Here at CMI, we are ecstatic that summer is in full swing! We look forward to fresh, carefree summer nights, and weekend music events and festivals. With the help of our contributors, we’ve put together a few ways you can enjoy the outdoors with friends and food, and of course, local music. Enjoy!
With the warm weather comes the urge to get outside and get together. Nothing beats a warm-weather soiree with food and music, and getting your guests involved in the food preparations can add an element of fun to the mix. Here are a few ways to keep your guests happy, fed, and included in the fun.
Build a Biscuit Bar
If you’re looking for an interactive and easy addition to any patio party, let me suggest a biscuit bar. First, you’re going to need some biscuits and there are a couple ways to go about this.
1) Use a family recipe that is tested and approved. 2) Use a recipe from a trusted cookbook or website. 3) Buy a bunch of place-n-bake biscuits and call it a day (my preferred method).
So that part is easy enough, right? What’s next? For this particular party, we used an assortment of jellies and jams (two sweet, one spicy and peppery) from our favorite shop for wine and gourmet goods, Tasteful Times in Fishers.
Now, on to the butters. That is everyone’s favorite part so let’s give the people what they want, shall we?
I made three compound butters using unsalted butter and herbs from my garden. To make them, just leave your butter out to soften (I use one stick per recipe) and then mix in the following ingredient combinations to taste:
Lemon Thyme + Honey
Sage + Sea Salt + Pepper
Chives + Sea Salt
The possibilities here are endless. When I do this again, I’d like to include a chili-lime butter or maybe some kind of truffle oil combo. You can try out some of your favorite flavor profiles, but remember: taste as you go so you know what you’re serving your guests!
Shake It Up with Picnic Whip
No matter where you are in the Indy area, you’re sure to find some sort of outdoor summer entertainment – check out the sidebar in this feature to get a few ideas. Whether you’re enjoying a large-scale event like Symphony on the Prairie or visiting the Garfield Park Conservatory, bringing along the right snacks can take your experience to the next level.
My favorite dessert to pack during picnic season is strawberries and cream. This fresh, easy-to-store dessert can have you enjoying seasonal fruit and freshly whipped cream anytime, anywhere. You simply need a mason jar, heavy whipping cream, adding a dash of vanilla and sugar to your liking. Combine all ingredients in the jar beforehand, then when ready, make sure the lid is tightly sealed and get to shaking. Additionally, make sure that the jar is filled no more than half full to allow some air to fluff up your cream.
To be fair, this will take a little extra muscle, but it is the kind of food prep in which everyone can participate. Take turns shaking for a few minutes and then you’ll have a fluffy, creamy dessert. Don’t forget the strawberries!
Crowd-source Your Playlist
Putting together the perfect playlist can be stressful when all your guests have different tastes. Why not take the hassle out of composing such a list and let everyone contribute? There are a number of mobile apps that provide party-goers with the ability to vote on the next song or add a track from their personal device. To engage your guests and ensure everyone is enjoying themselves, give apps like Jukebox Hero, Partify, and POW WOW a try.
For more recipes and ideas for your next dinner party, jump on over and visit Elise Shrock at www.indyfoodmaven.tumblr.com.