Stepping Out

Entertaining around the grill, al fresco-style

Bid farewell to the season with a late summer bash


As summer’s dog days approach, instead of lamenting about the end of a season of fun and sun, consider a get-together with family and friends by the pool or deck.
Entertaining outdoors can be as simple or as elaborate as you want it to be. Keep the focus summer’s bountiful harvest and you will be sure please everyone’s palates.
The best parties bring together great food, great ingredients, and great people. To make your party stand out, take advantage of resources you already have to create an inviting and warm atmosphere for your guests.

Get the kids involved
With back-to-school season on the horizon, a party to commemorate the new school year and the end of summer can be an event that helps soon-to-be students make the most of their remaining vacation time. You can go with a theme: maybe rulers and text books, ABCs, or science, and it can run through the decorations used, the games played and the food served. Consider, for example, a science experiment-inspired volcano cake that is oozing strawberry jam.
Or try a camp-out inspired gathering that ends with a special late night snack with s’mores on the grill. Try flavored marshmallows like chocolate, strawberry and toasted coconut, or spice up the graham crackers with sprinkled cinnamon and sugar. Try to name the constellations while you enjoy a late night snack together under the stars.

Whether casual or elegant, it’s all about the food
Nothing brings family and friends together like great food. So make some time to gather everyone around the grill, share some fun and make memories before summer winds down.
One person who knows a lot about feeding a crowd is TV personality and celebrity chef Aaron McCargo, Jr., a winner of “The Next Food Network Star” and host of the Food Network’s “Big Daddy’s House.” Growing up with five siblings and raising three children of his own has taught McCargo about the importance of gathering a group together for any occasion.
“Making meals for family and friends is easy, especially when there’s a grill involved,” McCargo says. For a delicious approach that will please all your guests, including the younger palates, he suggests grilling summer fruit. Try mango, watermelon and pineapple, or even peaches, using a with a little salt, pepper and oil. Once off the grill, drizzle with fresh citrus juices, such as lemon or blood orange with a little extra virgin olive oil as an untraditional alternative to fruit salad.

Aaron McCargo’s Tasty Easy Beef Brisket

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