Flooding Susie’s Inbox

July 2, 2009

Summer (Produce) Lovin’

Filed under: Food — sashyjane @ 9:52 am

Summer is the perfect time for throwing an outdoor party. You’ve got kabobs on the grill, wine iced down and your tan is perfect in that linen top (note: I normally don’t condone the wearing of Old Navy clothing but this is quite cute.) img-thing

But why stop there? Summer has a lot more to offer than just cold drinks and a hot grill. Why not use fresh, summer produce to enhance the atmosphere, ambiance and overall feel of your soiree?

For a casual afternoon with the girls, start with a fresh, cold glass of cucumber lemonade.

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The cool, refreshing flavor of the cucumbers blended with the citrus punch of lemon produces a satisfying beverage sure to cool your guests off while you put the finishing touches on your meal. Serve the lemonade in mason jars and attach a name tag to each one with twine. You can find templates to print on or calligraph here. I served this recipe last night to the girls in my Bible study and it was quite good! I didn’t make it exactly like the recipe though; I didn’t have 2 cans of lemonade so i squeezed the juice of 4 1/2 lemons in and added some Splenda.

Kids and adults alike will be tricked into eating their veggies when you disguse zucchini in chocolate nut muffins served with strawberries and fresh squeezed orange juice at brunch.

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While you could serve the traditional cucumber sandwiches, try putting a spin on the old classic. Make up the cucumber spread with cream cheese, cucumbers, salt, mayo and minced onion then generously slather inside half of a pita pocket. Stuff the pockets with sliced tomatoes, torn Romaine lettuce, crisp yellow or red peppers and avocado slices. Thinly sliced grilled chicken would also work well. To cool off a fresh-from-the-grill burger, use cucumber spread instead of mayo.

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For an impressive dinner, grill salmon sides in a bourbon and citrus glaze and serve with a fruit salad of cantaloupe, honey dew, blueberries, fresh mint and lemon zest. Grill corn on the cob and top with cayenne-cilantro-lime butter. The blend of summery flavors and the color combination will please your guest’s palettes and eyes.

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For dessert, forgo the standard Jell-O salad or sliced watermelon and serve peach pie twisters. The bite of the chili powder makes for an unexpected complement to the mild flavors of the peach and sugar. Serve in a paper cone for pretty presentation or tuck a twist into a dish of ice cream for a cool way to end the hot day.
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Cucumber Lemonade
From Better Homes & Gardens Magazine
1 English cucumber, coarsely chopped
2 12 oz. cans frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
10 c. water
Cucumber slices

In a blender, combine cucumber and 1 can lemonade concentrate; blend until almost smooth. Transfer to serving container (try an oversized glass jar for a summery presentation) Stir in remaining lemonade concentrate and water. Cover; chill up to 24 hours. Stir before serving. Serve over ice with cucumber slices garnishing each glass. Note: This would also make a DELISH cocktail! Just add a little Bacardi Rum or Grey Goose Vodka.

Zucchini Nut Chocolate Muffins
From Family Circle Magazine
Yield 24 muffins

2 ½ c. all purpose flour
4 T. cocoa powder
1 t. baking soda
½ t. cinnamon
½ t. salt
½ c. milk
¼ t. white vinegar
½ c. unsalted butter, softened
½ c. vegetable oil
1 ¾ c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla extract
2 c. peeled, finely grated zucchini
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
¼ c. chopped pecans or walnuts

Heat oven to 325. Line 2 cupcake pans with foil liners. In a medium sized bowl, ble nd flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; set aside. Stir together milk and vinegar in a small bowl; set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter, oil and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combines. Add milk mixture and beat well. On low speed, gradually add flour mixture; beat until just combined. Stir in zucchini and ½ c. of the chips. Fill prepared indents 2/3 full and sprinkle with remaining ½ c. chips and the nuts. Bake at 324 for 20-28 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Summer Peach Pie Twisters
From Better Homes & Gardens Magazine
1 15 oz. pkg rolled refrigerated unbaked pie crusts
3 medium peaches (y’all come on down to Georgia to get some!) pitted and chopped
2/3 c. tiny marshmallows
½ t. cinnamon sugar or chili powder
1 T. cinnamon sugar or 1 T. sugar mixed with ½ t. chili powder
Vanilla ice cream (optional, but why wouldn’t you?)

Let piecrusts stand at room temperature according to package directions. Preheat oven to 400. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or foil; lightly grease foil if using. Set aside. In a medium bowl, combine peaches, marshmallows, and ½ t. cinnamon sugar or chili powder. Unroll one piecrust. Cut crust into 6 wedges. Spoon a scant ¼ c. of the peach mixture along one long side of each wedge, ½ inch from edge of crust. Brush edge of long sides of crust with a little water. Fold crust over filling. Using the tines of a fork, press long sides together to seal. Fold the top edge of the crust back to expose some of the filling. Repeat with remaining wedges and filling. Place pies on prepared baking sheets. Prick top crusts of pies two or three times with a fork. Sprinkle with the 1 T. cinnamon sugar or chili-powder sugar mixture. Bake 15-18 minutes or until filling is bubbly and pastry is golden brown. Cool pies on pans slightly to serve warm or cool completely. Serve standing upright in paper cups or in glasses with a scoop of ice cream.

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2 Comments »

  1. can’t wait to try some of your recipes..especially the cucumber lemonade!

    Comment by blue hydrangea — July 3, 2009 @ 8:27 pm

  2. Delicious! when will you be making one of each for me?

    Comment by Susie Mae — July 7, 2009 @ 5:01 pm


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