Archive | June, 2012

Renee’s Salsa

28 Jun

I call this recipe “Renee’s Salsa” because it’s Renee’s Salsa. My friend, Renee, makes this every time I see her – whether it’s at my house or Melissa’s house, or St. Maarten at “The Villa”…..granted, I dont see Renee that often – I am lucky if it’s once a year! So I always look forward to her salsa.


But I dont have to look forward to my next visit with Renee just for the salsa! I can make it on my own…..I still believe that Renee makes it best. But this is a really really simple salsa recipe and is easy to vary in spiciness and flavor!

Turns a lil darker after boiling

Note: This is NOT a chunky salsa. This is a smooth salsa.

Homemade Salsa

  • 1 can Ro-Tel tomotoes and green chilies
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 cloves garlic (more or less, to taste)
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • some salt
  • some pepper
Blend all ingredients until they look like … well … salsa.  Then cook it until it boils.  Ta dum.

Lemon Rosemary White Bean Dip

24 Jun

I found this recipe online while perusing foodgawker……it seemed easy and fresh and summery! You have GOT to try this. It was A HUGE hit. People didnt know what to make of it at first….and then they kept going back for more.

Finished Dip

Perfect to have as an app, sitting on the side of the pool.

Lemon Rosemary Dip next to Cowboy Caviar

I was able to use my own fresh grown rosemary. Food always tastes better when you grow some of it on your own 🙂

Action Shot by my Sisterinlaw, Pam

This dip is healthy and sophisticated. It would go well with tortilla chips or pita chips.

Lemon Rosemary White Bean Dip


  • 1 can white beans, drained (can use cannelini or northern beans)
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2-3 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


Add the beans, garlic cloves, lemon zest, and lemon juice to the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. With the machine running, drizzle the olive oil into the bowl. Add in the rosemary and salt and pepper to taste, blend until combined. Add more olive oil if you want a smoother consistency. Transfer to a bowl and serve.


15 Jun

I love tabbouleh. Who doesnt love tabbouleh? It’s delicious and chock full o’veggies and herbs and tastes so fresh and light.

Look at all those fresh ingredients

It has such a minty-fresh-lemon taste to it. It’s perfect for summertime as a nice healthy side dish to any meal of grilled meat and great to bring to picnics and BBQs!

Here is the dressing:

Dressing – full of herbs and fresh mint!

And here is the finished product:


Look at all those beans and healthy things



  • 3/4 C uncooked bulger
  • 1 (8 3/4-oz) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 C chopped seeded cucumber
  • 1/2 C chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 C finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 C ReaLemon Lemon Juice from Concentrate
  • 1/4 C olive oil or salad oil
  • 1 Tbs chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tsp dried basil, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, quartered


Place bulgur in strainer; rinse with cold water and drain.

Combine bulgur, beans, cucumber, parsley and onion in medium-sized bowl.

For dressing, combine ReaLemon, oil, mint, basil, salt and pepper in screw-top jar. Cover and shake well.

Pour over bulgur mixture; toss gently to coat.

Chill 4 to 24 hours. Before serving, stir in tomatoes.

Melitzanosalata – Greek Eggplant Dip

7 Jun

I’ve made this dip a couple times now since first discovering it during my Greek Supper Club Dinner. I cant tell you how delicious and fresh this dip tastes.

Eggplant to Bake

Eggplant cubed in food processor

If you are turned off by eggplant, do not discount this appetizer. It’s delicious and isnt bitter, like eggplant sometimes tastes.

Finished Dip

This dip goes best with some form of pita – either pita bread or pita chips. It’s velvety in texture and smooth and light. Trust me, you will take one bite of it, and will quickly go back for more!




  • 2 large eggplants
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 medium-sized cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup quality olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped
  • salt & pepper


Preheat the oven to 400 F. Use a fork to prick the eggplants all over. Put them on a baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes. Remove and drain on a paper towel if needed. Let cool until they can be handled.

Cut them in half and scoop all the insides out into a food processor.

Add minced garlic and lemon juice. Pulse a few times to combine. Continue to pulse while adding a steady stream of olive oil.

Stir in parsley, salt and pepper.

Lemony Cream Butter Cake

4 Jun

I saw this cake online somewhere right before memorial day weekend…..and it sounded so good. I had been craving cheese danish lately and this seemed like cheese danish plus lemon – who wouldnt love that?


It seemed easy enough and chock FULL of lemon – both zest and extract! Look at this plate of zest!!!


This cake would be excellent for a brunch or light dinner accompaniment. It’s so fresh and simple, but yet still elegant. I would garnish with a sprig of rosemary.

Here is the filling and then the cake batter:


Cake batter

And the finished product – notice how you leave 1/2 inch or so around the border of the cake when pouring the filling:

Ready to bake

I totally goofed when I made this the first time. I made the entire cake and had it in the oven and then I saw that I had forgotten the melted butter in the batter!!!! How could I have done that? I had to scrap the entire cake, clean everything up, get out all the ingredients again, and run to Wawa for more cream cheese. What a mess.


Thank god it turned out amazing!

First piece….

Slice of goodness

Lemony Cream Butter Cake

Ingredients for the cake:

  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (heaping)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (which was about 1 lemon for me)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • zest of two lemons

For the cream cheese filling:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease or spray a 9″ springform pan with vegetable spray.

Make the filling — In a large bowl or bowl of a standmixer, beat the cream cheese on medium-high to high speed for about 5 minutes, until smooth and creamy.

Add confectioners’ sugar and beat for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add egg and beat until completely combined, about 1 minute. Add butter, both extracts and lemon zest. Beat until completely combined, about 1 minute. Set aside.

Make the cake — In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk in melted butter, eggs, lemon juice, vanilla extract and lemon zest until combined. Do not overmix.

Pour batter evenly into springform pan. Carefully pour filling mixture evenly over the cake batter to within about 1/2 inch of the edge of the pan. (The filling should cover all but the outer 1/2 inch, at which point the cake batter will be visible.)

Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cake has puffed up and toothpick inserted near edge of cake comes out clean.

Allow to cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully remove springform sides and allow to cool on rack for 1 hour. Transfer to refrigerator and chill completely before serving.

Serve chilled, with a little sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar.

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