In just a few short weeks, my roommates and I will be playing hostesses for a summer night dinner party. Think homemade guacamole, strawberry soup, crisp salads, vodka lemonades and fruity sangria! So delicious. My planning got yet another kick start with reading Glam’s post on Summer Gatherings and Dining Al Fresco.
So in the spirit of sunshine and summer here are a few things I deem essentials to a summer soiree of your own:
photo courtesy of flickr.com
1. Fresh, cool recipes. Don’t serve anything hot and remember that fruits and vegetables are a plenty at this time of year so utilize them! Get a head start here. Orson (by famed chef Elizabeth Falkner) in San Francisco makes an incredible dessert of fresh pluots, honey and olive oil foam. It’s heavenly! (And try substituting figs as well- equally as delicious. Go to Real Simple for inspiration for your summertime menu- they have hundreds from which you can peruse and choose.
2. Flowers. Add color and cheer to your dining table or patio by wrapping bright flowers like hydrangeas or gerber daises, in vases wrapped with big bows in complimentary colors. Use them as centerpieces or as decoration through the space in which you’re holding your get-together. Haven’t quite mastered your horticulture skills yet? Look at your local flower stands or head to 1800flowers.com for inspiration.
3. Music. Nothing sets the tone of an evening like the music being played. Create a light, but upbeat playlist for guests to hear in the background. Some of my favorites for this sort of event include Michael Buble, David Gray, John Mayer and Heather Headley.
4. Summer cocktails! Who can forget this essential? (Let’s be honest, some people may come just for this!) Your options are never-ending, but I prefer to have a few from which guests can choose. Fruity sangria (add fresh strawberries and/or peaches to your favorite recipe) and vodka lemonades with strawberry garnish are my favorite. They are cool, refreshing and full of bold fruit flavor. They also tend to be a lot easier and cleaner than battling your kitchen appliance to concoct up blended drinks like margaritas or daiquiris.
Got other essentials you’d just have to have at your party? Do share!