Refreshing Summer Drinks

Basil is a nice addition to plenty of easy cocktails: add a torn leaf or two to your gin and tonic, or tap a little into the bottom of a mojito. But these drinks are a change of pace from the classic and the ordinary that feature the fresh green flavor of this herb, and are just right for summer sipping.

Honey-Basil Lemonade

Honey-Basil Lemonade Recipe

 

This simple lemonade combines fresh basil with a touch of honey.

Makes 1 Quart, Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 cup fresh juice from 10 to 12 lemons
1/2 cup honey
2 cups loosely packed basil leaves
Pinch salt
3 cups cold water
1 quart ice
Basil leaves for garnish

Directions:
Combine lemon juice, honey, basil leaves, and salt in a blender. Blend on high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a pitcher. Discard solids. Add cold water and whisk to combine. Add ice. Serve in ice-filled glasses garnished with basil leaves.

Cucumber and Basil Slush Cocktail

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(Photo Credit : Kelly Carámbula, Serious Eats, 2012)

As temperatures and humidity rise, having some frozen drinks in your arsenal becomes more and more essential. This one offers double-cooling action with loads of ice and a soothing cucumber in the mix, plus fresh lime and basil. Vodka’s an easy partner that won’t dominate the flavor—try Karlsson’s Gold, which has a slightly floral side and rich texture—but if you prefer another spirit, feel free to experiment.

Makes 2 cocktails

Ingredients:
1 kirby cucumber, sliced
2 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup basil leaves
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup vodka
1/4 cup water
3 1/2 cups ice
Garnish: cucumber slice

Directions:
Place all the ingredients in the blender. Using the ice crush setting, blend until all the ingredients are even and finely chopped, about 30 seconds.

Pour the slush into a glass. Garnish with a cucumber slice and a straw.


Italian Sausages with Bell Peppers and Polenta

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This dish  offers the classic Italian-American combination of sausage and peppers on a bed of polenta enriched with Parmesan cheese. By putting the emphasis on the peppers and onions, it makes an indulgent meal a healthy one, as well, with 34 grams of protein and just 31 grams of fat.

Serves 2

Ingredients:
½ cup polenta
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 mild pork sausages
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
2-3 Italian frying peppers, sliced, seeds discarded
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
2-3 springs fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 bunch Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 bunch fresh basil leaves, torn

Directions:
To cook the polenta,  add 4 cups of water to a 2-quart sauce pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Whisk in the polenta and let the water return to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, stirring frequently, until the polenta thickens and absorbs most of the water, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the parmesan and season with salt and pepper.
While the polenta cooks, prepare the sausage and peppers.

In a 12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon oil until hot but not smoking. Add the sausages and cook until well browned, about 5 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate. Do not wipe out the pan.

In the same pan used to cook the sausage, warm 1 tablespoon oil over medium high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the onions, season with salt, and cook until the onions begin to caramelize, about 15 minutes. Add the peppers, garlic, and rosemary, and continue cooking until the peppers start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add ¼ cup wine, if using and cook until the wine has almost completely evaporated. Stir in the tomato paste and 1½ cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook until the liquid has thickened, about 5 minutes. Slice the sausages and add them to the pan, turning once or twice until heated through, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper.

To serve, transfer the polenta to serving bowls and top with the sausage and peppers. Garnish with torn fresh basil.

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The F Word Weekly Challenge

Chicken Parmesan with Tomato Basil Sauce, Mozzarella, Spaghetti, & Broccoli Rabe.

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Gordon’s Recipe:

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All photographs and content are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

Thank you so much!

Protected by Copyscape