Summer is an easy time for entertaining and the eating is always good. Fragrant, sun-ripened berries, buttery new leaf lettuces, crisp baby carrots and radishes, sweet sugar snap peas, green and yellow beans, fresh juicy cherry tomatoes, colorful herbs and flowers….the gardens and markets are bursting with picture-perfect, mouth-watering and delicious, local fruits and vegetables.
In this brief two months of warmer days and balmy nights, our house becomes a virtual inn for visiting family and friends. Our company enjoys picnics at Sand Beach, boat trips to town, hikes in Acadia Park, swims at Lily Pond, cook-outs on the shore, lobster bakes and more. With all these assorted mouths to feed, I need to keep things simple, really simple.
One item sure to be in my refrigerator this summer is Greek-style yogurt. Readily available at the supermarket, Greek-style yogurt, yogurt cheese, or labneh, is merely yogurt that has been strained to remove its whey. The result, a creamy, thicker, tart – tasting product, incorporates a wide variety of flavors beautifully.
For the adventurous foodie and beginning cook, Greek-style yogurt is simple to make. And dips made with the thickened yogurt are easy to whip up too. The trick is in the timing, so planning ahead is key.
Plain yogurt needs about 8 – 10 hours to drain off the whey. And dips made with the thickened yogurt need about 4 to 6 hours for the flavors to marry. The schedule that works best for me is to drain the yogurt over night and make the dips in morning.
Fresh Herb Dip is the perfect complement to all those summer veggies, and it packs easily in the lunchbox. Spread this dip on a wrap or pocket bread, scoop up with chips, it’s all good and tasty.
Lemon Horseradish Dip is zesty enough for tuna salad. I like to spread it on crackers and top with smoked seafood. Try it as a sauce for grilled salmon or halibut.
With two jars of these savory dips in my refrigerator, the living is easy and I’m ready to party this summer.