Tip of the Week: Host a Simple Summer Dinner Party – Menu, Recipes and Inspiration!
This past weekend, I hosted a small dinner party for six couples from my daughter’s class and turned to my favorite tried and true menu! The menu is delicious, super easy and everything can be served at room temperature, making for relaxed and happy hosts!
1. Shrimp Cocktail
2. A Cheese Tray – make sure that your cheese selection includes:
- A hard cheese like parmesan.
- Aged goat cheese or a Manchego.
- Something soft like French Brie or Triple Crème; Blue Cheese or Gorgonzola.
- Something unusual like the mango cheddar I served for my party.
- Edible accents such as apples, grapes, slices of bread, olives, nuts (my favorite is Marcona almonds) and honey for texture and visual appeal!
Marinated London Broil
- Marinate each London Broil steak in a Ziploc bag with a combination of ½ c. red wine, ½ c. low sodium soy sauce and two or three minced cloves of garlic. Cook the steaks on the grill and slice thin for serving.
Two Garnishes for the Beef
- Blend light mayonnaise with a bit of fresh horseradish.
- Sautée fresh mushrooms in a bit of butter and olive oil with minced garlic – season with salt and pepper.
- After rinsing and snapping off the rough ends, arrange the asparagus in a 13” x 9” baking dish and drizzle with olive oil.
- Dress the asparagus with parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, toasted pine nuts and salt and pepper.
- Baking time is about 45 minutes at 350 degrees.
Orecchiette with Fresh Mozzarella, Grape Tomatoes and Garlic Chives
- This pasta salad recipe from epicurious, Orecchiette with Fresh Mozzarella, Grape Tomatoes and Garlic Chives, is fabulous at room temperature and the white balsamic vinegar adds a gourmet touch that elevates this salad above the usual varieties.
- Buy the best that you can, preferably from a local bakery, looking for crusty edges whether in rolls or long baguettes that can be cut into slices.
- After buying pints of strawberries, I rinse, hull and halve the berries and toss them with a small amount of sugar. I then fill one glass bowl with the berries and another with freshly whipped heavy cream. In a third container, I arrange the shortcake “base!” I’ve used palmiers, biscuits, sugar cookies or sliced angel food cake as the base for the dessert – basically using whatever is easiest to come by when I am shopping!
- Don’t forget to brew a pot of coffee – either regular or decaf depending upon your guests preferences.
- Make sure you have half and half, milk, sugar, sugar substitute, an assortment of tea bags and lemon slices on hand as well.