homemade

All posts tagged homemade

Homemade Ranch (and Chipotle Ranch) Dressing and a Trick for “making” Buttermilk

Published February 13, 2014 by jenmatteson

I make a lot of salad dressing, mainly vinaigrettes, which are generally pretty simple.  However, one dressing I’ve never attempted to make before was ranch.  We always just buy it in the bottle – basically the only dressing I buy in the bottle.

Ranch Dressing

I’ve always been a vinaigrette girl, but when I first met Nate, he put ranch on everything.  And I seriously mean everything (pizza, sandwiches, cereal…okay, maybe not cereal).  Being that it was always around, it sorta turned me into a ranch person, too.  But just on my salad 😉  One thing I have a severe weakness for is anything with a chipotle ranch.  Any salad or sandwich with this on it, and it’s a sure bet that’s what I’m going to order.  So, in deciding to make homemade ranch dressing, I thought I better throw in a chipotle ranch, too.  Good thing I did, because it’s soooooooo good.  The ranch is great, too, but man, the chipotle ranch is the bomb!  Try it on tacos instead of Greek yogurt or sour cream.  It’ll knock your socks off!

Play around with the seasonings, and feel free to substitute fresh for dried or dried for fresh, depending on what you have in the fridge.

Homemade Ranch Dressing

TIP: Oh, and a quick tip about buttermilk.  I don’t usually have this in my fridge, and I hate buying some to only use a few tablespoons and let the rest go to waste.  So whether you’re in a pinch or you’re like me and hate buying the stuff, you can easily make your own at home with things you probably already have, milk and white vinegar.  To a liquid measuring cup, add one tablespoon vinegar, then fill with milk to the 1 cup line.  Let the mixture sit for at least 5 minutes before using, and viola!  Buttermilk.

Homemade Ranch Dressing

Homemade Ranch Dressing

Source: Adapted from Pioneer Woman
Servings: Makes about 1 cup

Ingredients:

1/4 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
dash of Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp fresh dill
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
1 tbsp. fresh chives, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1/4-1/2 cup buttermilk (see tip above if you don’t have any)

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients in food processor, except buttermilk.  Slowly add buttermilk to desired consistency.  Adjust seasonings to taste.  This will last in your fridge in an airtight container for about a week.

To make chipotle ranch dressing, add 1/2-1 tsp (depending on preference) McCormick chipotle chili pepper.

Homemade Chicken Stock

Published December 4, 2013 by jenmatteson

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between broth and stock?  Me too!  To be completely honest, I have always used them interchangeably, knowing that they must be different on some level.  But, I haven’t had any catastrophes yet, so I figured there’d be no harm in continuing my old ways.

Homemade Chicken Stock

However, when I decided to make my own stock (or is it broth?) and share with you, I thought I should actually do a little research.  Turns out, there is a slight difference.  Stocks are generally made with the bones and trimmings, while broth is made with the meat as well.  Stocks simmer for much longer and are said to have a deeper, richer flavor because of the gelatin released from the long simmering bones.  While they are technically different, they are quite similar.  I say, keep on substituting stock for broth, or broth for stock.  Who cares?! 😛  Just don’t ask me the difference between vegetable stock and broth!

Homemade Chicken Stock

So, what did I make?  I made a stock.  I had roasted a chicken (rustic roasted chicken) the day before and wanted to make good use of the leftovers, even the bones – I hate wasting!  Don’t get too hung up on the vegetables or herbs in this recipe – use what you have on hand.  It’ll be delicious no matter what.  The stock will be good for about a week in your refrigerator, but if you aren’t going to use it up right away, go ahead and freeze it.  I like to use my ice-cube trays for that.  Now you’ve got yourself a wonderful base for a soup or stew.  I made chicken tortilla soup and will be sharing that later this week! (And yes, that’s my cat in the top right corner – just checking things out!)

Homemade Chicken Stock

Homemade Chicken Stock

Source: Pigzilla Original
Servings: Makes about 6 cups

Ingredients:

bony chicken pieces (and trimmings if you have them)
4 celery stalks, halved
4 carrots, halved
1 medium onion, quartered
2 bay leaves
10-15 peppercorns
8 cups water

Directions:

1. Place all ingredients in large pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours.  Remove from heat and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but can be overnight.  Skim fat from top and use as desired.

Meatless Monday: Swiss Chard and Ricotta Ravioli in Smoked Onion Tomato Sauce

Published November 25, 2013 by jenmatteson

Only 4 1/2 months after my 30th birthday, I am finally trying to wrap up my 30 before 30 list.  Disappointing that I couldn’t finish it up before my birthday, but, in case you didn’t know, I was slightly busy getting married this summer 😉

Swiss Chard and Ricotta Ravioli

Speaking of getting married, this recipe comes from Executive Chef David Bush at St. Francis Winery, where we had our dinner in Sonoma, CA after our ceremony.  This was by far the most fantastic meal I have ever had, maybe closely followed by the first food and wine pairing we’d done there in November of 2012. 

As you probably know, I’m not big on cheese, which may make you wonder why my first attempt at homemade pasta would be cheese filled ravioli.  Well, I’m cooking for a dinner party next month, and my client (sounds so official!) decided her and her guests would like to make homemade pasta, and we agreed on ravioli.  So, that being said, I was determined to make this amazing sounding recipe from Chef Bush in hopes it would be perfect for this dinner party.

Swiss Chard and Ricotta Ravioli

Making the pasta was actually a lot easier than I imagined.  Momma Marsha and I spent an afternoon trying to man her pasta roller (its the kind that should hook to a countertop, but she doesn’t have a place to do so, so we had to hold it, crank it, and feed the dough in all at the same time – this would have been impossible if it were just me).

I made a few raviolis sans cheese, so more or less just Swiss chard, but most were by the book so Momma Marsha, Leo (my FIL) and Nate could try them and give me their honest feedback.  Unfortunately, the feedback wasn’t what I was looking for.  However, I’m always glad to hear the truth, especially so it can be improved and better for the dinner party.  The ricotta fell flat, so for next time, I think I’m going to opt for a blend of cheeses.  The star of this recipe, however, was the smoked onion tomato sauce.  I absolutely loved it; it would be fantastic on spaghetti with sausage (lightbulb!).  If you don’t have a smoker, I think it’d be just as easy to roast the onions and add a touch of liquid smoke.  Never tried it, so don’t take my word for it.  But if you do try it out, let me know how it turns out.

All in all, this recipe is still a work in progress, but I wanted to be sure to share even my not-so-great recipes.  Though, again, the tomato sauce was killer!

Swiss Chard and Ricotta Ravioli with Smoked Onion Tomato Sauce

Swiss Chard and Ricotta Cheese Ravioli in Smoked Onion Tomato Sauce

Source: Adapted from Chef David Bush/St. Francis Winery
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

For the smoked onion tomato sauce:
1 onion, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1 quart tomatoes, diced
salt

For the pasta dough:
2 cups flour
1/4 cup olive oil
3 eggs
2 tsp salt

For the pasta filling:
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup ricotta

Directions:

1. Make the smoked onion tomato sauce.  Place onion slices in foil and lightly wrap.  Smoke in electric smoker on low for about 4 hours.  Preheat oven to 350.  Transfer onions from smoker to oven and cook until onions are soft, about 1 hour.  In a food processor, pulse onions until coarsely chopped. 

2. In a medium saucepan, bring tomatoes to a simmer.  Add about 4 tbsp of chopped smoked onions and season with salt to taste.  Simmer for 15 minutes to incorporate the smoked flavor.  Save remaining onions for another use.  Place tomato mixture in food processor and pulse to make a slightly chunky sauce.

3. Make the pasta dough. Mix all ingredients in a food processor.  It’s important that the dough not come together, rather resemble course cornmeal.  Turn mixture out onto work surface and knead a few times.  Add a few drops of water if the dough seems too dry.  Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or overnight.

4. Make filling for ravioli. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat.  Add garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add Swiss chard and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.  Transfer chard to a mixing bowl and let cool.  Add egg, breadcrumbs, salt, nutmeg and ricotta.  Mix until all ingredients are incorporated.  Set aside.

5. Separate dough into 4 portions.  Using one portion, keeping the rest wrapped in plastic, knead and begin to roll out into sheets using a pasta roller.  Place scoops of 1 tbsp filling on pasta sheets, leaving at least 2-3 inches (depending on how large your ravioli cutter is) and cover with second sheet of pasta.  Press the dough firmly together around the filling, trying not to leave any air pockets.  Cut individual ravioli with round cookie cutter or ravioli stamper.  Repeat for remaining dough and filling.

6. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add raviolis in batches, being sure not to crowd the pan.  Boil for 3-4 minutes, remove and toss with smoked onion tomato sauce.  Serve and garnish with parmesan cheese if desired. 

%d bloggers like this: