Simple tips for successful entertaining

By News Canada


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Entertaining season is in full swing, which means more time for get-togethers, picnics and fun outside. Whether your outdoor gatherings are small and casual or formal, large-scale events, here are some tricks to make your celebrations a big hit:

  • Plan it out. Prepare dishes ahead of time, so event day set-up is quick and easy. Consider asking guests to bring their own signature dishes to increase the options and decrease your workload.
  • Put a new spin on entertaining. Make recipes that are full of wholesome ingredients, yet simple to create with the help of the ultimate multitasking kitchen tool: a high performance blender. The new Vitamix 7500, with all of its high tech features, allows you to quickly blend for a flavourful gazpacho, clean the machine in 30 seconds and then whip up a gourmet berry sorbet. Vitamix machines take the place of numerous kitchen appliances; they finely chop, grind, and blend whole-food ingredients and much more—all in one container.
  • Stretch the attendee list. Have more than enough food on-hand. This will prevent the worry of running out of food and drinks mid-gathering. If you make too much, be prepared to send guests home with delicious party favours by packing leftovers in decorative canning jars or restaurant-style takeout containers.
  • Make it fun and festive. Utilize bold, complementing colour schemes for tableware and decorations, such as rich yellows mixed with chic blue and purple hues. Illuminate the area with candles and hanging lights for the perfect atmosphere during evening gatherings. Mix citronella candles with tea lights and bring in large, decorative fans to keep unwelcome pests at bay.
  • Add some shelter. Consider placing your outdoor dining area under a large umbrella, pergola or shady tree to keep your guests out of direct sunlight - and prepare for any unexpected showers.

Awaken your guests' taste buds with these simple and fast recipes that you can easily create in your high performance blender:

Gazpacho

Prep time: 5 minutes
Processing: 5 seconds
Yield: 8 cups (1.9 L)

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (720 ml) tomato juice, fresh or canned
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) red wine vinegar
  • 1 pound (454 g) ripe tomatoes (four to five large), quartered
  • 2 1/2 cups (332 g) cucumber, peeled, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
  • 2 ounces (56 g) chopped onion (about 1 small)
  • 8 ounces (227 g) sweet green bell pepper, seeded, quartered (about 1 medium)
  • Dash hot sauce
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients into the Vitamix* container in the order listed and secure lid.
  2. Select Variable 1.
  3. Switch machine to Start and slowly increase speed to Variable 2.
  4. Blend for 5 seconds.
  5. Season soup and serve immediately.

Nutritional information
Per 1 cup (240 ml) serving: Calories: 105, Total Fat: 7 g, Saturated Fat: 1 g, Protein: 2 g, Fibre: 2 g, Carbohydrates: 9 g, Sodium: 262 mg, Cholesterol: 0 mg


Berry Sorbet with Mixed Spices

Prep time: 20 minutes
Processing: 45-50 seconds
Yield: 4-1/4 cups (1.0 L)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 ounce (14 g) fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) cold water
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (150 g) frozen unsweetened strawberries
  • 1 cup (140 g) frozen unsweetened blueberries
  • 1 cup (140 g) frozen unsweetened blackberries
  • 1 cup (140 g) frozen unsweetened red raspberries
  • 2 cups (300 g) frozen pitted Bing cherries
  • 1/2 cup (13 g) fresh mint leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Partially thaw frozen berries and cherries for 20 minutes; set aside.
  2. Place ginger, water, and sugar into the Vitamix* container and secure lid.
  3. Select Variable 1.
  4. Switch machine to Start and slowly increase speed to Variable 8. Blend for 20 seconds, until ginger is finely chopped. Stop machine and remove lid. Add berries and cherries, mint, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla to the container with ginger mixture and secure lid.
  5. Select Variable 1.
  6. Switch machine to Start and slowly increase speed to Variable 10, using the tamper to press the ingredients into the blades. In about 25 to 30 seconds, the sound of the motor will change and four mounds should form.
  7. Stop machine. Do not over-mix, or melting will occur. Serve immediately.

Nutritional information
Per 1/2 cup (120 ml) serving: Calories: 107, Total Fat: 1 g, Saturated Fat: 0 g, Protein: 1 g, Fibre: 3 g, Carbohydrates: 26 g, Sodium: 2 mg, Cholesterol: 0 mg

*or your standard blender. Variables, or settings, subject to interpretation based on the model.


www.newscanada.com

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