Thursday, August 28, 2008

Labor Day Party without all the well, Labor.

Real Simple has some great tips on how to celebrate Labor Day with family and friends without feeling like you're the one laboring.
Main Dish

Rely on an entree that requires minimal fuss and can be served straight off the grill, like sausages. Tastier than hot dogs, easier than burgers, they are an ideal main dish.

Side Dishes

Stick with salads that can be made in advance. No need to reheat.


Offer spoonfuls of sweet, tart, or spicy flavors, or a combination. They can transform a simple main dish into something intriguing.


A pitcher of beer can buy you much-needed time if dinner is running late. Or it can offer an excuse to linger outside after dessert.


These bite-size treats are easier to make than their elegant appearance suggests. If there's no time to bake, sandwich the berry cream filling between two store-bought cookies.

Raspberry Powder Puffs

4 egg whites
1 cup sugar 

1 teaspoon grated orange zest 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup raspberry preserves
Confectioners' sugar (for dusting)

Heat oven to 350° F. Using an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on high until stiff peaks form, about 1 1/2 minutes. With the mixer running, slowly add the granulated sugar. Continue beating until glossy, about 1 minute. Add the orange zest and vanilla. In a small bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Gently fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture until no white streaks remain. Spoon the batter into a large resealable plastic bag. Using scissors, cut the end off a corner of the bag to create a circle about 1/2 inch in diameter. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, pipe the batter into 24 1 1/2-inch rounds (about the size of silver dollars). Bake until puffed and golden, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the sour cream and preserves. Spread some of the raspberry mixture onto the bottom of half the cookies. Form sandwiches with the remaining cookies. Sprinkle with the confectioners' sugar just before serving.

Tip: If there's no time to bake, sandwich the berry-cream filling between store-bought cookies. 

Yield: Makes 24 puffs