Monday, August 10, 2015
Summer dining....Alfresco style!
Longer days and warmer weather are the perfect ingredients for alfresco dining. One of my greatest pleasures during summer months is dining outdoors. Whether alone, with family or entertaining friends, summer dining at my home is always outdoors and sometimes, poolside.
Last Friday I had a few girlfriends over for a simple dinner and intimate girl time. We caught up on what life was dishing us while dining on healthy simple dishes. I served a lemon butter and herb salmon, grilled summer vegetables, a delicious summer salad with spinach and avocado and a Spanish style rice. For dessert, my mom baked us chocolate cupcakes and I prepared a berry medley to eat alone or pair with vanilla bean ice cream.
Of course a girlfriend alfresco dinner would be incomplete without a summer cocktail. I made a white wine sangria and a ginger/rosemary lemonade mocktail for those who weren't in the mood for alcohol. A mocktail is a great option if you have friends who don't drink alcohol.
To make my ginger/rosemary lemonade, I make a simple syrup by combining 1-1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add 3-tbsps grated ginger and an additional 1/4 cup of water, stir and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let steep. While steeping add a 5in sprig of rosemary and continue steeping for at least 2hrs. [Sometimes I leave overnight for a stronger flavor.] Make lemonade using simple syrup and adjust water or sugar to taste. Don't forget to strain simple syrup. Pour drink into decanter for serving and add a few sprigs of rosemary. It's a perfect, refreshing summer drink.
You can add simple syrup to store bought lemonade and adjust taste accordingly.
There's still a few summer dining weeks left. Have a couple friends over and bond over a simple, delightful dinner outdoors. Nature provides the perfect decor.
Be a friend, be adventurous, be a fun hostess, and embrace your journey. Cheers!!!