When you live in a resort town with lots of summer activities, it’s nice to take time out to relax with friends. The garden has been planted (see Backyard Habitat), the furniture arranged (see Backyard Retreat) and now it’s time to have a party! Or not… I’d rather have friends over a few at a time but here are some of our go to tips for easy and enjoyable summer gatherings.
- Keep it simple. Prepare a few dishes, buy a few pre-made items. That is the Ina Garten rule. For example, make a seafood risotto and an antipasto platter and for dessert, serve store bought cookies and sorbet.
- Cocktails outdoors (weather permitting) and dinner indoors makes life easier. One of our favorite summer drinks is a lemon spritzer… one third Prosecco, limoncello and lemon San Pelligrino over ice. Delicious!
- A cantaloupe wedge wrapped in prosciutto with a squeeze of lime juice and a big bowl of steamed clams in garlic, basil butter sauce can be a first course or a meal. Serve with crusty bread to soak up the aromatic sauce.
- A cold soup is a refreshing meal on a hot summer day. Gazpacho served chilled along with a pound or two of steamed spiced shrimp is a perfect light supper. Or chilled vichyssoise garnished with spring onions.
- This is the time to take advantage of in season produce. Roast chicken on the grill and serve with corn on the cob and a platter of sliced tomatoes dressed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and fresh basil from the garden.
- Grill tip: make up a foil packet of new potatoes, green beans and sliced onions, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Put it on the top rack of your grill and cook for 20-25minutes, Serve with rib eye steaks.
- Support your local shops and order a cheese plate to serve as the dessert course along with fresh peaches or plums from a nearby farmers market.
- Clean up as you go… best tip of all. Lots of preparing ahead and staying on top of the dishes makes for a relaxing end to an enjoyable evening.
For our favorite summer recipes, check out our blog, Blueberries & Tootsie Rolls. From Farmers Market Gazpacho to Basil Butter Clams to Miss Ione’s Crab Cakes we have summer covered. Enjoy!