Regardless of location or occasion, our approach to entertaining is refreshingly simple: keep it classic, carefree, and an all-around celebration of the season. When it comes to summer Fridays and family entertaining, we’re following these basics to a T with simple yet impactful table décor and a menu packed with delicious dishes. Whether it’s you and your partner or your family at home, following these tips are a surefire way to deliver an unforgettable summer soiree.
Ready the BBQ & Bar
Menu planning begins with a quick trip to the farmer’s market (or a look into your weekly CSA box!). Stock up on fruit of all shapes and sizes, using your bounty to create a seasonal snack platter for the kids. Here’s an added bonus: it just so happens to serve as the perfect complement to our favorite Mixed Berry Mojito. For the ever-important main dishes, we’re partial to anything that can be prepped ahead on the grill and served room temperature, so you’re spending the majority of your time with your loved ones. Recipes for our friend Pamela Salzman’s crowd pleasing grilled artichokes, olive oil cake, and Annie Campbell’s Mixed Berry Mojito below!
Summertime calls for one essential setting: the outdoors. Whether it’s your backyard, a nearby beach, or your share of picnic-ready greenery, stake the spot that’s best suited for you. We love using rustic picnic tables and benches (bonus points for supplying blankets for when the temperature drops). We set the table with simple plates—enamel works great for an outdoor gathering—and linen napkins for a look that’s practical, classic, and outdoor-friendly. Keep your florals natural and simple and let nature shine.
Our best tip for making any summer gathering memorable? Keep things flexible and plan for a celebration that can easily move from the backyard to a park or an outdoor dining table. From on-the-go tableware and store-all summer bags to a picnic blanket that doubles as a wrap when things cool down, this year is all about flexibility, and remembering that the best celebrations aren’t about the most extravagant setups—they’re about savoring time with those you love the most (and staying safe and healthy along the way).
unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil for brushing artichokes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Ingredients for the Sauce
1/2 cup118 ml
plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt (I use whole)
1/4 cup59 ml
soy-free Vegenaise or your favorite mayonnaise
drained capers chopped
minced fresh chives
Zest of 1 lemon skip this if you are not a huge lemon fan
fresh lemon juice
a few grinds
freshly ground black pepper
-Trim the artichokes: Remove the outer layer of small, tough leaves from the stem end. Trim the stem to create a flat bottom and discard cut stem. With a very sharp serrated knife (like a bread knife), cut off the top 1 inch of each artichoke. Use scissors to snip the tips of the remaining leaves. Cut the artichoke in half through the stem end.
-Cook the artichokes: Put a steamer insert in a large pot with a few inches of water, garlic and bay leaves and bring water to a simmer. Add artichoke halves to steamer insert and cover. Steam artichokes until stem can be pierced easily with a knife, about 25-35 minutes depending on size. Remove artichokes from the saucepan and set aside until cool enough to handle. Preheat the grill on medium heat.
-Make the sauce: In a medium bowl combine all the sauce ingredients and taste for seasoning.
-Remove the chokes: Pull out the lighter leaves at the center of the artichoke to expose the fuzzy choke. With a spoon, scoop out the choke (but not the heart) and discard.
-Brush inside and outside of the artichoke with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and grill until char marks appear, about 5-10 minutes. Flip over and grill on other side. Serve with lemon-caper dipping sauce.
15 oz425 g
coconut milk (full fat is necessary, I used Native Forest)
Preheat the oven to 400 F and grease a 9 inch cake pan.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Using a standing mixer or hand mixer, cream together the olive oil with the orange zest and agave nectar until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the orange juice and almond to the bowl, stirring to combine. On low speed, mix in the dry ingredients little by little until just incorporated.
Arrange the sliced citrus on the bottom of the greased cake pan. Pour the batter over the citrus and bake for 25-35 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a plate. Brush with 2 tbsp of the apricot jam.
Serve with whipped coconut cream.
Coconut whipped cream
Makes 3 cups of whipped cream: Set the can in the fridge overnight so that the coconut fat solids separate from the coconut water. Open the can and carefully pour out the thick coconut cream. With an electric whisk, beat the cream, agave, and vanilla extract on high until peaks form, about 2-3 minutes. If not serving immediately, place the bowl of whipped coconut cream in the fridge and then beat it again right before serving it.