For anyone planning an outdoor party this Independence Day, the record-breaking temperatures hitting the US might pose a real challenge.
Try a few of these ideas to cool down your party:
For porches or outdoor rooms with a ceiling, add a ceiling fan. Not only will it help keep you cool, the wind created from the fan will discourage mosquitoes from landing. And it dilutes the carbon dioxide that we expel which attracts them.
Beat the heat with a mist cooling system – these systems spray a fine mist which evaporates so quickly, you’ll feel completely dry and yet many degrees cooler!
Create cool and delicious dishes like classic gazpacho, quinoa black bean salad, cold chicken and berries.
Guacamole is one of my favorite dishes and it’s a must have for outdoor entertaining. Here’s a great recipe that’s so simple to make and packs a punch! (http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/perfect_guacamole/)
All you really need for guacamole is ripe avocados and salt. After that, the next most important ingredient is lime juice (or lemon if you don’t have lime). Then come the cilantro, chiles, onion, and tomato.
- 2 ripe avocados
- 1/2 red onion, minced (about 1/2 cup)
- 1-2 serrano chiles, stems and seeds removed, minced
- 2 tablespoons cilantro (leaves and tender stems), finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon of fresh lime or lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- A dash of freshly grated black pepper
- 1/2 ripe tomato, seeds and pulp removed, chopped
Garnish with red radishes or jicama. Serve with tortilla chips.
1 Cut avocados in half. Remove seed. Scoop out avacado from the peel, put in a mixing bowl.
2 Using a fork, roughly mash the avocado. (Don’t overdo it! The guacamole should be a little chunky.) Add the chopped onion, cilantro, lime or lemon, salt and pepper and mash some more. Chili peppers vary individually in their hotness. So, start with a half of one chili pepper and add to the guacamole to your desired degree of hotness. Be careful handling the peppers; wash your hands thoroughly after handling and do not touch your eyes or the area near your eyes with your hands for several hours.
Chilling tomatoes hurts their flavor, so don’t chop the tomatoes or add to the guacamole until ready to serve.
Remember that much of this is done to taste because of the variability in the fresh ingredients. Start with this recipe and adjust to your taste.
3 Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole to prevent oxidation from the air reaching it. Refrigerate until ready.
4 Just before serving, chop the tomato, add to the guacamole and mix.
For a very quick guacamole just take a 1/4 cup of salsa and mix it in with your mashed avocados.
The simplest version of guacamole is just mashed avocados with salt. Don’t let the lack of availability of other ingredients stop you from making guacamole.
To extend a limited supply of avocados, add either sour cream or cottage cheese to your guacamole dip. Purists may be horrified, but so what? It tastes great. In fact, guacamole with a little cottage cheese added to it is my favorite.
Yield: Serves 2-4.