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This summery dish requires no recipe and demands very little from you. Simply use the freshest, ripest figs you can get your hands on, assemble, and enjoy as a first course or dessert.

Fresh figs, quartered
Extra-virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Flaky sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Pecorino or parmesan cheese, shaved

Arrange figs on a plate or platter, drizzle with oil and vinegar, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and top with cheese shavings.

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Notes: a pop of green would do this dish some good. Think spicy, like arugula, dandelion greens, or watercress. Not too much–just a few leaves scattered on top.

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A while back I posted my favorite guacamole recipe, which calls for little more than the avocados themselves. This is typically my go-to approach for this simple starter, but here I deviated a bit. The avocados I bought were, for some reason, on the bland side, so I added a few more ingredients to the mix.

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2 Hass avocados, medium dice
juice of 1/2 lemon
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 tomato, small dice (I only had cherry tomatoes so feel free to use whatever  you have on hand)
1/4 small red onion, minced (or 1 shallot, minced)
kosher salt, to taste

1. Place the avocados into a medium bowl and, using 2 knives, cut the pieces so that the avocados break down. Be sure to leave some chunks (unless you prefer it smooth).
2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the avocado and stir.
3. Adjust seasoning as needed.

(I wrote this three months ago and, for some reason, never posted…)

This week, I had a few girlfriends over to watch the finale of The Bachelor. Stop laughing! Okay, so we don’t take it seriously (but we kind of do), and it’s really just an excuse to eat and drink and gossip. Being a good hostess, I made my bed (something I don’t believe in), tidied up the apartment, did the dishes, and made a bunch of party snacks that are, at the very least, worth mentioning.

This dip, however, is not only worth mentioning, but it’s worth mentioning again. My friends advised I call it “caramelized onion dip”, because it sounds fancier (i.e., no Lipton soup packet) than “French onion dip”.

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
1 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp parsley, chopped

1. Heat the butter and oil in a pan over high heat.
2. Add the sliced onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and dark brown in spots.
3. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add garlic to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes.
4. Season with salt and pepper and continue cooking for another 15-20 minutes, until the onions start to break down.
5. Remove from the heat and cool completely.
6. Combine onion mixture with the mayonnaise and yogurt.
7. Refrigerate overnight.
8. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and serve with crudite, crackers or pita chips.