coconut oil.  Whisk well. 

Slowly pour the melted coconut oil into the dressing while whisking at the same time.  You are trying to emulsify the two together, like a vinaigrette or making mayo or hollandaise.  Once it is all incorporated, pour your dressing into a suitable storage container, cover it, and place it in the fridge to chill and thicken up.

The coconut oil will harden as it chills, giving your dressing a nice creamy consistency.  It's like magic!

Everything but the coconut oil whisked together

Slowly adding the coconut oil

 You may have mixed results if your coconut oil is thin, or very thick already.  Maybe when you mix all the ingredients together, your dressing will already be thick enough for your tastes and you won't need to add any coconut oil at all.  If your coconut milk is on the thin side, you may find you need to add more coconut oil and chill it again.  If you find your dressing is too thick, you can thin it with more coconut milk or some water.  Add one tablespoon at a time until you get the consistency you like.

Dairy and egg free AIP friendly ranch dressing!

Now we can snack with dip!
Dippy time!

Cooking isn't really a science, and it is more forgiving, quite unlike baking.  You may need to adjust things here and there to get the results and flavor you want.  I think that is the most important thing I learned in culinary school; taste your food, and if it doesn't taste right, change it!  Add more this or that, maybe it needs some acid like vinegar or lemon, etc.  This is the part of cooking that takes practice and as you practice you get more confident and the next thing you know you are creating your own recipes and really enjoying cooking more.  So get in there and give it a go!  You will be glad you did. 

And check out an AIP recipe roundtable by clicking the link below!

Phoenix Helix Recipe Roundtable