Monday, May 17, 2010

Homemade Strawberry Lemonade + Guest Dinner

From the moment I found out my friend Chanelle would be coming over for dinner, I knew I would have to make something delicious, but simple.

My past efforts to make dinner for more than two people have usually gone awry; I'm not so good with timing, and I have a bad habit of trying new recipes or tweaking recipes. I decided to make a very classic, very American summer kind of meal, so I went with my tried-and-true Kansas City BBQ chicken and Charm City corn, with another side of sugar snap peas.

I still wanted to make something special for the occasion, however, so I decided to try my hand at making hand-squeezed lemonade.

First, I sliced off the peel of a lemon and set a pot of 2 cups of water and 1 cup of sugar on the stovetop to boil.

Then I sliced some strawberries.

Once the sugar had dissolved in the water, I added 2 cups of fresh squeezed lemon juice (this will take about 3-4 lemons) and some of the peel. Let that simmer for a while.

Meanwhile, I pureed the strawberries in my blender. Omigod, I cannot wait to have a food processor.

After numerous pumps of the puree button, I ended up with a thick strawberry goo.

After I let the lemon sugar water mix cool, I strained the mixture into a blender.

I then added the strawberry puree, which will just sit on top if you don't stir. I almost liked the way that looked.

But I stirred anyway. Before serving, I added 2 cups of lemon Perrier and chopped mint. If I could do anything differently, I would freeze the mint in ice cubes to avoid having the peel mint off my teeth.

The lemonade, however, was delicious. Before I added the Perrier, it tasted syrupy, but the Perrier really leveled things out. For the amount of effort, I thought homemade lemonade was pretty easy; I can't wait to try different flavor combinations.

In other news, I broke down and purchased a grill pan and I LOVE IT. I'm all about the grill marks, but also, I felt like my chicken retained more of its moisture. I might be imagining it, but it felt that way.

I'm a recent convert to the glories of sugar snap peas, so I had no idea how to prepare them. I like them raw, with veggie dip, but that didn't seem appropriate for a side dish. After several quick Google searches, I decided to just saute the peas in olive oil with minced garlic cloves and salt and pepper. I sauteed just long enough to turn the peas a really beautiful, vivid green; the end result was delicious.

I finished off the meal with a plate full of The Fresh Market's cheddar rolls, which are decadent and bad for you, therefore delicious.

Chanelle had many compliments for the meal, and I have to say, it was the most success I've experienced as a dinner for guests. Now I'm hoping to make a delicious al fresco meal to serve on my slowly improving balcony; any takers?

1 comment:

Ashleigh said...

I volunteer for a meal on the balcony! Miss you!