Memorial Day is THE party kick-off event of the summer entertaining season. Get the party started right with my Summer Entertaining Essentials for Summer entertaining on-the-go or on demand.
I will share my picks for this summer’s entertaining must-haves that will take you through every summer holiday and every day summer entertaining whenever they pop up. Also, I will ensure that you’ll be entertaining in style as he brings the latest fashions to your tabletop with his “colors of the season” entertaining décor tips… And throw away those paper plates, for good, because I have great tips on environmentally friendly, sustainable entertaining for your summer eco-taining arsenal.
Setting the table for the perfect summer entertaining on-the-go or on demand is as simple as 1-2-3!
First, start with the perfect bag of party tricks! I believe that keeping all your Summer entertaining essentials in one convenient and easy accessible place is key. My go-to Summer tote is make of Land’s End canvas and is the perfect eco-friendly Summer carrying bag made by Lands’ End. It is water resistant with plenty of storage for all your essentials.
Beach towels do double duty as picnic blankets or tablecloths. Fun vintage inspired pattern help set the festive tone. This beach towel, provided by Lands’ End is the perfect Vintage pattern tying in the color palette from the entire table.
Second, throw away those paper plates, for good! and opt for Bamboo plates, silverware, and serving pieces. These items, made by Core Bamboo, are made from 100% organically grown bamboo. They are finished with natural oils to make them food safe and the lacquer comes from natural cashew trees. If and when you do throw them away, they are 100% biodegradable and compostable, leaving you guilt free!
Thirdly, bring the hottest fashion colors to your Summer party with re-usable and disposable napkins. MY DRAP tear-off napkins are the only 100% cotton napkins on a roll that come in a variety of colors and sizes that can be mixed and matched for a mega dose of fashion colors. Guests get the feel of cloth napkins in a disposable that are good for the environment, making you “look marvelous” (and feel marvelous too)! The best part about these napkins is they can be washed and reused up to six times!
The perfect compliment to the MY DRAP napkins is the Table Chameleon Napkin Rings, which I designed and produced and are the perfect summer entertaining essential! The Table Chameleon Napkin Rings are designed to bring a bit of character to your table in whatever way you please with a variety of colors and styles. Easy to use, the 3/4″ thick hand-cut acrylic rings are held together with magnets and feature inserts in four different designs – London, Ada, Saturn and Miami – in the colors, red blue, orange, and green. To switch out the inserts, there are four simple steps: slide, slip, snap and create! All you have to do is slide the pieces apart, slip in the insert, snap the two pieces together and create the look you want for your table! For more information or to purchase The Table Chameleon, go to my website!
To be the ULTIMATE Eco-tainer, make sure you party like a Local-vore!
A local-vore is a person dedicated to eating food grown and produced locally. There are a lot of reasons to eat locally grown and produced foods.
- Less resources (primarily fossil fuels) are expended packaging and easy transporting from Farm to Table.
- It supports the local economy – more money remains in our local community.
- It is healthier – processing and preservatives are less important since the food doesn’t have to travel so far.
- It is safer and thus local-vores are less susceptible to foodborn illnesses.
- It is more honest – honesty in terms of the food source and the growing/producing process.
- And last but not least – it tastes better!
Here are a few examples for shopping for like a local-vore that I incorporated into this segment by shopping right here in NYC:
Asparagus – NJ Native
Tomatoes – NJ Native
Between Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day there are plenty of reasons to throw a patriotic party this summer, so I’ve created a spread that will do both you and America justice.
Start with a basic white tablecloth (everyone should have one in their entertaining arsenal) and add blue and red to create the palette that we are all so familiar with. Colored napkins and utensils pop against the white dinnerware and really drive the theme home.
Now get really creative! Don’t stop at the settings. Go all out with your color theme and carry it through to the food.
Not only are cupcakes a truly American invention, but these have a fun twist: they’re meatloaf! In the true spirit of summer parties, I’ve taken combined the powers of a barbeque with meatloaf. And they’re of course, absolutely perfect for July 4th – America deserves cake on its birthday too! Finally, your guests will love these creations topped with mashed potato frosting. Find the recipe here.
Wash them down with my berry patriotic red white and blue sangria with blueberry and raspberry ice cubes! Use a classic white sangria recipe and be sure to add red and blue berries. Serve in an acrylic wine glass over jumbo ice cubes filled with the blueberries and raspberries – jumbo cubes filled with flavor are a “hot” trend this summer.
And to truly follow through, fill a doughnut vase with colored ice cubes instead of water for a surprisingly colorful centerpiece.
I created Table Chameleon napkin rings so that you can customize your accessories for any occasion. For this table, add red and blue paper to your napkin rings in the complementary color of their napkins so that each setting is a smaller red white and blue canvas.
Click here to watch the video!
You will need:
- Muffin tins.
- Aluminum Muffin cups
- Meatloaf Recipe (see below)
- Red, White, and Blue Mashed Potato recipes (see below)
- Bacon bits, blue daikon radishes, and green onions for sprinkles
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place muffin cups into tins.
- Spoon meatloaf mixture into muffin cups. Remember, meat doesn’t rise, so if you want a nice dome to your muffins, you need to sculpt it out beforehand.
- Place muffin tins into oven and cook for 40 minutes, or until a nice, meaty brown.
- Allow the muffins to cool a bit.
- After you have potatoes of an extremely smooth consistency due to your immersion blending, pipe them onto the muffins as you would icing.
Add the bacon bits, blue daikon radishes, and green onions as sprinkles.
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups dry bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1 salt
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 (1 ounce) package dry onion soup mix
- In a large bowl combine the beef, eggs, crumbs, ketchup, salt, water and soup mix. Mix well.
- Follow instructions for meatloaf cupcakes
Red Mashed Potatoes
- 3 large, cubed, peeled beets
- 2 lb red skin potatoes
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- pepper to taste
Roast the beets at 370 for 30-45 minutes or until fork tender. Meanwhile boil the potatoes in salted water. Drain the potatoes, add the pepper, beets, vinegar and sour cream. Mash, and then use an immersion blender to reach an extremely smooth consistency.
Blue Mashed Potatoes
- 3 pounds blue potatoes
- 2 1/2 oz. roasted garlic
- 2 oz. sour cream
- 1/2 oz. Parmesan, grated
- Salt and Pepper
- Peel and cut the potatoes into cubes.
- Boil them in salted water for approximately 15 minutes.
- In a large bowl add garlic, sour cream, butter, and Parmesean.
- Use an immersion blender until smooth.
Regular White Mashed Potatoes
- 8 medium red potatoes, cubed
- 2 teaspoons crushed garlic
- 1/2 cup butter or margarine
- 1/4 cup half-and-half cream
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Place the potatoes into a large pot, and fill with enough water to cover. Add 1 teaspoon of the crushed garlic to the water for flavor. Bring to a boil, and cook for about 10 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork.
- Drain the potatoes, and add the butter. Mash until the butter is melted. Mix in the half-and-half, sugar, garlic powder and remaining garlic. Mix potatoes with an immersion blender until smooth.