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Ted’s Tip No. 218

For this our official last week of Summer, grab every chance you can to dine alfresco. Be it a table outside at a restaurant, a picnic blanket on the beach, or a napkin folded over your lap on a park bench–take that opportunity to enjoy a meal with the sun or the moon.



 

 

A Simple App Board

We do whatever we can to keep the stress level down when we have guests over. It is our way to make it easier to see friends & family. Often I think folks pass on entertaining because it can be a ton of work. But it does not have to be! An appetizer board, or app board as I like to call it, can be super quick and easy and in a pinch can be all you need to put out if you are just having friends over for drinks. Also, an easy way to entertain. A full on, sit down meal is not the only item on the menu when it comes to entertaining. OK, these are my thoughts for a quick app board. There are a zillion variations on this but here is an easy guide we often fall back on in a pinch. 2 to 3 cheeses. One soft and spreadable, the other to slice, we almost always add a Brie. Crackers. A baguette that is cut up and ready to put cheese on. A nut of some sort. Either tomatoes or radishes. Cut some and leave some whole. A small dish filled with salt for dipping said tomatoes or radishes. A bunch of grapes. All of this is easily found at most any grocery store. Knifes to cut or spread the cheese. A few leaves or bunch of herbs to add a bit of color. All laid out on a cutting or serving board. Done. Let the entertaining begin!



 

 

Forty Ounce Rosé

There were so many things about this bottle that intrigued me, I am not even sure where to begin. Wine & Dine Wednesday is a pretty fab rosé that is a heck of a deal in a super unique bottle. It is also called ‘Forty Ounce Rosé’ but in truth, it is close to 34 ounces. Go figure. But it had that light blush color that I am always after when it comes to rosé, and it is French, another top of the list prerequisite most times. The bottle absolutely got my attention. Kind of like a bottle for extra virgin olive oil or inexpensive beer. You decide. The wine was fresh & succulent and easily drinkable, as any rosé should be. At under 20 bucks it was a major winner. Officially we still have 3 weeks left of Summer and we plan on grabbing every bit of it. If a glass of rosé is involved, all the better.



 

 

Ted’s Tip No. 216

With tomatoes at their most plentiful and glorious, serve and enjoy them as often as you can. A simple vessel of salt next to a bowl of the beauties and you are all set for a healthy snack or an easy app if serving guests.



 

 

A Drinks Tray

This Wine & Dine Wednesday is about assembling a drinks tray. This one is for outside dining, but works pretty much the same when the party/gathering is inside too. Entertaining can and should be tons of fun. But it can be quite a bit of work, as well, and I think that is what stops or hinders folks from doing it. A drinks tray makes things waaaaaay easier. At WestWard, the tray sits right on the bench next to the dining table and by the chairs where we sit when guests first arrive. It is also next to the staircase that leads to the beach, making it easy to make a libation for your beach walk. I add whatever the offerings are for the day. Negronis and Aperol spritz were on the menu for above, as well as sparking water and club soda. Our friend Bill drinks Bourbon and 7UP so that assortment was on the tray too. Plus we always include G&T fixings, as they speak of Summer. Add a bucket of ice, glasses and citrus needed for the drinks. Not in the photo but added later a sharp knife to cut the citrus and a spoon to stir. By having it right where the gathering is taking place you are not constantly running into the kitchen or bar area to mix drinks. Plus it makes it easy for guests to make their own if they would like when you get busy putting together the meal. A drinks tray speaks of a party! Your guests will feel cared for and it makes things so much easier for the host.



 

 

A Super Easy App Board

We are of the mindset that entertaining does not, actually in our case ‘should not’ be stressful or complicated. I think that is what stops folks from creating a gathering or hosting a dinner. Our Sunday suppers out on the island are case in point. They come at the end of a busy, long week. Yet, we love, no make that capital LOVE, having friends and family out. So we try super hard not to overdue and stress ourselves out. Hence, a super easy appetizer board for when guest first arrive. They have had a ferry ride as well as it being in the middle of the day, so we know they are hungry. Start time is always 2. It is not really a lunch, but it is plenty before supper. We like to sit and chat with a cocktail when everyone first arrives. The app board makes it easy to nosh as stories are told. The above what I whipped up on Sunday. Radishes cut to lots of sizes along with Irish butter and French sea salt. A triple-creme cheese next to crackers and sliced seeded baguette. Then a personal favorite I learned from the chef at Prune in NYC, Gabrielle Hamilton. I have enjoyed this there so many times. Crack open a tin of sardines, nestle a mound of Triscuits next to it, as well as a jar of Dijon and a dish of cornichons. The combo is incredibly satisfying. This board was enjoyed and pretty darn near empty by the time a little beach walk was on the agenda. Bowls of cherries or small tomatoes or olives is also easy to add. As well as a piece of smoked salmon or slices of salami. It really is much more about “composing” rather than cooking. I guarantee, no one will care. Cheers to relaxing entertaining!



 

 

Château du Cèdre Marcel Malbec

This Wine & Dine Wednesday is a yummy red we had the other evening with a tasty filet mignon & scallops I made for Sunday supper out on the island. Full disclosure, I was absolutely smitten with the label! I was rushing around the grocery store and it was my last purchase before heading to the checkout line. Was completely taken by the images and fonts. Good news, what was in the bottle was every bit as good as what was on the outside. At under 15 bucks a bottle, we would try it again and again.

A little history and wine speak: Pascal Verhaeghe and his brother, Jean-Marc, bring a welcome refinement to the wines of picturesque Cahors, located about an hour and a half east of Bordeaux. Their father began making wines at Château du Cèdre in the 1970s, and the fun-loving sons took over in the 1990s, banning all herbicides and chemicals, and adopting a domaine motto: “Move forward, experience new ways.”

Fragrant & tasty on the palate with damson plum and blackberry fruit. Full, fresh, and engaging, this Malbec is a hidden gem and the fruit is super clean!



 

 

Ted’s Tip No. 197

Entertaining need not be a ton of work. It can be as easy as roasting a chicken. Along with a green salad and baguette, a simple meal to enjoy while catching up with friends.



 

 

Ted’s Tip No. 196

Here is a fun idea. When you are the guest at a friend’s home, pick up supper for them right before you depart. It will be a lovely ‘Thank You’ and will the perfect parting gift.



 

 

Staying In With Take Out

Saturday evening we had dear old friends, Catherine & Steve, over for supper in town. Us entertaining could be challenging on that night, as we both always work the shops that day–me at the Market and TPS in the office at the Home store. But with a little planning ahead and really good take out, it can be done and a really good time can be had by all. Hosts included. I am always looking for ways to inspire us all to spend time with our friends at our home. We love dining out, but there is just a specialness about dining in your home with friends that just can’t be beat.

Setting the table the night before or even the morning of, is a must. It takes a ton of stress off of you and it is pretty swell to come home after a busy day of work and see the table all set! Plus it gives the flowers time to settle in and start to do their thing. For the other evening we put out pâté with a few cheeses, baguette, along with cashews and grapes. All enjoyed with a glass of Champagne while the cassoulet from Cafe Campagne heated up in the oven. I had made a shallot vinaigrette in the morning for an arugula salad along with haricot vert. A yummy bottle of red had time to breathe along with the flickering candles. More baguette with really good French butter and we were off and running. Actually, make that laughing and storytelling and having a grand time.