I’m so not a cook. Unlike my husband, I get no joy from poring over cookbooks, searching for spices, flipping steaks or stirring pots. But I do get a little glory now and then due to these foolproof, crowd-pleasing recipes I’ve learned to perfect. They’re guaranteed to wow summertime guests with very little effort.
So if, like me, you’re not a culinary queen, try making one or both of these warm-weather winners.
Yes, you need to think ahead to conjure up this fruity cocktail, but it’s worth the two-to-three-week prep time, especially if you’re hosting a party. This drink is all about its color, so make sure you serve it in clear glasses to highlight the libation’s pretty hue.
Serves about 10-12 (one cocktail each)
Blueberries (at least six pints)
Vodka (750ml bottle). No need to spring for top-shelf stuff — any decent brand will do. We usually use Skyy.
1. Place the blueberries in a large pitcher, then pour the vodka over them (you may need to split between two pitchers if you don’t have one that’s big enough).
2. Cover with plastic wrap and store in a cool place (but don’t put them in the fridge) for two to three weeks. The longer the vodka sits, the more intense the flavor will be. Give the berries a stir with a wooden spoon every couple of days, breaking some of the berries in the process to release their juice.
3. On the day that you plan to serve, strain the vodka and toss the berries. Using a funnel, pour the vodka into a couple of pretty bottles, carafes, mason jars or pitchers.
4. To serve, pour over ice and garnish with a couple of fresh blueberries and a sprig of mint. Voilà! You’ve got a refreshing summertime cocktail that will catch everyone’s eye.
Chilled Sesame Broccoli
People LOVE this dish, and there’s no measuring or cooking required (seriously!). After you make it once, you’ll know whether to add more or less of any ingredient, depending upon your taste.
Serves 8-10 people
1 Medium Head of Broccoli
Toasted sesame oil
Lemon juice (about one lemon’s worth)
Red pepper flakes
1. Cut clean, raw broccoli into bite-size florets and place in a bowl.
2. Add the sesame oil and lemon juice to the bowl. Sprinkle liberally with salt, black pepper and a bit of red pepper. Stir again and stick in the fridge for about 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
3. Place on a platter or in a pretty bowl, garnished with a couple of lemon slices, and serve.
TIP: Broccoli looks particularly tasty on a black platter.