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Monday, March 19, 2012

Summer Party Menu

Throwing a summer party may not seem like a challenge at first, as most people assume that grilled fare is enough to keep guests satisfied. However, after your third summer soiree (in the same year) you start to get tired of the usual pork and chicken barbecue and start craving for some culinary excitement. Remember, summer food is all about being simple, fresh, and easy. That does not necessarily mean “grilled”. To help you get out of that summer party menu rut, here are some food suggestions for your next summer party:

1.)    Mushroom-Garbanzo Salad: This salad is easy to make and easy to eat. Unlike most salads made of greens, this one is made with mushrooms and chick peas; two readily available canned ingredients. This makes the salad a breeze to prepare.

All you have to do is heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and add three cloves of minced garlic. Once the garlic becomes fragrant, add in one bell pepper, diced. Once the pepper is cooked, add in the canned (remember to drain off the liquid it comes in) mushrooms and canned garbanzo beans. I prefer using pre-sliced button mushrooms to save time. Then, season with salt and pepper. You may also add any herb of your choice. I prefer adding some basil to give the warm salad a kick of freshness. Serve this it alone or with slices of toasted baguette as an appetizer.

2.)    Summer Wings: Two of the most popular flavours linked to the Season of Sun are Pineapple and Coconut. This interesting appetizer combines both flavours to create the ultimate summer finger food that is perfect for ay summer party.

To make Summer Wings simply purchase chicken wings at the grocery then dredge it in flour. Dip the dredged wings in some beaten eggs. Afterwards, dredge the wings again in a mixture of (equal parts) ready-made breading mix and desiccated coconut. Don’t worry; this will not give the wings an overly coconutty taste. Desiccated coconut has a muted coconut flavour that works well even for savoury dishes. After dredging the wings, simply fry them until they are golden brown. Let the wings cool a little then put all the wings inside a plastic container with an air-tight lid. Add your pineapple glaze (recipe will follow below), cover the container and shake like there’s no tomorrow. This will give you perfectly glazed wings that are ready to serve.

To make the pineapple glaze simply heat a small can of unsweetened pineapple juice in a sauce pan. Add three tablespoons of sugar, some sesame oil, half a teaspoon of grated ginger, and two tablespoons of soy sauce. Once the sauce thickens, make a slurry by combining two teaspoons of corn starch and enough cold water to dissolve the starch. Mix the slurry in to the boiling sauce and stir until it thickens. This glaze is then ready to use with the wings.

3.)    Shrimp Pasta: This seafood pasta is perfect for a summer party because of its fresh flavour and easy process. All you have to do is sauté a whole garlic bulb in half a cup of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter. When the garlic becomes fragrant, add one and a half pounds of peeled and de-veined shrimps, season with salt, pepper, one-fourth cup of minced parsley, and half a teaspoon of dried basil. Saute for two minutes or until the shrimp is just cooked through. Add in your pasta and heat for another thirty seconds. Serve.
4.)    Chicken Pineapple Burger: This is the perfect main dish for any summer party. All you have to do is purchase some chicken breasts that have already been marinated in Teriyaki Sauce, or any other Asian Marinade. If you can’t find chicken breasts that have already been marinated, then simply marinate the breasts with some soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, ginger, and black pepper. Grill your chicken breasts along with some pineapple slices. Then, prepare your Chicken burger by layering some lettuce, tomatoes, grilled pineapples, and grilled chicken breasts on the bottom part of the bun. Spread some mayonnaise on the top part of the bun and cover it like a regular burger. Serve ad enjoy.
5.)    Kalamansi Granita: This easy dessert is probably the most refreshing thing you could serve in a summer party. All you have to do is boil a cup of water with a third of a cup of granulated sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Then, add in half a cup of fresh Kalamansi Juice. Otherwise, combine half a cup of Kalamansi Concentrate with a cup of water. After you get your sweet Kalamansi creation, pop it in the freezer. Check on it after the first hour and then scrape the sides (with a fork) to get rid of any ice crystals that might have formed. Pop it back in the freezer. Repeat this process every thirty minutes for the next four hours. This gives you a slushy mixture that is perfect for summer. Serve in cocktail glasses.

Catch Confessions of a Partyphile (the radio show) every Wednesday evenings from 6 to 9 on 105.9 Mix FM. For comments, suggestions, and more confessions from this partyphile check out or follow the columnist on