lemon white bean dip with rosemary
Lemony White Bean Dip with Rosemary

This white bean dip is so perfect for a quick appetizer to serve at home or to take to a party. My family always asks me to triple the recipe when I make it for us- they love it that much. I love how simple it is to make!

There was an Italian restaurant in the town where my husband grew up that served a dip similar to this. I always ordered it and so my husband and I started trying to replicate it at home without knowing the exact ingredients or measurements. I love how it turned out! It was coarsely chopped rather than mixed in a food processor when made at the restaurant. I share the way to adjust to the more authentic Italian way at the end of the post, if you would like to try it that way, too! Here are the ingredients you will need for either way…

I use reduced sodium white beans (you can also use Cannellini beans) and then add salt as I like. Regular beans work just as well- I just use less salt if I am serving with a salty cracker or bagel chip.

The first step to making this lemony white bean dip is to put the can of beans, 2 cloves of garlic, and 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice in a food processor.

Blend on low until beans are coarsely chopped, and then pour in 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil and continue to blend until desired consistency- usually just a few seconds.

After the beans, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil are well-blended, remove the mixture from the food processor and transfer to a medium serving bowl. Next, you will add 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of lemon zest and 2 teaspoons of minced, fresh rosemary. Stir well.

A side note about using an actual lemon zester…I actually prefer to use a cheese grater to zest the lemon for this recipe. Simply, rub the lemon on the cheese grater over a plate or bowl. The pieces are very tiny and are so good in the dip without being overpowering. The zest gives the extra punch of lemon flavor that I love in this recipe!

I like the citrusy, lemon taste and so I use one teaspoon of lemon zest. If you prefer less, that will work too! Adjust to suit your tastes, but I highly recommend the lemon flavor if you’re a lemon lover!

Season with salt (pepper, too, if you like) and drizzle the dip with 1 extra tablespoon of olive oil to top it all off. I like to swirl it around and then garnish with a sprig of rosemary. You could also add a slice of lemon as a garnish.

Serve immediately with bagel chips, crackers, or a sliced baguette. You can also make this ahead of time and keep in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days. I actually love the way the flavors taste after it has been made for a few hours. I never get a chance to put it in the fridge- the crew at my house eats it all in no time! I hope your family and friends enjoy like mine do!

And, if you prefer the beans to be more coarse rather than pureed, you can achieve that by using a potato masher. I really like the bean dip when it is made with the potato masher- that was the original way that I made it. The food processor just makes it really fast and easy- and with less chopping because you can put the whole cloves in the food processor to be chopped. But, if you don’t have access to a food processor or just like the more authentic, Italian way- give the potato masher a try and see which way you like better! Just remember to mince the garlic. 🙂

LEMONY WHITE BEAN DIP

Ingredients~

1 can (15 1/2 oz) of Great Northern White Beans (or Cannellini Beans), drained and rinsed

1-2 teaspoons Grated Lemon ( also known as lemon zest)

2 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice

2 (small to medium) Cloves of Garlic

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

I Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for topping the dip when finished)

2 teaspoons Finely Chopped Fresh Rosemary

1/4 teaspoon Salt (add more or less according to your taste preference)

Pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS TO MAKE LEMONY WHITE BEAN DIP

  1. Place the rinsed and drained beans, lemon juice, and peeled garlic cloves in a food processor and pulse until the beans are coarsely chopped.
  2. Add 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil and pulse in food processor until well combined.
  3. Transfer bean mixture into a small/medium serving dish (this recipe yields about 2 cups).
  4. Mix in lemon zest and minced rosemary. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Drizzle remaining 1 Tablespoon of olive oil over top. Garnish with rosemary and/or a lemon slice.
  6. Serve right away or store in refrigerator (covered) for 2-3 days. Serve with bagel chips, pita chips, crackers, sliced baguette, veggies.

Enjoy!

xo,

Lydia

P.S. My friends Lance and David came over for a quick lesson on making this bean dip- you can see our LIVE video here!

Pots De Creme

If you love a rich and creamy chocolate dessert, then this one is just for you! The name alone- Pots de Creme- sounds very fancy, but you will be surprised at how easy it is to make this decadent and delicious dessert! My college roommate and forever friend gave me the recipe after she impressed me with her fancy dessert on one of my visits to see her and her family. Her husband is half French and so he suggested this treat. She knew me well enough to know that it would be a big hit, and that we would basically eat all of the servings in one night just like our college days!

For this recipe, you only need a handful of ingredients. It is quick and easy to make- you only need to allow time for it to chill. You can find more elaborate recipes- I know they used to add in a step called a “water bath” to finish the recipe, but it just isn’t necessary to achieve the same result. I have also used a double boiler to melt the chocolate and mix in the cream, but I have found that letting the heated yolks and milks melt the chocolate in the blender is the best method for keeping it simple. As you can see in the photo below, it whips up to be so thick and rich… and so small serving sizes are ideal. I use 4-ounce ramekins and a small amount of homemade, fresh whipped cream to top the chocolate goldmine. Of course, you can use larger serving sizes and add more whipped cream plus any other topping you like. Raspberries and strawberries are always a perfect way to up the delish factor, but I am a purist when it comes to chocolate pots of cream.

Chocolate Pots de Creme

Ingredients

12 oz. bag of Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips (you can also go with darker chocolate if you like)

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 1/2 cups whole milk

6 large egg yolks

5 tablespoons of granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon confectioner’s sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions to Make…

  1. Whisk the egg yolks, 1 cup of the cream, the milk, granulated sugar and salt in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking and stir constantly for about 5 minutes until it is almost boiling. The mixture should be thick enough to coat the spoon or spatula.
  2. Place the chocolate chips into a blender and then pour the milk mixture over the chocolate chips. Use care with the hot milk mixture. If using a food processor, cover the open spout with a cloth to prevent the hot mixture from contacting skin. Blend until smooth– scrape the sides as needed to be sure it is all mixed smoothly.
  3. Pour the chocolate mixture into ramekins and place in refrigerator to set. The pots de creme should be chilled in 2-3 hours.
  4. When ready to serve, whip the 1/2 cup of heavy cream with confectioner’s sugar until soft peaks form. Fold in vanilla. Spoon a dollop of whipped cream on the top of each ramekin. Top with berries, if desired. Serve and enjoy!

If you would like to be more authentic in the way you serve this dessert, look for antique pots de creme serving dishes at antique or vintage shops. You can also find sets or individual pots online. The sets are tiny cups with one handle and a lid. A small spoon is used for eating from the small pots- usually a demitasse spoon. If I were to buy a set for our family to have, I would choose these…


Aren’t they so pretty? I also love the new set made by Mottaheda. The neutral color works for every occasion. But, clearly the decadence of the dessert itself stands alone no matter what you choose to serve it in- a simple ramekin works just fine, too!

I always love to hear how you like the recipes that I share! Leave a comment below and give me your thoughts. Also, if you have egg whites that are left over from making this dessert, you can use them to make this Pavlova! Sometimes it is helpful to be able to make 2 easy desserts at once for special occasions. Happy Baking!

Best Pavlova with Strawberries

I don’t know what it is about egg whites and sugar being baked at a low temp, but it creates magic in the form of meringue- and this meringue cake called a Pavlova. This dessert is named after the famous Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova…and I can see why! Light, airy, delicate, lovely, sweet, and beautiful~ does that sound like a ballerina to you? That also describes this easy yet fancy dessert! I am no ballerina, but just the thought of this dessert makes me want to twirl. :). I made this dessert as part of our Mother’s Day celebration- my mom LOVES strawberries and so I always love setting a strawberry themed table for Mother’s Day in her honor!

I doubled the recipe so that I could show you how beautiful the large Pavlova is as a main event (shown above) and how pretty and dainty mini pavlovas look for more individualized servings (shown below).

As a child, I grew up with my mom baking meringue cookies each Christmas and they were always my favorite. I remember how she would tell me that you could never bake meringue on a rainy or damp day- and so it would make it extra-special to have to wait for the right day. The humidity will ruin a batch of meringue- I have tested the theory many times out of impatience in hopes that each time my mom would not be right. But we all know that mom is always right- and yes, baking meringue on a rainy or otherwise humid day does not work out well. So, please keep that in mind when you decide to make these. Damp weather makes for flat and chewy meringues- I speak from experience! And so, I want to share the Pavlova recipe that is a version of the meringue cookies I fell in love with as a child. Follow the recipe below for an impressive-looking and somewhat fancy desert! It is so much easier than it seems!

I love the look of the big pavlova – and I would love to know which one you prefer (the large or the minis?). The biggest difference to me is in serving them. Below, I show you the Pavlova after it has been sliced. Expect the crust to crack and break a little when the dessert is cut. It gives it a rustic feel and is definitely not like cutting a flour-based cake.

Individual servings make the actual act of serving the dessert easier- it really depends on your guests and the feel you want to achieve. If it is more formal, I would suggest individual servings. If you are wanting a more casual feel, go ahead and make the show-stopping large version and don’t worry one bit when it cracks as it is cut. It is delicious either way!

This dessert is great for anytime of the year- but my very favorite time to make and serve Pavlova is during strawberry season. There is nothing like topping the dessert with freshly-picked strawberries and adding in other berries of your choice. I go with blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries along with the strawberries, but I am a berry girl. Choose your favorites or stick with just strawberries. If you want to continue with the strawberry theme, add strawberry touches to your place setting. This is really perfect for a Mother’s Day gathering. I love it when strawberry season and Mother’s Day collide!

Here, I used a white tablecloth and then added green pagoda wrapping paper down the center of the table as a runner. The gorgeous paper is from A Pretty Paper Company/Ruby Stripe. I love being able to change up the look of a table setting by incorporating beautiful patterns from wrapping paper. It makes a difference at a fraction of the cost of a customized tablecloth. Clean up is also very easy! No washing, dry cleaning, or ironing necessary when you decorate the table with a paper runner. Ruby Stripe sent me their pagoda designs in green and in white. I used the green background for the table and the white background coordinated perfectly with a small gift at the table for Mother’s Day. The fabulous compote that I used in the center of the table in lieu of flowers is from Parker Kennedy Living and is a vintage piece. I added trendy plates from Kate Spade in a strawberry pattern and her bright yellow china pattern to tie it all together. The adorable serving dish with strawberries in it and bees on the outside is from PKL-The Cellar.

Add in touches of pastel pink, and it will ground the bright, vivid colors and bring it all together. I added pink lemonade and pink satin ribbon to the gifts to bring in the small touch of soft pink that the table needed. I really love mixing patterns, and I feel like it works best when coordinated with white and with a solid, pastel color.

Here is my favorite Pavlova recipe…it is different from what my family usually thinks of for dessert- and they all love it. It gets rave reviews from the adults and the teenagers. I literally hide the dessert from my son so that he doesn’t decide to taste test too soon. He has been known to polish-off an entire dessert all by himself when no one is looking (which is also how we discovered his tree nut allergy when he was a toddler). I hope you love this as much as my family does. It makes it into the dessert rotation as often as I can- it is truly delicious! It is perfect for everything from a ladies’ lunch, to Mother’s Day, to a birthday celebration. Tell me your favorite topping on a Pavlova by leaving me a comment below and tell me what your family thinks of this dessert! Happy Baking!

Pavlova

You will need…

4 egg whites (use egg yolks to make Pots de Creme)

1 cup granulated sugar (spin it in the food processor for a few seconds to make it fine and it will taste even better)

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whipped Cream- made with…

1 cup heavy cream

2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla

Strawberries (plus blueberries, raspberries, blackberries if you like)

DIRECTIONS FOR MAKING THE PAVLOVA –

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. You will reduce the temperature to 200 degrees after you put the mixture in the oven.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (I have tried using non-stick pans without parchment paper and it always sticks- you definitely want to use the parchment paper).

Using a mixer (handheld or upright), beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. This usually takes 5-7 minutes depending on your mixer.

Next, add sugar (one Tablespoon at a time) and continue to beat at high speed until stiff peaks form. The mixture will be thick and glossy.

Add the vanilla extract and use mixer to mix it in.

Combine the cream of tartar and the cornstarch in a small dish and then fold into the egg white mixture using a spoon or spatula.

Spread the mixture in an 8-inch circle onto the prepared pan. Or, spoon small sizes onto the pan to make individual servings. The sides should be higher than the middle of the circle so that you can add the whipped cream and fruit to the middle.

Place the Pavlova in the oven and turn oven temperature to 200 degrees (F). Leave oven door closed and let bake for 90 minutes.

After 90 minutes, turn off the oven and let the Pavlova completely cool inside the oven. This step is part of the trick to the perfect Pavlova- I leave it for a couple of hours or more and let it rest. When you remove it from the oven, the Pavlova should have a crisp outer crust and will be marshmallow-like in the center. When you are ready to serve dessert, add whipped cream (see below for homemade whipped cream) and berries to the top of the Pavlova. Serve immediately and enjoy!

HOMEMADE WHIPPED CREAM RECIPE

1 cup cold heavy cream

2 Tablespoons Confectioner’s Sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Using the mixer, begin to whip the heavy cream until it thickens.

Add the sugar and vanilla extract and continue to whip until soft peaks form (don’t over beat the cream). You will have around 2 cups of fluffy whipped cream. It is best served immediately, but the whipped cream will typically hold its shape for a day if tightly covered and refrigerated. Just as a side note, the kids and I tried using Cool Whip as a substitute for whipped cream. Cool Whip was no match for the real thing- the Pavlova is so much better with homemade whipped cream and it is so easy to make!

xo,

Lydia