Are you one of those people who breaks out the shorts as soon as the mercury rises above 60? Well, Canadian summers are short, so there is a real urgency to squeeze what we can out of the warm weather.
And for many of us that means more entertaining, picnics, patios and cottages (if we can wrangle an invite). If your hosting, the dilemma is always finding a way to put on a good spread without spending all your time in the kitchen. You need to have fun too.
- One fruit, three ways. Grab a big ‘ol watermelon. Divide it into thirds. One third will be sliced in little triangles for fruit. For the second third, scoop the fruit and whir it in the blender. Strain it. Add tequila/gin/vodka/rum and the juice of at least 2 limes. Chop up some fresh mint and voila. Delicious fresh cocktail. Cube the last third, add some more mint and basil. Throw in some cucumber and feta and you have a great salad.
- Get out your Instant Pot or slow cooker and make pulled pork, chicken, brisket or jack fruit. Sure the barbecue is great, but when you have a crowd, that’s a lot of time in front of the grill when you could be relaxing with a cocktail. Get some great buns, some slaw and you are done.
- If you are serving ice cream, scoop it all aheed of time and store them in cupcake liners in a muffin tin right in the freezer.
- Viva Mexico. Mexican cooking is a fan favourite. Also, it is super accommodating when it comes to vegan, vegetarian and gluten free guests. Aaand, if you set up a taco/burrito bar, your guests can pick what they want and what they don’t want and serve themselves.
- Keep your drink options simple. Make one big pitcher of the cocktail of your choice: gin lemonade, mojitos, sangria…you have lots to choose from, one pitcher for non-alcoholic drinks and fill and bucket wih ice for beer.
- Set up an area with well marked signs: Recyle, Compost and Garbage so your guests can deal with their plates.
- Fill colanders with ice and put bowls underneath. Place each salad in a bowl inside the colander. This will keep your salads chilled, cool and food poisoning free.
- Dip in. Get a few great baguettes of fresh pita (don’t forget Adonis), grab hummus, baba ganoush, roasted peppers, olives and haloumi and you have a gorgeous, healthy spread.
- Grill ahead of time: red peppers, zucchini, squash, pineapple, watermelon, mushrooms, onions are delicious grilled and topped with olive oil and balsamic.
- Grill your chicken and ribs ahead of time. Omit adding any barbecue sauce. 30 minutes before it’s time to eat. Heat them up, add the sauce and you can get back to your own party.