The Easiest, Prettiest Summer Party Recipes
Summer has always been my favorite season for eating. There’s an ease and simplicity to it: There’s no need to cook for hours over a hot stove, so it’s all about throwing together quick, lovely meals and enjoying the company around you.
A stroll through the farmers market is an easy place to gain inspiration for summer feasts. The key is to keep things simple, and let the quality of the ingredients shine through. This summer, I’m excited to pick up things like colorful heirloom tomatoes, strawberries, peaches, corn, watermelon, summer squash, and blueberries, then call up a few friends, and then turn it all into an easy, summery feast.
1. Pack it to go in wax paper and twine.
Eating outdoors is one of my favorite ways to dine, so I always keep a big roll of wax paper and twine on my kitchen counter to wrap up sandwiches before heading outside. I find that wax paper seals in moisture better, and makes for a prettier presentation, than plastic bags or containers.
2. Stock up on fabrics.
Before picnic season begins, I like to make a trip to the fabric store and buy inexpensive scrap linens in different patterns and colors to use as picnic blankets; I just trim the ends and let them fray out naturally. They’re lightweight, and you don’t have to worry about getting food and grass stains on them since they’re easy to wash. Another bonus: You can match them to your outfit.
3. On hot days, try shaving your vegetables instead of grilling them.
When it’s warm out and the last thing you want to do is cook over a stove or grill, try shaving your favorite vegetables into a side salad instead. I like to use a vegetable peeler to turn asparagus, summer squash, and carrots into long, thing strips. This makes a beautiful, colorful salad that you can dress lightly with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.