Celebrating Our Independence: July 4th Entertaining

Since I was a child, I have loved celebrating July 4th with the parades, the food, and fireworks!  I continue to enjoy this festive holiday with entertaining my friends and family.  The colors are so bold and playful and you can use them as accents in flower arrangements, as shown in the above picture, liens, food, serving dishes, and decorations such as lanterns and candles.

For the younger crowd you can prepare turkey and regular sliders, turkey or chicken sausages, and tater tots. (see previous posts for recipes).  For the more sophisticated pallet hot and spicy grilled shrimp on top of a bed of arugula is a favorite.  (see below for recipe).  Use sides that have vibrant colors such as watermelon, raspberry and blueberry fruit salad, mozzarella and tomato salad with basil and olive oil, and corn and red pepper medley.  A fun dessert for both kids and adults is cookie ice cream sandwiches, such as chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies sandwiched with vanilla or coffee ice cream!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hot & Spicy Grilled Shrimp

Ingredients: Makes 6

  • 18 jumbo shrimp peeled or a bag of 60-75 pre-cooked and peeled shrimp
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce

Oil and prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium.  Toss shrimp with olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Turn shrimp once and cook for 7 to 8 minutes of until cooked through.  Stir together butter, hot sauce and parsley in a large bowl.  Add shrimp and toss until coated.  Serve over a bed of arugula.

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A Wine Tasting & Tapas Themed Bridal Shower

A wine tasting and tapas bridal shower or bachelorette party is a perfect theme for a bride who enjoys wine and doesn’t like to be the center of attention.  This is a fun party that allows guests to mix and mingle and learn a little about wine.  You can host this party in your home, at a wine cellar, a winery, or if the weather is nice outside in someone’s backyard or patio.

You should plan to serve two whites and two reds and depending on the bride’s preferences one to two sparkling wine(s) or champagne(s), 3 bottles of each (12-18 bottles total).   You should offer one sweet and one dry white wine such as a Riesling and a Chardonnay and a lighter and full-bodied red wine such as a Pinot Noir and Cabernet.

For this bridal shower we had several kinds of cheese to pair with the wines such as Cheddar, Gouda, Brie, Gruyère, and Goat and an assortment of crackers.  We also served fruit, which is a great compliment to wine, such as green and red grapes and pears (rub lemon over top to help prevent them turning brown).  Other tapas included tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella ball skewers, heart-shaped smoked salmon squares, spanakopita, humus and veggies, crab dip, and of course a little something sweet with macaroons from Pistacia Vera.

Don’t forget to personalize the wine and tapas tasting with such elements as wine glasses (shown below) with the bride and groom’s wedding date for guests to use and take home as a gift.   Make wine cards for each wine that include the type of wine, vineyard, the year, and a brief description.  Use accents such as flowers, liens, candles, and paper lanterns to make the party pop with the bride’s wedding colors!  Left over wine and wine glasses are perfect gifts to give to the bride.

Photography, flower arrangements, design, and catering by Sarah Sofia Productions.

Father’s Day

Father’s Day is a great excuse to jump-start your summer fun!  Why not host a cookout in his honor after a day of golf or miniature golf for all ages.  My father loves the color blue but you can use any colors to decorate your tablescape.  To get the whimsical look in the above flower arrangement gather blue and green hydrangeas, a round glass vase and wiffle balls.  To tailor it to a golf theme add golf balls and tees.

A New Family Favorite: Turkey Burgers

Serves 6

As seen in Celebrations Magazine 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup minced mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 6 slices provolone cheese
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 6 hamburger buns, toasted
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 6 slices of tomatoes

Spray grill with nonstick Pam Olive Oil. Pre-heat grill to medium-high heat (350 to 400 degrees).  In a large bowl, combine turkey, cheese, mushrooms, parsley, salt and red pepper.  Divide mixture into 6 equal portions shape into 1-inch-thick patties.  Grill until golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes per side.  Placed cheese on burgers; grill with grill cover lid until cheese is melted.  In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise and hot sauce.  Spread mayonnaise mixture on tops and bottoms of the buns.  Place burgers on the bottom half of each bun, top with baby spinach and tomato, and cover with top of bun.  Serve immediately with sweet potato wedges topped with sesame seeds.