Midsummer is one of our favorite times to entertain. The light stays beautiful until deep into the evening, and we can serve supper outdoors, or wander outside for drinks and dessert. Here's a menu designed for a casual, midsummer evening party, with recipes from our friends at Cookstr. It has several things we're loving or craving right now: zucchini fritters, fresh garden beans, a no-stress main dish, and a special dessert.
We love the inclusion of zucchini fritters in this menu. Do you know how to make zucchini fritters? If you are growing squash or zucchini in your garden, you should get ready now! They are a great way to use up some of the torrent of summer squash about to pour off your vines.
• Lemon Honey Chicken Breasts with Mustard Mayonnaise from Victoria Blashford-Snell and Brigitte Hafner's Kitchen Bible. We like this main dish because it can be mostly prepped ahead, and it's a great showcase for grilled flavor. You can whisk together the mustard mayonnaise and have it all prepped, then throw the chicken on the grill or under the broiler as your guests arrive.
• Zucchini Fritters from Nigella Lawson's Forever Summer. These delicate, flavorful fritters aren't deep-fried at all; Lawson describes them as a sort of vegetable pancake, best eaten warm or cool. We like them with a dollop of fresh yogurt or a side of crème fraîche. Make sure to include plenty of chopped fresh herbs in the mix too.
• Double Squash and Bean Salad also from Nigella Lawson's Forever Summer. We love the mix of green and yellow and other summer colors in this vibrant squash salad. We like that this is another recipe that showcases fresh summer herbs. Ours are growing like weeds, and salads like these are an excuse to use whole handfuls at once.
• Raspberry Charlotte from Victoria Blashford-Snell and Brigitte Hafner's Kitchen Bible. Most of this menu is rather casual. But it calls for one special summer treat: a raspberry charlotte that is deceptively easy. It uses storebought ladyfingers and a heap of fresh raspberries. The best thing, though, is that it all has to be prepared at least several hours ahead, which means you won't be fussing with dessert at the last moment. You can just pull this showstopper out of the refrigerator.
(Images, clockwise from top left: Dorling Kindersley; Petrina Tinslay; Petrina Tinslay; Dorling Kindersley)