Summer days are here again and they seem to be getting hotter and hotter! This means that our home parties — be it casual lunches or the more sophisticated dinners, need to serve food that suit our sizzling hot temperatures.
Nowadays, it’s simply best to serve food that require less time over the stove, and those that don’t need a lot of fuss and preparation. Salads and easy-prep dishes, come to mind. So I asked one of my favorite sources of artisan salad dressings, dips, sauces, jams, and marmalades, Whisk, to share with us some of their party tips and easy recipes perfect for the summer!
The two ladies behind the successful brand Whisk, Cheryl Lim-Chua (Marketing & Operations Head) and Czarina Yu (Product Development Head) tell us what makes a successful summer gathering :
First, when planning a menu, we have to keep these things in mind:
- Choose ingredients that are in season and flavors that are light and refreshing
- Prep ingredients ahead but cook food closer to serving time to avoid spoilage — since bacteria develops when food is left out at room temperature (and develops faster too in a warmer environment!)
- Keep your menu as simple as possible (no need to stress!) — so you can entertain and have fun with your guests too! (rather than cooking the entire time you’re hosting!)
Second, when thinking about what to cook, think of these easy-to-prep dishes :
- Fresh Salads
- Fresh Fruits (especially citrus, mangoes, watermelon, berries)
- Grilled and baked seafood
- Meat barbecues
Besides these tips, Whisk also shared with us four light and refreshing recipes! Keep reading to find out how to make Strawberry Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette, Salad Nicoise, Bacon & Mushroom Pasta, and Baked Salmon with Ginger & Scallion Sauce — all with the help of Whisk‘s gourmet products, of course! 🙂
Strawberry Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette
This fruity summer salad is light and refreshing. The dressing is a favorite among kids and adults alike! Best for barbeques, tea parties, pool parties and casual brunch get-togethers. Pair with barbeques, pasta or sandwiches, and some berry and mint-infused water or freshly squeezed juices.
Romaine Lettuce, wash & tear into large pieces
Red radish, slice very thinly
Fresh strawberries, slice in quarters
Candied walnuts (from Whisk)
Raspberry Vinaigrette (from Whisk)
- Toss all ingredients together in a salad bowl.
- Chill for about 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
- Top with more strawberries and candied walnuts before serving.
Tips: Salads are delicious served chilled. You may prevent the greens from wilting and keep the salad chilled by putting the salad bowl in a bigger bowl with crushed ice. You can add or change the fruits (think: mangoes cubes, mandarin orange segments, thinly sliced apples, seedless grapes, pomelos). Or add sliced grilled chicken and shaved parmesan cheese for a more filling meal.
If you’re fond of classics, then this one is for you! Light, refreshing, and so simple to put together in a snap. Best for tea parties, office parties, pool parties, and Titas of Manila get-togethers too! (well, why not?!)
Romaine lettuce, tear into large pieces
Tomatoes, slice in wedges
White onions, chop into chunks
Hard Boiled Eggs, slice vertically
Tuna flakes, chunks
Black olives, sliced
Apple Cider + Raw Honey Paleo Dressing (from Whisk)
- Toss all ingredients except hard boiled eggs together in a salad bowl.
- Top with hard boiled eggs, more tomatoes, onions, tuna flakes and black olives before serving. Best served chilled.
Tips: Use an egg slicer if you want nice even slices. Otherwise, you can just cut the egg into wedges. You may use canned tuna or freshly grilled/pan-fried/seared tuna.
Bacon & Mushroom Pasta
This pasta dish is delicious, creamy and so simple to do. Pair it with baked chicken, steak or bbq. Great for brunches, dinner, or kiddie parties.
300 grams uncooked pasta
5 pcs. bacon strips (cut into strips)
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 bottle of Chunky Mushroom Dip (from Whisk)
1/2 cup all purpose cream
Salt & pepper, to taste
Shaved parmesan cheese, optional
- Cook pasta according to instructions on the label.
- To prevent clumping, add a little oil and salt to the pot of water. Once cooked, submerge quickly in ice bath to arrest cooking. Drain, toss with a little olive oil and set aside.
- In a saucepan, saute bacon until golden brown or crispy. (Note: do not put oil as we want to use bacon fat for flavor).
- Add onions. Cook until translucent.
- Add Chunky Mushroom Dip and let boil for a minute before adding the all purpose cream.
- Season with salt & pepper.
Tip: Serve pasta and sauce separately if buffet style. This makes it easier to keep and reheat leftovers and prevent the pasta from drying out if not consumed immediately.
Baked Salmon with Ginger & Scallion Sauce
This is one of our favorite dishes to make at home when we’re too lazy to prepare anything. Great with aglio olio pasta or mashed potatoes. Fancy enough to serve for tea parties, brunches, and dinner, but simple enough so you can still enjoy mingling with family and friends!
500 grams salmon fillet
3 to 4 Tbsp of Ginger & Scallion Sauce (from Whisk)
Steamed asparagus or buttered vegetables, for garnish
- Pre-heat oven to 425F.
- Pat salmon dry and place in a greased baking dish. Pour ginger & scallion sauce over salmon fillet.
- Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Cooking time may vary depending on the thickness of the fillet.
- Serve on a bed of steamed asparagus or garnish with a side of buttered vegetables.
Tip: When steaming or blanching asparagus, make sure to quickly submerge in ice bath after cooking to retain its color and prevent it from getting overcooked from residual heat.
*If you have some easy recipes to share, please send them over to me via email. I would love to feature them here in The Spoiled Mummy! 🙂