Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sensational Salads and Ranch Dressing

For the salad, never settle for a just lettuce and a few token tomatoes. Salad can be so pretty! Make it one of the most beautiful things on the table.

I almost always use romaine lettus, sliced or torn thinly. This salad contains:
yellow and red pepper
sweet salad onions (use green onions)
slivered red cabage
grated carrot

The salad dressing is out of Tami Benton's cookbook, Pure and Simple. Her recipe is a good place to start. I make about the same thing most days, but I find I vary the amount of seasons to my taste and desires that day. I've had many people get so excited about how yummy this kind of dressing is. And I have to say it is easy to make, you just have to have a good blender.

Ranch Dressing
by Tami A. Benton

1 cup raw cashews
1 t salt
1 T onion powder
1 T garlic powder
1/4 t thyme
1/4 t rosemary
1/4 t basil
1 T fresh lemon or lime juice
1 cup water
1 T dill (after blending)

Put all the ingredients except dill in the blender and blend until very smooth. At the end add the 1 T dill and stir in or pulse blender just once or twice on a slow speed.

My notes: Experiment with the amount of seasonings. You are competing with the flavor enhancer MSG when you serve homemade ranch dressing, so it helps to put in a lot of herbal flavor. I usually put in only about 1 t garlic powder and 2 t onion powder and I usually add more basil, maybe 1 t. I also like to add 1 t of ground mustard powder. And because my kids aren't crazy about that much dill, I add only about half of what is in the recipe. But I have to say that any variation is good. Fresh herbs are also wonderful, if you have some out in your garden, put some in. Add more water if you want it more pourable. Figure out what works well for your family.

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