With summer right around the corner and the weather starting to heat up, now is the perfect time to start thinking about all that fun party planning you have to do.
While some might find entertaining intimidating, the truth of the matter is it really doesn’t have to be. My wife is the premier party planner in our house and she takes the job rather seriously. Everything always has to look perfect, menus are meticulously planned weeks in advance, guest lists stressed over, detailed to-do lists are prepared and checked off task by task until show-time. But in the end, she is the first to admit that all that planning and worry
is totally unnecessary.
Every time we come home from a party that was basically tossed together at the last minute yet everyone had a totally enjoyable time, she vows that she’ll obsess no more. The bottom line is, the only elements you need to make a party fun are: good food, great mixture of guests and relaxed hosts.
“The only elements you need to make a party fun are: good food, great mixture of guests and relaxed hosts.”
Does the food have to be totally made from scratch? No way! We had a “Joy of Cooking” calendar once that gave the perfect response to guests who would ask if you made something. Just tell them, “I made it possible!”
Cheviot Hills is sandwiched between a handful of fine markets that offer ready-made appetizers, sides, even main courses that you can transfer to your own dishes and save yourself a lot of time and mess in the kitchen.
Sometimes just assembling key prepared foods together is all the effort you need. A platter of purchased hummus, pita crackers, blocks of feta cheese and canned grape leaves make a perfect appetizer and only takes seconds to pull together.
For the main course, nothing beats a good summer bar-b-que and with so many homes now offering built-in equipment outdoors, there’s no reason to heat up the kitchen at all. Practically everything that can be made in an oven can be done on the grill and it’s a great social spot for dads to hang out. It must go back to the cavemen’s time but there’s something about open flames and raw meat that turn most male hapless cooks into total enthusiasts and I am proud to be one of them.
One of our favorite cuts of meat to bar-b-que is marinated flank steak. The whole family loves it and it’s easy to do. I’ve included our recipe here. So, the next time you’re faced with a free Saturday night, pick up the phone and invite that family over you’ve been meaning to make plans with. Then take a quick trip to Trader Joe’s and see all the new products to try. You’ll be
surprised at how easy and fun it is to entertain with absolutely no stress on the menu!
Marinated Flank Steak
- 2 pounds beef flank steak
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 tbl crushed ginger
- A few splashes sesame oil (optional)
- Sliced scallions
Mix all ingredients and place in a
large zip top bag with the meat.
Marinate for a few hours or overnight.
Grill on a hot fire for about 10-12 minutes,
turning once. Let it sit for a few minutes
before slicing against the grain.