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Fresh Ideas for Outdoor Entertaining

This Grey goose L’orange “As Night Falls” recipe is adapted from the About Food website. It is the perfect combination of citrus and a surprising peppery taste. I have modified the ingredients slightly to highlight local, in season ingredients and have converted quantities and the process so that you can make this in batches before your guests arrive.


  • 5 cups Grey Goose L’Orange Vodka
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh pink grapefruit juice
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • aprox. 20 cilantro leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons whole red peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger grated
  • 4 Valencia orange, 1 for zest curls to garnish and 3 for slices

Yield: 10 Cocktails


  1. Muddle cilantro leaves, whole red peppercorns, and ginger; set aside
  2. Pour the pink grapefruit juice and sugar into a pan on the stove, heat on medium until sugar is completely dissolved.
  3. Take off the heat and add the muddled spices
  4. While your grapefruit juice mixture is cooling thinly slice 3 Valencia oranges, and carefully remove strips of the zest from the remaining orange.
  5. Put the orange slices in the grapefruit juice mixture and let it rest in the refrigerator (better if this is done the day before)
  6. Put your L’Orange vodka in the freezer to chill
  7. On the day of the party strain the grapefruit juice mixture into a pretty glass pitcher and put the orange zest curls into a small bowl


  • Place the chilled vodka bottle and pitcher of grapefruit juice mixture on ice with your outdoor bar set up.
  • Pour one part grapefruit juice mixture and two parts L’Orange vodka into martini shaker with ice.
  • Shake and then strain into martini glass, add orange curl to garnish.


Roasted Serrano Peppers Pops (substitute any small chile pepper with medium heat level)


  • 20 small, whole peppers
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Coarse sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, place rack towards top of oven
  2. Coat the peppers liberally with olive oil and transfer to a rimmed cookie sheet
  3. Allow peppers to sear on all sides, turning occasionally
  4. Remove from oven when peppers have developed a few dark, charred areas and the skin has split
  5. If desired add tablespoon of butter to the hot peppers
  6. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt to taste
  7. Transfer to a dish and serve while still warm, or alternately if you wish to make these ahead of time, omit the coarse sea salt. When you are ready to serve, warm peppers up in the microwave and then add the salt.


Meyer lemon white bean dip with blanched vegetables crudite – the dip recipe is courtesy of Garrett McCord, original recipe can be found here. I have noted a few substitutions in parenthesis to make this easy dip even easier.


  • 2 cloves garlic – (or 1 1/2 tablespoons of minced jarred garlic)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Meyer lemon
  • 2 cups of cooked cannelloni beans – (the fresh ones are nice for salads but I think this dip is flavorful enough for you to use the canned)
  • Assorted colorful vegetables (try purple broccoli or cauliflower, multi colored carrots and green beans), blanched quickly so they retain their color and some of their crispness


  1. Place the garlic, salt, olive oil, in a food processor and blitz together until it forms a fine paste.
  2. Slice up the Meyer lemon (leaving rind on) and remove the seeds as you go. Add to the garlic mixture and process until it forms a smooth paste.
  3. Add the beans and cayenne pepper and process until very smooth.
  4. Garnish with a dash of cayenne and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with vegetables and/or toasted bread.


Grilled shrimp and bacon with lemons bruschetta – this recipe is inspired from one found on Martha Stuart’s web site. I have adapted the seasonings slightly and modified the process to make the grilling process easier for entertaining.


  • 24 large shrimp (about 2 pounds), shells split but not removed, deveined
  • 3 lemons (1 juiced and grated plus one sliced)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry hot mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 2 teaspoon roasted minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, plus a few stalks for garnish
  • 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon (about 8 ounces) cooked
  • 1 baugette french bread cut into 1.5 inch slices and grilled


  1. Add the zest and juice of one lemon, the dry mustard, paprika, lemon pepper, minced garlic, fresh thyme and olive oil to a large glass bowl and stir.
  2. Add the shrimp and the remaining two sliced lemons to the bowl and toss with the marinade until well coated
  3. Cover the bowl and let marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes up to 2 hours
  4. Heat grill to medium high and grill the sliced bread; remove from heat
  5. Place torn cooked bacon on a serving plate and grab your thyme for garnish.
  6. Grill shrimp and lemons for about 3 minutes per side. Shrimp is ready when it is pink.
  7. Remove shrimp and lemon slices from grill as they are ready and add directly to your prepared serving plate. Toss with the bacon and garnish with the sprigs of thyme.
  8. Surround the shrimp with the grilled bread and let your guests build their own bruschetta.


Grilled Sausage and Potato Skewers, served with yogurt dill sauce – this recipe allows you to do all the work ahead of time and simply grill the skewers during the party to add warmth and a little of that fabulous grill taste


  • 20 baby potatoes (can be multi colored, fingerling, just find the smallest you can); roasted with olive oil and sea salt in 400 degree oven till soft
  • 5 fresh, not frozen spicy sausage from the deli, cooked through on top of the stove in a skillet set on medium high
  • 1 container of plain greek yogurt, 16 ounces
  • 2 bunches of fresh dill
  • 1 bunch of scallions, both ends trimmed
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Soak skewers in water for 30 minutes
  2. Cut cooked sausages into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  3. Put one potato and one sausage on each skewer
  4. To make the dip, process 1 1/2 bunches of dill and scallions in the food processor.
  5. Add half of the yogurt and process again
  6. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed
  7. Taste again
  8. Adding additional yogurt will dilute the taste if it is too strong
  9. Place skewers on a cooking sheet and take out to the grill, guests can grill their own or you can ask for a volunteer. All you are doing is warming the skewers up – so it is not a hard task.
  10. Prepare a serving platter; scatter the remaining dill on the bottom of the platter and add a bowl of the yogurt dip.
  11. Place skewers directly on the platter from the grill and serve


You don’t have to serve everything I have suggested. I find that people are grateful no matter what you serve. But I like the balance of fish, meat and vegetable options in this menu. And coincidentally its all pretty healthy. The dip will stand up to being outside for a while and the vegetables are blanched or roasted prior to serving so that they look and feel more special then raw. There is a lot of citrus in this menu; spring is prime season for it. Also – it’s a heavy enough menu so that people will feel satisfied even if the party gets going and everyone decides to skip dinner. I have modified recipes to serve 8 – 10 people; but invite more because I always cook too much.


Do you have some great outdoor entertaining hints or recipes? Talk food to me at bobbie@goodlifefamilymag.com. And have an amazing food filled Spring.


Other articles you may be interested in:

The Great Indoors Meets the Great Outdoors

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