Spicy Garlic Dip for Fresh Vegetables




Spicy Garlic Dip // Not Without Salt
Avery Island, LA // Not Without Salt

Avery Island, LA // Not Without Salt

I had the best intentions of sharing these photos from my trip to Louisiana right after I arrived home in March. But you know life sometimes alters the best laid plans and to be honest I’m still finding my rhythm with this space after being away from it in a scattered sort of a way. I poured all of my creative energy into the book last year and it left little to be shared in this space because my desire was to make the book a reflection of the best of my work at this time in my life. I am pretty damn proud of what I, and a team of great people, created but we’ll talk a lot more about all of that soon. For now let’s travel back in time to when I fell in love with Louisiana.

The wispy moss gracefully dangling from the trees, the smell; fresh and damp, the fire engine red platters towering with crawfish and the mayonnaise with TABASCO for dipping, the slender older gentleman who smiled with his eyes and forced me out of my seat and my comfort to get up and dance – I’m so glad he did, and the passion and history laced throughout the long life of TABASCO. I went on this trip with preconceived notions of this product coming from a seemingly large corporation what I found was a pride that has been passed through the generations in the same way the original recipe has. With its prolonged aging in wood barrels, the particulars with the type of pepper grown and the fact that the CEO tastes the mash (mix of aged mashed pepper and salt) from every barrel, every morning, you can understand why this product has thrived for generations and why this family is a passionate and interesting bunch.

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I realize that a vegetable platter with such a simple dip as this is an odd way to mark such a bountiful and southern experience but like I mentioned in the last post; if it gets made again and again I feel a certain bit of duty to come and tell you about, no matter how delayed I am.

This dip was born out of a request to bring a “crudite platter” to a dinner party. At first I balked at its simplicity, wanting to contribute more than just vegetables but then I slowly wandered through the market looking for lesser known vegetable tray fixings and came up with something that made me *gasp* at the beauty and be reminded that food, on its own, with little or no manipulation from me is enough. More than enough.

Spicy Garlic Dip // Not Without Salt
Spicy Garlic Dip // Not Without Salt
Spicy Garlic Dip // Not Without Salt*My trip to Louisiana and this post were sponsored by TABASCO. As always, the words and recipes are mine.


Spicy Garlic Dip for Fresh Vegetables

1 cup (8 ounces) creme fraiche or sour cream

1 garlic clove, finely minced

2-3 teaspoons Green Jalapeno TABASCO

2 tablespoons finely minced fresh herbs (such as chives, parsley, mint, tarragon and dill)

salt and pepper


Combine the creme fraiche, garlic, TABASCO, and fresh herbs in a small bowl. Season to taste.


Use whatever is in season. So many vegetables, when thinly sliced, can be eaten raw and taste sweet, fresh and bright. Beets add an unmistakable color as do radishes. Fennel is sweet and fun to dip its floppy tendrils into the spicy dip. I love endive; bitter and crisp as well as pea shoots which taste faintly of sweet peas, a bit grassy and also fun to manage its vibrant leaves into the creamy bath.

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Flank Steak Tacos

Flank Steak Tacos // Not Without Salt

I’m not one to repeat recipes but when I do I take notes and then come right here to tell you about it. Because a recipe repeated is a special one in this house.

This summer has been one of meals so simple they leave more time for us to be outside, enjoying the sun and making sure our summer to-do list, which includes; clam digging, camping, reading Little House in The Big Woods, and cooking an entire meal with each of the kids, can have a big satisfying check by it.

While the cast iron pan pre-heats I think about complicating the steak but dusting it with cumin, maybe a bit of chile powder, garlic and such but my instinct tells me to stick with salt and pepper so that the flavor of the steak itself stands out. Like so many other times, I’m glad I go with my instincts. While the steak sears to form a thick, crisp crusty exterior I dice a pungent onion, sliver some radish on my mandolin and run a frilly bunch of cilantro under a running sink. As the steak rests I warm corn tortillas in the same pan as the steak cooked so they could soak up a bit of the meatiness still left in the warm pan.

Flank Steak Tacos // Not Without Salt


Flank Steak Tacos // Not Without Salt

Flank steak can be a bit tough but it makes up for it in flavor. To counteract the toughness, cut against the grain of the meat and cut the steak into small pieces between 1/4-inch to a 1/2-inch. This way it will be easy to chew as it’s wrapped warmly in a tortilla.

Avocado makes a nice addition as would a garlic-laced cream sauce but on their own they show off their simplicity by being greater than the sum of their parts. Since it is grilling season or my personal favorite; cooking over the fire season, I’d suggest cooking the meat that way, if possible. Any way you cook it this meal will be one that gets made again and again.

Flank Steak Tacos // Not Without Salt


Flank Steak Tacos // Not Without Salt

Flank Steak Tacos

Serves 4-6


2 tablespoons oil

1 lb flank steak

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

8-10 small corn tortillas

1/4 cup white onion, finely diced

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

3 radishes, thinly sliced

1/2 avocado, roughly diced

1/4 cup cotija or other favorite cheese

lime wedges


Sprinkle the steak with salt and pepper and allow to sit for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Add the oil to a cast iron skillet and heat over high until smoking. Add steak and sear, untouched, for 5 minutes on either side for medium.  Let rest 15 minutes before dicing into ¼ – ½ inch size pieces.

Warm corn tortillas in the same pan over low heat.

Top warmed tortillas with chopped steak, onions, cilantro, radish avocado and cheese. Serve with a wedge of lime.

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