Emergency Niobrara Salad Dressing

When you’re staying in a cabin and miles from any grocery store, sometimes you have to get creative! Since we often stay a week or more, I bring a pretty good selection of things from home. One time though, I had everything for salad but no dressing. So I grabbed the buttermilk and mayo from the fridge and the garlic bread seasoning mix from Costco and voila – a terrific, creamy salad dressing! You could probably use any seasoning mix you have on hand – steak seasoning mix would probably be great, too.

1/4 cup buttermilk
1/8 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tsp Johnny’s garlic-bread seasoning mix

Blend and enjoy.

Orange-Apricot Buttermilk “Pudding”

We bought fat-free half and half by accident, and had some buttermilk left over and I wondered if there might be a recipe for a buttermilk pudding where I could use both up.  I found one online from Garrett McCord, and tried it as an experiment.

I made the recipe pretty much the same as his, but at the very end, I threw in a large spoonful of Orange-Apricot Marmalade from Sarabeth.  Then it was off to the fridge.

Success!  A light, creamy gelatin-based pudding that’s slightly sweet but with tangy notes of orange, apricot and buttermilk.

2 tsp unflavored gelatin
2 Tbsp water
1 cup half n half (fat-free works if you’ve accidentally bought some!)
1/2 cup of sugar
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp orange-apricot marmalade (or apricot jam and orange marmalade)

Mix the gelatin and water in a bowl. Let set. It will thicken but that’s okay.

In a saucepan, heat half n half and sugar, stirring until sugar is completely dissolved and mixture is starting to bubble just a bit. Remove from heat, and pour about a 1/2 cup into the gelatin mixture. Stir well, then add back to pan.

Add buttermilk, vanilla and marmalade. Stir well and pour into a glass dish. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight, until the gelatin is nice and firm. There may be bits of orange zest or apricot in it, but we didn’t mind them at all.

This makes a very nice, light dessert that would even be good for company. You could dress it up by garnishing it with fresh fruit like raspberries, or diced mangoes, and a drizzle of honey.  Would be really good for a summer dinner party in the backyard.

In hindsight, I wish I’d poured the pudding into smaller bowls, which would have been prettier. Also, Garrett uses heavy cream instead of half n half.

Crudites with Dip

Made this for Thanksgiving 2007, and 2013. I think the dip is originally a Martha Stewart recipe. Part of the fun is to have lots of different, interesting vegetables. I gathered lots of little clear glass containers for the veggies and put them on a tray, with the dip in the center. Prepping the veggies take a little time but it’s worth it. You can also serve hummus with roasted red pepper.

green beans, tips cut off and blanched
thin asparagus, trimmed and blanched
celery sticks
jicama sticks
cucumber spears
scallion sections
baby carrots
grape tomatoes
yellow squash spears
zucchini spears (Both the yellow squash and zucchini are surprisingly good with dip.)

Arrange in glasses and bowls and serve with dip, below:

1 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp buttermilk
1 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp minced chives
1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 large shallot, finely diced

Mix all in a large mason jar and refrigerate until just before serving. (Note, I didn’t write down salt when I wrote the recipe, but I’m certain I added some. Taste and add salt as needed.)

Note: blanching vegetables is super easy. It just means slightly cooking vegetables. I use a deep basket shaped strainer that I got an an Asian grocery store, but you can just do it with tongs if you don’t have a strainer that fits in your pot.

Here’s how you do it. Bring a medium sized pot of generously salted water to the boil, and have another large bowl of ice water close by.

Put veggies in very briefly, maybe 2 minutes. Remove and plunge veggies into ice water for a few minutes, until they don’t feel warm anymore. This softens them up just a bit without losing their crunch. It also keeps the colors nice and bright.

Martha’s Buttermilk Pancakes

Martha’s Stewart’s Recipe is the basis for Kumy’s favorite birthday cake: Pancake Cake. Kumy doesn’t much like regular cake, but he loves pancakes so we make a double batch, layer them with fresh fruit and drizzle the top with maple syrup.

I always mix pancakes in a pitcher because it’s easy to pour and saves washing dishes.

2 eggs
3 cups buttermilk (can add a little more if the pancakes are too thick)
4 Tbsp melted butter or oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 Tbsp sugar

Mix very well in a pitcher with a fork or wire whisk.

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

You can mix these in a bowl if you want. However I just dump the flour in, then the baking powder, soda and salt and gently stir the dried ingredients together before I mix them with the liquid underneath.

Stir gently with a fork until just blended (there will still be many lumps, but no visible pockets of flour in the mix.)  Pour 1/3 cup batter into a  greased frying pan and cook until done. I often just “eyeball” it since the 1/3 cup measure always either falls in or drips batter everywhere.

Great variations: Stir in 1 cup fresh blueberries, or 1 cup diced apples, peaches or pears, (gently sauteed in a little butter and sugar first.) Or you can add a mashed-up banana (mash with a fork) and a splash of lemon juice.

Note: if you’re out of buttermilk, I’ve had good luck with substituting 1/2 plain yogurt and half milk.  Just work with it until you get a nice pouring consistency.