Summer is a great time to entertain at home – the weather is great, the days are long, and people are somehow more relaxed. Dinner with guests can be easy with the help of a grill and great summer produce and the focus is just a chance to get together with friends. The key for relaxing summer evening entertaining is to keep it simple. One way to do this is to let your guests help you – say “yes” when they ask if there is something they can bring. Let someone bring a salad, and put your energy instead into making a special appetizer to kick off the evening. Have some chicken breasts or other meat of your choice marinating in the refrigerator and ready to grill, along with some fresh vegetables to grill as your side dish. Ice cream with fresh mixed berries is an easy dessert that’s always the right thing. For a special touch, add just a bit of liqueur such as Chambord, Amaretto, or Cointreau to the fruit before serving it. If there’s time and you have an ice cream maker, a batch of home made ice cream is an extra special touch. Summer white wines really compliment a meal like this, and the whole evening can easily be enjoyed outdoors.
One of my favorite appetizers is an easy recipe for Mediterranean Bruschetta that I got from a family member. The recipe is below so you can give it a try. You can have these ready to go, and just pop them into the oven as your guests arrive. Once they are ready, it is time to kick back and enjoy!
1 Loaf of good crusty French bread, cut in 1/2 inch slices
Sun Dried Tomatoes (8 oz is plenty)
Pesto Sauce (small plastic container)
Feta Cheese (half of a 6 oz plastic container)
Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese (1/3 of small plastic container)
– Boil 2 cups water and submerge the sun dried tomatoes for 2 minutes – drain, and cut them into slices.
– Spread 1 T pesto on the slices of bread; Sprinkle 1 T feta cheese on top; Put slices of sun dried tomato on top; Sprinkle on a bit of Parmesan Cheese
– Place the finished slices of bread onto a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes at 425 degrees, watching them closely. Serve warm.