I have tried on various occasions to bake in foreign countries, and it’s always a serious challenge. I plan on attempting it again this fall with pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread. In the meantime, I made something infinitely easier and which may hit the spot for some of you North Americans out there.
To give credit where credit’s due, I adapted the recipe for ranch dressing from here. I used a 200 ml container of mayonnaise, approximately half a cup of sour cream (a bit less than the amount of mayo), a clove of garlic with sea salt, and fresh parsley and dill (I don’t know the word for parsley -cilantro/coriander is “kindzi” – but they seemed fine with me picking them up to carefully sniff them to tell the parsley from the cilantro), and I served it with more than enough raw carrots, cucumbers, and red bell peppers. I got the herbs, garlic, and vegetables at the big vegetable market (“bazroba”) at Station Square in Tbilisi for under 5 lari, and the mayo and sour cream (“arizhani”) for about 4 lari at my local marketi. This vegetable market is amazing. A bunch of fresh herbs is 10 tetri, cucumbers 60-80 tetri/kilo. As someone who’s just moved into an apartment instead of a host family this semester, I can tell you that I’ll definitely be doing my shopping there again.
Anyway, I combined the mayo and sour cream, with just a tablespoon or two of kefir (instead of buttermilk) in a bowl. I mashed a clove of garlic with salt as described in the site I mentioned above, and then chopped the full bunch of fresh parsley and about 3/4 of a bunch of fresh dill and added them to the mayo and sour cream. Ta da! You’ve got ranch dip. A friend brought some Lays potato chips, and I must say that as healthy as I felt with all those vegetables, the dip was even better with the chips. Georgians aren’t really used to “dips” but if you’ve got an open-minded host family or Georgian friends, then perhaps they’ll like this simple American specialty. Enjoy and bon appetit!