Having A Great Outdoor Dinner Party

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I want to have an outdoor dinner party but worry that the weather in my place doesn’t always cooperate 🙁 So I need some suggestions.. Whether rain or shine, inside or out, simplicity is the best. The key to a stress-free dinner party is a simple menu built on seasonal flavours.

To start, nothing is easier than crostini. The baguette can be toasted well in advance and topped minutes before guests arrive. Slightly warmed brie with honey and prosciutto (if it’s cool out) or whipped butter with thinly sliced spring radishes (if it’s warmer) – the possibilities are endless! 😀 Alternatively, arrange a charcuterie board in advance. Sliced bread and crackers, local cured meat and cheese, and a few quick pickled spring vegetables are all you need for an easy, all-season starter.

Maybe offer a welcome drink in addition to the usual non-alcoholic options. A crisp beer with a slice of lime, a pitcher of fruity sangria or a Spring inspired cocktail can evoke feelings of warn sun-filled days, especially if the weather forces you inside.

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When it comes to the main, opt for a lighter meal. Replace the heavier braises and hearty soups of winter with refreshing salads, crisp vegetables and grilled meats. If you’re lucky enough to have the grill under cover, go ahead and grill. If you’re hosting with a partner or friend, one of you can sneak out to the grill while the other takes care of guests. Even if you’re going it alone, guests can socialize over the appetizer while you pop out to finish the main. Easy grilled options include a marinated flank steak served with chimichurri or, if available, a whole trout stuffed with lemon and fennel.

the key to a stress-free dinner party is a simple menu built on seasonal flavours.

If, however, grilling is out of the question, recreate BBQ favourites inside. Burgers can be juicy and perfectly cooked in the oven; flank steak is quickly seared in a cast iron skillet instead of outside. Quick grilled (or roasted) asparagus and a crisp salad of thinly sliced fennel, avocado, grapefruit, and the season’s first greens, pairs perfectly with whatever main you choose.

Remember also to keep it casual. Whether basking in the sun of the backyard or gathered around the dinner table, serve the main family style. Not only will this allow you more time with your guests, it takes the stress out of plating courses.

Whatever Mother Nature throws at you, you can never go wrong with good food and great company!

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