I love ranch dressing. I pour it on salad. I mix it with chopped hardboiled eggs. I stir it into beef stroganoff. I would probably drink it, if I could.
And that's just what I did a few weeks ago, when my friend Citymama invited me and a few other bloggers to tres chic LaFitte Restaurant in San Francisco. Owner/chef Russell Jackson actually served us an entire 5-course meal featuring Hidden Valley Ranch; he even used it in our cocktails and dessert!
He created these menu items especially for the first annual Love Your Veggies Lunch Break for Schools, a fundraiser that teamed Hidden Valley Ranch and the American Culinary Foundation to benefit the Chefs Move to Schools initiative. Last month, patrons at LaFitte were able to order these and other HVR-inspired dishes, with all the proceeds benefitting the cause. Here's what he served us:
HVR Leopold Navy Strength Gin Cocktail
HVR Savory Panna Cotta with Shaved Fennel Salad
HVR Cauliflower Frito with poached Farmers Egg and Spicy HVR Dressing
HVR Crusted Local Fish with Sautéed Little Gems and HVR "Bread Sauce"
HVR Milkshake Cocktail
The lunch was amazing. Every single course was delicious, and at no time did the taste or texture of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing take over or leave me feeling like I was having too much of it. Much as I like ranch dressing, it always feels gloppy and stodgy to me; I never thought it could be part of such an elegant, gourmet lunch.
Even better than the dishes themselves was getting a glimpse into the mind of such a talented chef, and seeing the results of his creativity. It was like enjoying the results of an Iron Chef showdown, with the secret ingredient being ranch dressing.
I was able to get the recipe for Chef Jackson's ranch cocktail, which sounds weird but tastes divine -- and I say this as the perennial designated driver who doesn't care too much for alcohol. It tastes like a fresh bloody mary cocktail, with the ranch dressing serving as the perfect foil. Here it is:
Russell Jackson-Bryan Schoffit creators
What You Need:
· 1.5 oz. Leopold Navel Strength Gin
· .75 oz. Lillet
· 1 oz honey apple shrub
· 1oz. Carrot-Beet-Ginger juice (fresh squeezed)
· .75 lemon juice
· 1/2 tsp HVR (Hidden Valley Ranch) powder
· Shake well, rim glass with HVR powder
· Pour over ice and drink it..
Enjoy! I certainly did :)
Disclosure: Hidden Valley Ranch invited me to lunch with no obligation to blog about the event. Thank you to HVR and Chef Russel Jackson of Lafitte for sharing this recipe! The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
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