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July 4th is right around the corner, and it’s peak season for outdoor parties and barbecues. Here are some tips from a top professional - The Cantering Caterer, of Westport, Connecticut. Take a look at these great suggestions, and discover how to host an unforgettable barbecue, and enjoy it too.
It's hot outside! The garden is flush with fresh vegetables, great smells, and beautiful colors. Now is the perfect time for outdoor entertaining. Whether you are planning an outdoor July 4th barbecue, or any outdoor entertaining, here are some helpful outdoor party planning hints:
1 - Serve appropriate foods: It is important to offer foods that will not wilt in the heat or attract too many pests. There is nothing worse than having your guests square off with a swarm of bees every time they get near the guacamole. Also, use recipes that you can prepare in advance, leaving you to enjoy your guests (and to hear them rave about the great food). Crudités are great and there are lots of canapés that can be
prepared the day before and kept in the refrigerator. Light is good in the summer.
2 – Controlling bugs: An open can of cat food off in a corner will attract flying pests – it really works. Mint plants will keep flying bugs away from buffet tables, and ant sticks, set in place two hours before the party, will draw them away. Citronella torches work too.
3 – Summer beverages: Plenty of cold drinks are a necessity when entertaining outdoors in the summer. Have lots of bottled spring and sparkling water. Chilled ginger tea and cold lemonade are other crowd favorites. Juice a watermelon, serve it in glass pitchers with kiwi and star fruit slices. The kids will love it and it looks great too.
Most wine served in the summer is white. Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay are the most popular. A good wine merchant is indispensable here. And … have lots of ice! Lots.
4 – Rain plan: If you can, plan on a tent… A sense of humor and the ability to remain calm are also useful here. If you are not having a tent, be sure that you can move the party indoors if need be. Plan early, you will be glad you did. In really hot weather be sure to have umbrellas, fans, and canopies.
Now some tips for getting the grilling just right on the Fourth:
1- It is important to get the grill hot. Preheat for 15 minutes with all burners on high and the lid closed. It is easy to scrape the grate clean with a wire brush at this point.
2- When using a gas grill, cook with the lid down. It concentrates heat when searing and maintains heat when slow cooking. Conversely, you should keep the lid open when using charcoal as residue buildup can affect the flavor of the foods being grilled.
3- When cooking things like fish and burgers, you should oil the grill. Dip a handful of paper towels in vegetable oil and, using tongs, wipe the grill thoroughly. This will also pick up any residue left from brushing.
And last but by no means least, a couple of recipes that we here at The Cantering Caterer in Westport, Connecticut, are happy to recommend:
Great with chicken
10 gloves of garlic, chopped very fine
1 TBS Kosher Salt
½ TBS Ground Black Pepper
3 Lemons, squeezed
1 cup or more of the freshest herbs you can find – parsley and cilantro are great!
1 cup olive oil. Mix everything together, coat the meat and refrigerate overnight.
To: 2 Lb good ground beef
Add: 1/2 cup red onion, chopped fine, 1/4 cup chopped parsley,2 TBS Capers, 2 TSP Worcestershire, a dash or 2 of Tabasco, Kosher salt and pepper to taste
Hand form into 8 patties and grill! Serve on a roll with fresh garden tomato and crisp Romaine lettuce. Increase quantities as needed.
Enjoy the Fourth and enjoy your party!
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