Sep 9, 2011

Dippin', Dunkin', Slatherin'

Late one night, I sat at my grandma's kitchen table playing cards with my aunt.  Grandma always kept cards in the kitchen junk drawer.  Still does.  We were hungry but everyone was asleep.  My aunt grabbed a sleeve of saltines from the old "Premium" tin with the blue lid and handed it to me.  I opened the plastic and took one.  Started munching.  "Wait," she said.  "You can't eat them like that."

She reached into the fridge and brought out a stick of butter.  Real butter.  At that time, margarine was all the rage; that's what we had at home. 

Grandma & grandpa were butter when butter wasn't cool.

My aunt spread butter on top of a cracker and handed it to me.  "Yeah.  Now we're talkin'," she grinned. 

And that began my appreciation for the extras.  My belief that if x is good, than it can only be better topped with y. 

My own gluttonous algebraic theorem.

My favorite condiments are Creole mustard and hot sauce.
Why, yes, I do stumble through life as a cliché.
And it's mighty tasty.

What's a chip without dip?  Or salsa?  Pancakes without syrup or blueberry sauce?  Biscuits without preserves?

Sometimes I fry fish just for the homemade tartar sauce.  Make shrimp Po'boys just for the remoulade.  Grill chicken just for the avocado, tomato, & lime relish.  Plan taco night based on a hankerin' for some sour cream. Go ahead and judge.  I don't care.  I'll own it.

It's condiment week at I Heart Cooking Clubs.  This chick is all about dippin', dunkin', slatherin'. 

Remember when IHCC was cooking with Giada?  The lemons?  In everything?  Even egg salad (Heather, I'm looking at you!).
Has anyone noticed Jamie Oliver's addiction to anchovies?  

Seeing as how our time cooking with JO is about up, I wanted to give a final nod to his fish fetish.

Jamie Oliver's "Mind Blowing Sauce" (Bagna càuda)

I wouldn't call this "mind blowing," but I'm not saying it blowed either.  We liked it.

But not leftover.  Little hint: makes a ton.


Jamie Oliver's Winter Crunch Salad w/ Mind Blowing Sauce
from Jamie at Home, also found at (click for printable)

for the sauce
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
300ml milk
10 anchovy fillets in oil
180ml good extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
2 or 3 tablespoons good white wine vinegar
for the vegetables
a few young carrots, peeled and finely sliced
a few small raw beetroots, peeled and finely sliced
a few sticks of celery, trimmed and thinly sliced, yellow leaves reserved
½ a small Romanesco or white cauliflower, broken into florets
a bulb of fennel, trimmed and finely sliced, herby tops reserved
a handful of small beetroot leaves, if available, washed
a bunch of radishes, trimmed and washed
½ a celeriac, peeled and finely sliced

Firstly, prepare all your veg, because once the sauce is done you’ll be ready to serve! To make your sauce, put the garlic cloves, milk and anchovies into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer slowly for 10 minutes, or until the garlic is soft and tender, keeping a close eye on the pan to make sure the milk doesn’t boil over. Don’t worry if it spits and looks a little lumpy – simply remove from the heat and whiz the sauce up with a hand blender. Gently blend in the extra virgin olive oil and the vinegar a little at a time – you’re in control of the consistency at this point. If you like it thick, like mayonnaise, keep blending. Now taste it and adjust the seasoning. Make sure there’s enough acidity from the vinegar to act like a dressing. It should be an incredible, pungent warm sauce.

There are two ways you can serve this – with both you need the sauce to be warm. Either pour the sauce into a bowl and place this on a plate, with the veg arranged around the bowl, or serve the veg in a big bowl and drizzle the sauce over the top. Sprinkle over the reserved herby fennel tops and celery leaves and finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Reminder: next week (Sept. 14) will be the last Garden Variety Wednesday link-up.

In the works for October: A potluck link-up, along with some other changes.


  1. I am huge on condiments too! Everything is better with a little something extra!

  2. I love a good garlicky bagna càuda--it's a good way to get those veggies in but a little does go a long way. ;-)I love the color of all of the different veggies you have on the plate.

  3. great writing, been there, done it and still do... appreciate that there is someone else that will have a fish fry for the love of a good tarter sauce... this JO dip, I dunno

  4. Mmmm....I want my mind blown! Today! =) This does sound awesome. And I had to giggle, cuz my grandma keeps a few decks of cards in her junk drawer, too! =)

  5. I am a huge salted fishie fan too. Great way to celebrate our time with Jamie!

  6. Saltines with a little butter on them is still a favorite snack in my family! I love saltines. Great vegetable spread and tasty dip!

  7. I do have a love of dips and sauces but bagna cauda is one I've never experienced before! Perhaps it's something I need to try for my next party

  8. I too love condiments! Everything always tastes better with a little something extra :)

  9. I have such wonderful memories of playing cards with my grandmas. One was fond of poker, the other of 21, both played for M&M's. :) I love the phrase: "were butter when butter wasn't cool". The mind blowing sauce sounds delicious.

  10. This post was way too cute. I have a deck of cards in my junk drawer too. And, like you I'm crazy about mustard (all kinds of mustard) and hot sauce. I could put it on everything, and I do.

    Bagna Cauda is one dipping sauce I've always wanted to try. It looks delicious there with all the veggies.

  11. Saltines and butter are a match made in heaven! Condiments are essential, my fridge is so full of them, there is little room for other food.....


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