From a sunny balcony to a shady garden nook, small outdoor spaces can have the appeal of private retreats. Yet often, we treat these areas like an afterthought, slipping in a hard bench or flimsy chair just to fill the space.
It’s time to reclaim these areas for what they truly are: cozy and inviting nooks that are destined to become your favorite place for sipping morning coffee or savoring a dinner for two.
The biggest challenge with a smaller space, especially a balcony, is furnishing it for both comfort and versatility. That’s where the Salima Chat Collection comes in. Not only is the set’s scale perfect for dining, you can also use the cocoon-like chairs alone, their smooth swivel making them great conversation seating.
When it comes to curling up with a good book or even tête à têtes, nothing tops the Carlisle Cuddle Lounge Chair. Generously cushioned, the seating is roomy for one, cozy for two. If you have a bit more room, add the ottoman for even more livability.
Your space will feel even more inviting with a few finishing touches. An outdoor rug will define the space and add a layer of soft texture. You can frame the setting with gorgeous planters filled with tall topiaries or brimming with flowers. Lastly, a lantern and a few outdoor candles will add a touch of romance for those moments after dusk.
Summer grilling is in full swing! That means it’s time to think outside the burger.
These unexpected chicken kabobs will spark even jaded palettes with a marinade that changes everything. Fragrant Indian spices (think coriander and ginger) are mingled with the heat of cayenne and summery coolness from yogurt, lemon and mint. The flavor is complex, delectable and perfect paired with grilled flatbread and tangy pickled onions.
Contributed by Kelly Sterling
1 1/2 lbs. boneless/skinless chicken thighs
For the marinade:
2 Tbsp. ground cumin
2 Tbsp. smoked paprika
1 Tbsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp. achiote powder
8 cloves garlic, grated on a microplane
2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, grated on a microplane
2 cups yogurt
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 Tbsp. sea salt
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped mint
1 recipe pickled red onions (recipe follows)
1 recipe Raita (recipe follows)
Naan or flat bread, grilled
cilantro and mint for garnish
2 limes, cut into wedges
1. Prepare the pickled onions. Prepare the Raita and place in the refrigerator.
2. If you are using wooden skewers, soak for at least 30 minutes.
3. Rinse the chicken well, and dry with paper towels. Cut into 1 1/2″ cubes, and place in a large ziplock bag.
4. In a medium size bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the marinade. Pour over the prepared chicken, seal bag and toss to combine. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours.
5. Thread the marinated chicken onto the soaked skewers.
6. Preheat the grill to medium high. Season chicken with sea salt. Oil and place the skewers in one layer on the grill, and cook until charred and cooked through.
7. Serve on grilled flat bread with Raita, pickled onions, cilantro, mint and a squeeze of lime.
Pickled Red Onions
1 large red onion
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. sea salt
1 cup filtered water
1 cup sugar
1. Trim off ends of onion, cut in half and peel. Slice along the grain into thin strips. Place in a jar with a tight fitting lid.
2. In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, salt, water and sugar. Stir. Bring to a boil, stirring to make sure the salt and sugar are dissolved, and remove from the heat. Pour over the onions, pushing down the onions with a spoon to make sure they are completely submerged. Let cool at room temperature, then cover with the lid and refrigerate. These will keep indefinitely in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
1 English cucumber, seeded and diced
juice from 1 lemon (about 2 Tbsp.)
1 cup thick yogurt (such as Fage)
3 cloves garlic (grated on a microplane)
6 large mint leafs, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
fresh ground pepper
In a medium size bowl, stir together all the ingredients except the cucumbers. Add the cucumbers, and toss to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.
2 fennel bulbs
4 cups baby arugula
3 small oranges (such as tangelos)
1/4 cup walnuts (toasted and chopped)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 recipe Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette (follows)
1. Core and slice the fennel very thin (use a mandolin or very sharp knife).
2. Peel and section the oranges; reserve any extra juices for the the vinaigrette.
3. Place the fennel, arugula, orange sections and walnuts in a large bowl, drizzle with the vinaigrette and a pinch of salt and pepper to taste, toss and serve immediately.
Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette
2 tsp. fennel seeds (toasted and finely ground)
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. sea salt
a few grinds of fresh black pepper
1/2 cup grapes oil
Place all the ingredients in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake well, until completely combined.
4 small zucchini, thinly sliced
4 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
4 sprigs fresh thyme, stemmed
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 cup almond oil
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
fresh ground black pepper
1. Combine the zucchini, lemon juice, thyme, salt and almond oil, and toss to combine. Set aside and let marinate for 30 minutes.
2. After 30 minutes, add the feta, almonds and several grinds of pepper. Serve immediately.
Dinner is served, but don’t forget the beverages. Try our delicious Sangria … a fresh Summer staple as golden as the sun. Set your table apart with outdoor dining inspiration from our Pinterest board.
Afternoon tea is a beloved British tradition, steeped in ritual and propriety. And to honor Wimbledon on this side of the pond, we’re showcasing this genteel daily ritual.
The custom of afternoon tea became popular in the 19th century when dinner was often served at eight. Today, tea time is a moment to gather and revive, transforming what is often a low point of the day.
In Britain, you can take your tea between matches at Wimbledon, or drink it in splendor at Claridge’s. To host a tea yourself, a silver tea service and bone china are lovely additions, but the food and the company are the main attraction.
In fact, the menu for afternoon tea hasn’t changed much since the days of Jane Austen. Delight your guests and yourself with fare as simple as delicate finger sandwiches, warm scones with jam and clotted cream … and of course, tea.
Clear and strong, the steaming “cuppa” is the centerpiece. Serve a variety from loose leaves – fragrant Earl Grey, floral Darjeeling, herbaceous green, wild rooibos – then relax and enjoy the company. Because it’s the moment of pause and act of gathering that really make the tea party so delicious.
Create a gorgeous tablescape, indoors or outside. Get inspired by ideas from our Pinterest board.
Donatella Arpaia’s passion for food was formed at a young age. Spending summers at her grandfather’s Italian olive farm, growing up in her dad’s restaurants, and learning from her Mama Maria were invaluable foundations of her cooking. Since opening her first restaurant, Bellini, in 1988, Donatella hasn’t stopped. The former lawyer-turned-culinary-mogul and Food Network star shares her love of cooking and entertaining with us, bringing fun, drama and personality to your table.
Summer entertaining often involves large groups, yet I love intimate summer dinner parties! It feels so indulgent to bring the good crystal and flatware outdoors, to slip on that fun dress you’ve been waiting to wear, and savor an elegant meal under the stars.
Of course, because I am a chef, I think the meal itself is very important, but it’s definitely not everything. Don’t neglect the other important aspects of making your dinner memorable. Here are my top tips (and a few recipes) for an intimate summer gathering.
Candles, flowers and music are the sacred trilogy to any event. Candles flickering under the stars are the easiest way to set the mood. For a modern and elegant look, choose one type of flower and arrange bunches in a beautiful vase. These yellow forsythia branches from my garden added the perfect pop of color.
If possible, set the table early in the morning. I like to mix metallics such as gold flatware with crystal stemware, and I always finish with a splash of color. For this summer soiree, I chose lavender napkins for a touch of modern elegance. Set your table apart with outdoor dining inspiration from Frontgate’s Pinterest board.
For music, create a playlist for the evening. The tempo should be upbeat upon arrival and a bit mellower when dining.
Lastly, don’t forget that you’re part of the scene. Pick out a pretty dress that’s comfortable and colorful. You’re the hostess … have fun with it!
Make sure your menu is balanced. Vegetarian pasta is light and healthy, and I’ll also offer steak and seafood options to include all my guests. All of my recipes are easy, but they do require buying top ingredients.
For an added touch, why not print a menu and add a wine course pairing? It’s a great way to engage your guests in conversation. Print on parchment, and wrap in a bow.
My No-cook Pasta Sauce. That’s right! The only cooking required for this dish is boiling the pasta! The best part is that this pasta can be served hot, warm or even cold. The more it sits, the better it gets!
2 pints (4 cups) cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chopped Italian parsley
Zest of 1 large lemon (plus juice)
1 medium green zucchini, sliced then cut into ribbons
1 medium yellow zucchini, sliced then sliced into ribbons
1½ cups ricotta
One package of Malfaldine pasta (lasagna strips)
Sea Salt and freshly ground pepper
In a large bowl, toss together the tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, parsley and lemon juice and let marinate.
In the meantime, bring a large pot of salted water to a roaring boil, cook pasta and remove from heat one minute before the suggested time on the package.
Drain (reserve half cup of pasta water) and transfer pasta to a large bowl. Stir in ricotta until fully incorporated, using pasta water as needed to thin. Add the tomatoes that have been marinating. Toss again and gently fold in zucchini.
Finish with freshly ground salt and pepper and serve—hot, warm or cold. The more it sits the better it gets!
1 large bunch flat parsley, coarsely chopped
1 bunch scallions, sliced (white and green parts)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 or 4 anchovies (optional), minced
⅓ cup olive oil
Crushed red pepper
Salt and black pepper, to taste
40 oz. skirt steak
To make sauce, place parsley, scallions, garlic and anchovies in a bowl, and stir in olive oil, crushed red pepper, salt and black pepper. Let sit, and allow flavors to meld together while steak cooks.
Place steak on grill and cook 6-8 minutes on each side. Remove from grill and cut into thin slices. Brush with Chimichurri Sauce and serve.
1 lb. large shrimp
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
Wooden 4-inch skewers
Soak the wooden skewers in water for 1 hour or use metal skewers.
Whisk olive oil, salt and pepper into a bowl. Thread four shrimp onto each skewer, then brush shrimp skewers with olive oil mixture. Let shrimp marinate for 15 minutes.
Heat grill to medium. Place shrimp on the grill and cook 2 minutes per side or until cooked through.
3 pints cherry tomatoes
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
1 package arugula
Preheat oven to 425°. Toss cherry tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place tomatoes on a baking sheet so that they fit in single layer. Roast tomatoes for 20-25 minutes or until soft.
Place tomatoes on a serving plate and top with arugula. Arrange grilled shrimp skewers on top of the arugula and serve.
Think outside the box! Grilling isn’t just for steak. Place watermelon slices on the grill, then sprinkle with salt and mint for a light and sweet end to your meal.
There's still time to plan the perfect Mother's Day fête. Let our friends at Palm Beach Lately help... ---> bit.ly/PalmBeachLatelyBrunch