Summertime parties are often impromptu and super relaxed. You can spend your hours sweating in the kitchen, playing volleyball at the beach, or sipping wine and beer at your summer house of a lakeside cabin. As summer flies by (or as Paul Simon wrote, “August, fly she must”), stretch every last moment out of it. Open a beer or your favorite bottle of wine with a couple of friends and prepare a simple yet satisfying summer repast. What better time to host a fun dinner party than a relaxing Sunday evening? Yes, you can break from the requisite barbeque of burgers and grilled chicken, and replace it with simple yet satisfying fare.
Try out this light meat-free menu, both wholesome and filling.
- Start with a cold summer soup like green or red gazpacho – nothing too sweet or too creamy.
- Pasta is an easy dish. Be brave and use Ronzoni or other high quality, gluten-free pasta. You’d be shocked how the food scientists have replicated the taste and consistency of wheat pasta. Serve it with a sauce made of Mediterranean olive oil, lots of fresh herbs, and grated lemon. Squeeze in some lemon juice for extra freshness. Add whatever fresh vegetables you like. And pass around Parmesan cheese and freshly grated peppers as an option for your guests.
- Offer a tomato salad drizzled with light anchovy dressing or dark green olive oil with fresh herbs.
- Add celery sticks spread with black olive dip or flavored cream cheese.
- Make room for cold watermelon for dessert, and homemade ice pops if you’re up for it.
Stop here! It’s summer, so keep it light and simple, leaving room for your own enjoyment.
Now on to some wine pairings. You’ll want to give your guests something memorable and refreshing.
Ari Lockspeiser, fine wine consultant for kosherwine.com, graciously supplied three pairing suggestions for this elegant summer menu. Fresh dishes usually call for light white wines. For a little variety he added a red Gilgal, along with two delicious elegant white wines.
Gilgal Pinot Noir: This is a wonderfully light and fruity wine with plenty of red fruit, including cherries and strawberries which would pair well with pasta dishes.
Borgo Reale Pinot Grigio: A bright, crisp, perfect summer choice, this wine would go with tomato salad.
Carmel Appellation Chardonnay: A refreshing Israeli chardonnay, it carries a nice amount of acid and can stand up to a slightly heavier dish such as olive dip.
In Chana’s kitchen, you’ll find a plaque that says "This is an Equal Opportunity Kitchen." Her grandchildren love to help her prepare and present wholesome dishes. Her favorite Jewish holiday is Passover when the family gathers around the large island in her kitchen, sipping wine and preparing great, creative foods without processed ingredients.
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