Sunday, July 2, 2017

Simple Summer Entertaining

Summer entertaining is all about keeping it simple. For me, that means reducing cooking time (not having to turn on the oven) and choosing foods that are light, fresh and healthy.

Last night we had friends over for dinner and I chose a simple, French salade Niçoise as the main course. For an appetizer, I served black peppercorn pâté, a delicious dill goat cheese, organic red grapes and black Mission figs with mini wheat crackers and gluten-free almond crackers.


For the salad, the only foods that required cooking were the eggs, green beans and potatoes -- all cooked on the stovetop. The platter, from top left, featured: boiled yellow potatoes, peppadew peppers and pitted Niçoise olives, cornichons (in white bowl), capers (in small glass bowl), tuna, steamed green beans, hard boiled eggs and sliced farm-fresh tomatoes. Super simple, super healthy. On the side was a bowl of organic balsamic vinaigrette from Whole Foods. Not shown here was a bowl of fresh mozzarella ciliegine.  


For dessert, I served organic vanilla ice cream with dark chocolate toffee sauce by Stonewall Kitchen -- delicious!

I set the table with a natural fiber runner that I bought years ago at Pottery Barn. Surprisingly, they still sell it (it's called the nubby table runner). A vase of white hydrangea,  black plates and black cloth napkins rounded out the table. Candles in black and gold votive holders were lit during dinner.



What are you plans for the July 4th holiday? I have to work on Monday but will enjoy having Tuesday off. We may attend church service in the morning, and in the evening we'll take in a fireworks show that a nearby country club puts on every year. It's less than a 10 minute drive from our home. Fingers crossed, the weather will be good! 

I hope that whatever you do to celebrate this Independence Day holiday, you stay safe and enjoy a wonderful day. Thanks for visiting MLB!

13 comments:

  1. This all looks wonderfully delicious. Your table setting is so lovely and there is nothing better (or simpler) than ice cream for dessert!

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  2. Lovely and inviting, both the food and atmosphere!

    I appreciate and enjoy your blog:)
    Paula

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  3. I've never seen a salad like that; it looks delicious! I'm just wondering how one would dish out that salad on their plate. Do you take a bit of everything and then put the dressing on?

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    1. Exactly! I put out tongs so we could get a little of each item (including the spring lettuce mix on the bottom), and the dressing was on the side. For the capers, I set out a little spoon for serving.

      Thanks for your comment!

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  4. Simply elegant and stunning! I love having little work to do once my guests arrive; it make me and our guests more relaxed!

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    1. Indeed! Remember the salade Nicoise you made last summer? I featured it here on the blog. Next, I want to make a Mediterranean-style platter like this but with stuffed grape leaves, chick peas, feta, cherry tomatoes ... Composed salads are the perfect summer meal.

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  5. Love this type of entertaining. You set such a beautiful table. Rather than your balsamic vinaigrette, you should try Martha Stewart's Niçoise dressing from MS Living July 96. (Am I dating myself here?). It is SO GOOD! I make this often in summer, sometimes switching the tuna for grilled salmon or chicken. I love these fresh summery meals, they are always the best! A nice Cobb salad or grilled chicken Caesar makes entertaining easy. And Ice cream for dessert? Perfect!

    Hope you had a wonderful 4th!

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    1. I'll have to try that Martha Stewart dressing. Thanks for the recommendation!

      We just got home from a terrific fireworks display. It's 76 degrees tonight but I felt a little chilly, probably because of the 80% humidity. I remember when I was growing up in New Jersey we always had a sweater handy during July 4 fireworks because it could get quite cool.

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  6. Think my comment was just erased?
    Anyway, this looks just fabulous and you've presented it so nicely. I too love the Stonewall Kitchen dessert sauces...actually, I love all their things! Some of the chutneys go very fast around here. We are partial to cold soups so I try to make those at least once a week in summer; it began when we lived in New York City with no air conditioning! Those were tough days, and nights!

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