Celebrating Summer – Simple Dinner Party Ideas

The beauty of summer is in the foods: flavors, colors and variety. We recently hosted a celebration dinner featuring a lot of our favorites: surf & turf, brown paper, bees, home canning, watermelon, tomatoes, curry corn bread muffins, wine …


Watermelon Coolers with Basil

  • Fresh watermelon
  • Fresh basil
  • Vodka if you are into that sort of think
  • Lime for garnish (read: really optional)
  • Jalapeño for kick (really optional)
  • Ice

If you have a juicer this is pretty simple. If you don’t have a juicer this is pretty simple, just an extra step if you don’t want pulp or to cut off the rind. I will share the blender version.

  • Cut up your watermelon into big chunks. I leave most of the rind on, which I am sure is killing my blender blades (no almighty Vitamix here…. Yet) when I filter it, but if you plan to leave the pulp, which is still darn good, I would cut the green part off.
  • Throw it into the blender and puree it really good. Toss in some basil leaves. You could use mint too. I used about 4 leaves, to taste. At this point you could put in a few slices of jalapeño if you want or wait till the end. I had the best of intentions to add but mine where moldy. Oh well.
  • Strain into a pitcher. I tried a few different methods and my metal strainer with a funnel worked the best.
  • You will need to likely scrape and move around the pulp in the strainer so that it doesn’t get plugged. Remember though, gravity is your friend.
  • I put the pulp into a bowl lined with cheese cloth, which at the end, I gathered up and squeezed to get even more juice out. You can toss it back into the blender to see if it will liquefy up more. (the repeat)
  • Chill, serve over ice with some basil ribbons and lime slice. I think an orange would be delightful too. Add vodka if you like. I enjoy hanging out with my friend Gray Goose.
  • Enjoy! A medium watermelon or two of those small ones made enough for 8 people to have the refreshing cocktail.

Deconstructed Caprese Salad with Uber Fresh Tomatoes from My Neighbor


Filet Mignon Skewers with Fresh Veggie Skewers (Turf) & Steamed King Crab Legs (Surf)


We LOVE the simple crab dipping sauce of salt, pepper and fresh squeezed lime juice! Look at the steam rolling off those lovely legs….

For dessert we dined on Asian pears poached in wine sauce with vanilla ice cream. Sadly no pictures, as it was melting! I canned the pears last fall. They are easy, unbelievably tasty, with good texture and the wine when reduced is great on top of a good vanilla. Here is my post with details and recipe.

3 thoughts on “Celebrating Summer – Simple Dinner Party Ideas

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