Seasonal Sundays: Summery Spreads & Dips (Week 21)

Grab a cracker and settle in for a quick snack because this week, I aim to tempt your summer palate with a whole collection of spreads and dips that might be appetizers, might make a quick lunch, might add to a meal but are always easy to make and handy to have on hand to pull out of the fridge at the last minute. So many "keepers" in this week's recipes, I do so hope you love them!

Seasonal Sundays, a weekly newsletter ♥, a seasonal collection of recipes and life ideas in and out of the kitchen.

Welcome to Seasonal Sundays ...

As always, I thank you for inviting me into your InBox. I do so hope to kickstart your food imagination for the coming week ...

People! Summer is nigh! I've been feeling that vibe all month with just enough plans to look forward to and just enough travel to get away a bit but really, just looking forward to lots of time in the outdoors, maybe especially working (with a laptop)/chilling (with a NA cocktail? perhaps!) on the summer porch.

So far the cicadas are more distant din than nearby bother, though we do wonder when the peak will occur and if the dog's fascination with the flying ones will turn into ... ugh ... don't wanna think about it.

What's on your summer bucket list?

About the Photo By Popular Request, a Little Insight into the Top Image: Yikes, right? That's a shot of a cicada I took in 2011, naming the file "seventeen-year cicada" ... except oops, it's 2024 and 2011 was exactly 13 years ago which means, our current cicadas are Brood XIX (brood 19). Not far from us here in eastern Missouri on the west side of the Mississippi River are small tracts where both the 13-year and the 17-year are emerging during the same year, something that hasn't happened since 1803, the year of the "Louisiana Purchase" (arrgh ... ) now covering my own state of Missouri plus nine other states (Louisiana, Arkansas, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota) plus parts of five more (Minnesota, New Mexico, Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado). Like eclipses, these little guys mark time in compelling ways!

In Praise Of ...

  • ... these small Mason-jar hummingbird feeders (affiliate link), they hold less hummingbird food, a good thing during a hot summer when the Hummingbird Food should be changed more often. But their small size means they can add vertical interest to a large pot of summer flowers, I even found these small but sturdy shepherds hooks (affiliate link) and now, when we sit quietly on the summer porch, the hummingbirds are literally only three or four feet away. It's magical!!

  • ... a medication audit, we did one with our doctor for my husband this week and wow, after dropping one prescription and adjusting the timing of another, we cannot believe the difference in how he feels, his energy level, his sharpness, his outlook, even the bruises on the top of his hands are disappearing (though it's a total surprise that the changes would affect this, still the timing suggests maybe so) ... much recommended

Democracy Matters

The country needs calm, thoughtful and assertive voices amid the chaos inflicted by a minority hellbent on taking/retaining generational power by strangling democratic principles and equal rights. None of us have to personally change the world. We just have to do our part. Pick one thing for the top of your To Do List this week.

Regular readers know that I often recommend and quote from the rich language and extemporary eloquence in Dahlia Lithwick's podcast covering the Supreme Court and the rule of law, it's called Amicus.

And this week's news about an effing Supreme Court Justice raising an upside-down distress flag at his home in January 2021 in support of the Trump insurrectionist actions up to and including January 6th ... is just back-breaking and heart-breaking and all-things-breaking. (Oh. And pinning it on his wife? What a weasel.)

This week's podcast included a recorded-live interview with the inimitable Jamie Raskin, lawyer, law professor, Constitutional scholar, U.S. Representative from Maryland and democracy bullfighter. (I just ordered a Democracy Summer t-shirt!)

This is listen-more-than-once material that deals with the current "originalist" majority of the Supreme Court. It starts about minute 25 in the May 18th podcast. If that sounds like it's in the weeds, it's not. It's compelling, perhaps in part because it's so very listenable. Jamie Raskin is a national treasure.

Major Takeaway: "The Supreme Court is not going to save us. We're going to have to do that. ... It's going to take a popular upsurge in America to take back our rights."

Jamie Raskin: "What did the Supreme Court ever do for enslaved people?"

Jamie Raskin: "I was shocked, shocked, even as jaded as I've become about the Supreme Court, at what they did in Anderson vs Trump."

Jamie Raskin: "... we gotta organize the people of America. That's where the power comes from."

Jamie Raskin: "If and when we win back the House and the Senate and the White House, we will look at the Supreme Court and figure out what can be done about that extremely corrupted and contaminated body. ... The current Supreme Court is just a scandal, it's just a scandal." (The loathing in his voice is palpable. He goes onto list the reforms that would transform the Court, they make sooo much sense.)

Dahlia Lithwick: "Voting because Trump is sleepier than Biden or Biden is sleepier than Trump is a pretty narrow frame for the stakes of this election."

Jamie Raskin: "You're damn right I'm a liberal. The heart of the word is liberty. And I'm a progressive because the heart of that word is progress. But my favorite thing to call myself is a conservative because I want to converve the land, the air, the water, the climate system, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the National Labor Relations Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act. So everything is on the ballot."

THE SEASONAL SEVEN: Summer Spreads & Dips

For this week's recipes, I aimed for recipes with flavors and combinations that ...

  • ... appeal to a lighter, simpler summer vibe
  • ... are easily sociable and shareable
  • ... incorporate summer vegetables easily found in everyday grocery stores, no farmers market required

Basil-Cream Cheese Spread ♥, a garlicky spread, alive with fresh basil, my budget-friendly substitute for Boursin. Especially good with watermelon.

Smoked Salmon Spread ♥, just smoked salmon plus a few pantry ingredients.

Famous Mustard Sauce (Carolina BBQ Mustard Sauce) ♥, Carolina BBQ mustard sauce from a handful of pantry ingredients, use as an ingredient and a condiment!

Two ways to make fresh Homemade Ricotta ♥, just milk, lemon and salt. Easy and delicious! Many tips, including skinny and creamy versions. Just Three or Four Ingredients. Great for Meal Prep. Low Carb. Naturally Gluten Free.

Three Easy Italian Appetizers ♥, make ahead then quickly assemble. Low Cal. Low Carb. Pretty on a Plate. Weight Watchers Friendly.

Tuna & White Bean Dip ♥, a real crowd pleaser. Low Carb. High Protein. Naturally Gluten Free. Weight Watchers Friendly!

Beet Pesto, another healthy vegetable spread ♥ Gorgeous Color. Budget Friendly. Quick to Make. Weight Watchers Friendly. Low Carb. Low Fat. Vegan. Gluten Free.
  • THE RECIPE Beet Pesto A rustic beet spread, such beautiful color. (PIN This)
  • ANOTHER TAKE Asparagus Tapenade A bright green spread for crackers, sandwiches, pasta, steaks, "scoops" and more.

What's Brand-Spankin' New?!

Wondering about a recipe from the last while? Check Recent Recipes from Kitchen Parade and Recent Vegetable Recipes from A Veggie Venture.

Green Mayonnaise ♥, a whole new way to think of mayonnaise, blended with spinach and fresh herbs.

May: Reader Favorites

Easy Skinny Turkey Roll-ups with Fresh Veggies ♥, just roll deli turkey, honey mustard and a few veggies. Just 50 calories! Weight Watchers Friendly!

May: Lost Recipes

Roasted Rhubarb ♥, an easy summer dessert, rhubarb cooked until just soft in the oven.

The Kitchen Parade Almanac: Looking Ahead ...

Looking Back ...

Soups & Salads Especially for ... May

Summer Lentils, another hearty salad ♥ A Veggie Venture, healthy lentils plus plenty of vegetables for crunch and color. Low Carb. Weight Watchers Friendly. Vegan or Vegetarian.

Good to Know!

How to Make Hummingbird Food with the right ratio of sugar and water ♥

Silly (But Fun?!) Food Holidays

May 21 - National Strawberries & Cream Day

Chocolate Cream Puffs Stuffed with Strawberries & Cream ♥, barely sweet little desserts just two bites big, perfect finger food.

May 23 - Eat More Fruits & Vegetables Day (or wait, is that Vegetables & Fruits?)

Alphabet of Vegetables ♥, A-Z recipes from Asparagus to Zucchini and every vegetable in between. Seasonal to staples, savory to sweet, salads to sides, soups to supper, simple to special. Many Weight Watchers, vegan, gluten-free, low-carb, paleo, whole30 recipes.

May 26 - National Blueberry Cheesecake Day

Blueberry Cheesecake Pie ♥, a press-in almond crust, no-bake cheesecake filling plus homemade blueberry pie filling.

May 26 - National Cherry Dessert Day

Peach, Cherry & Blueberry Fruit Sauce or Fruit Soup ♥, a summery combo, unusual and delicious, especially good with chocolate ice cream.

A Quick Peek Into a Real-Life Kitchen

Just so you know, everything's not all pretty pictures around here, in the background is a pile of dirty dishes. And just like many (all?) of us, come five o'clock, I too draw a blank about what to make for supper, despite so many recipes I so dearly love. Here's a quick peek from this week.

Frozen Steaks, another Quick Supper ♥ How to cook steaks straight from the freezer, no microwave, no thawing required. Meat is perfectly, evenly cooked.
  • THIS WEEK My husband had a big day/stressful day on Wednesday, I wanted to treat him with a big manly meaty meal. Still, timing was iffy. Would his very late lunch with the clients mean he wasn't hungry for dinner? Frozen Steaks to the rescue, perfect for a last-minute or impromptu decision. Pull one or two out of the freezer, no need to thaw them before cooking. So useful. So so good.
  • THE RECIPE Frozen Steaks How to cook perfect steaks every time, starting with frozen meat straight from the freezer! (PIN This)

Banana Nut Cake with Caramel Frosting ♥, my mom's famous recipe, a great special-occasion cake yet simple enough to make often. Plus, a new banana technique: no more waiting for bananas to ripen! Recipe, tips, nutrition & WW points included.
  • THIS WEEK Is it possible for a cake to be too good? I'd been hoarding bananas for black bananas (huh??? yeah it's a real thing, see Ripe Bananas for Baking: How Ripe Should Bananas Be?) but skipped the nuts and threw in just a few mini chocolate chips. Oh my. So good!
  • THE RECIPE Banana Nut Cake with Caramel Frosting My mom's famous (and famously versatile) cake, so banana-y, stays moist for days. (PIN This)

Something to Read

Whenever I get stuck in a reading rut (you know, nothing quite grabs you or you listen to the first chapter 29 times hoping it will worm itself into your imagination or that non-fiction book that everyone's talking about is just damn dull ...), I've learned to claw myself back up with murder mysteries.

This week, I flew through #3 and #4 in the Armand Gamache series by Canadian author Louise Penny. Somehow her books are less "dark" than many and there are often nuggets of human nature or observations of nature that I find intriguing.

Here's an example. We love our black walnut tree but thanks to Louise Penny, I now know that it emits a toxin that some plants are sensitive to. Maybe that's why the tomatoes have never done well in what otherwise seems like a great spot? Ha.

Don't Be a Stranger ...

I'd love to hear from you. Comment, send me a quick e-mail (my current address is in the FAQs), dot-dash in Morse code, build a fire for smoke signals, launch a message in a bottle, send a Christmas letter, get the dog to yip, toss me a note wrapped in a rubberband, write a message in the sky, scratch a note in the sand, listen to a seashell, tuck a question into a plastic Easter egg, whatever.

  • Any advice for Seasonal Sundays?
  • Just one thing that would make it more useful for you?
  • Anything else? Chime in, chat away.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. When you make my recipes, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below or better still, on the specific recipe's page.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.