Summer is here and that means it’s time to gather and enjoy the outdoors with friends and family. The longer days and warm weather are just begging for al fresco dinner parties and sizzling barbecues. But instead of planning elaborate spreads or spending half your day shopping for supplies, these last-minute hosting hacks and no-recipe recipes will make your event a breeze.
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Go for snacks
A bowl of chips is always a crowd-pleaser, but if time allows, try making a tray of crudites (add radishes, cucumbers, baby carrots and cauliflower to your shopping cart), sliced baguette or naan and a whipped feta dip. In a food processor, combine feta, cream cheese, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice and red pepper flakes. You can also grab a tub or two of hummus for a larger crowd. Once prepared, present your elevated appetizer on a large cutting board or serving tray.
Refreshers are a must
Non-alcoholic drinks have become more popular in 2022. From dealcoholized beers to flavour-packed mocktails, order a selection of booze-free and alcoholic beverages to give your guests some variety. Goodfood has beer and wine produced by local brewers and winemakers, plus sparkling water and kombucha. To make a virgin mint julep, for example, combine crushed ice, simple syrup, ginger ale and fresh mint leaves. Don’t forget: Garnishes add an extra something special, so include citrus and fresh herbs on your shopping list.
Simple salads to write home about
Spring mix or a clamshell of greens are great because they’ve been pre-washed and are ready to go. Dress yours by making a simple blend of lemon, olive oil, crushed garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with fresh parmesan and pumpkin seeds.
If fresh fruit fits your fancy, slice up a peach or nectarine, crumble goat cheese and make a balsamic dressing with olive oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, garlic, dijon mustard and salt and pepper to taste.
Make your mains inclusive and easy
Opting for a pre-marinated filet of fish, kebobs, chicken wings or chops can save you valuable time. A quick sit in olive oil, red wine, minced garlic and Montreal Steak House Spice Blend is all a nice cut of steak needs before grilling. Not everyone eats meat, of course, so for your vegetarian friends, grill up slices of halloumi cheese, veggie burgers, vegan sausages or add protein to a salad with quinoa or chickpeas. An even easier main? Serve frozen pizza or flatbread. You can also throw a handful of arugula over your sliced pie before serving to zhuzh it up.
The icing on top
Store-bought pie with ice cream, cheesecake, brownies and even ice pops dunked into a glass of well-paired wine is sure to get a yes from your guests. For presentation points, remove all packaging and display your desserts on a pedestal or plate, sprinkling icing sugar or adding fresh berries.
Set the mood
Never underestimate the power of a candle. Ambiance can be achieved by lighting a soy-based candle or two in the centre of the table. Along with candles, Goodfood has a gift section with cute cards, pretty packages of truffles, giftable guest soaps and macarons if the last-minute occasion is a birthday or celebration you forgot.
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