Dara’s Tips for Summer Entertaining

Summer is my favorite season for entertaining. Whether I’m planning a laid-back outdoor tandoori barbecue or elegant dinner party, there’s something about the warm weather that makes everyone relax and have fun. Most of my summer entertaining takes place at our house in Little Compton, RI. It’s the perfect setting for a weekend of delicious meals, long walks on the beach, and sharing a bottle or two of rosé with family and friends. I always love the opportunity to cook with fresh local ingredients and fill the guest rooms with flowers from the garden. Here are my best hostessing tips for making the most of what the season has to offer. 

  • 1. Always set your table ahead of time, keeping the décor simple with understated pops of color. My Les Indiennes napkins and Mud Australia bowls are always great for creating a casually elegant vibe.
  • 2. Use freshly cut flowers for the perfect summer centerpiece. Peonies never fail to make a breathtaking statement.
  • 3. Eat locally grown produce whenever possible. I love sautéing squash blossoms from our garden. They make a great hors d'oeuvre filled with mozzarella and prosciutto, with a side of homemade tomato sauce for dipping.
  • 4. The key to simple and delicious summer meals is a good outdoor grill. I prep all the ingredients for my favorite tandoori barbecue recipe in advance so I can start grilling as soon as people are hungry.
  • 5. Grilling vegetables is the best way to bring out their earthy flavor and natural aroma. This past weekend I grilled asparagus, shiitake mushrooms, and zucchini for my summer risotto.
  • 6. The extra-high heat of the grill is also great for making pizza, especially when you want to get those delicious charred spots on the crust. Throw an outdoor pizza party and have guests choose their own toppings.
  • 7. Beer can chicken is another go-to grill recipe when I'm entertaining a large group. It's easy to make and a major crowd-pleaser.
  • 8. Eat outside whenever possible. You can't beat ocean views and a stunning pink sunset for the perfect ambience.

Written by DARA Artisans.Jul 07, 2015
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DARA Artisans promotes cultural curiosity and a sense of discovery by offering a sophisticated edit of handmade artisan crafts to an audience seeking authentic, responsibly sourced designs with a modern aesthetic.