Our summer plans are a still a little up in the air and it’s making me a tiny bit jumpy. In a week’s time, the boys will be home for 56 days (yes, I’m counting) and everything I thought we were doing this summer may actually no longer be so. It’s almost exclusively related to work issues, and the recent realization that I have to spend a solid two weeks reviewing the first page proofs of my book, and while there will most definitely be vacations (note the plural!) I’m not exactly sure if it’ll be the one we’ve planned, or a new adventure altogether, which makes me twitchy and not unlike how I feel when my stash of butter dwindles to three pounds or my freezer feels empty.
We’re keeping most of this weekend clear to work on solidifying some sort of schedule for at least a portion of the summer. I’ve filled the fridge with food, the charcoal bin is loaded with hardwood lumps, the fire pit’s been scrubbed, marshmallows have been procured, and I’ve made a dip for happy hour snacking tonight after work. Clearly, I’ve armed us with everything we need to hunker down and make some plans.
If a traditional seven-layer Mexican dip is for Super Bowl parties and Cinco de Mayo celebrations, this Greek-inspired version is definitely designed for summer dinners and casual warm-weather entertaining. This fresh makeover of the popular appetizer is apropos for the season, and most of the ingredients are likely things you already have on hand. My seven layers consist of a garlic and herb-infused cream cheese, plain hummus (store-bought is fine), sliced cucumbers, chopped tomatoes, kalamata olives, salty crumbled feta, and smattering of vibrant green onions. You can certainly swap a few things around if you prefer, replacing one of the layers with sliced peppers, or even seasoned ground lamb, if you want to make a meal out of the recipe.
A few notes about layer dips: they hold up best when they’ve had the chance to firm up in the fridge so I encourage you to make this at least two hours in advance but even further ahead - like up to 8 hours - is ideal. These types of dips tend to take on a mangled appearance after the first ten to twelve bites, which is why it’s best to keep the serving container relatively small. This recipe fills a 6-cup serving dish, but if you need more, I would double the recipe and make two separate dishes instead of one large one. When the first batch looks a little battered, replace it with the second one…trust me, your tablemates will thank you.
Seven-Layer Greek Dip
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon dill weed
- ½ teaspoon onion powder or 1 tablespoon minced onion
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Fresh ground pepper
- 1 cup hummus
- 1 cup diced, seeded English cucumber
- 1 cup chopped, seeded tomatoes
- ½ cup sliced or chopped kalamata olives
- ½ cup crumbled feta
- 2-3 green onions, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
Using an electric or hand-held mixer beat the cream cheese, lemon juice, dill weed, onion powder, oregano, garlic, and a few grinds of pepper until light and fluffy. Smear in the bottom of a baking dish, serving platter or pie plate.
Cover with the hummus, and then create the layers by scattering the cucumbers on top, followed by the tomatoes, olives, feta, and green onions.
Cover and chill for a minimum of 2 hours. Serve with pita chips, nacho chips, flatbread or fresh baguette.
*Inspired by a recipe from Better Homes and Gardens