Be careful what you ask for because you might just get it! Wishing, hoping and praying for warm weather here in the South is done with extreme caution. The temperature gods love to grant warm weather wishes in spades. Hot weather is not unique to the South, but the combination of hot temps and oppressive humidity tends to be. Leading a comfortable climate controlled summer existence and enjoying those 90 degrees in the shade summer days and nights is quite doable with cool outdoor entertaining tips and amenities.
Outdoor relaxing and entertaining is a natural part of summertime fun and the answer to recharging the battery that makes us go! go! go! I do like a space “where we can sit and talk… and the breeze can get at us.” I love that line from the classic film, Giant. If you’ve seen the film and/or experienced the brutal 900 degrees in the shade temps that is Texas you know exactly what I’m talking about!
A cool breeze, refreshing beverage, delicious seasonal dishes, smooth tunes, good company, and stylish appointments only enhance the environment. Comfortable is always in season! Party with a crowd who remembers good times, good tunes and good tastes.
Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine
1 (12-oz.) can frozen pink lemonade concentrate, thawed
4 cups white cranberry juice cocktail
1 qt. club soda, chilled
Garnish: fresh mint sprigs
Stir together lemonade concentrate and cranberry juice cocktail in a large pitcher. Cover and chill at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours. Stir in club soda just before serving. Garnish, if desired.
Cream of Asparagus Soup with Crab and Watercress
2 bunches thin asparagus (about 2 pounds total)
½ medium yellow onion, chopped
3 sprigs fresh thyme
¼ cup unsalted butter (½ stick)
¼ cup dry white wine
1 quart whipping cream
2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth or water
Salt and ground black pepper
2 fresh-cooked Alaskan king crab legs (about 1 pound)
Small watercress leaves, stems removed
Snap off woody bases from asparagus; discard. Cut asparagus spears into ¼- to ½-inch pieces. In 4-quart Dutch oven bring 8 cups water and 2 tablespoons salt to boil. Blanch asparagus in 2 or 3 small batches for about 30 seconds each; transfer blanched asparagus immediately to ice-water bath to halt cooking process. (Allow water to return to boil between batches.)
After asparagus has finished cooling, set aside 12 to 18 asparagus tips to use as garnish. Allow excess water to drain from remaining asparagus.
In large saucepan, cook onions and thyme sprigs in hot butter over medium-low heat 5 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat; add wine. Return saucepan to heat; cook until wine has evaporated. Remove thyme; discard. Stir in cream. Bring just to boil. Transfer cream to large measuring cup; cool slightly. Place half of cooked asparagus and 1 to 2 cups slightly cooled cream in blender. Cover; blend until combined. Repeat with remaining asparagus and cream mixture. Transfer to bowl or return mixture to saucepan if serving warm. Stir in broth to reach desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Cover bowl and chill at least 2 hours or cook and stir over medium heat until heated through.
For crab legs, twist legs at joint to remove meat, pulling meat from shell as you twist. (If some meat remains in shell, use kitchen shears to cut through shell; pull shell apart. Remove meat with seafood fork.) Coarsely chop meat.
If serving soup warm, heat reserved asparagus tips and crab meat in small skillet with 1 tablespoon water over medium heat until just heated through. To serve warm or chilled, ladle soup into bowls; garnish with crab, asparagus tips, and watercress. Makes 6 servings.
Hanging out and around under the shade of a color splashed umbrella and the manufactured summer breeze via a tropical themed outdoor ceiling fan makes everybody feel fine. Pier 1 Imports shades, stands, seats, and props up summer looks, and Wayfair delivers the style and breeze reminiscent of the islands.
Sun kissed and color drenched patinas are the artwork of wonder. I love the living “umbrella” that offers a shady respite to the verdigris touched statue. FYI~
Keep the mood cool and the style hot while heating up those hot summer days and nights, outdoor decoristas!