Thursday, January 19, 2012

Weird Experiences

Unusual in January
My sasanqua camellia is blooming beautifully. The weird thing is that every other year since I brought it home and planted it, it began blooming at Halloween, and was all done by Thanksgiving. This year, it didn't begin blooming until Christmas, and is still going to town with buds to spare, unbothered by the freezing temperatures at night, thanks to the canopy provided by my neighbor's redwoods.

For years, my default salad dressing when eating out has been ranch dressing on the side of my salad. Our son-in-law loves ranch dressing on lasagna, meatloaf, cabbage rolls, tacos ... okay, he loves it on everything. So we buy a goodly amount of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing on a regular basis.

HOWEVER. Trying to track down what in my diet was causing me health problems, I wanted to eliminate monosodium glutamate as a possible culprit, so ranch dip  (alas, so yummy on football nosh veggies) and  ranch dressing were right out.

After watching a Food Channel program in which Anne Burrell made a low fat ranch dipping sauce, I thought I might experiment with making my own ranch dressing. I was apprehensive about it, because of the numerous brands of ranch dressing at the store, only Hidden Valley was palatable. I didn't want to make something that would waste our now-meagre funds.

I found this one at, but I really didn't want to run to the store and buy a quart of buttermilk to use 3/4 cup of it. Then I noticed a link for making your own buttermilk.

Weird, I just happened to have a container of heavy cream out in the garage, one I needed to use up. Maybe I bought it for making homemade mac and cheese downright dangerous, or maybe I was going to make a white wine cream sauce. No matter. It was about to become a learning experience.

We had no idea that throwing that heavy cream into a jar and shaking it for 10 minutes would thicken it up so much, or be so tiring. Bernie and I threw it into the food processor, turned that machine on, and watched the thick cream turn into whipped cream, and then, rather suddenly, into butter, which separated from the liquid now known as buttermilk.

Who knew? Not us!

And wow, that butter, once rinsed and lightly salted, superb!

And the ranch dressing, with no chemicals added?

Soooo good. Give me a salad!


Bernie said...

Weird experiences, yes, but sooooo tasty.

Lydia Manx said...

Okay growing up in Los Angeles they didn't want us 'City kids' to be deprived of learning about where our food came from. There was this guy who drove into our school yearly with a cow in the back. We got to milk the cow and then were given a jar of rich unpasturized raw milk (you can hear the gasping now of the 'new' generation). We all shook the jar until we made butter and then had it on saltine crackers. Twas a weird but memorable experience.