Nothing says summer quite like a backyard barbecue with the aromas of grilling, having friends over and cool ways to beat the heat and fuel summer fun. Once all the planning and execution is done ahead of time, there shouldn’t be much time in the kitchen, so it’s best to get it all prepped a couple days before the assigned date so that you can spend more time with your guests. Typically we try to get all the backyard entertaining happen before July 4th. After that, the weather is just too hot and humid and there’s too many pesky mosquitoes and other bugs that infiltrate the air, so it isn’t quite as fun.
I had been restructuring my backyard space this year with a few changes and a few additions. It is finally starting to look “filled in”. I gathered chairs around tables in smaller groupings spread throughout the courtyard. It was a beautiful June evening with zero humidity and not many annoying bugs. We did have the torches strategically placed to deter the mosquitoes though. We had about 15 guests that evening. If you follow Safari of the Mind, you’ll remember that we downsized from an acre lot in the suburbs, to a fairly small backyard space. So long as I had flower beds in the front and backyards, I was as happy as a clam, I told my husband. This house provided just that. I love that we do not have a blade of grass to mow either, that allows us to time to do what we love doing on the weekends. We both enjoy having friends around, impromptu or larger gatherings. 🙂
My husband always makes up funny signs as guests enter – this was his idea of a joke on the back gate this time 🙂
I marinated the chicken in Greek yogurt and other spices the night before and assembled them on skewers a few hours before they hit the barbecue. We also grilled some fresh Italian sausage with some amazing spices that had a kick to it. For the full Middle Eastern Chicken kebab recipe, click here
I also made a pulled pork recipe in the slow cooker which was ready in time for the barbecue. A friend brought a pasta/shrimp salad, I made a couscous salad with English cucumber, cherry tomatoes, red onion, feta cheese, olive oil, juiced limes, chickpeas and fresh parsley and basil. In addition the day before, I made a rice pilaf with dried fruit and almonds, this menu rounded it all out nicely.
So wait till you see the desserts. I made a flourless chocolate cake with fresh fruit and a chocolate ganache and a friend made this amazing white cake, with strawberry mousse filling, topped with a vanilla Italian buttercream frosting. She’s the Queen of Desserts I’ll have to say. Don’t you agree?
Don’t you just love my personalized cutting board gifted to me by a dear friend? I’ll treasure it forever!
Flourless chocolate cake with fresh fruit and a chocolate ganache
White cake, with strawberry mousse filling, topped with a vanilla Italian buttercream frosting.