Saturday, May 22, 2010

Ranch dressing (p. 576) , Creamy macaroni salad for a crowd (p. 172), and Creamy dressing for coleslaw (p. 578)

The week after my PhD "graduation" my brother Sam graduated from high school! Congrats, Sam!

(I will post a picture of Sam and I when Dad sends me one this weekend!)

My dad asked me to help him cook for the large graduation party and dad and I had a lot of fun puttering around the kitchen. Dad made a TON of pulled pork with different sauces and I whipped up some Western South Carolina sauce , along with my delicious blue cheese dressing. Most of the party food wasn't from TJOC but I talked him into letting me make Ranch dressing (p. 576) as a dipping sauce for the carrots/celery/dipping veggies.

I just don't get the love people have for ranch dressing. To me, it's boring and really high in calories. I've known people who dipped EVERYTHING in ranch, which always grossed me out. I understand vegetables or pizza. I don't understand getting an artery-clogging side of ranch with everything you eat.

Did you know that ranch was originally created at the Hidden Valley Guest Ranch? Interesting piece of random trivia.

I combined garlic and salt until smooth, and then added buttermilk, lime juice, parsley, chives, and a little salt and pepper.

It was really, really, really thin. The problem might have been that I quadrupled the recipe but it was a dressing as in 'dressing for cole slaw' and not a dressing as in 'dressing for a salad'. So, like TJOC recommended for thicker sauce, I added sour cream and mayonnaise.

It was still a no-go and was really, really thin. Disappointing! Has anyone else made this recipe? Did it work out for you?

Dad had already planned on making potato salad and had bought bean salad but I thought a pasta salad would really round things out. And I thought it would be the perfect time to make Creamy macaroni salad for a crowd (p. 172).

I chopped what seemed like a ton of peppers, carrots, and an onion--my knife skills are improving--while the pasta boiled away on the stove.

While that was happening, I whipped up some Creamy dressing for coleslaw (p. 578). It was a simple sauce. I mixed mayonnaise, cider vinegar, and sugar:

I mixed it all together:

It was really pretty and inviting. I thought it had the perfect amount of dressing--not much. I made the pasta salad the day before it was eaten and I really recommend doing that because the flavors melded together and improved. I think adding a few cucumbers or cherry tomatoes would make the dish even better. It was a sort of boring pasta salad but was very popular which make it a perfect dish for a potluck. The recipe does make a LOT of pasta salad, so I recommend only making it if you honestly do have a crowd.

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