Juicy grilled steak, fresh summer salads, and a homey berry buttermilk cake star in this easy outdoor menu
When I left the restaurant business five years ago to become the chef at our family winery, I left behind a kitchen full of sous chefs, prep cooks, and dishwashers. With my new staff of one—me—I dove into entertaining for both business and pleasure with relish. I assumed that my guests expected grandiose dinners from a professional, so I’d spend days preparing lavish five- and six-course meals. As my husband entertained our guests, I would run, breathless, back and forth from the kitchen to the table. By the end of the evening, as I waved goodbye to the last guest, I’d realize that I hadn’t had much of a conversation with anyone, much less a bite to eat—and then I’d turn and face the dishes!
Times have changed when it comes to entertaining in our house. With two young children under my feet and a full-time career that begs for my attention, planning a summer meal takes the path of least resistance. I assemble a succession of dishes that can be prepped in advance and that don’t require eagle-eyed attention, yet that still remain graceful and delicious. Enjoy the meal. Enjoy the summer!