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Video: Throw an easy and elegant backyard bash

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    >>> just begun but it does go by so fast. you'll probably want to spend as much time as possible enjoying your outdoor space.

    >> if you plan on doing a lot of backyard entertaining, elaine griffin, contributing design editor for "better homes & gardens" has just what you need.

    >> what do we need?

    >> this summer, you need color. you need a pop of color. like this great patio deck set from kohl's. a little brightness.

    >> affordable?

    >> yes, it's 180 bucks for the whole set.

    >> okay. nice.

    >> and then also you'll need tunes.

    >> oh, i'm into this.

    >> this is the schooner two wireless outdoor system. works with every sort of electronics. you can leave it out all summer long.

    >> you are kidding.

    >> all weather and everything?

    >> all weather.

    >> plug your ipod in or tv.

    >> it works with everything. and then you'll need some extra seating.

    >> right.

    >> for those guests.

    >> these cubes up here. they're waterproof. it's extra seating, put your feet up. we don't want bugs.

    >> we don't want bugs.

    >> i like when you sing.

    >> so we have -- this is a thermacel mosquito repellent lantern.

    >> each of this is a little --

    >> zapper?

    >> zapper. it's lit by a butane cylinder inside. what's really hot this summer?

    >> besides you, elaine ?

    >> the solar votive.

    >> oh.

    >> from target. isn't this great?

    >> solar lighting for the first time and it works so well. it really does.

    >> leave these out for eight hours. they burn for eight hours. lather, rinse, repeat.

    >> how much is this?

    >> no, it's $130.

    >> i'm going to buy that.

    >> let me get that for you for your birthday.

    >> excellent.

    >> okay, wait. elaine , give it to me.

    >> it's on its way. it's on its way. so for our cocktails, we have seen these. it's our watermelon. it's pureed watermelon with mint, ginger ale , rum, of course, a little lime juice. and then we're serving --

    >> i'm in.

    >> we're serving stuff that you can make ahead. so you can nosh while the chef is on the grill. this is vegetable pie by our cover girl trisha yearwood .

    >> oh, i like her.

    >> you're going to love her vegetable pie even more.

    >> she lost weight on this?

    >> is there cheese in here?

    >> mayo, too. but i won't tell if you won't tell. so the secret is if you want appetizer, side servings, cut your pie into 12. and then we're going to counteract the mayo with healthy chip and dip. take root veg tabld like radishes, jicama. we're using that --

    >> jicama!

    >> what's this, french onion dip?

    >> caramelized onion dip.

    >> isn't it delish?

    >> i don't know. haven't tried it yet.

    >> we're getting there. then for our easy, breezy table.

    >> hoda, too much.

    >> it's napkins as our runner. you want to raid your linen closet and just think napkins layered down the center of the table. and we're bundling everything together so it's easy.

    >> you are the best. we've got run.

TODAY recipes
updated 6/27/2013 10:48:21 AM ET 2013-06-27T14:48:21

Recipe: Fresh vegetable chips

  • For chips:
  • 12 oz. large red radishes, trimmed (1 bunch)
  • 1 small jicama, peeled
  • 1 large daikon, peeled
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 1⁄4 tsp. salt
  • 1⁄4 tsp. sugar
  • 1⁄4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 4 tsp. finely shredded lime peel
  • 1 recipe Caramelized Onion Dip
  • For dip:
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped (2 cups)
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1⁄2 cups light sour cream
  • 2⁄3 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1⁄4 tsp. ground black pepper

For chips:

1. Slice radishes, jicama, and daikon about 1/4 inch thick. Halve large slices of jicama. Transfer vegetables to platter.

2. In a small bowl, combine smoked paprika, salt, sugar, pepper, and lime peel.

3. To serve, scatter paprika mixture over vegetables.

For onion dip:

1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, sugar, and 1/2 tsp. of salt; toss. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook and stir onions until golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat; cool. Stir in garlic.

2. In a medium bowl combine the cooled onion mixture, sour cream, mayonnaise, remaining 1/2 tsp. salt, and pepper. Cover; chill 1 hour to blend flavors.

3. Transfer to a serving bowl; stir.

Serving Size

Makes 12 servings

Recipe: Trisha Yearwood's vegetable pies

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup peeled and chopped sweet onion, such as Vidalia
  • 1 large zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 large yellow squash, thinly sliced
  • 1⁄2 tsp. salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 to 1 1⁄2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (4 to 6 oz.)
  • 1 to 1 1⁄2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (4 to 6 oz.)
  • 2 large tomatoes, peeled and cut into 1⁄4-inch slices
  • 2 9-inch deep-dish pie shells, prebaked as directed
  • 1 8-oz. can sliced water chestnuts, drained

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.

2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add garlic and sauté for 2 minutes; don't let it brown. Add onion, zucchini, yellow squash, and 1/4 tsp. each of the salt and pepper. Cook until squash is tender, about 15 minutes. Divide the mixture in half.

3. Mix the mayonnaise and cheeses and set aside. Layer the sliced tomatoes in the bottom of the baked piecrusts. Sprinkle the tomatoes with the remaining salt and pepper. Layer the squash mixture on top of the tomatoes, then layer the water chestnuts. Top each pie with half of the mayonnaise and cheese mixture. Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes. Allow the dish to stand for 15 minutes before cutting into wedges.

Serving Size

Makes 12 servings

Recipe: Watermelon-mint coolers

  • 3 1⁄4 lbs. seedless watermelon, chopped (5 cups)
  • 1⁄4 cup packed fresh mint leaves
  • 1⁄2 cup sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup water
  • 1⁄2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 3⁄4 tsp. aromatic bitters
  • 4 to 5 cups ginger ale, chilled

1. In a blender container, place watermelon and puree until smooth. In a small heatproof bowl, use a wooden spoon to mash mint leaves and 1/4 cup of the sugar; add 1/4 cup of the water. Microwave on high until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer mint leaves to blender, leaving sugar in bowl. Blend until mint is chopped.

2. To bowl of sugar mixture, add remaining 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water. Microwave until sugar dissolves into a syrup, 1 to 2 minutes. Cover and chill.

3. To serve, strain watermelon mixture into an iced-filled pitcher or jar; stir in syrup, lime juice, and bitters. Divide watermelon mixture among ice-filled glasses; top with ginger ale. Garnish with mint sprigs. Makes 8 servings.

Make ahead: Cover and chill watermelon mixture up to 8 hours.

Serving Size

Serves 5.

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