Confident home cooking
For some reason this is what I craved...
Breads, Healthy, Quick and Easy, Salad, Vegetarian

Homecoming Meal

by Nick

PHEW!

After 3 days of non-stop driving, around 2,000 miles, I finally made it safely to our new home in Grand Junction, CO.

The drive itself turned out to be pretty uneventful which is a good thing. I was pretty worried about Tipsy’s ability to make it without freaking out, but she ended up just sleeping for about 95% of the time which was super-sweet.

Then every few hours she’d wake up and I’d look in my rear view window and see this:

tipsy

After a few minutes she’d realize that we were going very fast (when I took this photo we weren’t moving – don’t worry), so she’d crawl back into her carrier and go back to sleep.

Once we finally got to our destination, I was lucky enough to arrive to a basically set-up house since Betsy got to The Junction a week or so before I did. Most importantly, all of my kitchen stuff was unpacked!

After eating pretty crappy food during the drive out, I was desperately craving a huge salad. As I browsed the produce in the grocery store, I was salivating. I mean, I’m usually excited about salads, but I was really excited to have a nice big salad as my first meal.

For a recipe though, I don’t want to talk about the entire salad because it was pretty standard, but I do want to talk about the dressing and bread that I made!

Avocado Ranch Dressing
Makes enough for two large salads

– 1/2 avocado, mushed
– 1/4 Cup plain yogurt, or sour cream
– 1/4 Cup buttermilk
– 1 Tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
– 1 Tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
– 1 clove garlic, minced
– Salt and pepper

Ok. So I’m not sure that this is technically a ranch dressing. I think most ranch dressings traditionally have mayo in them, but the flavors were pretty close to me. The buttermilk gives the dressing a nice tangy flavor and the fresh herbs are great in it (although I think you could also use dried if you wanted).

dressing stuff

Ranch dressing? Kind of.

The only important thing to this dressing is to really mush up the avocado well. You want it pretty creamy before you start mixing the other stuff in with it or you’ll have lumps. (Note: If you want lumps of avocado, then don’t mush it up so much.)

mushed

Mushed.

Once your avocado is mushed, stir in the yogurt and buttermilk. It should be creamy and not too thick. You should be able to pour it out of the bowl easily.

dressing mixed

Interesting color…

Then just add all your chopped herbs, garlic, and a good pinch of salt and pepper.

If you ask me, this is yet another reason why store bought dressings are just unnecessary. This took me maybe 3 minutes and blew most dressings out of the water.

herbs added

BAM.

Set aside your dressing until you need it. The flavors will get better the longer it sits. If you’re making it more than thirty minutes or so in advance, stick it in the fridge until you need it.

Simple Garlic Bread. Some people are amazing that I can make a salad a full meal, but I really have no problem doing it. Besides using a ton of different veggies in the salad, I almost always serve main course salads with really good bread.

In this case, really good garlic bread.

I don’t exactly have a recipe for this bread because it depends on some factors, namely whether or not I have to engage in a social activity the same night I’m eating it. If yes, I tone down the garlic. If no, then I amp it up by using 3 or 4 cloves.

I just chop up the cloves and add them to a small dish with 2-3 Tablespoons of butter. Melt this slowly in the microwave for a few seconds. Keep a close eye on it!

garlic butta

Can’t go wrong here.

Buy a good loaf of sourdough bread from your local bakery and slice it so that the whole loaf is still attached at the bottom. What I normally do is make one big slice down the middle, then a few perpendicular cuts so the loaf is sliced into pieces, but still one big loaf.

Pour your garlic butter over the loaf and be sure to get the butter down into all the little slices. Use your hands! Get messy. Thank me later.

loaf ready

Really get in there and get messy.

Bake the bread at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes until it’s nice and crunchy and your whole house smells of garlic.

Meanwhile you can chop up whatever you need for your salad. I went crazy on mine. It had spinach, arugula, green peppers, red peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, red onions, radishes, celery, and pepper jack cheese.

Serve up a huge mound of salad and drizzle on the dressing. Set a big hunk of garlic bread next to it and you have yourself a main course salad meal!

salad again

One for one on tasty meals in new kitchen.

This was exactly what my body was craving. I woke up the next day feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the world.

I’m obviously excited to cook in my new kitchen and once I get completely settled, I’ll post some photos of our new place so you guys can check it out!

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18 comments on “Homecoming Meal

  1. Glad you guys are safe in your new home! I'm most impressed by Tipsy. One of my two cats requires drugs for just a 3 hour car trip. Go Tipsy! Your salad looks fantastic! I love chunky salads like that and I can't wait to try the dressing!

  2. I want to see your new kitchen too. Looks like we have the same granite :) Happy to hear you arrived safely. Salad looks amazing. Did you notice a big difference in the produce with your new store?

    1. Well, I've only been to one store but it was pretty good honestly. The one thing I noticed is a fair amount of Colorado produced items. The store did a much better job of labeling local things (eggs, dairy, produce) than most DC stores. All things being equal, I try to buy local stuff when possible so I liked to see that.

  3. I noticed the difference in brands of the ingredients you use. Is the supermarket out there called "Ralphs?" Because the logo looks like the brands I used in California. Glad you got to Colorado safely!

    1. I wish it was a Ralphs! I love Ralphs mainly because I have an intense love of The Big Lebowski.

      Yea though.. .brands are different. Should be interesting. ;)

    1. oh you went to fred meyer!(?) in my experience so far in Boise, they have a pretty good local/natural/organic section as far as superstores go. at least as compared to the others (Albertsons, WinCo, Target, WalMart).

  4. hey welcome to Colorado! I live on the other side of the divide, much closer to Denver. Next year, you'll have access to some really awesome peaches! Tons of farms on the western slope… also if you like wine there are quite a few wineries over there as well. Do you mountain bike? There is a ton of great riding too.

  5. My brother lives in Grand Junction :) For the best pizza, head up the highway to Fruita for some *great* pizza :) Its called Hot Tomato! 124 N Mulberry St. Fruita, CO 81521. I always have it when I visit him.

  6. Welcome to western Colorado.
    can't wait till you start baking so I can see how you tweak recipes to compensate for the altitude. I hope to learn a lot from you.

  7. So happy for you,your Betsy and TIPSY to be 'BACK Together Again' !Know you all will continue to "via con Dios" as you adjust to Mile High world you now will come to cherish! Thank you both & Tipsy,too for sharing w/ all of us…..

  8. I'm so happy that you both made it out safely – I can't wait to see pictures of the new place!

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