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Come for Cocktails!

There's still plenty of summer left to host an elegant cocktail party on the deck with these quick and simple hors d'oeuvre ideas.

When I spied the beautiful peaches this week at the farmer's market, it was hard not to think about one of my favorite summer cocktails: peach daiquiris.

These summer evenings are perfect for a cocktail party, complete with hors d’oeuvres, all made from gatherings at the La Grange Farmer’s Market.

Eggplant made the scene this week, though there were just a few—in fact two were left when I got there about 9 a.m. I thought I would fashion a bite-sized eggplant parmesan from my regular recipe that I make in a pan. I also bought some European flat bread from Lil Mad Café for my version of Santorini flat bread. The flat bread is delicately seasoned with oregano, marjoram, thyme, basil, rosemary and sage. It's delicious on its own and it made a tasty appetizer as well.

I also picked up hickory-smoked bacon from Jake the Farmer. I recently had bacon-wrapped chicken medallions rolled in brown sugar and cayenne pepper which are then skewered and grilled, so I decided to try out my own.

It took about an hour of preparation to put this party together. But in the end, we got an elegant, yet casual offering for a night with friends.

Peach Daiquiri Slush

  • 4 peaches peeled, pitted and cut into quarters
  • 1 T sugar
  • Fill blender to half with Bacardi rum
  • 2 T fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 3 c crushed ice

Place all ingredients into a blender and turn on high setting. Pour, garnish with a lime slice and enjoy. Makes about three drinks!

Mini Eggplant Parmesan

  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 egg
  • Bread crumbs for coating
  • Tomato sauce
  • Mozzarella
  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Fresh tomato, cut into small pieces
  • Shaved parmesan cheese
  1. Mix oregano and basil with the breadcrumbs in shallow dish. Whip up egg in separate bowl.
  2. Cut eggplant into circle slices starting at the top and as the eggplant gets wider, cut those slices in half to keep the same size circles.
  3. Dip eggplant circles into egg, then into breadcrumb mixture. Place on cookie sheet. Place ½ teaspoon of sauce, a bit of grated mozzarella cheese on each eggplant circle.  Bake in a 350° oven for 25 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
  4. Garnish with a piece of fresh tomato and a few pieces of shaved parmesan.

Chicken Medallions

  • Boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into kebob-size pieces
  • Jake’s hickory smoked bacon
  • Brown sugar
  • Cayenne pepper
  1. Wrap chicken pieces in bacon. Skewer. Mix brown sugar and cayenne pepper (about 1/3 c sugar, 3 T cayenne) on a flat plate or cookie sheet, large enough for rolling skewers.
  2. Roll completed skewers in brown sugar mixture. Grill till bacon is a bit charred and chicken is done.

Santorini Flat Bread

  • One package of European flat bread from Lil Mad Café
  • Olive Oil
  • Feta cheese
  • Fresh tomatoes
  • Fresh basil leaves
  1. Brush flat bread with olive oil and place on cookie sheet. Bake at 325°  till slightly browned, about 12-15 minutes.
  2. Place crumbled feta, tomato slices and fresh basil on top of the bread. Cut into quarters.

Sit back, enjoy your party! Until next week, au bon vivant!

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