Summer entertaining is definitely the best kind here in New England. Whether you're dining al fresco or indoors with the windows and doors open, you can enjoy the fresh air, sunshine, and warm summer breeze. When I entertain, I love to serve bite-size foods, or things that can be consumed in one hand with a drink in the other. The recipes compiled here are meant to please a crowd - meat eaters and vegetarians alike - all suitable for serving as appetizers or small bites, so you can leave that formal dining plan behind. There are even a few sweets at the end, because honestly, what kind of gathering isn't better with something sweet to bring it all together?
Wherever you are this summer and whatever your dining style, I hope you'll be inspired by these recipes. Happy Entertaining!
These Asparagus and Prosciutto Crêpes with a Creamy Lemon Dipping Sauce from The Galley Gourmet are something new to me - an alternative to the more traditional spring rolls, but with different ingredients and flavors. Still just as portable, this crafty appetizer creation features pillow-y soft crepes surrounding crunchy asparagus, silky smooth cream cheese and salty proscuitto, which all gets dipped into a creamy lemon dipping sauce.
Another twist on the traditional, this Caprese Garlic Bread from Two Peas and their Pod combines two favorites - a caprese salad and garlic bread. The standard crusty loaf of bread gets loaded up not only with butter and garlic, but also with tomatoes and a delicious balsamic reduction to make it an absolutely irresistible snack.
Though it's a bit more cumbersome to serve and eat, I had to include this BLT Chopped Salad with Corn, Feta and Avocado by How Sweet It Is. This is a BLT kicked up several notches, sans bread to really let the salad flavors shine through. Avocado is added for it's creamy, luxurious taste and texture, corn for a touch of summer sweetness, and then feta cheese is crumbled on top to pull it all together. This is one serious salad.
In lieu of a lobster roll, I came across these Cold Shrimp Scampi Rolls from Sweet Bites Blog and was completely enamored. Any dish that has shrimp or avocado in it is a-okay in my book, and here they are featured together! The marinated and flavor-packed shrimp get a cool, creamy dressing, then get piled into toasted hot dog buns with a bed of fresh baby spinach and generous slabs of avocado. Absolutely divine!
Salmon is a great fish for any time of year, but worked into these Salmon Skewers with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce from The Sprouted Kitchen, it's shown in all it's glory. Paired with in-season zucchini and summer squash, these are easy to assemble, serve and eat. Plus, they make for a great presentation! Very nutritious but also so delicious.
Fried Summer Squash Tacos feature matchstick pieces of delicately fried squash, topped with a charred corn salsa. A great vegetarian option, and looks really beautiful when all put together.
For those with a hefty appetite, this Burger with Roasted Tomatoes, Pesto and Mozzarella by Confections of a Foodie Bride is a unique and mouthwatering option. Burgers take many shapes and forms, but this caprese-inspired burger is a far cry from a regular cheeseburger - and in a great way! You could also substitute a portabella mushroom cap to make this beauty of a burger vegetarian.
For the sweeter side of things, these Lemon Cheesecake in a Jar from My Baking Addiction definitely caught my eye. Anything served in an individual container is a lot more fun, because you can eat the WHOLE thing instead of having to share. But it's also much easier to eat a cheesecake out of one of these adorable mini mason jars, instead of chopping a slice off of a big cake. Garnished with raspberries and a dollop of whipped cream, this dessert is the embodiment of summer.
If you prefer something icy and cold, then this Fresh Mint Froyo with Dark Chocolate Chunks from The Faux Martha might be for you. In direct contrast to the lemon cheesecakes, this is a messy, multiple-serving creation, but it's hints of fresh mint and dark chocolate are so worth it. Refreshment in a single scoop.
Last but not least, if you prefer to drink your desserts, these Rhubarb Strawberry Floats by Kitchen Simplicity are a pretty winning option. Taking the wildly popular Strawberry Rhubarb flavor combo and putting a whole new spin on it! Think Root Beer Float, only fruitier, and perfect for summer.