Style Files: Al fresco entertaining and dining tips from Carol Mackey

Carol Mackey


Fairy Berries
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Zesty Orange Mojito

1/2 orange, cut into 3 wedges
1/2 lime, cut into 3 wedges
2 teaspoons sugar
1 or 2 sprigs fresh mint
2 1/2 ounces white rum
1 cup ice

Put the oranges, limes, sugar, and mint in a large rocks glass. Muddle the leaves and citrus by pressing them with a pestle or a wooden spoon until juicy and fragrant. Add the rum and ice. Cover with a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously, or stir, until combined and chilled, about 30 seconds. Serve. This recipe can be multiplied to make a large batch.

Baby eggplant filled with goat cheese, served on arugula and topped with tomato Vinaigrette

3 baby eggplant
1 log (3 o.z.) goat cheese
1/2 oz. cream cheese
1 tsp. oregano

Wash eggplant, holding eggplant upright slice off end of eggplant then slice into 4 or 5 slices about ¼ inch thick.  Brush eggplant with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in 400 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes. Combine goat cheese and cream cheese add oregano.  Roll filling into oval ball and place at the end of the cooked eggplant, roll up and place on arugula leaves, top with sundried tomato vinaigrette.  Makes about 15 pieces.

Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette:

1 clove of garlic
1 shallot
1 Tbs drained and minced oil-packed sun dried tomatoes
1/2 Tbs Dijon
1 Tbs chopped fresh basil
1 1/4 Tbs balsamic vinegar
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1/3 cup olive oil
1 Tbs chopped fresh parsley

Combine garlic, shallot, Dijon, sundried tomatoes and balsamic vinegar to the bowl of a food processor.  Process and then drizzle in oil add basil and parsley at the end.

Mini Tuna Tacos
Tortillas –  cut out in small rounds and sauted lightly in canola oil
1 lb Ahi tuna – absolutely fresh, dark red, high quality “sushi grade”

1 Tbs chopped fresh ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 Tbs soy sauce
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tbs canola or grapeseed oil
2 Tbs toasted sesame oil
pinch black pepper—several turns from the peppermill works best
2 Tbs  minced chives

diced avocado
about 1 Tbs lime juice
salt to taste

Cut the tuna steak into small cubes (¼” or smaller) and coat with the marinade in bowl.  Allow to marinate in the refrigerator until ready for assembly – 2-3 hours is best, add chives.  Spoon into tortilla, top with diced avocado mixture and secure with mini clothes pin clip.

Watermelon Cups

16  1-inch cubes seedless watermelon, chilled
2 oz. queso fresco cheese, crumbled
1 Tbs  finely chopped parsley
2 tsp  finely chopped shallots

Using a small melon baller or a 1/4 teaspoon measuring spoon, scoop out a small well in each watermelon cube, keeping the walls of the cube intact. In a small bowl, mash together cheese, parsley and shallots; season with pepper.  Stuff the wells of the watermelon cubes with the cheese mixture.  Makes about 16.

Low Country Boil

1/2 pound kielbasa (per person)
1/2 pound raw shrimp deveined and in shell (per person)
3 small new potatoes (per person)
1 ear of corn (per person)
dash cayenne
4-6 garlic cloves sliced
3 bay leaves
2 tsp per quart of water Old Bay seasoning
black pepper
Tabasco pepper sauce
2 small onions (per person)
1 carrot cut into fourths (per person)
1 to 2 crabs (per person)

Boil water in a very large steam kettle on stove or on an outdoor cooker.  Season water with your choice of mentioned flavorings along with a little lemon juice.  Add potatoes, carrots, kielbasa and onions.  Bring back to a boil and boil until almost tender.  Add corn-on-the cob and crabs and boil for 5 minutes longer.  Finally, add shrimp and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes more, or until shrimp are just cooked.  Serve with butter, cocktail sauce and remoulade.


1 cup mayonnaise
4 Tbs chili sauce (can use ketchup)
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp horseradish
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
2 Tbs capers
1 Tbs chopped Italian flat leaf parsley

Mix together above ingredients.

Summer Berry Shortcakes

2 Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp  cornstarch
2 Tbs water
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries, divided
1/2 tsp  grated lemon peel
2 individual round pound cakes
2 cups fresh blueberries

In a small saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Stir in water. Add 1 cup strawberries; mash mixture.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened.  Remove from the heat; stir in lemon peel.  Transfer to a small bowl; cover and refrigerate until chilled. Cut sponge cakes in half widthwise; trim each to fit in the bottom of four wide-mouth half-pint canning jars. Combine blueberries and remaining strawberries; spoon over cakes.  Top with sauce.

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