(A Plethora of) Summer Dinner Party Recipes
  Re: (...)
Many posts ago I had mentioned a dinner party for 11 which I hosted last summer and knocked myself out getting it all done. Denise asked for the recipes, Maryann seconded, and honestly I haven't forgotten but the recipes were scattered in 4 different places. But I really need to have them together because, once accomplished, I now know what I could improve on next time and although I think I've given up dinners for that many people it's good to have a tried-and-true menu for a different group of friends. I have some notes in italics at the beginning of each recipe. This is gonna be a long one:

I really enjoyed the addition of roasted poblano and tomatillo to this guacamole. Next time, I want to add some chopped grape tomatoes for color and even more flavor.

Tomatillo-Poblano Guacamole

Servings: 6

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
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1 large poblano pepper
4 medium tomatillos -- husked
1 small onion -- minced
1 large garlic clove -- minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro -- plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
3 large avocados -- peeled, pitted, diced

Use the broiler to prepare the poblano and tomatillos. Broil the pepper until skin is charred, turning frequently. Transfer to a small bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to steam for five minutes. While the pepper is steaming, broil the tomatillos, turning once, until lightly browned. Transfer to a food processor and puree.

Scrape the charred skin from the pepper, seed, and dice into 1/4" pieces. Transfer to a bowl and add tomatillo puree, onion, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, and half of the diced avocado. Mash well with a fork. Add the remaining avocado and mash lightly, retaining some texture. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle with reserved cilantro. Serve immediately.

"Food & Wine"

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Per serving: 182 Calories (kcal); 16g Total Fat; (71% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 12g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 12mg Sodium
Food Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 1/2 Fruit; 3 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates

NOTES : Can also use the grill to char the poblano and tomatillos. This step can be done ahead of time.
The guacamole can also be made ahead of time up to adding the cilantro garnish. Place plastic wrap directly on top of the guacamole and refrigerate for up to 12 hours. Allow to stand at room temperature for a half hour, remove plastic wrap, and garnish.


This was, without a doubt, the best melted-cheese-dip I have ever tasted…
Next time I will prepare it ahead and reheat in the microwave.

Queso Fundido al Tequila

Recipe By: Rick Bayless
Servings: 8

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
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2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 medium tomatoes -- 1/4" dice
2 whole japlapenos -- seeded and minced
1 small onion -- 1/4" dice
3 tablespoons tequila
1/2 pound Monterey Jack cheese -- shredded
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add the tomatoes, jalapenos, onion, and a large pinch of kosher salt and cook over a moderately high heat, stirring often, until softened (about 5 minutes). Pour in the tequila and cook for 2 minutes, stirring, until the skillet looks nearly dry.

Reduce the heat to low. Add the cheese and cook, stirring constantly, until fully melted (about 1/2 minute). Quickly transfer to a heated serving bowl. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve immediately with tortilla chips.

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Per serving: 140 Calories (kcal); 10g Total Fat; (68% calories from fat); 7g Protein; 3g Carbohydrate; 25mg Cholesterol; 155mg Sodium
Food Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 1 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates


I cannot emphasize enough how easy and delicious this cold soup is! Mildly spicy with a very exotic flavor. I used papaya juice instead of pineapple and made it 2 days in advance.

Tropical Gazpacho

1 cup tomato juice
1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup chopped peeled mango
1/2 cup chopped peeled papaya
1/2 cup chopped fresh pineapple
1/2 cup chopped seeded peeled cucumber
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon hot sauce

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender, and pulse 4 times or until combined. Cover and chill.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

CALORIES 83(4% from fat); FAT 0.4g (sat 0.1g,mono 0.1g,poly 0.1g); PROTEIN 1.3g; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 31mg; SODIUM 375mg; FIBER 1.7g; IRON 1mg; CARBOHYDRATE 20.5g
Cooking Light, MARCH 1998


This fish recipe is incredible. The caper sauce is tangy and compliments the mild fish well but it is quite spicy, even to those who like spicy food. Decrease the number of Scotch bonnet chilies, or use jalapeno instead, for a less-fiery dish. I think that any mild fish fillet like tilapia could be used successfully. Pairs great with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. The marinade and sauce can be prepared a couple of days ahead of time.

French West Indian Grilled Snapper with Caper Sauce

Here's how fish is served at the open-air cook shacks lining the beaches of Guadeloupe. The marinade features the four essential seasonings of the French West Indies: lime juice, garlic, fresh thyme, and Scotch bonnet chiles. This recipe calls for snapper, but any firm white fish will work.

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 to 2 Scotch bonnet or habanero peppers, minced
4 (6-ounce) red snapper or other firm white fish fillets

Caper sauce:
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons minced Scotch bonnet or habanero pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 large shallot, chopped
Cooking spray

To prepare marinade, place first 6 ingredients in a blender; process until smooth. Combine marinade and fish in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal. Marinate in refrigerator 2 to 4 hours, turning bag occasionally.
Prepare grill.
To prepare caper sauce, place cilantro and next 10 ingredients (cilantro through shallot) in a blender or food processor; process until smooth.
Remove fish from marinade, discard marinade. Place fish on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 3 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve with caper sauce.
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 fillet and 2 tablespoons sauce)

CALORIES 246 (35% from fat); FAT 9.6g (sat 1.5g,mono 5.5g,poly 1.6g); PROTEIN 35.4g; CHOLESTEROL 63mg; CALCIUM 63mg; SODIUM 425mg; FIBER 0.2g; IRON 0.6mg; CARBOHYDRATE 2.8g

Cooking Light, MAY 2001


This dish was one of our favorites that evening. I used turkey bacon instead of Canadian bacon, which lent a nice, smoky note, and I also added some dried ground chipotle pepper. I used dried pigeon peas but had a heck of a time getting them to soften, even after a 12-hour soaking. So I will use canned next. Or, if those are difficult to find, I think that black-eyed peas will be a good substitute. This can be made a day ahead and reheated.

Rice & Pigeon Peas

Pigeon peas, popular throughout the West Indies, are small, oval beans with a nutty flavor. Look for them in Caribbean markets, or substitute kidney beans or black-eyed peas. We've used canned pigeon peas because they're more readily available than dried.

2 cups water
1 1/2 cups uncooked long-grain parboiled rice (such as Uncle Ben's)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped Canadian bacon (about 3 ounces)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (15-ounce) can green pigeon peas, drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Green onions (optional)

Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add rice, 1 teaspoon oil, and salt; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, bacon, and garlic; cook 10 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in rice, chopped green onions, cumin, pepper, and peas; cook 8 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir in parsley. Garnish with green onions, if desired.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

CALORIES 186 (21% from fat); FAT 4.4g (sat 0.8g,mono 2.7g,poly 0.5g); PROTEIN 8.1g; CHOLESTEROL 7mg; CALCIUM 50mg; SODIUM 572mg; FIBER 3.2g; IRON 1.5mg; CARBOHYDRATE 29.2g

Cooking Light, MAY 2001


I prepared the onion and corn ahead of time and, along with the chopped tomatoes in a separate container, stored them in the refrigerator. I also roasted the poblanos a few days ahead, chopped, and stored in the fridge. Everything should be taken out about an hour before serving and tossed with the dressing.

Corn and Tomato Salad with Thyme and Roasted Poblanos

Servings: 12

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
2 large poblano peppers
6 cups fresh corn kernels -- (about 12 ears)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
12 ounces zucchini -- 1/2" dice
3 large green onions -- thinly sliced diagonally
2 large garlic clove -- minced
1 large shallot -- minced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 pints cherry tomatoes -- halved
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Roast poblanos, scrape off skin, seed, and chop into 1/2" dice. Set aside.

Cook corn in a large pot of boiling water until tender; drain and set aside, in a single layer, on a towel to absorb any extra water..

In a large saute pan heat the olive oil. Add the corn and zucchini and cook over moderately high heat until lightly browned on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to moderate and add the poblanos, scallion, garlic, and thyme. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. Stir in the tomatoes and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper, as desired.

"Food & Wine"

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Per serving: 110 Calories (kcal); 3g Total Fat; (21% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 21g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 8mg Sodium
Food Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates


I was surprised. After having to explain what plantains were to some of my guests, I didn’t expect this much enthusiasm over the recipe. Every spoonful was eaten, and I (who am famous for over-estimating quantities needed) should have prepared more. Plantains should be almost black to be ripe enough for this recipe. Reserve at least a half-cup of cooking water to mash the plantains (the lime juice and rum aren’t enough to moisten the plantains), and use more water if planning to make ahead and rewarm as the starch in the plantains tends to absorb moisture and they will dry out a bit.

Mashed Plantains with Rum

The classic Cuban version of West African fufu (mashed plantains) mixes in bits of crispy pork. Michelle Bernstein prefers a sweeter version with the tang of lime juice, which she says is "more inviting and fun."
4 very ripe plantains (almost fully black), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon dark rum
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

In a medium saucepan, combine the plantains, butter, brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. Add enough water to just cover the plantains and bring to a simmer over moderate heat. Cook until the plantains are very tender, 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the plantains to a medium bowl. Add the rum and lime juice and coarsely mash the plantains. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Source: F&W 6-06


These muffins were very good, moist, with the jalapeno adding just a little bite without a lot of heat. I made these a week ahead and froze, then reheated in the oven. The lime butter added another layer of flavor that was quite enjoyable.

Corn Muffins with Jalapeño and Lime Butter

Servings: 12

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
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1 tablespoon canola oil
3/4 cup chopped sweet onion
2 whole cloves garlic -- minced
1 cup fresh corn kernels
2 teaspoons minced jalapeno -- seeded
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 cup pureed pear baby food
1 cup lowfat buttermilk
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon honey

Preheat oven to 400

Melt 1 T canola oil in a large skillte. Add onion and garlic and cook for 2 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Add corn, jalapeno, and salt and cook for two more minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Combine flour through through chili powder in a large bowl. In another large bowl. combine pureed pears through egg whites. Add corn mixture and mix. Add this mixture to the flour mixture and stir gently until just combined.

Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Bake for 18 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool in pan for 5 minutes then remove to wire rack .

Combine butter, lime juice, and honey in snall cup. Serve with muffins.

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Per serving: 181 Calories (kcal); 6g Total Fat; (31% calories from fat); 4g Protein; 27g Carbohydrate; 21mg Cholesterol; 354mg Sodium
Food Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 11 1/2 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates

Source: Food & Wine


This was incredibly good, very refreshing after a summer dinner. I made the granité a couple of days ahead of time and the mojito a day ahead. I did have issues with forming perfect balls of the icy stuff, but gave up and let it “do its thing” after the first couple of servings…

Grapefruit Granite with Mangos and White Rum Mojito

TOTAL: 35 minutes plus 3 hours freezing

Unlike traditional granité, which is stirred frequently as it freezes so that light ice flakes form, Jacques freezes his granite in a block until it is completely firm, then softens it in the fridge until it’s slightly slushy before scooping in bowls.
The sauce for this light, tropical dessert is a riff on the mojito.

2 ½ cups fresh pink grapefruit juice (from 2 large grapefruits)
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon grenadine
½ cups mint leaves, plus 4 mint sprigs for garnish
3 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup white rum
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 ripe mangoes

1. Make the Granité: In an 8” square glass dish, stir together the grapefruit juice, honey, and grenadine. Freeze the mixture until solid, at least 3 hours.
2. Meanwhile, in food processor, combine the mint leaves through line juice and puree. Refrigerate the mojito.
3. About 30 minutes before serving, transfer the granité to the refrigerator to soften.
Cut each mango into thin slices (note: half a mango per person was too much; use ¼ large mango pp next time)
Pour the mojito into 4 shallow dessert bowls. Fan out the mango slices in the bowls and top with large scoops of the granité. Garnish with mint sprigs and serve.

Make ahead The granité can be frozen for up to 1 week.

Source: Food & Wine


These brownies are so rich and decadent-tasting, you’d never guess that they’re lowfat. Again, I stress the use of pureed, juice-packed pears in brownies and quickbreads in order to decrease the total fat content of the final product without adversely affecting texture or taste..

Coconut Rum Brownies

Recipe By: Vicci
Servings: 18

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
---------- ----------- -------------------------------
1 package Ghirardelli Chocolate Syrup Brownie Mix
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup dark rum
1/3 cup pear baby food -- or pear puree
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup Egg Beaters® 99% egg substitute
8 ounces neufchatel cheese -- softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup Egg Beaters® 99% egg substitute
1 teaspoon coconut extract

Grease the bottom of a 9" x 13" baking pan. Preheat the oven to 350F

In a bowl, mix the brownie mix, water, rum, pureed pears, canola oil, and Egg Beaters.

In a smaller bowl, using an electric mixer beat the cream cheese, sugar, Egg Beaters, and coconut extract until smooth.

Pour chocolate batter into prepared pan, smooth. Drop cream cheese mixture on the chocolate, then using a knife, swirl the coconut and chocolate mixtures together.

Bake for 48-50 minutes or until the center of the cake no longer jiggles. Using a dark pan will require about 5 minutes less. Cool completely before cutting.

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Per serving: 85 Calories (kcal); 5g Total Fat; (56% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 6g Carbohydrate; 10mg Cholesterol; 73mg Sodium
Food Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 5 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates

my cooking adventures
  Re: (A Plethora of) Summer Dinner Party Recipes by foodfiend (Many posts ago I had...)
What a great menu! The entire line up is right up my alley as far as dinner parties go.

Queso Fundido al Tequila - In the summer we quite often serve Queso Fundido and one way that is easy for a large crowd (especialy if you're not grilling the next course) is to serve it from a cast iron skillet on the barbie - with two of four buners on and set over the unlit ones. It serves nicely while it continues to be warm. I like the ingredients you used - especially for a large dinner party. Mine has mushrooms and sausage added which makes if more filling.

French West Indian Grilled Snapper with Caper Sauce - the caper sauce sounds great - will definitely try this.

Corn and Tomato Salad with Thyme and Roasted Poblanos - love the flavors in this one - the only tweek I'd try is probably grill the corn along with the poblanos.

Mashed Plantains with Rum - love plantains!! a pretty garnish for them is to drizzle some spicy black bean puree over - the contrast in colors is so pretty and adds just a kick. This is another I'm doing.

Grapefruit Granite with Mangos and White Rum Mojito - what a great dish to serve on a hot summer day...sure easy to viualize!!

Coconut Rum Brownies - sounds like a tasty combination with the granita. It surprises me the nice flavor and texture pears give to a chocolate dessert. Years ago a man (the first man to win, I think) won the Pillsbury cook off with a chocolate tart made with mashed pears, first time I'd seen the combination.

Vicci - what a wonderful and fun menu! Enough do-ahead dishes to make it do-able, but you certainly extended your self.
Retired and having fun writing cookbooks, tasting wine and sharing recipes with all my friends.
  Re: (A Plethora of) Summer Dinner Party Recipes by foodfiend (Many posts ago I had...)
A nice menu! Thanks for taking the time to postit all. I know for certain the brownies will be baked off in the near future!

  Re: Re: (A Plethora of) Summer Dinner Party Recipes by pjcooks (A nice menu! Thanks...)
Thanks for taking the time to post all of these for us, Vicci. It really is a spectacular menu, and I copied them all to MC.

Jean, thanks for your tips as well. I like to put corn on the grill, and one of these days I will have to try plantains. It's one of those things that I look at all the time, but never buy.


"Drink your tea slowly and reverently..."
  Re: Re: (A Plethora of) Summer Dinner Party Recipes by Mare749 (Thanks for taking th...)
And here's one where Vicci posted recipes....
Keep your mind wide open.
  Re: Re: (A Plethora of) Summer Dinner Party Recipes by Gourmet_Mom (And here's one where...)
Great menu--but I like the corn salad best!!
"He who sups with the devil should have a. long spoon".
  Re: Re: (A Plethora of) Summer Dinner Party Recipes by Old Bay (Great menu--but I li...)
Never in my wildest dreams could I pull off a dinner like this for 11! Very nice menu.

Those corn muffins are calling my name....
  Re: Re: (A Plethora of) Summer Dinner Party Recipes by Trixxee (Never in my wildest ...)
Just finished eating and this is making me hungry!!!
Retired and having fun writing cookbooks, tasting wine and sharing recipes with all my friends.
  Re: (A Plethora of) Summer Dinner Party Recipes by foodfiend (Many posts ago I had...)
Oh Vicci - that is an amazing menu. Every item sounds divine. I agree Jean Queso Fundido is fantastic. We love it.

Everything sounds beautiful. I can't wait to get a crowd for dinner - of course I could never do all that in here - but I could assign a dish to everyone! Thank you for posting all the recipes.
You only live once . . . but if you do it right once should be enough!
  Re: Re: (A Plethora of) Summer Dinner Party Recipes by Harborwitch (Oh Vicci - that is a...)
Whoa, I did all of this???? I was, obviously, much younger then... I have to look in my photo album to refresh my memory!

my cooking adventures

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