It's summertime--and the living should be easy. So should the entertaining. Here are a few cool recipes to make your parties especially tasty. The food can all be eaten with your fingers; the drinks are all slightly frivolous and entirely festive.
Everybody likes watermelon--and this dish makes a good thing even better. If you hollow out the watermelon to make a bowl, and then serve the marinated cubes in the shell, you'll have a truly spectacular presentation.
4 cups cubed seedless watermelon, well-chilled
1/2 medium onion, sliced thin
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup raspberry and/or blueberry vinegar
Freshly ground pepper
Combine watermelon, onion and basil in large bowl. Toss until well-mixed. Pour vinegar over watermelon mixture, toss gently to combine mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve on lettuce. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
SAUSAGE IN MINI BUNS
3/4 pound lamb, cut in chunks
1 ounce pork, cut in chunks
1 ounce pork fat, cut in chunks
4 dates, pitted and cut up
2 1/2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
1/4 cup sauteed chopped onion
2 teaspoons ground cumin
11 oil-cured olives, pitted and chopped
1 tablespoon minced oregano
1 tablespoon minced thyme
1 1/2 tablespoons sauteed diced sweet red pepper
1 tablespoon minced parsley
2 teaspoons black pepper
Fresh basil leaves
Grind lamb, pork, pork fat, dates, 1 teaspoon salt, nonfat milk powder, sauteed onion and cumin in meat grinder or food processor. Combine lamb mixture, Mousse and olives, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, oregano, thyme, red pepper, parsley and black pepper. Mix lightly but thoroughly by hand.
Shape mixture into 1-inch patties. Grill on lightly oiled stove top grill or heavy skillet, about 7 minutes on each side. Spread mustard on each Mini Bun and fill with basil leaf and sausage. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.
Shape Mini Buns in oblong shapes and bake as directed. Fill with any sausage desired, cut in strips to fit buns.
3 ounces pork, cut in chunks
3 ounces pork fat, cut in chunks
2 ounces ice cubes
Grind pork and pork fat in meat grinder or food processor, adding ice steadily. Do not overmix. Process to cohesive, almost sticky texture.
1 (1-pound 9-ounce) package frozen Parkerhouse-style rolls, thawed
1 egg, lightly beaten
Shape unbaked rolls into small round buns. Sprinkle cornmeal on greased baking sheet. Place shaped buns on sheet and brush tops with beaten egg. Let rise in warm place until almost doubled. Bake at 375 degrees 10 to 15 minutes.
Bored with pate? Tired of tacos? Try this tasty variation, which combines the best of both worlds.
1/4 cup bacon drippings or lard
1/2 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 serrano chile, minced
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained
1 loaf French bread, cut into 1/2-inch thick diagonal slices, buttered and toasted
1 1/2 cups shredded Manchego or Jack cheese
Bottled or homemade tomato salsa
Heat bacon drippings in skillet. Add and saute onion, garlic and serrano chile until tender. Add beans and mash until creamy. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread beans on toasted bread slices. Sprinkle with cheese. Place under broiler just until cheese melts. Garnish with dollop of salsa and sprinkle of cilantro. Makes about 3 dozen.
If you're looking for something quick and delicious to serve your guests, consider these modern morsels. A new take on the canape, they are the perfect finger-food.
12 to 15 thin slices smoked turkey
1 package garlic-flavored Boursin cheese
Soft lettuce leaves
Spread each turkey slice with cheese. Sprinkle with pistachios as desired. Place small lettuce leaf on top and roll up. Cut in half and secure each with wood pick. Makes about 6 servings.
No drink has ever been a more beautiful color than this one. And few have ever tasted as delicious. Bet you can't drink just one.
1/2 cup dark rum
2 tablespoons triple sec
Juice of 2 large limes
Flesh of 1 ripe mango
Combine rum, triple sec, lime juice and mango in blender container. Fill blender with ice and process until ice is completely crushed. Makes about 4 cups.
This is a really refreshing new twist on the Bloody Mary. You can, of course, add liquor if you like.
1 teaspoon minced basil
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
Hot pepper sauce
Puree tomato. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in basil, lime juice, dill and hot pepper sauce to taste. Chill well before serving. Makes about 1 cup.
For the Californian in all of us, this is a healthy and delicious drink.
2 cups cubed ripe honeydew
1 (4.4-ounce) carton light peach yogurt
10 ice cubes
Combine honeydew, peach yogurt and ice cubes in blender container. Blend until slushy. Add sugar to taste. Makes 2 servings.
The surprise in this drink is the slight bite of chile, a refreshing touch in a slightly sweet drink.