What could possibly be better than a sunny and warm early summer afternoon filled with family, chilled wine, and cool and creamy homemade ranch dressing with a rainbow of crunchy raw vegetables?
With family unexpectedly in town for a few awesome days (or as long as we can convince a certain someone to stick around…), we have gotten the tough stuff out of the way and are finally able to start having a little fun together! Now that some recent stress has moved to the background, we getting out and doing our favorite Napa things, like eating at our favorite restaurants, shopping, drinking great wines, and, of course, simply spending time together in the sunshine. We’re finally able to focus on the important stuff, like breathing, relaxing, and simply being together.
Just for fun, a few of us headed out to Ca’Momi in the Oxbow Market for lunch. If you’re in Napa, Oxbow is a fantastic place to check out. It’s a collection of great little shops, including an amazing spot to get meat, an awesome spot to buy incredible fish, one of my favorite places to grab salts and spices, plus it has beautiful groceries, great wines and cheeses, and there’s a Hog Island Oyster right there if you’re in the mood for oysters! Not only that, but there are places to get everything from cupcakes to the best gluten-free Mexican food you could ever hope for (C Casa), seriously yummy ice cream, and more.
We decided on Ca’Momi for lunch, since we were all in the mood for pizza and wine. Ca’Momi not only has great choices for toppings (go for the white pizza with thinly sliced prosciutto and baby arugula!), but they have the best gluten-free pizza crusts I’ve found in Napa. If you can handle a little heat, ask for their spicy olive oil. It’s so good! We sat outside eating pizza, drinking a little Sauvignon Blanc, and having a truly fantastic time.
After all of that feasting, we weren’t planning on being hungry ever again, so we grabbed some gorgeous vegetables from the little market that’s right there and headed home. We put the homemade ranch dressing together right away so that the flavors could mellow and come together while we waited to find out if we’d ever find our appetites back. By the time we were in the mood to snack, the homemade ranch dressing was beautifully cool, flavorful, and perfect for a healthy summer afternoon treat.
This homemade ranch dressing is something that always gets more compliments than you’d expect from a simple dip or salad dressing. If you’re having people over, I really recommend making this stuff. It impresses everyone! There’s something so magical about the flavors of fresh homemade ranch after years of eating the stuff that comes in bottles, packets, and jugs. Though I’ll admit to liking nearly every ranch I’ve tried (up to and including Cool Ranch Doritos…), homemade ranch just can’t be beat. It’s absolutely filled with flavor, healthy, and truly fun to share.
The only trick here is to make sure the ingredients get chopped really small so your dressing doesn’t have big chunks of garlic, onion, and celery that you’ll wind up biting into. If lots of chopping or mincing will drive you crazy, you totally have the option to pulse the ingredients in your food processor. You don’t want to puree them, but you do want to make sure they’re nice and tiny.
Keeping an eye on your food choices? You can certainly substitute low-fat or fat-free sour cream here, but I won’t pretend that the flavor will be the same. Full-fat dairy products are just so delicious!
As always, use whatever vegetables for dipping that you have around or know you love. There’s no wrong choice here! We used rainbow carrots, celery, red pepper, radishes, and cucumber, but if you want zucchini and mushrooms, go for it!
If what you’re looking for in a ranch is a thinner salad dressing rather than a thick dip, you can easily thin this homemade ranch dressing out with a little more buttermilk, or even a tablespoon or two of water. Just add it little by little until you have the consistency you’re going for. Then give it another taste to see if you might need to add a little more salt after increasing the liquids. Always make sure you taste everything after you change it!
Deliciously Cool and Creamy Homemade Ranch Dressing
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 Tbs buttermilk
- ½ red onion, minced
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 2 stalks celery, minced
- 2 Tbs parsley, minced
- 1 Tbs thyme, minced
- 2 Tbs lemon juice
- 1 Tbs lime juice
- ½ Tbs red wine vinegar
- 1 dash Tapatillo or Tabasco
- salt and pepper
- Place the garlic, onion, and celery in a bowl. Add a pinch of salt and the lemon and lime juice and mix well. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
- Add the sour cream, buttermilk, black pepper, and the Tapatillo and mix well. Mix in the parsley and thyme. Stir in the red wine vinegar. Taste, and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and lemon or lime juice.
- For even better flavor, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to let the flavors mellow and come together.
Looking for more awesome dips, dressings, and oils? You might love the
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