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July 24, 2014
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Planning an Outdoor Dinner Party

Hosting outdoor parties during the summer months can be successful and enjoyable by sticking to some basic tenents: make ahead, make it simple, make it flavorful, make it colorful.


Whisk citrus juices, oil, honey, garlic 2 ½ teaspoons salt, cayenne, oregano and cumin together in a large nonreactive (not metal) bowl. Add mangoes, red pepper, onions and toss well. Adjust seasonings.

Add mint to salsa just before serving and toss well again. You can let salsa rest at room temperature or in the refrigerator before serving.

Great when served with grilled meats.

Watermelon Ice

Makes about 4 ½ cups

My ice cream maker* only accommodates about 3 to 4 cups of liquid. When making this ice for a crowd, I double the recipe but make one batch at a time.

1 cup water

¾ cup sugar

4 ½ pounds watermelon, pared, seeded

Watermelon spears

Combine water and sugar in small saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves; continue to cook, without stirring, to boiling. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered 5 minutes; refrigerate covered until cold, about 1 hour.

Puree seeded watermelon in a food processor or blender; strain (you should have 3 cups of juice); discard fibers. (I sometimes add back some of the pulp to make a richer ice.) Stir puree into cold syrup.

Freeze in ice cream maker following manufacturer’s instructions. Scoop into airtight container and freeze until ready to use. This ice will freeze very solid.

To serve, take out of freezer about 20 minutes before serving. Scrape with a heavy spoon or ice cream scoop into bowls. Garnish with watermelon spears.

*If you don’t have an ice cream maker, pour mixture into a flat 2-quart serving dish and put into freezer (make sure dish is not tilted). After about 1/2 hour, take a fork and scrape it through the ice mixture. Do this several more times until ice is frozen.