How to Make a Yogurt Vegetable Dip to Serve Basically Anything On | Healthyish


Emily Fiffer and Heather Sperling are two editors-turned-restaurant-owners in L.A. Every month we’ll catch up with Emily and Heather regularly for stories, recipes, and dispatches from the front lines of Botanica, their women-led, vegetable-first kitchen.

Soon after moving to LA, we discovered a local sheep’s milk yogurt so creamy, rich, and tangy that we began referring to it as “the magic yogurt.” The more we tested and tasted, the more we became obsessed with yogurt’s ability to carry various spices, aromatics, and flavor agents, morphing sweet, savory, or piquant, and complementing almost anything we paired it with. In pursuit of any and every opportunity to get it into our mouths, the yogurt moat was born.

The concept is simple: It’s a salad-like jumble of flavorful, well-dressed components perched on top of and surrounded by seasoned yogurt. When we say “moat,” we mean it: There should be a wide ring of creaminess encircling your tower of flavorful produce loveliness.

roasted sweet potatoes with chile yogurt and mint

Michael Graydon + Nikole Herriott

Try topping chile-yogurt with roasted sweet potatoes and torn mint.

Here’s how to make the moat magic happen: Depending on how thick you want your yogurt moat to be, you could go ahead with store-bought Greek yogurt, or you could strain regular organic, full-fat yogurt through a nut-milk bag or cheesecloth to your desired level of thickness. In a few hours, it’ll be like Greek yogurt, while an overnight strain in the fridge will get you closer to labne.

Next, choose your base flavor: The moat is meant to complement whatever you’re piling on top of it, so ideate accordingly. A few of our favorite bases: microplaned garlic, lemon juice and zest, ground cumin, sea salt; liberal drizzles of chile oil and sea salt; lime juice and zest, sea salt and Aleppo pepper; orange juice and zest and a drizzle of maple syrup; sumac, lemon juice and zest, sea salt; zhoug, harissa or chermoula; burnt honey. Whatever route you go, it should be seasoned to the point of maximum deliciousness, a.k.a you could just skip the whole toppings thing and eat a bowl of it plain.

But no skipping, you’ve got a moat to make! Spread your yogurt in a circle on a serving dish and artfully pile your salad on top. As with the base, the topping should be a thoughtful, well-seasoned combination that would be lovely on its own but will be next-level on top of its yogurt perch.

grilled carrots with cumin serrano yogurt

Alex Lau

Spicy cumin-serrano yogurt is the perfect base for grilled carrots.

Try roasted root vegetables (carrots, beets, delicata squash) tossed with arugula, lemon, olive oil and sumac atop a garlic-lemon-cumin moat; spoon some chermoula, zhoug or salsa verde over the top, or shower everything with dukkah, and you’ve got yourself a stunner. Try nestling poached eggs and lemony salad greens atop the chile oil moat for a play on a Turkish dish, çilbir. In summer, there’s nothing better than a moat of salted, garlicked yogurt piled high with roasted tomatoes and shallots, fat slices of heirloom tomatoes, packed with basil and drizzled with garlic oil.

Moats can even take an everyday salad to the next level; try fresh figs, toasted walnuts, arugula and shaved fennel, with a honey-sherry vinegar dressing on a moat stirred through with orange zest, salt, and a smidge of garlic. Toss a salad of shaved rainbow carrots, shallots, chopped dates and toasted pistachios with lemon, olive oil, baharat, and salt and pile it on a zhoug moat. If your dairy leanings tend toward the sweeter side, roast seasonal fruit in aromatics (our go-to: star anise, vanilla bean, orange juice, and white wine) and serve it over yogurt stirred through with vanilla bean seeds and orange zest.

The final step: herbs! Always herbs. Whether sweet or savory, garnish with herbs galore. Tarragon and mint are lovely when skewing sweet; everything is fair game for savory.

We’d love to hear about your creations: DM us @botanicafood with all your feats, questions, and concerns. Happy moating!


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Real Friends Serve Roast Chicken at Friendsgiving


You shouldn’t be serving turkey at your Friendsgiving. Before we get any further into this argument, I just want to admit that I am not even close to being a Turkey Guy. Besides a turkey club, I think it’s a food that possesses minimal worth. Yes, I am biased. But I also have the success of your Friendsgiving in mind, so hear me out. You should be roasting chicken at your Friendsgiving. Whether it’s one whole chicken or two, roasting chicken instead of turkey is going to make for a tastier, easier, more successful party. And yes, this is a party.

Choosing chicken will help you out before we even step foot in the kitchen. Chickens, for the most part, are smaller than turkeys. I’m not sure if you knew that or not, but they are. You can look it up if you doubt my credibility on the subject. But I promise you that the whole chicken you buy at the grocery store or butcher shop will weigh less than a whole turkey. And that means it will be easier to carry, especially for someone like me. I don’t have a car. I live in a city. I walk and ride the subway. Which means there’s a zero percent chance that I will ever volunteer to carry a whole turkey anywhere. Do you want to be the person deciding whether or not it’s acceptable to rest your 16-pound turkey on the subway floor, four inches from someone’s gnarly running sneakers, because your arm is tired? No. You don’t. That’s a lose-lose scenario. Chickens get from point A to point B much more easily. Also: How many people are you feeding, anyway? Yeah: not enough people to necessitate roasting a 15-plus pound animal.

No-Fail Roast Chicken with Lemon and Garlic

It’s also worth noting that whether you’ve roasted a bird before or not, a chicken is always less stress than a turkey. Less expensive. Less of a commitment. Less intimidating. Easier to schlep, but also easier to handle mentally.

But that difference in size also means that roasting a chicken (or a couple chickens) will take far less time than roasting the traditional, gargantuan, colonial-era poultry. You can roast a single chicken in about 45 minutes. Two will take a little longer, since there’s more heat being conducted, but the chicken will still be ready to serve much sooner than a turkey. As someone who went four years with a minuscule oven, I cherish the fact that chicken gives you more time and oven space to devote to side dishes. The mashed potatoes. The biscuits. The sweet potatoes. The salads. The sprouts. The stuff that most people like way more than the turkey.

Speaking of turkey, when was the last time you went to a restaurant and ordered turkey that wasn’t on a sandwich? Oh. Not in the last year? Not in the last decade? Never? And when was the last time you ordered chicken? Last weekend? This week? Last night? Yeah, that’s because more people like chicken than they do turkey. Because chicken tastes better.

But why does chicken taste better? Well, there are a couple reasons. First, the ratio of skin to meat on a chicken is better than that of a turkey. Since a chicken is smaller, there’s going to be more crispy, brown, beautiful skin for every bite of meat. Part of the reason turkey breast can be so bad is that there’s never enough skin to go around. Less meat, in this case, is more.

0317 ba basics lemon garlic roasted chicken 9

A roast chicken can look nice too!

The entirety of a chicken also cooks at the same rate. A turkey does not. The historical pitfall of the turkey is that the breast dries out in the time it takes the thighs to cook. And if you pull turkey out when the breast is perfect, the thighs will be undercooked. It’s a cruel paradox, and you can blame the massive size of the turkey for that. I’m not saying that it’s impossible to make a good turkey, but it takes some practice, and it’s just easier to roast a chicken so that all of it tastes amazing. And I don’t know about you, but I like to serve my friends food that tastes amazing. That’s called being a good friend.

And if you follow the logic I’ve presented about chicken being better to turkey, that means the chicken leftovers will be better than the turkey leftovers. Chicken salad is better than turkey salad. Chicken stock is much easier to make, because you don’t have to use a 348-gallon pot. Chicken tacos are better than turkey tacos. Chicken soup is better than turkey soup, just as chicken fried rice is better than turkey fried rice. Your chicken choices will continue to pay off for days to come.

But really, the reason you should serve chicken instead of turkey is that these are your friends. You don’t have to impress them. You don’t have to serve a massive, picturesque bird. They’ll love you either way. They chose to spend time with you on the day (or a day surrounding the day) that’s all about showing thanks for the things you value in your life. This is about showing your friends that you’re thankful, and the best way to do that is show them a good time. Friendsgiving is about celebrating in the way your family wouldn’t. Crack the sixth bottle of wine. Put miso in your green bean casserole. Turn up whatever playlist is ripping through the stereo. Eat those special brownies. Talk about politics. Roast a couple chickens. Tell your friends you love them. This is your Thanksgiving. It’s all groovy.

Want an easy roast chicken recipe? Yeah, you do.



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