Sweet Tea & Sides

A summertime holiday calls for family, friends and backyard picnics.

We started our recipe list with the sweet stuff, and tossed in a few sides to boost your traditional burger-on-the-grill.

Whether you host the party or are asked to "bring a side" to someone else's, these recipes will get cheers. Choose a favorite, and get the party started!


Peach Sweet Tea

6 cups water
3 peach tea bags
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water

Fill your tea kettle or saucepan with the 6 cups water. Bring to a boil. Turn off heat and place the tea bags in to steep for one hour or more.

While the tea is steeping, make simple syrup by bringing granulated sugar and 1 cup water to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until sugar has completely dissolved and reduced by half. Note: Be careful not to walk away, because this happens rather quickly!

Remove the peach tea bags and pour tea into the pitcher of your choice. Add simple syrup to tea and refrigerate until nice and cold.

Bonus tip: Make a little extra tea to freeze in ice cube trays. Place one sprig of mint in each cube, fill with tea and freeze. As the frozen tea cubes melt they will add flavor to your tea, instead of diluting it like ice cubes do.

Recipe from You Never Cook Alone: Stirring Memories, Feeding Souls & Building Legacies, by Elise Johnson.


Seasonal Fruit Skewers with Guava Cream

1 each cantaloupe, honeydew, small seedless watermelon and pineapple

1 pint strawberries

1 6-ounce container vanilla yogurt

1 tablespoon honey

3 tablespoons guava preserves

1 package small wooden skewers

Cut each melon into square pieces and scoop balls with melon baller. Cut pineapple into squares. Skewer fruit, alternating by square piece, melon ball, strawberry. Two to three pieces of fruit will fit on each skewer.

Mix yogurt, honey and guava preserves together in a small bowl. Arrange fruit skewers on a platter and serve the guava cream on the side.

Note: Guava preserves can be found at Hispanic food stores. Strawberry or raspberry preserves can be used as a substitute.

Recipe from We Cook For You catering company, Chef Alvin Cotto.


Blueberry Peach Crumb Cake

1/4 cup softened butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups fresh blueberries
2 peaches, peeled and sliced (optional)

In a mixer, mix together butter, brown sugar and egg until smooth. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add to the mixture; stir just until combined. Add buttermilk and vanilla extract.

Stir until well incorporated. Carefully fold in blueberries. Carefully spread mixture in a greased 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Insert peach slices every couple of inches into batter.


1/4 cup cold salted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine ingredients and sprinkle on top of batter. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Recipe from You Never Cook Alone: Stirring Memories, Feeding Souls & Building Legacies, by Elise Johnson.


Jalapeno Deviled Eggs

6 eggs

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons finely chopped yellow onion

2 teaspoons finely chopped jalapeños (seeded and deveined if less heat is desired)

2 teaspoons finely chopped cilantro (leaves and tender stems)

1 teaspoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (leaves and tender stems)

1 teaspoon yellow mustard

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Smoked Spanish paprika (optional, for garnish)

Curly or flat-leaf parsley (for garnish)

Place the eggs in a medium pan and cover with cold water. Set the pan over high heat and bring to a rolling boil. As soon as the water comes to a boil, cover the pan and turn off the heat. Let the eggs cook for 12 minutes. Plunge the eggs into iced water to stop the cooking process.

Once the eggs are chilled, peel off the shells. Halve each egg lengthwise; scoop out the yolk into a small bowl, and set the egg whites on a plate lined with paper towels.

Using a fork, mash the egg yolks into a paste; add the mayonnaise, onions, jalapeños, cilantro, parsley, mustard, salt and pepper and stir together well.

If not serving immediately, cover the egg whites and the filling separately with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 hours.

Using a spoon or a pastry bag, fill the egg white cavities with the egg yolk mixture, about 1 tablespoon. Chill them, loosely covered, until ready to serve but no longer than 2 hours. When ready to serve, sprinkle the eggs with smoked paprika and garnish with parsley. Serves 6.

Recipe from The New Southern-Latino Table: Recipes That Bring Together the Bold and Beloved Flavors of Latin America and the American South, by Sandra A. Gutierrez.


Light Sweet Potato Salad

2 sweet potatoes, about 1 pound, 7 ounces
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
2 green onions
1 bell pepper
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil or corn oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon chipotle hot sauce (optional)

Peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Put in medium pot with water and salt, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are fork-tender but still hold their shape, about 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop bell pepper into 1/4-inch pieces and chop green onions into 1/4-inch rounds.

Make dressing by mixing remaining ingredients (except hot sauce) in a small jar or bowl.
Drain potatoes; gently toss with dressing while still hot. Toss potatoes, bell peppers and green onions. Taste and add salt if desired. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled, topped with hot sauce if desired. Serves 4.

Recipe from Wildly Affordable Organic: Eat Fabulous Food, Get Healthy, and Save the Planet — All on $5 a Day or Less by Linda Watson.


Tortellini Salad

1 pound frozen cheese tortellini
2 cups cubed pepperoni, chopped
1 14-ounce can small kalamata or black olives, drained
2 jars artichokes in oil or water, drained
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1 cup cubed mozzarella cheese
handful of minced parsley
handful of chopped basil
12 ounces Italian dressing
zest of 1 lemon

Cook pasta for 5 minutes or until the tortellini pop up to the top of the water. Combine all ingredients and let sit in refrigerator at least two hours; overnight is best.

Recipe from You Never Cook Alone: Stirring Memories, Feeding Souls & Building Legacies, by Elise Johnson.

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