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This summer has been filled with backyard barbecues and beach parties made better when everyone brings a dish. I love hanging out in the crowded kitchens of vacation rentals with folks elbowing for counter space and kids running in and out of the already too tight quarters. Old friends and new bond over shared recipes and we all beam as our platters of appetizers, entrees and sides get polished off.

This summer my stepdaughter Cate and I are taking a trip to Greece for my friend Lana's birthday. It will be our first trip together without Jeff, and we're beyond excited. So when we were invited to a Mediterranean-themed beach party on Martha's Vineyard, I pulled out an old recipe for one of my favorite Greek spreads.

Cool and savory, tzaziki is super easy to make and boasts all of the flavors of Greece -- Greek yogurt, lemon, garlic, olive oil, cucumber and fresh herbs. It's great as a dip for crudite or pita bread and even better served with grilled chicken, lamb or fish. I've swapped out different herbs based on what was fresh in the market or from my garden. Chives can take the place of the parsley. Try your own favorite flavor profile.

Shortly after I set it out on the table with the bowls of hummus and baba ghanoush I watched it disappear. I sat back beaming a little - ok, a lot - when our friends who had just gotten back from Greece said it was as good as anything they had there. Now it's back in the rotation of easy and delicious dishes that are great for a party or just a simple backyard barbecue.


1 Q Greek Yogurt (full fat - PLEASE)

2 cloves garlic minced

2 lemons -- both juiced and one zested

1 English cucumber grated, placed in a dish towel and wrung out

1/2 C mint, chopped

1/2 C basil, chopped

1/2 C parsley, chopped

salt/pepper/olive oil

Combine the first seven ingredients and season with salt/pepper. You'll drizzle the olive oil at this point, give it a mix and then let marinate in the fridge. You can drizzle more olive oil when you serve it. The most important thing to remember is to squeeze as much liquid as you can from the cucumber.

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