The Sprucettes’ Favorite Recipes for Summer

One thing you’ll notice when we have lunch in the break room is all of our meals are completely different. Amanda and Katherine will eat a sandwich (Katherine’s with chips and Amanda’s with gluten-free bread), Clar will have a wrap from Wheatsville Co-op or a perhaps a baked potato, and I’ll usually bring a stir-fry or curry from the night before to pop in the microwave. What we share in common is we’re passionate about food. We love it when people bring us delicious snacks (hint, hint) or when Katherine brings in her confections to share — which are always fantastic. This got me thinking about sharing our favorite recipes for summer.

If you try any of these at home, let us know how they turn out by leaving a comment! Bon appétit!

Amanda: Governor’s Mansion Summer Peach Tea Punch

peach tea recipe

In the hottest months of the year, all I want to do is cool off with a frosty beverage. This is the yummiest tea I’ve ever tasted! Perfect for a summer party or sippin’ on the back porch, you’ll make this again and again. Add 30 oz. of liquor to convert it into an equally decadent cocktail. I can see why this made it into Southern Living’s Best Recipes magazine!

Clar: Pan Con Tomate

pan con tomate
I’ve lately been binging on Anthony Bourdain’s travel and food reportage. This simple breakfast staple (pan con tomate) seen during his episode of Parts Unknown in Spain is one of my favorites.
Slice rustic bread and then slather it with flavorful and strong olive oil. Bake or toast it, and then roast some garlic in the oven at the same time. Meanwhile, shred firm ripe tomatoes on a grater, and toss the skins into the compost pile. Strain the tomato puree (and drink the juice!) Salt and pepper the tomato pulp and spread on warm bread with roasted garlic. Breakfast is served – buen provecho!
I love the satisfying and filling effect of warm bread paired with the freshest bright cool tomatoes. Great light summer breakfast or anytime for a tapas-style snack!

Katherine: Lemon Butter Cake

lemon butter cake Spruce Blog

It should not be a surprise that I am contributing a dessert for this installment of favorite summer recipes. I do not remember how I came across the recipe for this lemon butter cake, but I sure am glad that I did. I justify this confection as summer worthy because of its fresh citrusy flavor, and it can be served chilled.

For the cake

  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (heaping)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • zest of two lemons

For the cream cheese filling

  • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9″ springform pan.

Filling:  In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium-high to high speed for about 5 minutes, until smooth and creamy.

Add confectioners’ sugar and beat for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add egg and beat until completely combined. Add butter, both extracts and lemon zest. Beat until completely combined.

Cake: In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk in melted butter, eggs, lemon juice, vanilla extract and lemon zest until combined. Do not overmix.

Pour batter evenly into springform pan. Carefully pour filling mixture evenly over the cake batter until it’s about 1/2 inch from the edge of the pan. (The filling should cover all but the outer 1/2 inch, at which point the cake batter will be visible.)

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cake has puffed up and a toothpick inserted near the edge of the cake comes out clean.

Allow to cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully remove springform sides and allow to cool on rack for 1 hour. Transfer to refrigerator and chill completely before serving.

Serve chilled, with a little sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar.

Clarisa: Guacamole and Homemade Tortilla Chips


People say I make good guacamole, so it’s become my go-to when it comes to whipping up something quick and easy to serve at parties. The secret to good guac is not to overcomplicate it. Growing up, my mom would make this classic Tex-Mex dip by mixing pico de gallo with mashed up avocados. It was pretty good, especially because she always made fresh tortilla chips, but I think I’ve refined it by focusing on just a few key ingredients. Simple is better, right?

I apply a simple ratio that will help you make this appetizer for any number of people. Simply use 1 Hass avocado per 2 people. So, if you plan on having 6 people over, use 3 avocados. For every avocado, you should have 1/4  small scallion (chopped), 2 tablespoons of cilantro (shredded) and 1 lime (juiced). Cut and peel the avocados and mash them with a fork or masher. I usually keep the consistency a little chunky. Blend in the scallions, cilantro and lime juice and then add Kosher salt to taste.

Homemade tortilla chips are the perfect partner for guacamole and are quite easy to make. Simply stack a few corn tortillas on a cutting board and cut them into wedges with a sharp knife, much like how you’d cut a pizza. You’ll get 4-8 chips per tortilla, depending on your preferred size chip. Fry them in a deep fryer or in a pan with vegetable oil set on medium. As soon as the chips start to shrink and turn color, remove them with a slotted spoon and set them on a plate covered with a few paper towels to soak up the excess oil. Wait until they cool and crisp before dippin’!