Summer is the perfect time to enjoy friends and have fun, and parties are great opportunities to get together with friends for great food. The warm weather allows for the use of an outdoor grill to create perfect meats and side dishes. The outside heat, however, also provides an excuse for indulging in cold treats.
Party Foods on the Grill
The grill is the perfect tool for preparing food at summer parties. Many party recipes can be made with very little preparation and then thrown on the grill to finish cooking.
Hamburgers and hot dogs are staples in the summer diet. Other meats, however, also can be prepared on the grill. Try marinating chicken in Italian dressing for four hours. Then toss it on the grill and serve it with grilled vegetables for a great meal. Another option is to marinate steak for at least three hours in a soy-lemon mixture consisting of 3/4 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup lemon juice, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 cup mustard and 2 tsp. minced garlic. Cook it on the grill until medium-rare.
Grilled flatbread can be a great recipe for parties. To prepare, sprinkle ½ tsp. active dry yeast over ½ cup warm water. Stir and let the mixture sit five minutes while the yeast gets foamy. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil, 1 1/3 cup flour and ½ tsp. kosher salt. Mix well and knead until the dough pulls from your fingers. Put it in an oiled bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. After it rises, divide the dough into four pieces. Roll each piece into a circle, brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with kosher salt and rosemary. Place the oiled side on the grill and cook for two minutes, brushing the other side with oil and sprinkling with salt and rosemary. Turn the bread and cook for another two minutes then and serve.
Peaches can be prepared easily and cooked on the grill. Slice peaches in half then immerse the halves in water for 30 minutes. Place them skin-side up directly on a low-heat grill and close the grill's lid. Allow the peaches to cook for 10 to 15 minutes, checking them occasionally to make sure they don't burn. Serve them to your party guests warm with ice cream.
Party Foods from the Freezer
The freezer is a great place to prepare food in the summer, and guests at parties really appreciate something cold when the temperature rises outside. Cold cucumber soup offers a twist on traditional soups, and it can be served in small ramekins or bowls for large groups. Blend 4 cucumbers, 1 small onion, 1 clove garlic, 1 handful fresh parsley and ½ cup chicken stock in a food processor. Add 2 drops Worcestershire sauce, a dash of lemon juice, 1 tsp. thyme, 1 tsp. oregano, and 16 oz. sour cream then pulse the blender until all ingredients are mixed together. Chill the soup in the freezer and serve with a cooked shrimp or slice of lemon.
Ice cream is a traditional summer party favorite, and you can even make it without an ice cream maker. A simple recipe, easily adjustable to make enough for a large party, requires 1 pint light cream, 2 cans sweetened condensed milk and 2 tsp. vanilla extract. Pour the ingredients into a large, flat pan and mix with a hand mixer until smooth. Put the mixture in the freezer. Remove it every 30 to 45 minutes for two hours, mixing well each time. The ice cream will be frozen and ready to eat after three hours. For parties, put out assorted sauces and toppings for guests to mix in their ice cream.