Easy Outdoor Party Recipes

May 19, 2016

Snacks and sips to serve at your next backyard bash.

Hosting an outdoor party that’s casual and classy requires ample planning and a little decorating know-how. But then there’s the food and drink to consider (also known as the most important part). To feed a crowd with little time or money, you’ll need summer party appetizers and drinks that are easy to make but look elegant.

One woman who knows exactly how to pull off this magical mix is food stylist Jeanne Kelley, an LA-based food writer/stylist and cookbook author (recently of The Portable Feast) who partnered with us on a recent catalog shoot. “I create recipes consistent with the style and mood of a given scenario, or “story,” developed by the talented CB2 art directors and stylists,” says Jeanne. “My challenge is to cook up recipes that not only look delicious, but are as inventive and sophisticated as the customers.”

Jeanne’s recipes—for smoked salmon/radish toasts and stuffed apricot appetizers—were too delicious not to share, and her drinks made us coming back for more. Read below to pick up all of her expert tips.

Smoked Salmon and Radish Toasts
served on our Intermix grey platter
Makes about 2 dozen

1 baguette, thinly sliced
Olive oil
8 ounces cream cheese
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup chopped fresh dill
¼ cup snipped chives
1 teaspoon lemon zest
6 ounces smoked salmon, thinly sliced and cut into small pieces
Thin slices watermelon radish or radish *Look for the large and mild radishes at your farmers market.
Dill sprigs for garnish

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Arrange bread slices on baking sheets and brush with olive oil. Lightly toast bread in oven, about 10 minutes. Stir the cream cheese, sour cream, dill, chives and lemon zest and blend in a medium bowl to blend. Season generously with cracked pepper. (Toasts and herbed cheese can be made five days ahead. Transfer the toasts to a zip-tight bag and cover and refrigerate the herbed cheese.) Spread toasts with herbed cheese. Arrange salmon and radish slices atop toasts. Garnish with dill sprigs and serve.

Apricots with Goat Cheese, Prosciutto and Honey
served on our Hex white marble board
Makes about 2 dozen

12 apricots, cut in half and pitted *can substitute fresh figs
8 ounces soft fresh goat cheese
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
Honey for drizzling, optional
Freshly cracked pepper
Fresh basil sprigs for garnish

Arrange apricot halves on a serving dish. Spoon a small amount of goat cheese into the center of each apricot and top with a piece of prosciutto. Drizzle with honey if desired and season with pepper. Garnish with basil sprigs and serve.

Kumquat Cooler
served in our glass beverage dispensers
Makes 12 servings

20 kumquats, halved, seeded
6 sprigs fresh cilantro
1 jalapeño chile, sliced
¾ cup sugar
2 ¼ cups silver tequila made with 100% agave
1 cup fresh tangerine juice
1 cup fresh lime juice
3 cups chilled sparkling water

Using a muddler or the handle of a wooden spoon, muddle the kumquats, cilantro, chile and sugar in a medium bowl until the kumquats break apart. Add the tequila, tangerine juice, lime juice, and mix until the sugar dissolves. Strain the mixture into a large pitcher. (Punch can be made up to two days ahead; keep refrigerated.) Transfer the punch to a beverage dispenser if desired. Mix in the sparkling water. Garnish the punch with kumquats if desired. Serve chilled or over ice.

Raspberry-Rose Rickey
served in our Marie coupe glasses
Makes 12 servings

2 12-ounce packages frozen raspberries
¾ cup sugar
3 cups chilled brewed green tea
2 cups gin
1 cup fresh lime juice
½ teaspoon rose water *Rose water is sold at some specialty foods stores and Middle Eastern markets.
2 cups chilled sparkling water
Fresh raspberries and rose petals for garnish

Thoroughly mash the berries and sugar in a medium bowl. Let stand 30 minutes. Strain the berry mash through a sieve set over another bowl, pressing on the solids with a rubber spatula to release liquid. Mix the berry puree with the tea, gin, lime juice, and rose water in a large pitcher and refrigerate until chilled. (Punch can be made two days ahead; keep refrigerated.) Stir in the sparkling water. Transfer the punch to a beverage dispenser if desired. Garnish the punch with raspberries and rose petals if desired. Serve chilled or over ice.