I have more than a normal level of excitement for learning to make my own ranch flavored vegetable dip. I've tried to express this excitement to those at home, but was not getting the enthusiastic response that I thought this kitchen experiment deserved - Hey guys, guess what?! I have all the ingredients to make ranch dip!! Isn't this awesome?... (not a single Whoop! in response). Maybe I should explain how cool this is?
A bowl of ranch flavored vegetable dip nestled into a ring of vegetable sticks has been a staple appetizer at family gatherings since I've been old enough to help chop the celery. It's what we serve; it's what we like. Kids love it too, and will actually eat vegetables if they can put ranch on it. And, its' so easy to make. All we have to do is stir a package of ranch seasoning into some sour cream, and wha-la, the dip is made, and the special occasion has officially been launched.
But, then we learned about monosodium glutamate (MSG). Well, I guess we always knew about MSG, and knew it wasn't good for us, but I didn't truly appreciate the potential for harm until I was watching a documentary where one of the interviewees said that MSG is used to make mice fat for experiments on weight loss and weight gain using lab animals. What?! Sure enough, when I googled MSG there are pages of websites demonstrating that mice don't naturally eat until they are obese, but if you inject them with MSG, or feed it to them, they keep eating until they are fatties. Not only do they get fat, some of the websites claimed that they develop poor eye site, eating disorders, and learning problems. People are asking, what if MSG, which is in so many things we love to eat, is part of reason so many of us are fatties too? It would be great to avoid MSG as much as possible, but there are no pre-packaged ranch dip seasonings that don't have MSG, at least not where I shop. They don't even try to hide it by naming it something else, they just put it right in the ingredients list, bold as brass.
I tried to stop serving it, but what is a try of vegetables without the bowl of ranch dip? It's junk, that what. Especially for the kids. Raw broccoli without ranch dip is like asking a kid to eat tree bark, and I don't blame them. We want our ranch dip, and we want it without MSG, and after years of telling myself I'm going to learn to make it from scratch, I finally, just last week, did it! Whoop! Whoop!
Making ranch dip is not hard at all. My hold up was gathering all the spices at the same time, plus finding powdered buttermilk. I don't know why I thought it would be hard to find powdered buttermilk, since it turns out they sell it at Kroger, but some how when I looked at the long list of ingredients I always put it off. Not anymore. Here is the recipe I used, and when I served it to Jamie and Brandon, mixed in sour cream, even after they had been teasing me about what they thought was my disproportional excitement, they both agreed that it's some of the best ranch dip they had ever tasted. Brandon even said "no joke" when he told me this, so I know he wasn't just being patronizing as I hovered over him when he tasted it.
We all enjoyed the ranch dip with sour cream, which was a thick consistency good for dipping. But what if we want to use it as salad dressing? Well, a few spoonfuls of my home made keffir, and it turned into a creamy dressing that would be perfect.
I mixed up an entire jar of the powder, so all I have to do now is mix three tablespoons of the dry seasoning with the sour cream and I will be able to pull off the traditional vegetable tray for special occasions and eliminate the guilt of serving MSG.
I could tell this dip was good when the cats started to circle me like sharks, and I didn't want to share a single drop with them. I'll lick my own bowl, thank you.