I come from a long line of roadtrippers. My grandfather and grandmother would pack snacks in his olive green Dodge Dart and trek across the Texas countryside to visit family scattered all about the state that’s larger than most countries I visit. No matter where they went, they were always home in time for church on Sundays. They attended the Methodist church in the tiny town of Jonesboro – the Baptist church was on the other side of the farm-to-market road that might as well have been the Great Wall of China because, well, “they’re just different over there.” My dad was a firm believer in driving over flying because it allowed him to stop at Stuckey’s, where he would always purchase pecan rolls and insist we eat plastic sandwiches (OK, so they were really ham and cheese on white bread in a plastic container, but when you’re little and would really love to stop at a real restaurant with real food on a real plate and your dad only allows Stuckey’s, you begrudgingly call them plastic).
So it only seems right that roadtripping would be in my veins, though my approach looks quite different than those who came before me. There is time to stop and adventure and take a random photo, tasty treats are always on the map, and there is always room to stow a treasure or two. On my last roadtrip with the hubby through the Texas Wine Country (yes, there really is one), we did all three.
The random photo was of the treasure I found at a local restaurant in Dripping Springs (a quiet community that’s full of Lone Star charm). It was a modern take on a classic wedge salad, and it was unbelievably good. Crisp bacon and ripe tomatoes paired up with iceberg and slices of creamy avocado. But what made it unforgettable was the Coconut Ranch dressing. I may have even texted my best friend to tell her about my salad experience. It was that good.
In fact, it was so good that I couldn’t stop thinking about it. So the next night at our family dinner, I made that salad for everyone. With THE dressing (after searching online and reading every recipe and imaging what every one would taste like – and then dancing around like a giddy toddler when I found THE RECIPE that I knew would be IT). The salad was perfection (mine may not have been as pretty, but it was just as tasty), and the dressing was such a hit that my friends used it as a dip for the bread and a sauce for their chicken as well. This recipe is honestly one of top three salad dressings I’ve ever eaten. Ever. Even if you’re not a coconut fan, you’ll be fine. For the love, try it. Or come visit CasaRock and we’ll go roadtripping and make a batch and find a picnic spot along the way. I think I would like that most of all.
So, here’s THE RECIPE. Enjoy!
COCONUT RANCH DRESSING
(Makes about 1-1/2 cups dressing)
1/2 cup Silk Coconut Milk or Almond Coconut Milk (Unsweetened)
1-1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 t. lemon zest
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
Just a bit of salt and pepper to taste
Blend all ingredients together in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate about 20 minutes. Remove from refrigerate and become addicted.
Recipe adapted from Silk website.
Oh, and because you may want something else to dip into that deliciousness, here’s my #kitchentherapy hack for the best crostini ever. Don’t waste money purchasing ready-made crostini. You can make your own for a few bucks, and you’ll love the results. Simply purchase a baguette from the bakery section at your local grocery store. Cut the baguette into 1/2″ to 1″ slices and place them on a baking sheet. Drizzle the slices with a little olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt (and a little seasoning, if you want – my favorite is Rachel Ray’s Buon Appetito! Italian Seasoning that’s in a fun little grinder). Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until the bread takes on a lovely light golden hue. Let cool and enjoy the crunch with cheese or soup or whatever strikes your fancy.