“Beach Casual” entertaining gives you a pass on some of the rules and regulations of proper formal” entertaining. Remember, same rules apply – freedom, creativity and humor! Oh, and great fresh food – no rule says you have to make all the food yourself – don’t forget to visit your local farmers’ market.
Grab some homemade bread, whip up the following maritime favorites lobster chowder and a bloody caesar – casual but perfect for lunch guests!
“Frankly, Mary I Don’t Give a Clam!”
6 ounces (¾ cup) Clamato® or vegetable-tomato juice
2 teaspoons Frank’s® RedHot® Cayenne Pepper Sauce
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon French’s® Worcestershire Sauce
Garnishes (optional) lemon slice, celery stalk, shrimp cocktail and/or spiced green bean
Fill a highball glass half full with ice cubes. Add gin, Clamato, Frank’s RedHot Sauce, lemon juice and Worcestershire, stirring well until combined. Garnish as desired. Makes 1 serving (about 1 cup)
Taste of Nova Scotia Lobster Chowder
This is a rich chowder with plenty of lobster. It can be served in small cups for a very special first course or in larger bowls as the centerpiece of an informal supper. The sour cream adds an unexpected and delicious tartness.
1 2/3 cups potatoes, peeled & diced 400 mL
2 Tbsp butter 25 mL
1 1/2 cups onions, peeled & minced finely 375 mL
2 Tbsp dried thyme leaves 25 mL
1 1/2 tsp celery salt 7mL
1/4 tsp black pepper 1mL
3/4 cup sour cream 175 mL
1 1/2 cup whipping cream 375 mL
1 cup milk 250 mL
2 cups lobster meat, cooked & chopped, plus juices – see note 500 mL1.
2. Makes 6 servings.Recipe compliments of Taste of Nova Scotia
This Sangria recipe is perfect for big summer parties – always a favorite, you may consider doubling the recipe.
1 Bottle of red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Rioja, Zinfandel, Shiraz)
1 Lemon cut into wedges
1 Orange cut into wedges
1 Lime cut into wedges
2 Tbsp sugar
Splash of orange juice
2 Shots of gin
1 Cup of sliced strawberries or raspberries (may use thawed or frozen)
1 Small can of diced pineapples (with juice)
4 Cups ginger ale
Pour wine in the pitcher and squeeze the juice wedges from the lemon, orange and lime into the wine. Toss in the fruit wedges (leaving out seeds if possible) and pineapple then add sugar, orange juice and gin. Chill overnight. Add ginger ale, berries and ice just before serving. If you’d like to serve right away, use chilled red wine and serve over lots of ice. However, remember that the best Sangrias are chilled around 24 hours in the frig. – allowing the flavors to really marinate into each other.
D (Delta): I am maneuvering with difficulty. R (Romeo): You may feel your way past me.
T (Tango): Keep clear. X (Xray): Stop carrying out your intentions.
Up2Code Glassware can be found at
The set of four 14 oz. double-old-fashioned glass tumblers is imprinted with a code flag, D, R, T, and X. Each flag also has an important secondary meaning for ships at sea, which is defined on each glass.
Set of 4 Chowder Bowls, Anchor Anchor Set of 4 Chowder Bowlsis nautical dinnerware for everyone who loves to be at sea. Anchor dinnerware is made in Ohio by Hartstone Pottery. The Anchor Chowder Bowl is microwave, freezer, oven and dishwasher safe. Anchor dinnerware is Lead free and made in America, of course.
Classic Seafood Chowder by Charles Gallant and Tara Johnson, 2nd Place, 2004 International Chowder Championship
QUANTITY & INGREDIENTS.
8 oz Unsalted butter
4 oz Bacon Fat
8 oz Flour (white)
1.5L Heavy Cream
1c Celery (Med. Dice)
1 c Onions (Fine Dice)
8 oz Unsalted Butter
1.5 c Potatoes 3/8 dice
(P.E.I. Yukon Gold’s)
12 oz Shrimp (21/25 peeled and deveined)
12 oz Scallops 30/40ct
12oz Halibut (¾” pcs )
12 oz Rock Crab Legs
2lb PEI Mussels (cleaned)
All Seafood Stock
2c Clam Juice
1tsp Basil (dry)
½ tsp thyme (dry)
All Cream Mixture
All Seafood Stock
1lb Lobster Claws & Knuckles
6oz Unsalted Butter
Melt butter and bacon fat over medium heat.
Slowly add flour and cook for 10 minutes stirring often.
Add cream and stir well.
Remove from heat.
Step # 2
Sauté celery, onions and butter in a separate pan until just tender.
Add to cream mixture in step #1.
Boil diced potatoes in water over medium high heat until just slightly firm. Drain well.
Add to step #2. Set mixture aside.
Step # 4
Bring 2L of water to a rolling boil. Cook all the seafood separately. Do not overcook. Set seafood aside. Reserve stock.
Bring stock and clam juice to a boil. Add mussels and cook until shells have opened. (3 to 4 Minutes) Remove mussels from shells and discard any unopened mussels.
At medium heat reduce seafood stock by half.
Step # 6
Combine basil, thyme, cream mixture, seafood, mussels and seafood stock.
Simmer at low heat for 30 minutes.
Over medium heat sauté lobster pieces in butter until just warm.
Add desired portion of chowder mix to heated bowl.
Add lobster meat to center of chowder mix and garnish.
Serve with your favorite crusty bread or oyster crackers.
YIELD: 20 /8oz Bowls
Text and recipes by Jackie Mills, R.D.
Lighten Up the Grill
Seafood is a natural choice when you’re trying to eat healthfully, and grilling practically guarantees delicious results. Try our four easy recipes that are low in fat but high in flavor.
Ready, Set, Grill
Grilled seafood is low in fat and calories and rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids, which may prevent heart disease. Try these tips to keep it light, healthy, and tasty.
• Marinate seafood for 15 to 30 minutes before grill-ing to get great flavor fast.
• Give seafood a rub before it hits the grill. Make your own dry rub or check out the spice section of your supermarket for spiced and herbal choices.
• Clean the grill rack to remove any residue that might cause sticking, and lightly coat the rack with cooking spray before you place it over the fire.
• Cook thin fillets skin-side down when grilling to help keep the fish moist and in one piece. For thicker fillets, which require a longer cooking time, sear flesh-side first, then flip. When the fish is done, it’s easy to lift the skin away from the flesh with a spatula.
• Throw some pre-soaked wood chips on the fire before grilling to add a layer of smoky flavor.
• Enliven grilled seafood with citrus or fresh salsas, which are low-calorie nutrition powerhouses.
Why Sauvignon Blanc? In a word, versatility. Many people consider this varietal the easiest to pair with seafood, due to its crisp acidity. (Wine would taste dull and flat without acidity.) John says that, in the same way a squeeze of lemon gives a bright boost to simple grilled fish, Sauvignon Blanc’s acidity enhances food’s flavor. John Buechsenstein, a founding partner in Sauvignon Republic, concurs. “Sauvignon Blanc is food-brilliant,” he says. “It’s the red-wine lover’s white wine.”
Passion for the varietal has led these business partners to devote their entire production to versions of Sauvignon Blanc made from grapes grown around the globe. One taste of their wines and you immediately understand the importance of “terroir”—the impact that geography and the soil have on fine wines.
Although generally considered citrusy, Sauvignon Blancs may possess aromatic or buttery characteristics depending on their terroir and wine-making technique.
Citrusy: These Sauvignon Blancs make ideal palate cleansers. Or try varietals with similar characteristics, such as Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio, dry Riesling, Alvarinho or Albariño, Verdelho, and Sancerre.
Aromatic: “Fruity, floral Sauvignon Blancs, particularly from Marlborough, New Zealand, have a fruit-basket quality,” Chef John says. Wines with a similar nose include Viognier, Riesling, and Muscat.
Buttery: Winemakers often experiment with different techniques to achieve a desired buttery richness. Other buttery whites include Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, and Alsatian wines from the French-German border. “Sauvignon Blanc’s range of fruit flavors highlights all of these seafood dishes,” Chef John says of the following recipes. He also recommends alternative pours that work equally well with each recipe.
Casual Cottage Garden Party
Casual Cottage Garden Party
By Jennifer Kwan
If being outdoors now feels more like being in a steam bath, then it’s a good sign summer’s here. Which is why it’s time to start planning late-afternoon cottage retreats with good friends and relatives, and a little garden party flair.
Remember: these days it seems like hosting a party with paper-plates, burgers and wieners is barely passable (and a definite faux pas in some circles), so consider elevating your garden soiree by wowing guests with cheap and chic gourmet grill, served in a serene and stylish outdoor setting.
Before playing host, though, read through these tips to help plan the ultimate cottage affair.
Garden parties can be pretty simple or extremely extravagant; set the tone at the outset and stick with your decision. Will you host a mid-afternoon get together or a two-day weekend getaway? A family brouhaha or an enchanted retreat with a few close friends? Decide whether it’ll be an intimate dinner, or love-in that oozes of potluck and picnic-style panache. Also, think of how many guests you intend to invite, and if there is to be a party theme.
Whether you ask guests to pitch in or prepare the whole shebang, it’s always best to draft a list of must-have menu items. Include ideas from keen insiders, but firmly decide what main dishes you’ll make. Then when you’re ready to draft the invite list, assign the rest. That way you’ll narrow the chances of duplication, and discourage people from bringing those barely-ingestible dishes. With this in mind, endless food themes await. But remember that you’re at the cottage and keep it relatively low maintenance.
Invitations and Innuendo
Phone or Email invitations are definitely acceptable, but consider sending invitations in the mail. They can be an easy, fun way to ensure you’ll be the guru of garden parties. There is plenty of fill-in stationary out there to choose from, or you can make your own. Customize invitations to suit any theme! Invitations are also a great way to give your guests an idea of what to expect when they arrive. Should they be in costume, bring their kids or drop them off with the folks for a couple of hours (or all night!). Will it be cocktails and appetizers, or a full night or weekend of feasting on fine food?
Your outdoor cottage space will influence the party’s flow so examine your deck or lawn closely. The idea is to create the ultimate outdoor living room. You don’t want your guests to be spread too thinly, but you also want them to mingle and roam freely at their leisure. Where you situate tables, how far apart or close together, will define the main hub. If you have a deck, consider setting up one dining and serving table there. Depending on the party’s size, additional L-shaped sitting areas with cocktail tables create a look of casual elegance. Also, don’t forget to use a small hutch or table to store a few extra glasses and dishes, cutlery, napkins and condiments.
Light It Up
Cottage lamps and tea lights are great way to light any outdoor party, and, of course, candles are a must. They throw the best light when they’re placed in votives or small- to medium-sized vases. Use a few citronella candles if you’re concerned about mosquitoes. Consider a weatherproof outdoor lamp, which looks great and creates an intimate outdoor setting. Beyond that, try latticing white lights around the edges of your shrubs and beautify your garden space with fibreglass garden art. Torch lamps also create a stunning effect, but best kept on the party’s perimeter.
The idea is to design your outdoor cottage space so guests feel comfortable enough so that they don’t feel like they’re in the doghouse, yet satisfied enough to dine without the amenities and comforts of their own homes. Don’t be afraid to decorate with items that look worn: straw hats, bags, old TV trays, and coffee tables. These add to the cottage décor. Match or complement your colour themes with décor accents such as decorative vases and plant containers, cocktail tables, or throw rugs. Use sheer materials to accent any chairs, canopies, or umbrellas. Above all, don’t forget an important design rule: less is more!
A splash of colour will also help to give your garden party an extra oomph. From dishware to placemats, from pillows to throws, colours will transform your garden setting into a swanky outdoor lounge. White or ivory linen tablecloths can change the look of a table dramatically, and nicely complement most colour schemes and help create an ambience of rustic elegance. If you’re about to toss some old greeting cards, don’t! Use them as placecards, labels for your main dishes, as well as your garden.
Prep and Pruning
After you’ve sketched out the type of party you want and what the overall space will look like, do some prep work before heading to the cottage and consider garden maintenance once you get there. This will help to make the day run smoothly. Chop, store and pack whatever you can, and don’t forget to store things separately while you’re on the road. As for the garden, make sure it’s watered, weeded and pruned to perfection. If you have a small lawn, it might be a good idea to trim it before guests arrive.
Arrange Beach Finds – wonderful table decor!
In a clear fishbowl, nestle a candle into a bed of pale sea glass and white shells. It’s a great place to drop off treasures when you return from a walk on the beach, and it makes an instant centerpiece for entertaining on the fly. Experiment with scale when grouping your display―consider size, color, and texture. www.coastalliving.com
Seashell Lights Martha Stewart!
A string of beach treasures casts a dreamy glow on a patio or porch. Decorate a string of small white lights with clean, dry shells. Tape a 2-foot section of lights to your work surface with bulbs lying flat. Apply a thin layer of epoxy along the hinge edge of a shell, and press into place at the base of a light. Repeat for each bulb. Let dry about five minutes before continuing with the next section.