And just like that… we have entered into fall. Summer has quickly gone by and I have to say, that despite all the craziness of politics, pandamics , looting, protesting and the country being divided I somehow had a very magical summer. It was absolutely low key and packed with loads of hosting and hanging in friends back years and patios.
As I’ve mentioned before my girlfriends and I created a so called “DINNER CLUB”, where we rotated homes and hosted small intimate dinner parties with themes. Remember the SANTORINI dinner? I personally became obsessed with our weekly tradition and got quite good at changing things up. I updated, revamped and re-worked my patio more times than I can admit and invested into a ton of dinner wear and tablecloths to make sure that my dinner parties were never stale.
If you remember at the beginning of the season we started out HERE. I quickly updated and switched things around where I thought my patio made sense this way. However after moving my dining table to a different section, putting up a TV and building a boxwood wall out of Mackenzie Childs boxwoods I decided that the previous dining section would make the perfect chill section.
Now don’t get me wrong… I’m actually not done yet. I’ve ordered a custom OHANA sectional that fingers crossed will be here by October. If you’re looking for a sectional OHANA is my favorite!!! They are custom made so keep that in mind it takes a minute to get em. You can however customize your wicker, pillows, shape, etc.
Just a reminder, this is where we started in April at the beginning of the season. My patio was literally concrete and woods!
I’ve linked pretty must EVERYTHING from the patio below so make sure you scroll down if you’re looking to purchase and update your outdoor space. Keep in mind, almost everything is on SALE so it really is the perfect time to buy!
Now let’s talk MENU! Every dinner party deserves a special menu. I almost always cook everything with exception to the SANTORINI dinner. That one had so much setup involved that I barely had time to get dressed let alone cook!
If we are talking about grilling then I love to add a few proteins and loads of salads and sides. I’m Russian and we typically like to do everything family style. This way you can have a little sumthin sumthin for everyone.
This summer we discovered the Marianos skirt steak. I typically get all my meat from a butcher shop or from Whole Foods. However, this pre-marinated steak is the BOMB.com! It’s the Jack Daniels steak and we found out about it thanks to Jack Grange, a cooking connoisseur and hubby to my dear friend Jo Grange, who you all should follow!
Since so many of you have been messaging me all summer asking me to do a cook book… I’ll tell you this. I am so flattered but I’m the worst at recipes and following instructions. I cook so much from the heart and really just feel what I need to add and take out. So… I’ll try to give you a little recipe of some my family favorite sides for you to keep and feel free to add and alter as you go.
RED CABBAGE SALAD
- Red or white cabbage. If you use red cabbage I recommend you massage it to soften it up. I like to use Himalayan coarse salt (it’s great in terms of mineral content) and a good Avocado oil. Make sure you read the ingredients. So many oils are not what you think they are and have a ton of additives.
- Massage your cabbage with salt (to taste) and Avocado oil. Leave on the side to rest.
- Chop up any herbs, I love to pick mint, Italian Parsley and a little basil from the garden. Finely chop.
- Mix in with your cabbage, add ground pepper to taste, a dash of garlic powder and a squeeze of two limes or a lemon and a half. I also like to add lemon or lime zest. This salad is extremely refreshing and delicious and my kids LOVE IT!
CHOPPED CAPRESE SALAD
- When tomatoes are in season and in my case growing in the garden this is a staple. I like to dice up the tomatoes into little bites and I love mixing the orange with red and yellow. They seem to have a lot more flavor.
- Add in a ton of basil
- Sometimes I add red onion or shallots
- For cheese a good mozzarella, if you are dairy free I love the VioLife Fetta cheese instead. It’s delicious!!!
- Drizzle a good Olive Oil, I love the Castillo de Canena oil. It’s AMAZING!
- Add in salt and pepper and mix
- Top it off with a good Balsamic Glaze
WATERMELON FETTA SALAD
- Dice up watermelon into bite sizes
- Add real Fetta Cheese or my favorite VioLife if you are plant based
- Add micro greens I love any but the broccoli ones are my favorites
- Add fresh basil, curly parsley and mint
- Drizzle with olive oil
- Coarse salt and a little ground pepper
- Squeeze a whole lemon or lime
FIGS & HONEY ROASTED ALMONDS
- Slice up figs into halves
- Add salt + pepper to taste
- Drizzle with olive oil
- Sprinkle either honey roasted almonds, pine nuts or walnuts
- Drizzle with Balsamic glaze
During this whole COVID craze I also realized how much I prefer to eat in the safety of my own home or friends house and how important is the art of cocktails. I’ve perfected some but if mixology is not your thing you can certainly find a bar with a great mixologist that will make your cocktails to go!
I hope that my hosting posts have helped you enjoy your summer the best way you possibly can! I love you guys and all the love and support you’ve given me. Stay safe, stay healthy and stay sane!