As summer kicks in, there’s nothing more fun than taking the party outdoors. Whether you’re having a backyard party or an intimate gathering on your Condominiums balcony or rooftop, here are some tips for a simple, sophisticated summer’s day.
Be deliciously different.
Think outside the burger, and try something like marinated vegetable skewers or grilled pizza. If you plan to BBQ something that comes apart easily, like fish or vegetables, use a grill rack. Put a spring or two of fresh rosemary on the coals while you’re grilling. Not only will the food taste great, but your party will smell wonderful.
Serve a signature drink.
Create a margarita or mojito station. Set out rimmed glasses, slice some limes, then serve the drink in pitchers with lots of ice and let your guests help themselves. Be sure to offer plenty of non-alcoholic options, too.
Allow your guests help themselves.
Spend time enjoying your guests instead of serving an elegant outdoor buffet by covering a side table with a crisp white tablecloth. Prepare “bouquets” of cutlery in vases, or make a neat pile of restaurant-style “roll-ups” with paper napkins. Decorate with candles, flowers and fresh herbs.
Do an upscale picnic.
For the ultimate casual get-together, plan a backyard picnic (or a picnic in the park) on a big blanket. Bring some cushions to keep everyone comfortable, and use serving trays as level surfaces for drinks, snacks and other wobbly items like vases of flowers and pillar candles.
- Light up the night.
- Set up the mood.
- Inexpensive citronella torches add a great ambiance and get rid of bugs.
Set out lots of candles in open mason jars or glass hurricane covers. Place them in big multi-level bunches for an intimate feel, or space them in equal increments along a fence or railing for a modern touch.
Break out the marshmallows.
Pick up a portable patio campfire for unbeatable ambiance at your evening soiree. The campfire (available at some home improvement stores) looks like a stone-ringed pit but is gas-fueled and easy to move around. Be sure to check fire codes in your area, and if you’re entertaining on a balcony or a rooftop, check with your Toronto Lofts building corp to see what the rules are.
Be on bug patrol.
Use citronella lamps and candles to keep mosquitoes away, and put a bottle of insect repellent in plain sight so your guests don’t have to ask.
Always remember the first rule of summer entertaining: keep it simple and enjoy yourself. Plan ahead, prepare ahead of time, then sit down and enjoy the sunshine or starlight – and the warm company of friends and family.
Be sure to try – Balsamic grilled asparagus
A delicious take on a warm-weather favorite
Snap tough ends off 1 pound of asparagus. Combine 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp chopped shallots, and a dash of salt and pepper. Drizzle over asparagus and let stand 30 minutes. Brush grill rack with oil, and grill 5 minutes on each side or until done.