“It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” (not so original, but an oldie-goldie)

To borrow an old line from the Jimmy Buffet song, “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere,” so pour something tall and strong. In this case, it’s the Cranberry Lime Refresher and it’s easy to make.

Hospitality starts on your back porch. Add some veggies, dip, and some salted nuts. Then say “hey!”

Cranberry Lime Refresher


  • Ice
  • 2 ounces vodka, or to taste
  • 1 ounce cranberry juice, or to taste
  • Rosé wine
  • Slice of fresh lime, for garnish


Fill a serving glass with ice. Add vodka and cranberry juice and stir. Fill with rosé wine. Garnish with lime slice and serve.

Yield: 1

Recipe by Karen Covey, author of The Coastal Cookbook. Photo by Cassandra Birocco (copyright 2013). More of Karen’s summer sips are featured in the summer issue of Celebrate Home Magazine. (Download it for free.)

Did You See That Red Zebra?

…A Red Zebra tomato that is. I spotted them at the farmer’s market and just had to have some. What is so special about them? They are gorgeous! But more than that…they are good for stuffing because their insides have very little pulp and are nearly hollow. It is easy to scoop out what little pulp there is and stuff with your favorite fillers.

Speaking of favorite tomato fillers, here’s my recipe for Spinach Stuffed Tomatoes. These make a great summer accompaniment to grilled chicken, fish or steak. You can make them ahead and bake later in the day. You can make the spinach stuffing two days in advance but don’t stuff them. Do that when you are ready to bake them.

Spinach Stuffed Tomatoes, Zebra Style

  • 4 Red Zebra Tomatoes
  • Sugar, about 2 teaspoons
  • 8 cups fresh spinach, washed
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or fresh herbs of your liking
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons of additional butter, melted

Wash and hull tomatoes by cutting off top of tomato and scooping out the inside. Sprinkle each tomato with about 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Set aside

Steam spinach in about 1 cup water until tender but not mushy or overcooked.

Drain spinach and while the spinach is hot, stir in cream cheese, butter, scallions, salt and pepper and herbs. Mix well with a fork.

Stuff each tomato until full. Mix Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs with melted butter. Sprinle a few tablespoons on top of each spinach mixture.

Bake in 350⁰ for about 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Not Your Mama’s Margarita

Photo © Cassandra Birocco

Cool summer sips are perfect for relaxing — whether it’s herbal iced tea, freshly-squeezed lemonade or something more potent.

Mix up some Jalapeño Margaritas and invite some friends over. Add some chips, salsa and sour cream to munch on and you have yourself a G.T. (Get Together).

Chilled Jalapeño Margarita


  • Kosher salt, for rim
  • 1/4 jalapeño, seeded and roughly chopped, or to taste
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges (reserve 1 wedge or slice for garnish)
  • Ice, for serving
  • 3 ounces sour mix, available in grocery stores
  • 2 ounces tequila, or to taste


  • Chill margarita glass.
  • Pour some salt out onto a flat plate.
  • Rub 1 lime wedge around rim of glass. Dip rim in salt and set aside.
  • Place jalapeño and 2 lime wedges (or 1/2 lime) in a cocktail shaker. Muddle until slightly mashed. Add ice, sour mix and tequila. Cover and shake vigorously. Strain into chilled glass, garnish with lime wedge or slice and serve cold.

Yield: 1

Recipe by Karen Covey. Photo by Cassandra Bircocco. Recipe featured in summer issue of Celebrate Home Magazine.

Weekend Watermelon Cooler

low res

Photo © Cassandra Birocco

The weekend’s almost here and watermelon is a plenty. There’s nothing like a cool summer drink to welcome friends. Here’s a new one by Karen Covey, author of The Coastal Table, just released this summer. Karen teams up with photographer Cassandra Birocco to give recipes for home cooks who yearn for New England flavors all year round.

Serve this with salted nuts and relax on the porch, deck, or by the water. Most of all, serve it with a smile.

Watermelon Cooler


  • 1 tablespoon simple syrup
  • 1 cup diced seedless watermelon
  • 2 ounces white tequila, or to taste
  • Juice from 1/2 lime
  • Fresh watermelon wedge, for garnish


Make simple syrup. Place 1/4 cup sugar in a saucepan along with 1/4 cup water and bring to a boil. Stir until sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.

When cooled, add 1 tablespoon simple syrup to a cocktail shaker (Reserve extra in a well-sealed bottle in the refrigerator for later use).

In a blender, purée watermelon until smooth. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer, pressing gently to extract as much juice as possible. Discard pulp. Add watermelon juice to cocktail.

More of Karen’s drink recipes can be found in the summer issue of Celebrate Home Magazine. Download all issues for free here.

She’s a Peach

Having fruit for dessert is a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth. When paired with this sweet mascarpone-yogurt topping, this dessert just melts in your mouth. You won’t even realize that this is actually a virtuous dessert at less than 200 calories per serving. Chef Emily Doerman created this dessert with summer in mind. For more of her light, summer recipes, see the summer issue of Celebrate Home Magazine. (Download it for free here.)


  • 3-1/2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp vanilla vodka
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
  • 4 peaches, soft but not overripe
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil


  • Heat grill on high heat.
  • Mix together mascarpone, yogurt, vodka, lemon juice, and sugar. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  • Cut peaches in half lengthwise and remove pits. Lightly coat the inside half of the peach with canola oil. This is to prevent the peaches from sticking to the grill.
  • Reduce heat on grill to medium. Place peaches on grill with the flat side down. Let peaches cook 5 minutes, until you see grills marks on the peaches.
  • Remove peaches from grill. Serve 2 halves, each topped with 1 tablespoon mascarpone mixture and a sprinkle of hazelnuts on top.

Yield: 4 servings

Photo by Cindy Dyer.

All Veggies, All Summer

Summer is time for the garden’s bounty, so why not put out a platter and enjoy fresh vegetables for dinner? Have them alone or with some grilled meat or fish.

Here I used a variety of fresh vegetables, some I lightly seared in olive oil and seasoned simply with salt and fresh pepper. I added a few deli items such as stuffed Peppadews with artichokes, marinated beans, pickled mushrooms and olives. Lay it all out on leaf lettuce and endive. Add some fresh mozzarella if you like. Pass around some vinaigrette dressing and everyone enjoys a fresh salad.

Fresh vegetables included:

  • Yellow squash
  • Yellow peppers (use any variety)
  • Asparagus, lightly steamed then immersed in cold ice water
  • Tomatoes and basil
  • Portobello mushrooms
  • Garden cukes

Summer Table: Seaside Supper

So what if you are landlocked and can’t get to the ocean too easily. Get the look of the sea by setting a summer table with all the elements of the ocean. Find one inspiration piece to drive your design. Here we used a driftwood candle holder from Home Goods. Other elements:

  • White tablecloth from Home Goods
  • Basketweave Charger from Pier 1 Imports
  • Primagera dinner plate, made in Portugal from Home Goods
  • Fish net and shells from Michaels
  • Hand-poured graduated candle from Decorware purchased from Home Goods
  • Striped glasses (Home Goods)
  • Napkins are handmade

See Summer Table: Sunshine Yellow for last week’s table idea.

These summer table ideas are featured in this issue of Celebrate Home Magazine. Download it for free. Photo by Cindy Dyer.

Summer Table — Sunshine Yellow

The staples of summer—sunshine, gardens, birds, the seashore—can be the inspiration for your tables. Whether eating indoors or out, let summer’s bounty grace your tabletops to welcome your family or guests.

Digress from the typical matching set of dishes and a centerpiece. Find one inspiration piece to drive your scheme – a plate, napkin, candle, flower, plant, seashell, and go from there. Be bold when it comes to mixing patterns and contrasting colors. Yellow is a happy color like the sunshine, use a lot of it. 

Look to the outdoors and what you can borrow.  Fresh herbs, flowers, ferns and even tree branches can add green to your table’s palette. Cut or buy a bouquet of summer flowers – sunflowers, zenias, snapdragons, gerberas, daisies – and cut their stems down to put in low clay or glass pots for the table. Accent the flower pots with fresh mint.

Throw some whimsy out there and see what happens. Set a table (indoors or out) that says “We’re glad you came!”

This tablescape was featured in Celebrate Home Magazine, summer issue.

Elements used: Reversible picnic quilt (Williams-Sonoma); hemstitched white napkins (Pottery Barn); wine glasses (Ikea); fiddlehead flatware (Pottery Barn); metal flower napkin rings (Pier 1 Imports); blue plates by Gibson Dinnerware (Garden Ridge Pottery)

Photo by Cindy Dyer.