Summertime Soirée: Recipes for Easy Entertaining Outside
Photos by David Uhrin
One of the best perks of summer is the opportunity to enjoy a meal outdoors. Whether on the patio or by the water, we love packing a cooler, firing up the grill and pouring a few chilled sips as we converse with friends. What we don’t love, however, is spending hours in the kitchen, especially when there’s summer fun to be had. We’ve gathered a menu of recipes to keep in mind when hosting your next summer shindig. Simple to prepare, enjoyable to eat and popping with fresh summer bounty, these dishes are sure to delight in the great outdoors.
Yes way, Rosé from a can is in fact phenomenal, especially if it’s from The
Williamsburg Winery. This dry rosé bursts from the can with bright fruit notes
reminiscent of strawberry, cherry and tangerine. Perfect for the beach, patio or
poolside, this is our rosé all day and all summer long. WilliamsburgWinery.com
White Gazpacho with Green Grapes and a Twist
Recipe provided by Betsy DiJulio, author at The Blooming Platter, TheBloomingPlatter.com
Soup, you say? On a summer day? Oh yes, you may! This white (although technically light green) gazpacho is naturally creamy, cool as a cucumber and looks quite fetching garnished with a grape and served in chilled tasting glasses.
2 cups bread torn into bite-sized pieces
2 cups whole or slivered blanched, skinless almonds
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 large European seedless cucumber, peeled or unpeeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
1/4 cup fennel fronds and tender stems
2 large cloves garlic, halved (use roasted garlic if you prefer less pungency)
1/4 cup dry sherry
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Garnish: finely chopped fennel fronds and green grapes
Place bread and almonds in a large bowl.
Scald milk in a saucepan on top of the stove, or heat for two minutes in the microwave and pour immediately over bread and almonds. Let soak for an hour, pressing solids down into milk every so often.
At the end of the soaking time, place cucumber, fennel, garlic, sherry, vinegar and a large pinch of sea salt and pepper into the bowl of a food processor. Process for a couple minutes, scraping down sides of the bowl as necessary until smooth.
Add bread, almonds, milk and another pinch of salt and pepper and process for about three minutes, again scraping down sides of bowl as necessary, or until very creamy and smooth.
Taste and adjust seasoning. Add plenty of salt to amplify the flavors, although the soup shouldn’t taste salty.
Garnish with finely chopped fennel fronds, if desired, and a green grape, speared on a cocktail pick and rested across the rim of the glass.
Yield 8 cups
Watermelon Salad with Thai Flavors, Cotija Cheese and Sea Salt
Recipe provided by Jason Arbusto
When summer is in full swing, an ice-cold slice of watermelon does the trick to cool us down. Elevate that idea by adding some fresh herbs, lime juice and Cotija cheese for a summer salad that’s a little sweet, a little salty and a whole lot invigorating.
4 pounds watermelon
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 sprigs fresh basil, roughly chopped
4 sprigs fresh mint, roughly chopped
4 sprigs fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
zest and juice of 3 limes
4 ounces cotija cheese, crumbled
sea salt sprinkled to season
Cut ripe watermelon in bite-sized cubes.
Toss with herbs and add lime zest and juice.
Crumble the cotija cheese over the top and season with sea salt and olive oil.
Yield approximately six servings
Recipe provided by Laura Davis of Tide & Thyme, TideAndThyme.com
Nothing says summer quite like a steaming packet of Old Bay-seasoned seafood. Add in a few ears of corn, quartered red potatoes and sausage, and you’ve got yourself a proper clambake. What’s especially charming about these packets, though, is that you can prep them ahead of time, toss them on the grill and voila—each guest can enjoy their own individual clambake, the most glamourous grab and go imaginable.
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, shell on
25 littleneck clams, scrubbed and rinsed
12 ounces kielbasa or andouille sausage, sliced about 1 inch thick
3 ears corn, shucked and cut into 1-inch slices
1 1/2 pounds red potatoes, quartered
fresh lemon, sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon Old Bay
Devein shrimp but leave the shell on as it helps retain moisture. Set aside in a medium bowl.
Prepare packets by tearing six sheets of aluminum foil, each about 12 inches long. Stack in a pile and assemble ingredients inside.
Divide potatoes, corn, sausage, clams, shrimp and lemon slices into equal portions in the center of each piece of foil.
Fold up the sides of the packs. Add olive oil, Old Bay and a sprinkle of salt. Gently toss to combine. Fold the sides of the foil over the ingredients, bunching and folding until completely sealed.
Heat grill to medium-high heat. Place packets on grill and cook for 20–25 minutes until the shrimp are pink and the clams have popped open.
Yield 6 clambake packs
Mason Jar Lemon and Raspberry Parfait
Recipe provided by Jason Arbusto
When it comes to outdoor entertaining, simplicity is key, even when it comes to dessert. No slicing, scooping or baking required, these individual lemon and raspberry parfaits can be made ahead of time and placed in a cooler until you’re ready to pass out the spoons. The bright tartness of the lemon curd, combined with the airiness of the whipped cream and yogurt, plus a burst of fresh raspberry in each bite, makes this dessert an ideal way to cap off any event.
Easy Lemon curd
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup lemon juice
4 teaspoons lemon zest
2 large eggs
1/2 cup butter, cut into cubes
All at room temperature
2 cups cold heavy cream
4 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean
2 cups Greek yogurt
2 pints fresh raspberries
For the Lemon Curd
In a small saucepan, add sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and eggs.
Heat on low heat and add the butter in small pieces as you whisk, cooking the curd for about 10 minutes* until it thickens. Strain it though a fine sieve and reserve.
For the Whipped Cream
In a mixer, mix the cream and the sugar for about 3–5 minutes on high to form stiff peaks.
Mix the whipped cream with the Greek yogurt.
Layer a Mason jar with as many or as little layers as you would like with the lemon curd, raspberries, and whipped cream/yogurt mix. You can make all of this in advance and store in the fridge up to a few days or build your own at the table.
Yield 12 servings if using miniature Mason jars
*Editor's Note: To thicken, we brought the temperature of the curd to 170F.