There’s no better way to toast summer’s toasty temps than with an outdoor party. Whether it’s a backyard BBQ, a pool party or a get together on your tiny midtown fire escape, summer is the time to celebrate in the great outdoors with family, friends and good food.
Menu planning is a major consideration when hosting a crowd of people. Before the gang arrives consider these simple suggestions to keep your outdoor party guests happy and hunger-free:
Who doesn’t love a summer buffet? If you are hosting a big group, buffets are the way to go. The self-serve meals involve minimal work while allowing you to maximize mingling time with your guests. While you could easily fill your buffet table with chips, dips and pizza, why not incorporate some seasonal items into the mix? Make a spread of fresh summer vegetables. You can grill them or incorporate them into a chopped salad. Other options include cheeses, marinated tomatoes and artichokes, fruit salad and various herbed oils paired with flavored breads. The dishes can be made (or bought) in advance and spread out elegantly before guests arrive. Another popular idea for a backyard buffet is a simple taco bar. All you need to do is set out the fixings and let your guests create their own mouth-watering fiesta.
Outdoor summer parties are great if you are trying to catch rays, but be mindful of what the sweltering heat can do to greens. To keep salads fresh, place serving bowls into larger bowls filled with ice and toss the salad occasionally to keep it cool. Also, it’s a good idea to keep food covered so it doesn’t attract unwanted pests.
In addition, take caution when serving side dishes that are made with mayonnaise. If you are having an outdoor party, keep mayonnaise dishes out of the direct sunlight. Also, put a time limit on how long you leave them out. Mayonnaise-based dishes should not be allowed to come to room temperature.
Spice it Up
Don’t let the dog days of summer put a damper on your creativity. Guests shouldn’t have to nosh on wilted wieners. After all, it only takes a few minutes to marinate some steaks with Worcestershire sauce and garlic or soy sauce and ginger. The marinades will tenderize the steak and your guests will let the compliments fly when their meal melts in their mouths.