As the end of summer approaches more speedily than anyone would wish, everyone wants to throw that last-hurrah barbecue or cocktail party. Whether you are having your girls over for drinks and summer treats, attending a kegger with the boys, or impressing your boyfriend’s parents, these summer appetizers are delicious and easy to make. Finish them off with the suggested drink and kiss summer goodbye in style.
2-3 medium avocadoes (ripe and soft)
½ small red onion, finely diced
1-2 tsp chopped cilantro
1-2 serrano chilies
1 tomato, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper (if desired)
Juice of 1 lime
Peel and mash the avocadoes. This recipe works the best with very ripe avocadoes. For best success I leave them out an extra day or two so they are even a bit overripe, but if you are in a rush, just find the softest ones you can. Mash the avocadoes using a fork or fork and knife if necessary. Add the remaining ingredients, mixing after each addition. This recipe is meant to cater towards personal taste. I enjoy spice in my food, so I always add the larger quantity of cilantro and chilies and include the jalapeno. People who enjoy blander food can add the smaller quantity and skip the jalapeno.
Suggested Cocktail: Gin and Tonic with lime–the lime really sets off the lime in the guacamole.
For the Non-Drinker: Half seltzer, Half Sprite (or other lemon-lime drink of choice)
8oz. cream cheese, softened
½ cup chopped onion
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp butter
1 can tiny shrimp
Salt and pepper
This recipe is incredibly simple. Start with the softened cream cheese in a medium bowl and add the other items in the order that they are listed, mixing after each addition. When you are finished adding and mixing, place on a small platter and mold the shrimp butter into a dome shape. Then surround with your choice of crackers. I like to buy an assortment, but otherwise I suggest something salty and buttery.
Suggested Cocktail: Vodka Cranberry or a Cosmopolitan (something sweet to compliment the salt in the crackers.)
For the Non-Drinkers: Cranberry and Seltzer
2 large, firm tomatoes
2 large, fresh mozzarella balls
Several basil leaves
Salt and Pepper
Slice tomatoes in large, thin slices (NOT diced). Thinly slice mozzarella. Wash basil and pull of leaves. Use a large platter. Drizzle platter with olive oil and balsamic vinegar (not too much!). Now is your chance to be creative. You can arrange the mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil any way you wish as long as they are well-mixed. The idea is to be able to taste all three things at once. I usually place them in rows, slightly overlapping each other, tomatoes first, then mozzarella, then basil. When you are finished, drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top, and add salt and pepper to taste.
Suggested Cocktail: Red or White Wine, for a European feel.
For the Non-Drinker: Sparkling Water–try San Pellegrino.
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
12 oz. cottage cheese
1 pkg. Taco seasoning
½ cup chopped lettuce
2 medium firm tomatoes, chopped
½ cup onion chopped
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 bag taco chips
Mix cream cheese and cottage cheese in a medium-sized bowl with a fork until well-blended. Add taco seasoning and mix again. Use a fork to press this mixture on a large, circular platter until it is about ½ inch thick in a circular shape. Layer in order lettuce, onion, tomato, and cheddar cheese on top of the cream cheese mixture. Surround the dip with taco chips.
*Don’t be afraid to buy the generic brand of cream cheese and cottage cheese. The dip is meant to emphasize the taste of the taco seasoning, the cheeses are mainly there for texture.
Suggested Cocktail: A light beer (Corona light or Heineken light). The taco dip has a strong flavor. A lighter-tasting, cold beer compliments it well.
For the Non-Drinker: Iced Tea
** These recipes are more nutritious and lower in calories.