One of my favorite parts of summer is being able to entertain our friends and family outside. There’s a casual vibe when it comes to a summer party. People come expecting easy, fresh food, a refreshing cocktail, and lively conversation. Easy enough, right?
Well, I get asked all the time for ways to make entertaining easier and elegantly. I totally get it. You have young kids making it hard to prep, or you aren’t all that confident in your cooking abilities. Maybe you just don’t like your yard and are unsure of what to do with the space.
Listen, the excuses are honestly endless. And I’ve done it right along with you! I’m going to break down my super simple summer cocktail party ideas – I hosted this past weekend so you can see how manageable it is. Some tell me I make it look way to easy but I assure you that you will out shine my efforts with your layout.
I usually theme the meals around my beverage of preference. This particular bottle has hints of citrus in it and I made a cardamom cream on a layer of puff pastry. I went to the vegetable garden and picked up some mint, strawberries and some other berries. Completely drool worthy!
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons water
- sparkling sugar (optional)
- 1 pint strawberries, washed/hulled, and sliced into 3-4 slices each
- 1/4 cup strawberry jam
- 3/4 cup white sugar, divided
- 4 ounces mascarpone cheese
- 4 ounces whipped cream (fresh whipped cream or cool whip)
- ice cream for garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400F
- On a parchment lined baking sheet, roll out the puff pastry dough to a large rectangle.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and the water.
- Use a knife to score a border 3/4 of an inch inside from the edge of the puff pastry. Use a fork to pierce the inside of the tart several times.
- Brush the pastry with the egg wash along the border. Sprinkle with sparkling sugar if desired.
- Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown and cooked. Set aside to cool.
- While the puff pastry is cooking, prepare the topping. In a large bowl, stir together the whipped cream, 1/2 cup white sugar, and mascarpone cheese (pinch of cardamom)
- In a separate bowl, mix together the strawberry slices, 1/4 cup white sugar, and strawberry jam.
- Once puff pastry is cool, top with the cream and then the strawberries. Keep refrigerated until ready to slice and serve.
- Top with vanilla ice cream. Enjoy! (optional)
Now that we have made the show piece ive included another recipe that is a quick bite served on the go. This dish served with a salad or naan bread is a WINNER!
I like shopping around and I happened to find an elegant bar cart and cooler to go with my setup.
Simplicity is the key to any event. Keeps the cleanup low aswell.
Recipe for the Foil Wrap Fish Bake
1 pound red potatoes cut into 1/2 inch chunks 3 ears corn on the cob, shucked and cut into 2 inch slices 1 pound halibut cut into 4 pieces (mine ended up being about 1/3 lb each) 1/2 pound extra large shrimp 6 tablespoons of butter, melted 1 garlic clove, minced 2 tablespoons, snipped fresh dill 1 teaspoon black pepper 1/2 teaspoon salt serve with crusty sourdough bread and lemon wedges
1. Preheat the grill to medium heat to get to 350-400 degrees.
2. While the grill heats (or you can do this ahead of time!) prepare the ingredients, and cut the foil into 18 inch pieces.
3. On the front half of the foil, place a quarter of the potatoes and divide the corn on the cob pieces.
4. Next, add the halibut on top of the potatoes, then add 4 shrimp around the fish.
5. Stir together the melted butter, garlic, dill, pepper and salt and pour the mixture evenly to coat each of the filets. *If you are making ahead, sprinkle each packet with garlic, dill and season with salt and pepper. Place a pat of butter on each fillet.
6. Carefully fold the long end of the foil over the top of the fish and vegetables. Double the fold to seal the 3 edges on each of the foil packets.
7. Place the packets on the heated grill and cook until the fish and shrimp are cooked through, and the potatoes are done. 12-15 minutes. (Mine took just a little over 15 but I had bigger halibut fillets).
8. Serve each guest their little foil packet with crusty bread and a squeeze from the lemon wedge.
I cant wait for you show me your entertaining pictures