Summertime, summertime, summertime….aaaahhhhh!

It’s not hard to turn our attention to the outdoors at this time of year…..for relaxing and entertaining especially! The key to keeping it fun is to keep it simple, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be elegant.

Today on WHP-TV I showed ways to “set the stage” outside by bringing indoor elements outdoors…such as pillows, lamps and chandeliers. Candles, flowers and “real” dishes (as opposed to paper) also add to setting the stage for an elegant outdoor event. You may also want to consider an outdoor rug and a few of your indoor chairs to make a really cozy setting. The possibilities are endless!

Next, is the food! I love summertime foods…all those fresh fruits, berries and veggies. Grilling instead of baking…easy cleanup and no hot kitchen! In the summer I like to prepare quick and easy dishes…well, I like to do that all year round, actually! anyway, I like to make dishes that are versatile and can be served or made many different ways.

Take Chicken Salad for instance, you can vary the additions to the chicken such as diced apple and walnuts; or bacon and diced tomatoe, change the dressing, change the taste. Then, you can use that salad to stuff tomatoes or put into mini croissants or pita pockets, you can even serve it on mixed greens for a another option…use your imagination! Or a dessert, presented in a trifle bowl (very elegant), using a variety of different pudding flavors, whipped cream, liquers, berries, bananas and cookies or brownies, again…the possibilities are endless and oh…so good!

Last but not least, a key to making an “everyday dish” more elegant is to use garnishes. Garnish, embellish…same thing! Simple items like chopped parsley, paprika, shredded carrots, greens, a slice of lemon make great garnishes and take no time at all to add to your dish before serving….it’s the difference between “oh” and “oooooooh, aaaaaaahhhh”!

Later this week I’ll be sharing some of my favorite summertime recipes and serving ideas…..stay tuned!

Have a great weekend and STAY COOL!

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