Cooking with family and friends in the summer is high on my list of favorite activities, along with long walks on the beach and relaxing pool-side.
At our house, everyone gets an assignment, from cutting and chopping to setting the table and picking flowers. And, of course, as an added bonus, I give out entertaining and cooking tips and tricks to anyone who wants them.
Some of my most memorable times are listening to music as I cook with friends and drinking wine or summer mojitos with fresh mint from the garden. This is the time when guests who are staying at our house get to know each other, share jokes, and recipes. There is nothing that connects people like getting them in the kitchen together.
Cooking with Company
When all the food is ready and everyone sits down to a beautiful, delicious meal, there is this special feeling that I have: I did this. I created this magic. I get instant gratification from the ooohs and ahhhs, and my guests feel wonderful too because they all participated.
There is no substitute for cooking at home. It’s a free therapy session for the stomach and the soul.
This weekend, we created three fantastic meals: two lunches and a dinner on the last night where we used all the left-overs and made an outstanding frittata.
Sally, my son Zach’s fabulous girlfriend, came up with the first lunch theme; Mexican! Grilled chicken and shrimp with Mexican spices and guacamole, warm tortillas, and a bean, corn, and tomato salad. We had lots of cilantro, jalapenos, lime juice, and ripe avocados, plus some summer margaritas!
We marinated the shrimp and the chicken in smoked paprika, lime juice, garlic, and a barbeque rub from Steve Raichlen.
We combined black beans with summer corn fresh off the cob, cilantro, cherry tomatoes, and lime juice. A perfect accompaniment to tortillas and guacamole.
Then we made a gorgeous summer salad with cucumbers, avocado, tomatoes, green beans, olives, and feta, and served it with a tangy vinaigrette. We grilled shrimp and scallops, marinated in garlic, lemon, olive oil, and oregano, and kept it nice and light.
Dessert was a perfectly refreshing watermelon with lime juice and fresh mint.
Perfect summer days. Happy Independence day to you and yours!
*The original blog was called Flavors in Love. All material has been transferred and some has been edited for easier reading, and archiving.