Lighten up your party with this refreshing Yogurt Herb Dip from “Nathan Turner’s I Love California” cookbook.
This farm girl from Iowa didn’t take long to adapt to the California entertaining lifestyle. Everything in California appears to be fresher, lighter, easier and more laid-back… just like this Yogurt Herb Dip served with crudités.
This recipe is from interior designer Nathan Turner whose style is synonymous with the easy glam of California living. Nathan is a regular entertaining expert on the Today Show, and author of Nathan Turner’s I Love California Cookbook.
Nathan Turner’s I Love California takes you on a journey up and down California Highway from the redwoods of northern San Francisco to the mountains of the Sierra Nevada to the beaches of Southern California. Lavish photographs capture the homes, people, and food of each unique location.
Part travel guide, part style guide, this is also an incredibly useful cookbook featuring 76 recipes which help make it so unique.
Meeting Nathan Turner
I recently met Nathan at a Melissa’s Produce media luncheon. He really impressed me with his laid-back, alluring style of entertainment. As soon as I got home I read the entire book. I am hooked. If you want to see his talk and demo, click here.
“Style goes beyond design and decoration. It is all-encompassing in one’s life… That includes a welcoming beautiful table and lots of delicious food to share with friends and family.” – Nathan Turner
According to Nathan, style doesn’t have to be fancy or extravagant. It is a matter of figuring out what style means to you and finding your own particular version, and that is the beauty of this book.
I was going to call this post How to picnic like Nathan Turner at the Hollywood Bowl because his book inspired a delicious evening there.
Here is how it came together – a beautiful and scrumptious picnic in a box at the Hollywood Bowl, with true California style. Thanks, Nathan, wish you could have been there!
Hollywood Bowl Box Picnic
For the table setting, I was going for Nathan’s blue “Chinoiserie Chic – Fancy Lady” look on page 22, which is a balance of exotic and elegant.
Nathan feels that blue and white are neutral colors, so you can feel free to mix patterns and shapes and it won’t get too crazy. I couldn’t find any chinoiserie prints so I went with a paisley theme, which worked out to be pretty and a little fantastical as well.
I purchased 7/8 of a yard of fabric at Joann’s, and cut it into two 21″ x 32″ “bowl table-sized” tablecloths. I frayed the edges to keep it simple.
For the recipes, I chose to start with the light and yet full flavored Herbed Yogurt Dip and Crudities to go with my charcuterie plate. Even though we had limited space I wanted the arrangement to be pretty and full of vegetables that didn’t look like they were the standard prepackaged mix.
Baby vegetables always look great, and blanched sugar peas and asparagus are always a winner.
Leaving the tops on carrots and radishes makes them easy to dip.
Nathan’s Brussel Sprout Salad stands up perfectly to being made ahead.
I adapted the Leek & Asparagus Quiche into mini tart pans for easier Hollywood Bowl transport.
For dessert, I went with Nathan’s Great Grandma’s recipe for Mini Chocolate Cream Pies. I used mason jars instead of mini pie pans. I topped it with fresh whip cream and Cocoa Nibs right before serving.
This is one happy group thanks to you, Nathan! Next time, you’ll have to join us!
Today’s Recipe: Yogurt Herb Dip
This recipe is easy to make and packed with fresh herbal flavor with just a hint of anchovy. Even if you don’t think you like anchovy, don’t leave it out, as it adds the unique umami flavor which makes this recipe special.
Cooking for your friends at the Hollywood Bowl is a great way to spend time together and enjoy great food.
“Food is the best way to get your loved ones together and show them you care” – Nathan Turner
Yogurt Herb Dip and Crudites
Nathan likes crudité platters to look rustic, so leave the tops of radishes, carrots, and cherry tomatoes. No matter what you are serving, remember to vary height, color, and texture, and you’ll always end up with a lovely display worthy of a still life.
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 cup (13 g) fresh mint leaves, packed
- 1/4 cup (13 g) fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, packed
- 1 green onion chopped
- 1 anchovy
- 2 cups (480 ml) plain greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt plus more for salted water
- 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
- 1/2 cup (55 g) green beans, trimmed
- 1/2 cup (70 g) asparagus, woody ends trimmed
- 10 radishes with tops cleaned
- 10 baby carrots with tops cleaned
- 14 cherry tomatoes
- 1 heart celery including leaves. cut into sticks
- 1 endive leaves separated
In a food processor, combine garlic, mint, parsley, green onion, and anchovy, then pulse to chop. Add yogurt, lemon juice, salt, and hot pepper sauce, and puree the dip until smooth. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.
Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl and set aside. Fill a large pot with salted water and bring to a boil. Blanch and shock green beans and asparagus. Serve dip with chilled vegetables—such as radishes, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, celery heart, and endive—on a large platter.
Nathan gives you many tips that make entertaining easier throughout his book.
- If you don’t know how to do a floral arrangement… pick a single flower.
- If you’re not a great cook… set a beautiful table.
As Nathan says, “The recipes and decor here are inspired by my home state, but really it’s a state of mind.” Now, you can create this dreamy California lifestyle anywhere”.
I say, I adore Nathan Turner’s style and I look forward to creating my next California-inspired party.
…and then, she paused for thought.