This recipe is totally dedicated to the weather. Or maybe it is dedicated to everyone trying to survive the weather!
We just came off of four days of brutally hot and humid days. And summer is just beginning. We were in Chicago, visiting with my sister and her family who are actually on a baseball road trip! Chicago seemed like the perfect place to meet up. We love hanging out in Chicago, and they had never been, so we really got to enjoy the sites through their eyes this time around.
I was inspired by so many of the places we ate at, and I will be putting together a recap of our visit, especially the culinary highlights, in a future post. But I think we were more affected by the weather than we anticipated. We knew it was going to be warm- the weather forecast told us to prepare for sun and temps around 85 degrees F. (27-29 for us Canadians) That’s a great summer weekend in my books. What we got was totally different.
Imagine waking up to walk to breakfast, and it’s already 90 F (31 C) and uber humid? At 9 am?? You can just imagine what the days turned into by 2pm!! The heat is one thing. It’s the humidity that is killer. At least it is for me. Always has been. Even as a kid, I would actually got sick from the heat. So instead of making me work out in the gardens, my mom gave me all the indoor chores. I was thrilled for this escape from the oven of our backyard.
To this day, I can handle one day of this. And then it’s all downhill. And I’m craving October. Well, that’s just unreasonable, I know, but I do tend to escape to my bedroom and lay low.
I have no idea what the summer holds for us here in Toronto. Will it be more of the same? Or will it even out into a temperate and bearable season? I will be hoping for the latter! I don’t know about you, but cooking turns into a chore when all energy and imagination have fled to the arctic to cool off.
To give you an idea of how we cope, I give you this easy to throw together recipe. Summer produce bounty is so irresistible at the farmers markets, all the juicy fruit and veg, in all their colours and shapes. When I bring it home, I will spend the time to prepare everything: wash, trim, cut up, and place in containers for easy grabbing from the fridge. Putting together crudités platters is fun when all the prep work is already out of the way. Then, whether it’s for lunch with some chunk tuna or pickled herring, or for dinner as a side to grilled meat (done outside!) this is really all that we crave.
This dip is really just a riff on my Kefir and Skyr Ranch Dressing . I love that I can enjoy the flavours of a classic Ranch dressing, but in a lightened and healthier version (I need to eliminate as much guilt as possible, to make room for pie!) So I played around with the proportions, and this dip happened.
The base is Skyr, a really thick tangy Icelandic cultured dairy product. It’s usually found in the yogurt section of the grocery store, so we all consider it yogurt and treat it that way, but it also has that fresh farmers cheese mild tang and consistency. I just love that it is super high in protein, while being naturally low in fat. And because it is so thick, you can substitute it for Greek yogurt in recipes.
To the skyr I add avocado oil mayo. There are so many mayonnaise variations these days. Use the one that you like and feel good about using. The rest of the ingredients are simple: garlic, shallot, seasonings, coconut aminos (or Worcestershire sauce) and apple cider vinegar. Ooooh, and the most important part, the herbs. The reason for the name! For the herb portion of the recipe, I am giving you full reign to use what you have growing in the backyard, what is in that little planter in your window, or what is in the fridge. Just let them be very fresh! And let dill be one of them!! But go for it: a combination of thyme, basil, parsley, rosemary, tarragon, dill, even mint and chives, will all work fabulously. Don’t have all of them? That’s all right. But make sure you have the dill. And the parsley. And the chives. With a final cracking of good black pepper, this dip will then be ready to go. I make it ahead of time so that all the flavours can meld in the fridge. This will keep for a few days (but I can’t guarantee that it won’t be inhaled the first time you serve it.
Along with veggies, this dip works great on grilled meat or fish. Or even as a spread on rye bread with smoked trout or pickled herring. Not a fan? You have no idea what you’re missing!! hehe.
This dip, my Mustard Vinaigrette, and lemon water are items that I prepare constantly to have on hand. And once those are ready, I often decide which type of salad do we want to snack on for the week: German Potato, Curried Potato and Pea, BLT Pasta or Walnut Tabbouleh. And then those get made up as well. Summer survival kit of sorts!!
So, am I the only one who has to look for ways to get through summer? Are the rest of you in your glory during the hot months? If so, please share your tips for not just enduring, but flourishing during these languid days!! I need all the help I can get!
Keep cool and summer on!
Herb Skyr Dip
A fresh and light dip with skry and avocado mayonnaise as the base. An exuberant amount of freshly chopped herbs, garlic and shallot add flavour, while apple cider vinegar and coconut aminos add tang and depth. Perfect with crudités or even grilled meats or fish.
- 1/3 cup plain skry
- 1/3 cup avocado mayonnaise or any mayonnaise you like using
- 3-4 garlic cloves minced (depending on the size and your garlic love!)
- 1 shallot minced
- 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp coconut aminos or Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup freshly chopped herbs, packed, use any of the following in a combination: dill, parsley, thyme, rosemary, basil, tarragon, chives
- kosher salt and cracked black pepper
Combine the skyr and mayo in a bowl.
Add the minced garlic and shallot
Add the cider vinegar and coconut aminos.
Chop all the herbs to create a packed 1/2 cup. Please ensure that you do include the dill, parsley and chives. If this is all you use, you are good. If you have all the other herbs just wanting to be put into something, this is the place!
Add these to the dip and stir to combine.
Season with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper each. Taste and re-season. I hesitate to have you start with more salt at first, since I don't know whether you used the coconut aminos or the worcestershire sauce! Don't be shy with the pepper though!
Garnish with a flourish of dill and more cracked pepper
Cover with cling film of some sort and store in the fridge for at least an hour to allow the flavours to meld well.
Serve with crudités or even as a side with grilled meats or fish.