Dawn Minty: Refreshing twists on summer recipes

July 3, 2012 

Happy Fourth of July! Here are a few easy last-minute recipes that will help you cool off at all your summer celebrations.

Fresh Basil Lemonade

1 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon sugar

1 cup of water

1 cup fresh lemon juice, 8 to 10 lemons, plus one for garnish

5 cups water

18 to 20 small fresh basil leaves

Combine 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar in a saucepan. Heat over medium high heat until sugar is dissolved. Stir. Let cool.

In a pitcher, muddle basil leaves with 1 tablespoon sugar until basil leaves are well bruised and fragrant.

Add simple syrup and lemon juice to the pitcher. Stir in 5 cups cold water and chill until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, remove basil leaves. Pour mixture into ice-filled drinking glasses.

Garnish each glass with a fresh basil leaf and lemon slice. Makes four to six servings. Add fresh blueberries or sliced strawberries to drinking glasses for an extra special touch.

Variation for Strawberry Basil Lemonade: Hull and remove stems from 1 pint fresh strawberries, leaving a few strawberries whole with stems to use to garnish glasses. Puree the hulled strawberries in a blender with ½ cup water. Add the puree to the lemonade and stir well to combine.

Alcoholic version: Pour 1 ounce melon vodka and 1 cup Fresh Basil Lemonade into an ice-filled cocktail glass. Stir.

Orange sherbet pie

1 package Oreo cookies

3 tablespoons butter

1 quart orange sherbet

1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed

Place one package of Oreo cookies in a food processor. Add softened butter and blend until course. Press cookie mixture into the bottom of a pie pan. Place in freezer for 15 minutes to set. Leave sherbet and whipped topping one counter to soften while cookie mixture is in the freezer. Spoon sherbet into pie crust and freeze for 30 minutes. Spread whipped topping on top of sherbet and freeze at least one hour before serving. Serves six to eight.

Summer Strawberry Pie Trifle

12 ounces shortbread cookies, crumbled

4 cups (approximate) Blue Bell Summer Strawberry Pie Ice Cream

¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted

¼ cup toasted shredded coconut

½ cup strawberry or chocolate dessert topping

frozen whipped topping, thawed

fresh strawberries

Place half of the cookies in the bottom of a 2 ½-quart straight-sided serving bowl. Scoop half of the ice cream evenly over the cookies. Sprinkle ice cream with half of the almonds and coconut. Drizzle with half of the topping. Repeat layers. Serve immediately with strawberries.

-- Courtesy Blue Bell Ice Cream

Dawn Minty can be reached at dminty@ledger-enquirer.com

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