Friday, April 24, 2015

Ranch Dip Spice Mix

So far, I've made two recipes from Milk Bar Life by Christine Tosi. One was a lemon bar recipe that started with a box of lemon cake mix.

And then there was this herb and spice mix for making a ranch dip.

Of the two, I have to say that this ranch dip mix is the one I'm going to make more often. It's just more ... versatile. It can be used to make a dip for vegetables - or for chips, too, I suppose. It can be used to make a salad dressing. And Tosi said that she uses it as a dry rub on chicken and she adds it to beans when she's cooking them.

I could see that this could become an all-purpose seasoning for vegetables, sprinkling onto popcorn, mixing into mashed potatoes, or adding to soups or stews.

Aside from desserts, I can't think of too many places it wouldn't work.

I'll probably be posting the lemon bar recipe a bit later. It's worth having in your back pocket for those times when you just don't want to make a dessert from scratch and you need something to take to that potluck or office party.

For a more about the book, check out this review on Munching on Books.

This recipe comes from Momofuku Milk Bar, where they apparently were going through vats of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing before they decided to make their own version. This is astonishingly similar to that dressing, but the lime zest adds a little something different.

I never actually made the full dip, so I can't say exactly how that would turn out, but I did use the dip mix added to a much smaller amount of sour cream and buttermilk to make a vegetable dip. Then, I decided to use it to make a salad dressing, and came up with my own formula (below) which I thought was pretty darned good.

Milk Bar Ranch Dip
Adapted from Milk Bar Life by Christina Tosi

Fido Jar by Bormioli Rocco
For the dry Ranch Dip Mix:
1/4 cup onion powder
1/4 cup dried chives (If the chive pieces are rather large, you can chop them a bit for better distribution in the mix. I didn't chop mine, and you can see how large they are.)
3 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons Colman's mustard powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon gochugaru (Korean red chili flakes/powder)
Zest of 2 limes

For the finished dip:
2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 batch dry Ranch Dip Mix

For Ranch salad dressing:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon dry Ranch Dip Mix

To make the dry Ranch Dip Mix:
Combine everything in a bowl, jar, or storage container. Mix well.

Note: my dried chives were a little large, as you can see in the photo of the mix. I think next time (and there will be a next time) I will chop them just a little bit smaller, so they distribute a little better though the mix.

I have mine in a jar on the counter. The first few days, the lime zest was releasing moisture into the mix and when I stirred it, it was a little clumpy. But now, it no longer clumps - I'm assuming the zest bits have fully dried.

To make the dip:
Whisk the sour cream together with the buttermilk in a bowl until smooth. Whisk in the Dry Ranch Dip mix until well combined. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours to let the flavors mingle.

Tosi says this is good for up to a week in the refrigerator. To me, it's a lot of dip to go through in a week if I'm not having a party or making salad for a crowd, so I'd suggest making as much as you think you'll need, since the dry mix should have a significantly longer shelf life.

To make the Ranch salad dressing:
Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl or jar. Whisk or shake to combine. Refrigerate until needed. It takes a short while for the ingredients to hydrate and the flavors to bloom, so I suggest making this a few hours or even a day before you need it.

With 1 teaspoon of the mix, it was a mild ranch dressing - not very aggressive. If you want more herb and spice flavor, add more of the dry mix until it's to your liking.

About the salad:
That's romaine lettuce with treviso (the purple), which looks like a purple endive and tastes like a cross between endive and radicchio, as well as grape tomatoes and Mezzetta Deli-Sliced Pepper Rings.

Products I love:
Although I worked with Mezzetta previously, those peppers were purchased by me. The Treviso was supplied to me by Frieda's Specialty Produce. The small jar holding the mix is a Fido jar from Bormioli Rocco; I received several of those for use in an article for another publication.