Picnics, Potlucks and Barbecues (Oh My!)

As the temperature warms, the invitations for impromptu get-togethers are ever increasing, it's always good to have a few back pocket recipes to whip out when the occasion calls for it.  Below are two of my favorites, both simple, elegant and unique.

Tomato-Basil Dip
1 Cup Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Basil
1 1/2 TB Tomato Paste
1TB Grated Lemon Rind

Mix all ingredients and chill for at least two hours, and up to two days. Garnish with Basil Leaves. Serve as crudite for appetizers, on top of barbecued baked potatoes, or grab some roast beef, ciabatta bread and bibb lettuce and put together some artisan sandwiches for picnics. 

 Almond Pound Cake

2 sticks butter, softened
6 eggs, at room temperature
3 c. sugar
3 c. flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 c. sour cream
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract (lemon or vanilla can be substituted)
Mix all ingredients together with an electric mixer. Pour batter into a greased and floured cake pan and top with slivered or slice almonds.   Bake at 300 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.  You can also bake in muffin pans or mini muffin pans (reduce cooking time to 15 minutes and check for doneness).  Serve with cream and berries, coffee ice cream, or drizzle with icing. 

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