Homemade Ranch Dip

– johanna | May 3rd, 2013

Filed under: RECIPES- Condiments

Ranch Dressing

I have never liked the stuff in the green and white bottles labeled as Ranch Dressing. You have to question a substance that does not rinse off the plate easily. If it has to be scrubbed off a surface I can’t imagine what it is doing to the inside the body.

We switched to an organic ranch dressing without the chemicals and soy, the way nature intended- with real food. I had to drive 30 minutes to the only store around that carried it. Needless to say the family had to endure eating their veggies without it. I was looking at the bottle one day and thought, you know I can make this stuff. It is only some herbs and buttermilk. How hard can it be?

Several recipes later… the only part I do not like is the addition of mayo. I tried making it with all yogurt and some lemon juice. That did not end so well. I also wanted to use ingredients that I will almost always have on hand. Based on that criteria alone the use of buttermilk was ruled out. Chef John’s recipe was a unanimous hit with the kids. Dad and I however, did not like that it had too much mayo flavor. I cut out a couple tablespoons but ideally I like to use use 1/3 cup mayo and 1 1/4 cup greek yogurt. I dislike using the mayo but I have yet to figure out how to replace the flavor it lends.

If you are looking for a good homemade recipe to wean the kids on then this is a good start. Normally I use the variations listed below- milk and vinegar vs buttermilk, oregano in place of the dried and fresh herbs. It is what I have on hand. Once I master the mayo problem I will list it under variations.

Source: adapted from Chef John
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt or sour cream
1 1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon minced fresh Italian parsley
2 teaspoons sliced fresh chives
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup buttermilk

Mix all ingredients together in bowl. Serve with cold fresh vegetables, or thin out dip with a few splashes of buttermilk to make ranch dressing.

Tip: for thicker dip reduce the amount of buttermilk slightly.

yield: 1 1/2 cups

Variations:
– I prefer 1/3 cup mayo to 1 1/4 cup greek yogurt.
– If using real onion use 1/4 cup minced.
– If you do not have parsley, chives and tarragon, sub a teaspoon dried oregano.
– Replace buttermilk with 1 teaspoon white vinegar and enough milk to make 1/3 cup.

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Hot Fudge Chocolate Sauce

– johanna | April 5th, 2013

Filed under: RECIPES - Treats, RECIPES- Condiments

Hot Fudge Sauce

We hosted an ice cream sundae party not too long ago at the behest of my daughter. We made salted caramel sauce, hot fudge sauce, whipped cream. chopped almonds and peanuts, When I want to make chocolate sauce I turn to non other than David Lebovitz. His chocolate sauce recipe is amazing drizzled over crepes. This time I wanted something like fudge sauce. This recipe fit the bill perfectly. Spread it on cupcakes or use it to make s’mores.

Source: Maya Made
1/2 cup butter
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup light cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. In a heavy sauce pan melt the butter and chocolate together.
2. Mix the cocoa with the 1/4 cup sugar and stir in. Add the cream, the the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly to prevent scorching.
3. Remove from heat immediately and add vanilla. Cool, then Refrigerate.

* Heat before serving by placing container in pan of hot water until sauce reaches pouring consistency. Should keep for 1-2 weeks.

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Salted Caramel Sauce

– johanna | February 8th, 2013

Filed under: RECIPES- Condiments

One day while Adelin and I were playing barbies we were invaded by three halo men and a lego guy. This real life toy story world of army men, lego guys, and barbies coexisting is a common senario in our home. Apparently it was the lego captain’s birthday. So we gathered all the barbie food that included a turkey, a two layer wedding cake, a banana sundae, and an empty bowl that we pretended had a salad. While the girls were getting ready for the birthday party the house was attacked by bad guys. The lego captain lead his halo men on the mission of protecting the barbie house and its occupants. After a few skillful karate moves the house was secure. During the battle some of the food, cups, and utensils fell off the table. As we were cleaning things up to start the party again, Adelin asks me if we can make a banana sundae just like the fake sundae she was holding in her hand.

Maybe it is un-American but, I have never liked banana sundaes. I do not like bananas in general much less cold bananas. The thought of having sundaes sounded fun so, we decided to invite some friends over for movie night and sundaes, with or without bananas.

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes
Yield: 1 1/2 cups

Source: Lick My Spoon
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

Heat sugar and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat; stirring constantly to dissolve sugar. Bring to a boil. Do not stir once it comes to a boil.

Boil until the liquid turns a dark amber color or about 350 degrees on a candy thermometer.

(If using a non-stick pot the edges might turn dark amber before the center. If this happens swirl the pan a bit but refrain from stirring. If you do not have a thermometer boil until most of the liquid is amber and it starts to smell like it is burning. Remove the pan from the heat before stirring in the butter, then the cream.)

When the liquid sugar turns a dark amber color, add all the butter to the pan. The mixture will foam up and thicken. Whisk until the butter has melted. Once the butter has melted, take the pan off the heat.

Add the cream to the pan (the mixture will foam up again) and continue to whisk to incorporate.

Add the sea salt and whisk until caramel sauce is smooth.

Let cool in the pan for a couple minutes, then pour into a glass jar and let cool to room temperature. Sauce will thicken as it cools.

Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Warm before serving.

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Homemade Rice Milk

– johanna | November 9th, 2012

Filed under: RECIPES- Condiments

I had never heard of rice milk until 15 years ago. I had a friend with Epstein Barr, a blood virus. She was unable to eat sugar and milk because they aggravated the disease. It was she who introduced me to real from the tap maple syrup and rice milk.

I have been using rice milk in both cooking and baking opposed to cows milk. I love that I do not need to add a thickener to my bechamel (cheese or cream) sauce because the rice milk has just enough starch. Homemade rice milk is also a cheaper alternative when making large batches of hot chocolate.

My kids are not lactose or gluten intolerant, however I try to use a variety of grains, liquids, fruits and vegetables as not to overload our systems. 2 years ago we eliminated all processed foods in addition to many fruits and vegetables that contain the natural chemical salicylate. Salicylates can be found in stone and citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes, cucumber, corn, and peppers. At the time that was everything our diet consisted of. After a period of six weeks we slowly introduced the foods back into our diet one at a time. I discovered that apples made my son hyper. Strawberries and grapes made my daughter moody. My youngest son seemed fine but he had a gluten and milk allergy. Cows milk was replaced with coconut and rice milk (we tried goats milk but he did not like it) and wheat was replaced with rice and gluten free flours. The saying everything in moderation is what we try to live by. We are ok if we eat these foods sparingly.

This recipe makes about 3 quarts of milk. The cost comes out to less than a dollar a week.

1 cup uncooked brown rice (or long grain)
4 cups water
1 tsp salt (optional)

Thoroughly wash the rice. Pour rice and water into a large pot. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cover the pot and lower the heat, simmer for 2-3 hours until soupy. Stir in salt, if using.

Fill a blender halfway with rice mixture and 1-2 cups water. Blend until smooth about 2-4 minutes (depending on type of blender). Strain milk through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Continue blending and straining the rest of the rice mixture.

Stir in extra water if needed and any sweetener and flavoring if using. Strain back into pot. Clean out bowl. Strain the milk once more back into the bowl. Store milk in a large pitcher or mason jars. Refrigerate for up to one week.

To Use:
— Thin the milk with additional water if too thick.
— Substitute rice milk for cows milk in most recipes.

Variations:
— 4 tablespoons maple syrup or other sweetener.
— 1 teaspoon vanilla (or more to taste)
— 1 teaspoon cinnamon
— 1 tablespoon organic sunflower oil.
— Nut and Rice Milk: add a handful of blanched raw almonds, hazelnuts, or cashews to the blender with the rice mixture.

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Red Enchilada Sauce

– johanna | September 20th, 2012

Filed under: RECIPES- Condiments

This is by far my favorite enchilada sauce. In fact it is the only red enchilada sauce I use. So I thought it important to give it its very own post. Flour combined with chili powder are cooked until fragrant to give the sauce a deep robust flavor inherent to Mexican cuisine.

Enchilada Sauce:
Source: AllRecipes
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 1/4 cups water or broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 cloves garlic, minced or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons minced onion, or 1 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in flour and chili powder, reduce heat to medium. Stirring constantly to prevent burning the flour, cook until the sauce just begins to smell strong, a sort of burnt smell, and is slightly thickened,

Gradually stir in tomato sauce, water, cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder until smooth. Continue cooking over medium heat about 5-7 minutes, or until thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Yields: Barely enough to make two 13X9 inch pans of enchiladas, without dipping the tortillas.

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