Party Favors

Photography by ©Ronstik- Stock.Adobe.com
Above: Outdoor Lights

It’s finally summer, a time to take it outside to savor longer days and balmy evenings, a perfect setting to get friends together for good times and great food. To help us plan the ultimate gathering, we turned to ROBIN SELDEN, executive chef and managing partner at MARCIA SELDEN CATERING & EVENTS, for her expert advice on pulling off the kind of party that will have your friends asking when they can come over again.


SETTING THE MOOD

Table Talk
“Layer textures with different fabric tablecloths for a relaxed but chic look. Start with white, layered with a natural woven cloth and crisp white napkins. Set it with family-style bowls of olives, roasted and marinated veggies, and tapenades with grilled breads and herbed olive oil. Add a platter with great cheeses and your tablescape just became the appetizer and first course.”


Summer Tunes
“If you’re making a playlist, focus on crowd pleasers, make it about three hours long, and mix classics with current chart toppers. Think ‘Uptown Funk’ by Bruno Mars and ‘Crazy in Love’ by Beyoncé paired with ‘Good Vibrations’ by The Beach Boys and anything by Stevie Wonder. We also like to add in cool, kid-friendly music, like Michael Jackson or Motown hits, music that everyone likes and can sing along with.”

Welcoming Scene
“We love a Tuscan al fresco feel. Think lots of candles, glittery string lights hung from the trees around your yard. Also, take inspiration from the season. Use fresh fruit or vegetables like whole artichokes, eggplants and herbed plants or succulents.”


WOW-WORTHY RECIPES

Sunsational Drink
“Our Blush Grapefruit and Rosé Sangria is light, refreshing and perfect for a crowd.” Here’s the recipe:

2 cups hulled and sliced strawberries
1 orange, sliced into thin rounds
1 pink grapefruit, sliced
into thin rounds
4 oz. Ketel One Grapefruit
+ Rose vodka
3 Tblsp. rosé-scented simple syrup
1 bottle rosé wine
2 cups sparkling water

In a large pitcher, combine the strawberries and orange and grapefruit slices. Use the end of a wooden spoon to muddle the fruit a little. In a small glass combine the vodka and the simple syrup. Pour this and the bottle of rosé over the fruit. Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Before serving, stir in the sparkling water and enjoy.

Photographs: Grapefruit by ©Roman Samokhin – Stock.Adobe.com; Orange by ©MaskaRad – Stock.Adobe.com; Strawberry by ©svetamart – Stock.Adobe.com;


The Main Event

Show off your grilling skills and impress your guests with our grilled Tuscan steak. It’s quite simple; you only have to remember to begin marinating your steak the night before.

Begin by blending 2 Tblsp. extra-virgin olive oil, four sprigs of fresh rosemary, four sprigs of fresh thyme and three cloves of peeled and sliced garlic to marinate one large shell steak (about 24 oz., 2.5 to 3 inches thick) in a plastic container, and refrigerate it overnight.

The next day, remove the steak from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and heat your grill (or a grill pan) to medium-high heat.

Prepare an herbed oil—a mix of juice and zest of one lemon, 2 Tblsp. of extra-virgin olive oil, 1 Tblsp. of chopped Italian parsley, 1 Tblsp. of chopped fresh thyme, ½ tsp. of freshly ground black pepper and 1 tsp. of kosher salt—and set aside.

When you’re ready to grill, season the steak evenly with salt and pepper, place it on the grill and sear for 5 minutes on each side. Then remove the steak to a baking sheet and place it in the oven for 7 minutes for medium rare doneness. Allow the steak to rest for 15 minutes, then slice it, place on a platter and drizzle it with the herbed oil. And voilá!

Photograph: Steak by ©Bernd Juergens- Stock.Adobe.com
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