It started with a market and ended with a spicy dill dip. I was checking out the new Market of Choice near my house. Fresh produce sections always tantalize me. These bright, beautiful colors stare back at me and whisper “buy me!” I kindly stare back and answer- “and use you…how, exactly?” I typically do better if I have a recipe and a plan. (I know, it doesn’t sound like me at all if you personally know me.) I had no plan this time. I think the only thing on my “list” was pasta shells. I thought to myself- If I just grab a bunch of these items surely I will come up with something to not only cook but also to photograph. In the check out line the woman scanned my items… rainbow radish…kumquats…dill…parsley…cilantro…peppers… and of course, pasta shells. (The shells were for an Easter pasta salad.) The combination of items was strange enough to prick the attendant’s curiosity and she asked me what I was planning on making. I told her I had no idea but that I was a food photographer and I just thought these items looked pretty. Thankfully her son was a photographer’s assistant- otherwise I would’ve received a “she’s crazy” look. (That same look you get when you buy ONE plate from West Elm!)
I took all my fresh herbs home and starred at the items. Finally it dawned on me- why do they need to become a dish? The herbs were beautiful, the kumquats and peppers were cheerful. The items needed to be photographed as is. Nothing fancy- just some classic images to spark people’s imagination of what they could do with fresh herbs. As I photographed the produce I kept trying to think of a recipe I could toss at least some of the ingredients in to round out the photo shoot. I decided on spicy dill dip. I adore dill and I love dill dip with fresh veggies. Dill dip is nostalgic for me. My mom always made the creamy dip at home in Indiana. Typically I use mayo, plain greek yogurt (or sour cream), dill (lots of dill!), lemon juice, salt and pepper and then my mom’s touch- dried minced onions. To spice it up this time I added in chopped Thai chili peppers and instead of lemon juice I squeezed kumquat juice into the dip. I’d love to give you an exact recipe but this is one of the few items that I wing it every time I make it. Just go off what tastes good to you and don’t be shy on the dill or the minced onions. Serve with any kind of fresh veggie! (Additional use- sometimes I add more citrus juice to make a thinner “sauce” and put it on my tilapia.) Enjoy the photos!