Summer entertaining made simple and delicious
7/1/2011, 9:10 a.m.
(ARA) - Warmer weather means you can take advantage of the great outdoors to entertain your family and friends. When the temperature rises, here are tips to beat the heat in the kitchen so you can enjoy the company of your guests.
* Keep it light. Prepare a series of savory appetizer dishes. Try serving a variety of tea sandwiches, whipped avocado, spinach and veggie dips, or prepare an artisanal cheese plate paired with fresh fruit. Consider a chilled soup using pureed cucumber, fresh herbs, yogurt and sour cream that will have your guests asking for seconds.
* Turn down the heat. Instead of using the oven, prepare hot food in a slow cooker to decrease temperatures in your kitchen. Because it's the season for fruits and vegetables, try an arugula, white bean or corn-based salad. To add additional seasonal flavor, toss in fresh herbs like mint or cilantro.
* Fire up the grill. Nothing says summer quite like a backyard cookout on the grill. Instead of grilling the usual burgers and hot dogs, mix up the spread and grill fresh sliced pineapple or halved peaches. To get your veggie fix, grill peppers, zucchini and onions brushed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and garlic.
* Treat yourself. Iced coffee is a great way to keep you refreshed and cool. If you love coffee flavor in a cold and indulgent treat, try Starbucks(R) ice cream. Enjoy flavors inspired by your favorite coffeehouse beverages, such as the rich and creamy Java Chip Frappuccino. Reward yourself and relish every bite or serve as a decadent dessert for guests.
Once you have created the perfect summer menu, try this recipe to give your dessert a cool and refreshing twist - it's sure to impress your guests:
20 Italian lady finger cookies
1/2 cup Starbucks espresso or Starbucks coffee, chilled
2 pints Starbucks Coffee Ice Cream, slightly softened
1 cup mascarpone cheese
1 cup heavy or whipping cream
2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1/4 cup chocolate shavings
Line 10 lady fingers into 8-inch baking dish. Brush with 1/2 of the espresso, then top with half the ice cream; repeat layers. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze one hour or overnight. Beat mascarpone, heavy cream and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer until creamy and whipped. Remove plastic wrap from ice cream, then top with mascarpone mixture and chocolate.
Visit www.starbucksicecream.com to find other Starbucks ice cream desserts and flavors.