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Home Design with Kevin Sharkey

Four Summer Entertaining Tricks

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During the summertime entertaining should feel effortless. No one wants to spend too much energy preparing an elaborate meal or a formal table for a get together. If you want to simplify your entertaining routine, but still make an impact, try these four tips that I love for summer entertaining.

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Dreamy Ice Cream: Turn a half-gallon tub of Neapolitan ice cream -- my favorite is from Il Laboratorio del Gelato (laboratoriodelgelato.com) -- into a decadent bombe by dripping plenty of dark chocolate over it. First, cut the carton off the ice cream. Refreeze it until it hardens, and then pour slightly cooled melted semisweet chocolate over the top, and let it drip down the sides; refreeze once more. When the topping is set, arrange the bombe on a fancy serving platter and scatter chunky chocolate bits on top and around it for an added flourish.

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Snazzy Snacks: Mix-and-match silver serving pieces and crisply ironed linens can make even the simplest foods look sophisticated. One huge punch bowl chock-full of potato chips and a smaller bowl of dip (I never stray from the classic 1950s combination of sour cream and onion-soup mix) is my signature party dish. Good-quality olives (with frilly cellophane-topped toothpicks, of course) and a large platter of pistachios round out the savory side of my no-cook cocktail party menu.

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Cocktail Accompaniments Platter: A basic white platter just might be the most versatile item in your cupboard. Use it to corral party cocktail garnishes. Offer accompaniments to cocktails: citrus wedges (for gin and vodka tonics), olives and caper berries (martinis, Bloody Marys), and cocktail onions (Gibsons).

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Color-Coded Party Drink Buckets: Keeping red wines in red ice buckets and white in white will avoid confusion at summer gatherings. Hadn't thought of chilling a bottle of red? Lighter bodied, fruity reds -- such as Spanish Rioja, Lambrusco, or Sicilian Cersasuolo -- are refreshing when served cool (but not icy cold) and bold enough to stand up to summer fare.

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Comments (4)

  • That Gelato idea is brilliant, I'm definitely trying that! Where I am, the weather has been awful but its predicted to get a bit warmer soon..when it does, I'm going to be trying a few of these suggestions and sit in the garden with friends..can't wait!

  • Greetings from Mount of Lebanon, Amazing ideas Kevin love them all for summer entertainment.

  • Oh my god! The first one just blew out of the gates! That icecream sure is dreamy, a lot dreamy. :) Thanks for the share. This is really nice.

  • Great tips! I completely agree with pressed linens! I look forward to serving your ice cream idea. Clever and well presented!

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