Yogurt Mint Dip

yogurt mint dip
yogurt dip

Yogurt mint dip with a touch of citrus, sumac and honey is a versatile and delicious condiment that takes just minutes to make and stores well in the refrigerator. Sumac is a spice commonly used in Middle Eastern cooking that has a lemony flavor.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: N/A

  • 2 cups unsweetened greek yogurt
  • 2 tbs fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1 medium cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 tsp sumac powder
  • 2 1/2 tbs honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 small lime
cooking instructions
  • Zest lime (use 2 tsp in the yogurt) and juice (until you have at least 1/2 tbs); set aside
  • Core and dice the cucumber; salt and set aside
  • Add sumac, honey, lime juice and zest to yogurt
  • Gently fold in cucumber and garnish with whole mint leaves
  • You can serve this with crudites, pita points, over cold chicken or mixed into salad in place of dressing

Variations: If you want to add texture to the yogurt mint dip, crush 2 tbs pistachios. It’s also delicious if you add in 1/2 cup finely diced Granny Smith apples. This dip can also be used as a marinade if you want to tenderize kebabs, or chicken. Simply toss the kebabs, or chicken in a large Ziploc bag and leave in the refrigerator overnight; be sure to shake the bag up again after 3-4 hours to ensure that the meat gets evenly coated. Remove excess dip before grilling the meat.

Tomatillo Salsa

tomatillo salsa

Tomatillo salsa is one of the most delicious condiments in the world, in my humble opinion! Tomatillos are not green tomatoes: they have a distinct citrus note and a firmer flesh than tomatoes.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

  • 2 lbs ripe tomatillos
  • 1 1/2 white onions, finely diced
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 each Jalapeno & Serrano peppers, seeded/cored/diced
  • 1 1/2 tbs lime juice
  • 1 tbs olive oil
cooking instructions
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
  • In a medium bowl, mix oil, salt, pepper, jalapeno, serrano and tomatillos
  • Roast tomatillos in the oven for about 10 minutes, until you see a bit of char
  • Cool tomatillos enough so that you can dice them
  • Combine tomatillos, peppers, tomatoes, salt and pepper until everything is coated
  • Mix in finely diced onion and lime juice
  • Serve with burritos, tacos, empanadas, enchiladas–even over grilled chicken!

Variations: Tomatillo salsa is also great served with cornbread and chili. It freeze well, so if you are lucky enough to grow a crop in the garden (along with fresh tomatoes) consider making some to freeze. If you want to grow tomatillos in the garden, keep in mind that they sprawl; it is also easiest to buy started plants so that you have the longest possible growing season. I am lucky enough to have some cooperative farms nearby, but you can even find them at home improvement stores.

Hot and Sour Mayonnaise

This might sound like an odd combo to some of you, but if you like creamy, hot and sour notes in your food, this simple condiment packs a lot of punch! I like to use it with cold cuts and for a hearty, zesty potato salad.

Combine 1 cup of real mayonnaise, 2 tsp of sriracha and 2 tbs finely diced cornichons (small French gherkins) in a bowl. Simply mix and use; it lasts about a week in the fridge. Make sure that you drain excess juice from the cornichons before adding to the mayonnaise. If desired, add 1/4 tsp white pepper.

Spicy Tomato Jam

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Spicy tomato jam is a wonderful way to use the bounty that many of us harvest from the garden over the warm summer season. Fresh tomato jam is a wonderful fresh note on sandwiches, in omelettes and as a garnish on vegetables. I do freeze leftover jam for use over the winter, when a bright note is most welcome!


1 lb grape, or Roma tomatoes (if using Romas, you need to seed/core)
1/2 cup sugar, brown sugar, or honey, to taste
2 tbs water
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp white pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 tbs citrus juice (orange or lime if you prefer a sweeter jam, lemon or grapefruit if you prefer a more tart product)
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Equipment needed:

A heavy bottomed, covered sauce pot is critical to ensure that the jam doesn’t burn!

Cooking instructions:
  • Rinse tomatoes and remove any stems. If using Roma instead of grape tomatoes, core and dice them.
  • Place in sauce pot with sugar and spices. Let mixture begin to melt and let the spices start to get aromatic.
  • Add water and vinegar. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until scraping a wooden spoon across the bottom of the pan doesn’t fill in immediately.
  • When jam reaches desired thickness, scoop into glass jar and refrigerate. Jam keeps for about a week in the fridge; if frozen into cubes, can last for several months in the freezer.

Using Edible Flowers in Cooking

Edible flowers

Edible flowers can add a surprising spicy note to food. They certainly add visual interest!

Edibles are versatile, too. Use them in cooking, salads, as garnishes, frozen into cubes and when candied to decorate cakes and pastries will elicit “oooohs” and “aaaahs” from your guests!

What flowers are edible?

There are many edible flowers, but let’s focus on varieties that are common and readily available.

Violets self-seed and are prolific bloomers. Odorata varieties were sold in nosegays during Victorian times because of their sweet perfume.

A long-time cottage garden favorite, violets are often employed — crystallized in sugar, or “candied”, as charming garnishes on cakes and pastries.

As the blossoms are smaller, they add great visual interest when frozen into ice cubes to garnish summer drinks, or sprinkled on a fresh salad. “Odorata” varieties also have a captivating scent.

Pot Marigolds
Pot Marigolds, or calendula, not only have culinary applications, but have long been used for medicinal purposes.
Used in salads, scrambled eggs, quiche and even compound butter (mixed with herbs).

Not only are roses beautiful, often with a heady perfume, but they are surprisingly versatile in cooking. In Persian cuisine, rose petals are used both fresh and dried and the buds are also utilized. Rose hip tea is very high in Vitamin C and the perfect treat on a cold winter’s day!

Squash Blossoms
Squash blossoms are delicate and aren’t always easy to find in the supermarket–but when you can find some, grab them! Roam your local farmers market in spring with an eye out for the stunning yellow color. Stuffed with mild goat cheese and sun dried tomatoes, they bring a freshness and beauty to the plate that is hard to beat.
Blossoms may also be used in pasta, on flatbreads and even sauteed.

Borage has been employed as a culinary and medicinal plant since Roman times and is a magnet for bees. (Pollinators need our help!) It is also a very attractive garden plant and self-seeds once established.

Garlic & Bacon Sandwich Spread

Want to add some spark to your weekday lunch sandwich? This spread adds some zip to sandwiches and it’s easy to make a batch and have it on hand for the week. Note that the spice level can be adjusted to taste, or you can omit the Sriracha entirely.

Prep Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 45 minutes


  • 1 large head of garlic
  • 6 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 tsp Sriracha (or horse radish, if you prefer)
  • 2 cups regular mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Cooking Instructions:

  • Cook bacon just until it will easily crumble
  • Slice the top off the head of garlic; drizzle with a small amount of olive oil and wrap in foil. Place in 350 degree over for ~40 minutes, until soft.
  • Once garlic has cooled, squeeze cloves out of the head and mix it, with all the other ingredients, into the mayonnaise until thoroughly incorporated
  • Store in air tight jar in the refrigerator; it should be viable for at least a week