Four-Layer Mediterranean Dip


Last summer my friends and kids spent almost every weekend at Regina’s pool. Everyone would bring something, we’d have a couple cases of juice boxes (for the kids) and coronas (for the adults) and would just swim and eat and hang out. It was one of the best summers I’ve had in a long time…the little things, I know. My friend Adrienne would make this dip almost every weekend, and we’d devour it. It’s hummus, lemon-flavored greek yogurt, feta and then a blend of english cucumbers, red bell peppers, olives, tomatoes and scallions. You eat it with Carr’s water crackers and IT IS THE BOMB.  Ohhhh I’m so excited for pool season to start!!

FOUR-LAYER MEDITERRANEAN DIP (very slightly adapted from House Tweaking)
– 8 oz. plain hummus
– 1 tbsp. dill
– 2 tbsp. lemon juice, divided
– 1 regular size container plain Greek yogurt
– 1/2 tsp. pepper
– 1/3 english cucumber, chopped
– 1/2 small tomato, chopped
– 1/4 red bell pepper, chopped
– 1 scallion stalk, sliced thin (both whites and greens)
– 1/4 c. kalamata olives, chopped
– 1/2 c. crumbled feta

1. Add 1 tbsp. lemon juice and the dill to the hummus, mix well. Spread in 1 layer in a pie pan (clear is best since you can see the layers when it’s finished, but if you don’t have one, no worries).

2. Add the other tbsp. lemon juice and the pepper to the greek yogurt, mix well. Spread that in a thin layer on top of the hummus.

3. Crumble the feta in an even layer over the lemon greek yogurt mixture.

4. Add the english cucumber, tomato, bell pepper, scallions and kalamata olives (make sure these are all chopped in pretty much the same smallish size) over the top of the feta.

5. Serve with Carr’s Water Crackers and feel like Houdini as you watch this disappear.

— On another note, if Memorial Day Weekend was any indication of how this summer’s going to go, it’s going to be awesome. 

Modest Mouse at Ommegang – it poured but we had a blast

An unbelievable meal at the Red Caboose in Oneonta

“I’m always red.”

Brendan’s first Phillies game!! (He’s from Colorado)

Otesaga Hotel – so so gorgeous 

Cucumber Roll-Ups stuffed with Avocado-Feta Mousse

My parents had a little dinner party at their house, and we all kind of went overboard with our contributions. I made these cucumber roll-ups and those pear, prosciutto & honeyed goat cheese apps, my dad made his incomparable filet mignon with merlot reduction sauce, and my sister made this insane blackberry, lime & olive oil cake. And my mom just made everything look beautiful, as always.  Anyway, these are super simple, really delicious and healthy too! Brendan helped me make them and he was all, “they’re like little cucumber burritos!” which…yup, I can see it. You can use just about anything as a filler, but you know how I looooves me some avocado & feta.

CUCUMBER ROLL-UPS STUFFED WITH AVOCADO-FETA MOUSSE (makes enough for 8 people as apps but only if you have a bunch of other little delicious apps, too)
– 1 english cucumber, washed, skin on
– 1 avocado
– 1/3 c. feta
– 1 tbsp. dill
– juice of 1/2 a lemon

1. Make the avocado-feta mousse. Dice the avocado, then mash it well.  Combine with the dill, lemon & feta. Taste, then adjust seasonings as needed.

2. With a vegetable peeler or a mandoline (I can’t use these, they truly truly freak me out), shave the cucumber into very thin slices. 

3. Take a small spoonful of the avocado-feta mousse and spread it over each slice of the cucumber. Roll and either secure with a toothpick, or leave as is.

4. Serve and watch your family enjoy. Make a mental note to try and make everything as beautiful as your mom always does. 

(Don’t worry. We went for a 7 mile waterfall hike the next day to burn this all off!)

Pasta with Vodka Tomato Cream Sauce

What’s better than being able to cook a great vodka cream sauce while trapped inside the house in a snowstorm?  Cooking a great vodka cream sauce while trapped inside the house in a snowstorm, with your sister. Two winters ago Collyn was visiting me and we had a huge snowstorm and couldn’t leave the house. We were craving comfort food and – amazingly – had everything in the fridge that we needed to make this. Even the half cup of Kettel One (which has never been put to such delicious use).  Eating pasta is always better when your sister is snuggled on the couch next to you with a bowl of her own.

PASTA WITH VODKA TOMATO CREAM SAUCE (adapted from the gorgeous Smitten Kitchen)
– 1 lb. good pasta (I used cavatelli for this which was so fun to eat)
– 3 garlic cloves, chopped
– 1 red onion, diced
– 2 tbsp butter
– 2 tbsp EVOO
– 1 8-oz can chunky crushed tomatoes
– 1/2 c. heavy cream
– 1/2 c. vodka
– couple leaves of basil, chiffonaded
– freshly grated parmesan

1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter and EVOO over medium heat. When combined, add chopped garlic and saute until fragrant, approx. 90 seconds.

2. Add chopped red onion – I know people usually use white onions, but I actually like how the red onion sort of loses its color and gains a sweetness. You really want to make sure these are sauteed enough though…they’ll continue to soften as you cook, but make sure they’re pretty much already there before you start adding the other stuff.

3. Add the vodka, then cook it down, about 4-6 minutes.

4. Add the tomato sauce, then heavy cream. Use the correct amounts here – I’ve tried to use a little bit more of one thing, a little bit less of another, but that gives me some derivative of tomato soup, which I’ll leave to The Kitchen.

5. Turn the heat down to low and let this simmer while you make the pasta.

6. Salt the pasta water pretty heavily – this may be the only seasoning you need for this, which is pretty incredible. Cook the pasta.

7. Throw a bunch of freshly grated parmesan cheese and the chiffonaded basil into the sauce when pasta is about halfway cooked, then give it a good stir.

8. Drain the pasta, then add it to the saucepan with the sauce. Serve and top with a little more freshly grated parm. Sistas.  <3

Happy Mother’s Day

I hosted Mother’s Day brunch this year for the world’s best, kindest, most devoted, fun and stylish (obviously) mom, and it was such a nice day. Colly made deviled eggs, the herb & romaine detox salad, and this amazing lavender lemon pie, and I made mini potato pancakes and those awesome tuna stacks, which might have been my Dad’s favorite thing I’ve ever made. We had such a great day with my mom, her girls and our boys. Happy Mother’s Day to all of you out there. <3

Pear, Prosciutto & Honeyed Goat Cheese Appetizers with Fresh Thyme

Oh man, these were soooo good. I’ve really been trying to like goat cheese lately, and honey + goat cheese = deliciousness. Bartlett pear slices with a salty piece of prosciutto, topped with honey goat cheese and thyme…I made these for a dinner party at my parents’, and we tore through 2 trays in no time flat. Even my mom had one, and she’s a vegetarian!!

Pear, Prosciutto & Honeyed Goat Cheese Appetizers (adapted from, serves 8)
– 2 bartlett pears
– 5 oz. very thinly sliced prosciutto
– 3 oz. honeyed goat cheese (or, if you can’t find this, goat cheese blended with honey)
– fresh thyme
– freshly cracked black pepper

1. Heat the oven to 400.

2. When oven is ready, put the prosciutto on aluminum foil and bake until crispy, approx. 10 minutes.

3. Let prosciutto drain on paper towels while you assemble everything else.

4. Cut pears into thin slices/rounds. Top with prosciutto, honeyed goat cheese, fresh thyme and a tiny bit of freshly cracked black pepper.  Serve and enjoy.

‘Welcome Home” Apple Pie

One of my favorite traditions from growing up is the Hinchey “welcome home apple pie”. Whenever me, my sister or my dad would come home from any time being away, my mom would always have made us an apple pie. The house would smell like home, it was always such a delicious welcome after whatever (usually) awful food we’d been eating at college or wherever, and honestly, it just made me feel loved. Brendan recently spent a week away in both North and South Carolina, so I took advantage of the first real time we’ve spent away from each other to make this for him when he finally got back into town. You can make this from scratch, I promise! Even the dough. It’s easier than it looks even though it makes a little bit of a mess. Plus it has the added bonus of making whoever you’ve made it for feel really, really special.  <3

– 9 apples – I used Cortland, my mom uses Granny Smith, so just use whatever you like and will hold up well (so no macintosh or softer apples)
– 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
– 4 Tsp. sugar (C6H12O6)  :]
– 1 tsp. each cinnamon and nutmeg
– juice of 1/2 lemon
– 2 tbsp. butter sliced into thin pads
– condensed milk

Dough (makes 2 crusts – 1 for the top and 1 for the bottom of the pie)
– 2 cups all-purpose flour (don’t use whole wheat. This is an apple pie. Splurge.)
– 1 tsp. salt
– 1/2 tsp. baking powder
– 1/3 c. super cold butter (I throw this in the freezer)
– 1/3 c. shortening
– 1/3 super cold water

1. Preheat the oven to 425.

2. Make the dough. The easiest way to make this whole pie is to have an awesome Cuisinart food processor, which is my most-favorite and least-used kitchen appliance. If not, you can use a Kitchen Aid mixer, or just kick it old school and do everything by hand.

3. Combine 2 C. flour, the salt & the baking powder.


4. Chop up the super cold butter into little pieces, add to the flour mixture. Here’s why you need the butter to be as cold as possible, and work as quickly as possible to make the dough itself.  The cold little pieces of butter kind of burrow their way into the dough, and then when you bake this, they warm up and create these little pockets of explosions of deliciousness in the crust, which is amazing (obvs).

5. Pulse the butter into the flour mixture until it starts to form little pellets of dough. At that point, add the cold water (same reasoning for this as the cold butter) a little bit at a time, mixing until it starts to come together. My mom’s note is to not overmix this, “so don’t make this when you’re annoyed!”

6. Form a ball out of the dough, wrap in saranwrap and refrigerate while you get the apples ready.

7. Peel, core and slice the apples into 1/4 inch slices. 

8. Combine the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon & nutmeg. Toss with the apple slices to coat.

9. Flour the surface of a piece of wax paper,  dust a rolling pin with flour, then roll out half the dough into a circle. 

10. Carefully flip the dough into the bottom of a pie dish, letting any dough overlap. Remove the wax paper and gently press the dough into the dish.

11. Layer the apples into the pie dish, saving about 1/2 cup. 

12. Squeeze the half lemon over the apples, then add the slivers of butter in a circle. Top with remaining apples.

13. Roll out the other half of the dough in the same way you made the bottom crust. Cover the apples as carefully as you can.

14. Crimp up the edges of the dough to make the top of the crust and seal the pie. 

15. Now comes the fun part!  Pies need to breathe as they bake, so they need some air holes in the top crust. You can be traditional and just put a few slices into the top crust, or you can make cuts into designs and decorate it however you want. Or, you can be in love and put your initial and the initial of your boyfriend in a heart (ahem). I know, I know. Sometimes I’m like a 12 year old girl at heart.

16. Brush condensed milk over the top of the pie, then sprinkle white sugar lightly over the top of the pie.

17. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 and bake for another 45 minutes.

18. Serve with vanilla ice cream and also, as my mom instructs, “with lots of love.”  Welcome home.