Friday, August 31, 2012

Happy Hour Friday

Well looks like Labor Day is yet again upon us, I guess it is true that it is  regarded as the "unofficial end of summer".  So as such, most festivities tend to focus on being outside and enjoying the warm weather that we have left.  Unless of course you live in some sort tropical paradise where the weather is always fabulous. This as the summer is winding down and it your can be your last chance to take advantage of the outdoors with your family and friends with some cool party ideas.   

Now many of us may not be lucky enough to live on the beach, but you can still create an amazing atmosphere for yourself and friends.  The menu can be simple for your Labor Day fare such as burgers, ribs, potato salad, and coleslaw.  

Or you can have a simple cocktail party under the stars, instead of big burgers, go for sliders, heck they are the rage now.  Simple bowls of nuts, assorted olives, and a platter with some cheese and crackers can be simple and easy to put together.  This way when the gang shows up you can spend your time with them and not fussing in the kitchen.

I have a couple of recipes below, also very simple for any cocktail party, or as appetizers.  No I did not forget the signature cocktails, included are a couple of those for your weekend pleasure.  Whatever you decide to do this weekend, I hope you have fun doing it.  Enjoy!!

Baked Brie with Fruit Sauce

1 cup fresh blueberries/or 1 cup crushed pineapple/or 1 cup canned whole cranberries
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp shallots, chopped finely
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger (or 1/2 tsp. ground ginger)
1 stick cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1-8oz brie round

  1. Combine all ingredients, except cheese, in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and cook 2 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick. Cover and chill fruit mixture until ready to use.  
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3.  Place brie round on baking sheet. With a sharp knife, cut through rind around the top edge of the brie, cut into the top layer, all the way around, but don't remove it. Bake 15 minutes, or until cheese is soft and melted. 
  4. Carefully move hot brie to a serving plate. With a sharp knife, carefully cut under the top of the brie  and remove. Top brie with fruit mixture, serve with crackers.

Greek Appetizer Skewers

1 block feta cheese, cut into 1/2-inch squares
30  cherry tomatoes
1/2 cucumber, sliced & then slice slices in half, you will need 30
1/4 red onion, cut into strips about 1 inch x 1/2-inch
red wine vinegar
olive oil
salt and pepper

  1. Thread red onion onto toothpick with purple showing on top, then tomato, then cucumber. Use feta cube as a base for the appetizer- skewer the feta on the bottom; place on your platter.  
  2. Just before serving, whisk together about 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar, 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil, salt & pepper to taste. Drizzle over skewers 

Teriyaki Chicken Wings

1 lb chicken wings, separated at joint
Coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp rice vinegar

  1. Heat broiler with rack 4 inches from heat. Arrange wings on an aluminum-foil-lined rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Broil, turning once, until lightly browned and tender, about 20 minutes. These wings can also be cooked on the grill. 
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, honey, and vinegar. Reserve 2 tablespoons for dipping. 
  3. Remove wings from broiler; brush with remaining sauce. Return to broiler, turning and brushing with sauce twice, until browned and glazed, 2 to 4 minutes. Brush with pan juices before serving.
** This recipe can be doubled tripled depending on the crowd eating them!!**

Long Island Iced Tea
(well I am from Long Island)

1/2 shot vodka
1/2 shot white rum
1/2 shot triple sec
1/2 shot gin
3 part sweet & sour mix
fill with cola

Fill a tall glass with 3/4 full with ice. Add vodka, rum, triple sec, gin and sweet and sour into a cocktail shaker. Shake and pour into glass, add cola.

Hurricane Cocktail

1 oz  light rum 
1 oz  dark rum 
2 oz pineapple Juice 
2 oz orange Juice 
Splash of Grenadine 
Float with dark rum 
Cherry & pineapple spear for  garnish (opt)

Fill a hurricane glass with ice.  Pour the remaining ingredients into the cocktail shaker with ice, shake well.
Strain into a hurricane glass. Float dark rum if using, then garnish with a cherry and an pineapple spear.  

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