Spectacular Appetizers, Summer-Style

Few people do fresh, colorful food as well as Kathy Gunst, a prolific Maine-based cookbook author and radio personality. Gunst has partnered with Jonathan King and Jim Stott to co-author several books in the Stonewall Kitchen series, including Stonewall Kitchen Harvest, Stonewall Kitchen Breakfast and Stonewall Kitchen Favorites. (Jam-lovers are likely familiar with SK jams, condiments, and other prepared foods.) The trio's newest book, Stonewall Kitchen Appetizers (Chronicle Books), was released earlier this year.

Gunst agreed to share three of her favorite summer starters with us here. All appear in the book.

Take fresh basil leaves (preferably from your garden or the farmers market) and use the leaf as the plate. You mix some fresh, preferably local goat cheese with salt and pepper and scoop a little into a big, unbruised basil leaf. Top with chopped fresh summer garden tomatoes (red and yellow) and then top with toasted pine nuts. SO refreshing and summery and easy. Just what you want for summer entertaining.

I also love the Eggplant Caviar. Eggplant is roasted whole until it collapses and then mixed with garlic, lemon and olive oil and yogurt. The eggplant "caviar" is served with a tomato-mint salad. It can all be made ahead and is quick and easy and so summery and Middle Eastern and healthy!

Her last suggestion is one that especially caught my eye: elegant, individually-portioned macaroni and cheese:

We take classic mac and cheese and scoop it into muffin pans so they pop out as individual servings. Kids and adults just love them.

Accompanied by a cold glass of wine, a cocktail, or even an iced tea, each of these ideas—alone or in combination—will jumpstart your summer parties in style.


What is your go-to summer appetizer? Chime in below!

Like this? Read these!
- Best of iVillage: Party Appetizers
- The Great Grilling Guide
- Perfect Summer Food and Wine Pairings
- 11 Summer Foods for Weight Loss

Cheryl Sternman Rule is a widely-published food writer and the voice behind the blog 5 Second Rule. Read all of Cheryl's iVillage posts here.

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