Summer Pairings – Party Appetizers
Summer time is the time for picnics, dinner guests, meals on the back deck, and get togethers of every kind. So be prepared for those events with these smart pre-meal pairings for your upcoming events.
As you prepare for your upcoming summer social events, we want to help prepare your pantry and palette for summer dining. With that in mind, we’ve created a brief guide to snacks and appetizers that will have you ready for any engagement where food is present this summer.
Snack Away This Summer
So much of dining in the colder seasons is tied into warmth and comfort, and we completely agree. But when it comes to summer dining, you and your friends or family are free to enjoy fun and vibrant foods to snack on, and here are some of our favorites.
Raw Fruits and Veggies
Hosting and attending summer dining events does not need to be high stress. All you need are fresh, vibrant foods to entice the smile and appetites of your guests. Fresh cut melons make for fragrant, colorful snacks, especially when they are mixed with sensational summertime berries like raspberries, strawberries, and cherries. Whether they are served as a platter or in a fruit salad, fresh fruit is always a hit.
And don’t ignore the stone fruits like peaches, apricots, and nectarines. These sweet snacks can be served up in bite-sized slices, and paired well with most white wines. For a real treat, try Mamamango, a Tacoma Boys and H&L Produce favorite sparkling white wine that goes perfectly with pre-meal snacks or appetizers.
And Go Nuts… Or Seeds
For premeal simplicity, keep an assortment of nuts on hand. Separate them into smaller bowls, or serve them up mixed. Also look for flavorful seeds like pumpkin and sunflower, to mix in, and maybe even add some dried fruit.
If you do have a few minutes to prepare a wonderful appetizer, grab a cup of walnuts, pecans, almonds and cashews, and toss them in a bowl with salt, pepper, cumin and cayenne. Set them aside and warm up ¼ cup of water with ½ cup of white sugar and a tablespoon of butter. Cook that mixture until the butter melts, stir it, and pour it over the nuts. Roast the nuts for 10 minutes at 350 degrees on a baking sheet. Stir it all around until each nut looks coated, and then roast again for 5-6 minutes, until the nuts are sticky and roasted. And voila! A summer inspired sweet, spicy mixed nut appetizer. This mixture pairs wonderfully with some dried fruit and a nice IPA like Bodhizafa which, of course, is sold at Tacoma Boys and H&L Produce!
Mingling the Appetizers
Appetizers are a bit larger than a traditional snack. So once you’ve enjoyed a handful of nuts or fruit, grab a plate for some of these great summer appetizers.
During the summer months, look for beautiful greens to make your salad base so much more than a case. Chard, arugula, and spinach can stand on their own, or mix together. And wonderful salad toppings like sweet corn, avocados, cucumbers, and several varieties of tomatoes are all in season too. If you want a memorable punch to this healthy appetizer, add some sliced or diced fruit to the mix. We suggest apricots or local cherries, paired with a nice balsamic vinaigrette. If you don’t feel comfortable making that dressing on your own, check out our wide selection of Walden Farm products.
The French term for pork butcher shop, charcuterie has come to mean a lot of things in American cuisine. From prepared sliced, cured meats like the prepackaged selection that we offer from Columbus Craft Meats, to a visit with our butchers in the Meat Markets of Tacoma Boys and H & L Produce to find the perfect cuts of a wide variety of both cured and fresh meats, this appetizer is certainly a big hit wherever summer dining is done.
And in addition to pairings with nuts and fruits, a beautiful meat and cheese board needs cheese! To honor the preferences of every guest, think about mixing soft cheeses with hard cheeses, and don’t feel bound to pork products as your meat selections.
If you’re looking for a warm appetizer or two to keep the party courses moving, we’ve got two great ideas.
First, take a seasonal fruit that can stand up to some heat. Peaches, apricots, apples, dates, nectarines and most melons would all work well. Slice them in half, discarding the stone/seed. Apples and melons can be cut into smaller slices to make them easier to eat. Then place them flat side down on your grill or griddle. The sugars will begin to carmelize, charring the skin and will leave some residue on the grill lines. After a few minutes, flip them over and char the rounded side. Skins should be removed from most fruits when possible. Once your fruit is charred and warm, add a small slice of soft cheese and then, wrap or roll up a thinly sliced prosciutto and serve. Grab some local honey and drizzle it over to bring the sweetness up a bit.
Another great summer appetizer that will pair nicely with warm fruit is a summer dining inspired skewer. And you could make anything you wanted, and make them any size you fancy. Cook some meat and cube it or use a cured meat, or make the dish vegetarian and skip the meat completely. Cheeses and melons, a small piece of a leafy green, or even a small seasonal tomato would make for a delightful appetizer, and wouldn’t take too much of your dinner prepping time.