Tips for hosting spring gatherings

Published 4:10 am Tuesday, May 17, 2005

By Staff
Spring is here again! It's a wonderful time of year to entertain by celebrating – weddings, showers and graduations. Entertaining with a tea or coffee is perfect. It's a very gracious way to visit with old friends and to add new ones. A small but friendly party for six to eight or even 20 friends and or family members is really no trouble at all.
For a tea or coffee, the beverage should be the first consideration, the food, second. The menu should be planned so that the food is good but does not interfere with the enjoyment of the beverage. Also, remember that these occasions are for light refreshments that should not affect the next meal.
We have the perfect booklet for you called "Small Tea or Coffee" - Circular HE-314. This booklet has all the helpful information you need – from sending the invitations, selecting recipes to table settings. Stop by our local Alabama Cooperative Extension System - Escambia County Office at 175 Four-H Drive, Suite D in Brewton or call (251) 867-7760 and ask that this free booklet be mailed to you. Following are some delicious sample recipes from the booklet:
Cheese Dill Dip
Serve with assorted vegetables
1 3-ounce package cream cheese
1/4 teaspoon dill seed
1 tablespoon lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel 1 cup sour cream
Combine cream cheese, lemon juice and peel, dill seed, and salt. Beat ;until somewhat fluffy. Blend in sour cream. Chill thoroughly. Makes -1/4 cups
Marinated Carrot Sticks
6 to 8 carrots 1 small clove garlic, crushed
1/4 cup vinegar.
3/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 cup salad oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
Minced fresh parsley
Peel and cut carrots into thin 3-inch sticks. Place carrots in shallow dish. Make marinade by mixing vinegar, oil, garlic, and salts. Pour marinade over carrots. Cover dish tightly and refrigerate overnight. When ready to serve, drain marinade, arrange carrot sticks on serving dish, and sprinkle with parsley.
Sweet-n-Sour Meatballs
Purchase Meatballs or make your own Meatballs:
1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal 1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk 1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 pound ground beef 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon onion powder 1 small can water chestnuts
Soak oatmeal in milk. Squeeze out excess liquid. Add oatmeal to ground beef. Add seasonings. Drain water chestnuts and mince fine. Add to ground beef and mix thoroughly. Shape into small balls, (bite size). Brown in 350 degrees F. oven for 20 minutes; do not turn.
Sweet-n-Sour Sauce
1 13-1/2-ounce can pineapple chunks
2 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoon corn starch 2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup vinegar 1 cup coarsely chopped green pepper
1/2 cup brown sugar 1 tablespoon chopped pimento (optional)
Drain pineapple chunks; save syrup. Measure pineapple syrup and add enough water to make one cup. Blend together pineapple liquid and cornstarch until smooth. Stir in next four ingredients. Cook until thickened and clear. Add pineapple, green pepper, and pimento and mix well. Cover and simmer over low heat 15 minutes. Add meatballs and serve warm with wooden picks. Makes 24 meatballs and three cups of sauce.

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