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Tropics, Palm & Ocean
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La Belle Cuisine


Sip drinks and graze near the pool

The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, June 27, 2002
Marcelle Bienvenu

“I consider myself a beach bum. I love nothing better than to sit on the beach
under an umbrella, dig my toes into the cool sand and read a trashy novel.
But when I can't get to the beach, I'm a true swimming pool enthusiast.
I've never been the proud owner of a pool, but my sister has had a backyard
pool for more than 30 years and she has always told me to consider her pool
MY pool.
And I have done so without hesitation. In fact, I go so often during the summer that most of the children and grandchildren know my special corner of the pool.
I set up my lounge chair close enough to dangle in the cool water while I do crossword puzzles or read. About every 30 minutes, I slip into the water and do
my five or six laps to cool down.
But what I love most is dining poolside. My sister and her husband have very
simple tastes -- ice cold watermelon, hot dogs, boiled crawfish or fried catfish.
I certainly don't turn my nose up at any of that, but sometimes I come up with
more festive fare.
For instance, I like to offer two or three cooling drinks, like Bushwhackers, Singapore Slings or Bahama Mamas to get everyone in the spirit. And rather
than serve a full meal, I like an assortment of appetizers. I think of it as
"grazing" around a table of finger food. I find that food that can be served at
room temperature or chilled works best during the summer. A large glass bowl
of fresh fruit, including melon balls, fresh pineapple chunks, strawberries and blueberries, can be garnished with fresh mint and drizzled with rum.
If you must have sweets, pick up assorted cookies or small pastries at your
favorite bakery. Prepare as much as possible in advance so you can enjoy
the party. Just remember, if you're serving during the day, don't put out
foods that will spoil quickly.”


My Friend Stephen's Bushwhacker

Serves 2

3 to 4 scoops vanilla ice cream
1 1/2 jiggers dark rum
1 jigger light rum
1/2 jigger Crème de Cocoa
1/2 jigger Kahlua
Dash of 151 rum (optional)

Put the ice cream and liquors in a blender and pulse to blend. Add the
ice up to an inch or two within the top of the blender and blend until
smooth. If the mixture freezes, add a few drops of water. Pour into
an old-fashioned glass and top with a dash of the 151 rum.


Singapore Sling

Makes 1 drink

1 1/2 ounces gin
1/3 ounce simple syrup
Club soda
1/2 ounce cherry brandy
Juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
Slice of orange
Maraschino cherry

Fill a 12-ounce glass with crushed ice (not cubes). Pour the gin and
simple syrup over the ice and mix well. Add the club soda to almost
fill the glass. Float the cherry brandy on top and garnish with the
orange and cherry.


Bahama Mama

Makes 1 drink

1 1/2 ounces white rum
1 1/2 ounces rum liqueur
1 ounce pineapple juice
1 ounce orange juice
Splash of grenadine

Combine all the ingredients in a tall glass filled with crushed (not
cubed) ice and stir.

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Seafood Spread and Roquefort
Cream Cheese Loaf

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