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finger food


Summer Entertaining: Five Crowd-Pleaser Watermelon Recipes

Watermelon recipes for summer entertaining

Watermelon recipes for summer entertaining
Photos: National Watermelon Promotion Board except for number 4: The Party Dress magazine

I was happy to share my summer entertaining tips for the 2012 awareness campaign of the National Watermelon Promotion Board in Canada. Since the refreshing watermelons are available all summer long, I feel that watermelon is the fruit of summer.

If you are looking for more ways to serve watermelon to your guests this summer, you will find many more recipes at the National Watermelon Promotion Board Website. I compiled my top 5.

  • My number 1. Another way to serve the Spiked Melon Balls would be on a lollipop.  Serve the lollipops speared into a wheatgrass bed or onto a watermelon.
  • My number 2. If you host a brunch on a hot summer day, replace the classic by the more refreshing Watermelon Mimosa. To make watermelon juice, you simply need to blend cubed watermelon and strain it through a sieve. Try it with a light Champagne.
  • My number 3.  Finish a grown up dinner with this lovely Watermelon Lavender Granita that contains a hint of vodka. Use watermelon or citrus flavoured vodka to enhance the flavour.
  • My number 4. I found my fourth choice on The Party Dress magazine. They got me with the stylish food presentation of their watermelon appetizer with feta and basil. The recipe is a mix between a caprese salad and a Mediterranean Watermelon Salad.

My last recipe idea is a twist on the tacos.

Jamaican Rock Lobster Tacos

  • My number 5.  For a summer picnic with family and friends, impress the crowd with some delicious Jamaican Rock Lobster Tacos wrapped in parchment paper and tied with twine. I would probably prepare my tacos with seasonal clawed lobsters since they are a local product for me.

Writing this post made me hungry. I will pour myself a glass of my watermelon and mint spa water while I cook dinner.

Note: I wrote this post on my free will; it is a not part of the program that I did for the National Watermelon Promotion Board in Canada. 


Tips to Make Your Own Ice Cream Sandwiches

ice cream sandwiches

To get the wow factor, I suggest you set up an ice cream sandwich bar where your guests can select their own cookie and ice cream combination. This means that you have several options when you wish to serve ice cream sandwiches at a party:

  • Make everything from scratch – it is wonderful but who has the time
  • Bake the cookies and buy premium ice cream  or Buy the cookies and make your own ice cream- it is manageable for many
  • Buy the cookies and premium ice cream – the no-fuss way

I say to do whatever fits your skills and your schedule. Make sure to serve the ice cream sandwiches in either ordinary waxed paper or go the extra miles and get professional grade food paper. You can make your cookies square, round or any almost-square shapes. For a kid birthday, use a butterfly cookie cutter or a castle cookie cutter.

I attached photos of professional made ice cream sandwiches to know what to aim for. Paul of Sweet Paul shows us that waffle cookies adds a twist. I like the look but I prefer the taste of real cookies. The New-York bakery Milk and Cookies sells 6 flavors and plus the flavor of the week.

Coolhaus Concept

Two Los Angeles girls in their twenties start selling ice creams at festivals on their converted postal truck. Instead of paper, Freya Estreller and Natasha Case imagined the Coolhaus ice sandwiches in edible wrapper. Made of rice paper, the wrapper can be branded with soy ink. This is a cool idea for events. They twitter their truck location.

You can order the sandwiches straight off the menu or mix the flavors to your liking. This is one thing that you could do if you are having a big bash. Assembling an ice cream sandwich only takes a few seconds.

1. Waffle and strawberry ice cream sandwich by Sweet Paul
2. Coolhaus $3 USD without edible wrapper, $3.50 with edible wrapper- more photos on Yelp
3. Milk and Cookies $4.95 USD


Save Time with the Frozen Gourmet Food at Gastronomia

gastronomia frozen gourmet French food :: croissant and gratin dauphinois

I was invited for a tasting at Gastronomia that are located here in Montreal. Since 1998, they sell to upscale hotels, restaurants, bars and caterers across the United States and Canada.. What’s best is that they now operate a warehouse store open to the public.

Most of their products are imported from France. This is high end stuff that will save you a lot of time in the kitchen. The frozen aisles of the grocery stores are filled with finger food and pastry based appetizers. What I am talking about tastes way way better. If you stock a few packages, you could entertain at last minute without stress any day of the week.

From the Freezer to Oven

One side dish that I adore is the Gratin Dauphinois available in individual portions. They make a fancy potato side dish. Making your own gratin dauphinois is time consuming. Not anymore! Simply reheat the number you need on the oven for 30 minutes and voilà! Gratin Dauphinois goes well with any meat.

Making myself a French breakfast was easy with the freezer to oven butter mini-croissants or chocolatine. Both pastries were tasty and exhibit the right texture. I like the fact that I did not have to step out of the house to get them. Plus the house smells great afterward. All their pastries are made with real butter. For me, butter pastry is a must.

Small Desserts

gastronomia dessert treats

While I was there, I tasted plenty of dessert. I like some better than others. The mini-verrines are a must buy. They even carry the small plastic spoons that you see on my picture. The pistachio are awesome. I also enjoyed the exotic fruits with its passion fruit mousse, exotic fruit coulis and flambéed meringue.

I have been told that the mirlitons, which are small buttery cakes, pair well with sweeter Champagne and ice cider. The 8 varieties come on a golden tray. Serve those on a dessert table or at a tea party. I enjoyed the most the rhubarb mirliton and the hazelnut and raspberry mirliton. It is just for your knowledge since you cannot select the variety.

Their macarons were delicious. It is a good idea to keep a few boxes of the mini-macarons on your freezer for when you need a hostess gift.

Boiron Fruit Purees And Coulis

Chefs and mixologists used those around the world. All the Boiron’s fruit purees and coulis are 100% natural with no added preservatives. Some flavors have a little amount of sugar to produce the right texture. The squeeze bottle is a charm to work with. Boiron makes sure that you get the right texture and color for each fruit. I will share my tricks as we make cocktail recipes over the upcoming months.

gastronomia warehouse boutique open to the public

Still More to Taste

Gastronomia also carries trendy appetizers, frozen vegetables, mushrooms and herbs. You take the quantity of herbs that you need and put it back on the freezer. They are more tasteful that the dried herbs. I received more samples of stuffed appetizers that I may review once I tasted them. We will see.

Based on what I tasted so far, I will be going back to their warehouse boutique. It is open Monday to Friday from 9 am to 6 pm. See for yourself if you like it.

+ Gastronomiaget directions (514) 281-6400
333 Richmond Street, Montreal, QC, Canada, H3J 1T9

ENTERTAINING FOOD + DRINK FOOD presentation HOLIDAY entertaining

Start making plans for Halloween

Halloween Party Picks by Martha Stewart

For the past two weeks, I am seeing wonderful Halloween decorations on the Web. I started gathering amazing stuff for several Halloween boards that I cannot wait to show you.

My initial thoughts were to start posting Halloween tips around the second week of September. I got this principle that you do not talk about Halloween before the back to school season is over. It is only me or do you already making plans for Halloween right now?

Crafting decorations take time

If you want to send printed invitations for a Halloween party, it is not too early to start now. You will be able to get your hands on the best Halloween decorations. And if you make your own decorations to complete the look, it is best to not wait until the last minute. You spot an exceptional party in the details. As we all know details take time.

Halloween Party Picks by Martha Stewart

While you wait for my first inspiration board, I am leaving you with a nice craft project on Martha Stewart‘s Web site. These decorated Halloween party picks are not just for a children party. Halloween is a whimsical celebration. So go ahead and fell free to use them for adult parties.

On Martha Stewart’s Web site, you get the written instructions and an average TV segment video. You will learn how to make a Black Cat, a Bat, a green Witch, a Skull and a Jack-o’-Lantern party picks.

Do you plan to host a Halloween party? Is it an adult only, a kid only or a friends and family party?

Craft project: Halloween party picks by Martha Stewart