Monday, January 31, 2011

A Refreshing Dinner Party!

Friday evening I hosted a dinner party for Mr. Lawyer's family. Six people total and no one got sick and we didn't run out of food! Everything was delicious and I'm psyched to host another gathering.
Appetizers: Cabot Cheddar, Swiss, and Yancy's Fancy Bacon Gouda with Onion Crackers (on my new cheese slate!). Kalamata and Red Pepper stuffed Green Olives. Artisan Bread with Pino's Press Tuscan Dipping Oil (on my new bread paddle!).
Wine: Wagner's Reserve Blush (yeah NY wines!) and a Zinfandel from Kuleto Estate, CA.
Main Course: Tortellini with Italian Sausage, Mushrooms and Fennel  (My home-run dish!)
Dessert: Refreshing Lemon Basil Ice!

Refreshing Lemon Basil Ice is one of my summer staples. It's nice and light, not heavy and filling which is perfect for a scorching summer day or after a big meal. Basil is also my new obsession which makes this recipe even better. Oh wait, top it off: it's super simple and requires only a few ingredients!

Refreshing Lemon Basil Ice
(Better Homes and Gardens)

3 cups water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup slivered fresh basil
2 tsp. finely shredded lemon peel
2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1. In medium saucepan bring water and sugar to boiling, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat; cool slightly (about 20 minutes). Add basil and let stand 30 minutes more. Pour through a fine mesh sieve; discard basil. Stir lemon peel and juice into syrup. Pour into a shallow baking dish. Cover; freeze 2 hours (edges should be firm and center almost firm).
2. Transfer mixture, half at a time, to blender. Cover; blend until slushy, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Spoon back into dish, spreading evenly. Cover; freeze 2 hours more or until firm.
3. To serve, with a small ice cream scoop scrape across surface of mixture. Place scoops in small dishes. Top with lemon slices, fresh mint leaves and/or edible flowers.

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