735 Elm Street, Winnetka, Illinois 60093
P 847 441 1115 | info@mazhome.com

Summer Entertaining

To me, summer at the cottage is the easiest and most enjoyable time for entertaining. It's not "real" cooking - which for me means following recipes. It's a time when I can throw together a meal, combining favorite flavors and textures, and rely heavily on the grill!

A cocktail party with simple nibbles is a great way to end the day and kick off a warm summer evening.

One of my favorites, smoked salmon cream cheese roll ups (shown above on our Skinny Black Walnut cutting board) are quick and easy. Let a block of cream cheese soften to room temperature then mix in your favorite fresh or dried herbs to taste - I like dill or thyme for this one but whatever you have on hand is fine. Spread the mixture over your salmon, roll it up, wrap in plastic wrap and chill until firm. Then slice, arrange on your tray, and voila, you have instant pinwheels! Garnish with lemon wedges.

Presentation feeds the eyes as well! I love the combination of the wood in our shell toothpicks and our olive handle cheese board. Though it's a cheese board I like to use it as a serving tray. It makes a great backdrop for colorful crudites.

Whole radishes are difficult to dip - plus they roll off your serving tray - so I slice and skewer them for stability and easy eating. Round out the vegetables with carrots, celery and sugar snap peas and serve with a simple sour cream and dill dip. Mini caprese salads are a breeze! Just skewer a cherry tomato, a fresh basil leaf and a mini fresh mozzarella ball (sometimes called Bocconcini), then drizzle lightly with balsamic vinegar.

Humble (yet delicious!) crab cakes take on a regal appearance on our rich red laquered tray (similar to these), softened by the bamboo and silver accents.

For crudites or anything needing a little extra flavor, I love to add a touch of sea salt. The handy pivoting lid of our teak salt cellar keeps the flavor safe and dry. There are tons of flavors and crystal sizes to choose from but I think simple, high quality is best.

I always keep cheese knives and spreaders easily at hand. Keep storage simple and make it easy to see what you have by using hefty glassware to hold utensils.

Jazz up the simplest cocktail hour bite - a cheese tray - with a pop of color with a sliced strawberry and colorful serving pieces. This adorable bamboo tray is butcher block style with the cutest silver mouse - note the Swiss cheese holes in the board and the bite the mouse has nibbled out of the side!

What's a cocktail party without a fully stocked bar? Layering with trays to hold liquor bottles, small bowls to hold garnishes, and pitchers and buckets to hold water and ice makes the bar both visually appealing and easy for guests to serve themselves. I always decorate my backsplashes with a theme. On the bar, I used these amazing animal tiles I found. I've never seen anything like them!

The top drawer of my bar holds cutting boards, knives, wine openers and wine caps. The second drawer has all of my paper cocktail napkins and the third is where I stash linen napkins and coozies for afternoon boat rides. The bottom drawer has placecards, calligraphy pens and seating charts. We're ready to party at a moment's notice!

I have a cutting board dedicated solely to limes and lemons (keeps things fresh and clean) and I never miss a chance to add character to a setting like with this horn-handled knife.

And for those nights when cocktails at home lead to dinner in, the right serving pieces make the evening special. This enamelware is amazing. It can stand oven temperatures up to 500 degrees and you can throw it in the dishwasher for no hassle cleaning. These platters, bowls, casseroles and covered enamelware pieces help me transport my food to our weekly Thursday night picnic on the beach. I love extending the blue crab theme to the napkins.

I was so excited to replace my old plastic storage pieces with this beautiful enamel splatterware - I can never have too much blue!

Speaking of blue . . . I wasn't able to go to Paris this year so I treated myself to these Brasserie Blue plates, bowls and oven mit and pad. Believe it or not, they bring back wonderful memories of France every time I pull them out of the drawer.

I hope you create great new memories this summer with a season full of sunshine, friends and lots of easy entertaining!



Categories: -  


Syndicate content

Cindy's Blog

I'm Cindy Galvin, owner of MAZE Home Store and Bardes Interiors. In my blog I hope to inform, inspire and entertain you with lessons I’ve learned, insights on the beautiful things all around us, and stories from my adventures in design. I hope you'll join me on my journey through the world of design!

See my profile

Design Services: Bardes Interiors

Book launch featuring the work of
Cindy Bardes Galvin

Thursday, June 26, 4 to 7

A-MAZE-ing Things: D. Porthault Tigre


Website Design by Chris J Callahan - Copyright 2015 MAZE Home