Summertime and the entertaining is easy. No one wants to be stuck in the kitchen when guests arrive, especially on a nice summer day. Having a platter of simple finger foods ready for guests to help themselves to, gives the host a chance to mingle with all the guests. When choosing what to serve before a meal, balance your selection with the meal: lighter fare, heavier pre-meal platter and vice versa. Offer savory and sweet options.
Elevate the oh-so-predictable cheese and cracker platter with a few easy twists. With hosta in all their glory, line a wicker tray with a large hosta leaf, such as ‘Sum and Substance’. Think of setting out more seasonal, local and exciting fruit, such as fresh figs and cherries rather than the usual grapes. Find unusual crackers such as these rosemary and raisin ones to accompany a creamy St André. Caprese-salad-on-a-stick is a summer favorite. To make these, marinate mini mozzarella balls in olive oil, hot pepper flakes, and some oregano for a few hours. Alternatively you could purchase already marinated cheese. On a short skewer, thread a tomato, a basil leaf, a cheese ball and a Kalamata olive. (I made some without olives) Popping one of these in your mouth is a burst of summer flavor.