Made from scratch

Fresh butter and homemade buttermilk ranch dressing.

Scratch-made ranch dressing and butter. —Jenna Sylvia

My dad is a chef. Growing up, food was everything. Mealtime was sacred. My greatest childhood memories consist of sitting at the kitchen counter watching the master at work, learning about ingredients and their flavors and origins. It is a teen rite of passage to question your parents and their general way of life. And at a time when we struggle to feel comfortable in our own skin, teens desperately want to fit in. For me that meant feeling embarrassed by the lack of Elio’s pizza in my freezer, or Hidden Valley Ranch in my fridge. Everything in our house was made from scratch, stored in some kind of recycled jar. Now I realize how incredibly lucky I was to have grown up with a fridge full of fresh food. Still, I remember the teenage drama of not being able to offer my friends Bagel Bites after school.

As an adult with a culinary background and weekly need to stock my own fridge, I understand the nutritional importance and financial advantage of scratch-made ingredients. It might be a bit of an act of repentance (a delicious one) — when I have the time, I make whatever I can from scratch. I like to make versatile ingredients that last for weeks, to replace the preservative-packed store-bought versions.

Scratch-made butter and homemade ranch fall into this category. And they are both easy to make in one go. Here is how I do it:


The only ingredient is heavy cream. Pour your desired amount into a stand mixer, and set at a medium speed. Lay a towel over the top, or prepare to clean buttermilk off your ceiling in about 20 minutes.

You can use a hand mixer as well, but that would require a little more time, and a lot more upper-body strength.

Check frequently, but after about 20 minutes, your heavy cream will have separated into butter and buttermilk.

Gather the butter and form a ball with your hands, then squeeze all the buttermilk out that you can. Set the buttermilk aside. Run your butter under cold water while squeezing any remaining liquid out. Then form it into your desired shape. I like to top mine with some flaky sea salt, or swirl some honey in.

Store in the fridge and enjoy!

Buttermilk Ranch

1 cup of that delicious buttermilk you just made
1 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. fresh or dried parsley
2 Tbsp. fresh or dried dill
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp onion powder
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Start by straining your fresh buttermilk directly into a recycled jar of your choice. (Pro tip: Use a pickle jar with a tiny bit of the pickle juice left in it!) Add your remaining ingredients, place a lid on the jar, and shake. Mix in a teaspoon or two of cornstarch, if you would like a thicker sauce.

Store in the fridge and enjoy!