Sunny days and breezy nights offer perfect opportunities for alfresco dining. From a laid-back morning meal to elegant drinks by the pool, these recipes and tips add up to easy entertaining with plenty of style.
Summer Entertaining Tips:
When it's hot and sticky out, you don't want to be rushing around with last-minute tasks. To help you stay calm and fresh, prepare as much as possible ahead of time. Start meat marinating in the fridge the day before, and prep sauces and other recipe components in the morning. Then relax and enjoy the company of your friends.
Keep Things Cool
Your party will be livelier and your guests happier if you do your best to shelter them from the blazing sun. If your dining space is tree-free, set up some umbrellas for shade. And be sure to have plenty of bottled water and cold drinks on hand to quench thirsts.
Keep food chilled but easily accessible by nestling serving dishes on larger bowls or platters filled with ice.
Spread Good Cheer
Bring a summery touch to your table by layering tablecloths, runners, and place mats in bright, sunny solids and prints. As a centerpiece, float candles or pretty blooms such as daisies or orchids in colorful dishes.
Set the Scene
After dark, strings of lights hung around a patio or backyard will add a magical glow to the atmosphere. We're fond of strands of tiny paper lanterns or, for a funkier vibe, chile peppers-both are available at many houseware stores.
Brunch on the Porch
Do the cooking in the cool of morning, then relax as the day stretches into a lazy afternoon...
Dinner Party in the Garden
Set up a table in your backyard or patio and invite friends over to share the warm summer night
Poolside Cocktail Party
For tiny hors d'oeuvre-sized tartlets, double the crust recipe and bake it in 2-inch pans or mini muffin cups
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