Early Summer Steak Dinner on the Porch

AsparagusQuinoa

One of my favorite things about food blogging is the fantastic array of recipes and food ideas I find as I connect with other bloggers. While I do enjoy a good magazine or cookbook, I’ve found that blogger recipes are often much more practical to make at home and quickly become favorites of my family and friends. As I read blogs in my feed reader, I star those recipes that I particularly want to try again. For a recent dinner party to kick-off the al fresco summer dining season, I sourced almost every recipe for the menu from blogs. The dinner was easy to put together and well received by my guests.

Main Course

Grilled Rib-eye Steak with Ginger Lime Butter (from Stacy Snacks)

Mango Cucumber Quinoa (inspired by Fun With Your Food)

Roasted Asparagus (inspired by Simply Recipes)

Dessert

Madeleines with Chocolate Dipping Sauce (from White On Rice Couple)

Fresh strawberries

To Drink

Peachy Canyon Petite Sirah, Paso Robles, CA, 2006

Being the tinkerer I am, I typically can’t leave well alone with any recipe, but I was fairly limited in my modification to these bloggers’ most excellent recipes. The two (count them two) total changes I made to the recipes in this menu were:

  • I used quinoa instead of pasta for Fun with Your Food’s mango cucumber salad. This is really a personal preference and reflects my attempt to eat fewer refined carbs and to experiment with different grains. I specifically used red quinoa cooked according to package directions but otherwise followed the recipe. I agree that this salad is much better when made early and left to let the flavors meld together.
  • I tossed a little balsamic vinegar in with the olive oil when I made the asparagus because, well, why not.

HoneyMadeliens

The Plan

This menu is perfect for entertaining because you can do much of the work ahead of time so you aren’t racing about just before your guests arrive trying to finish the meal. The day of my dinner went something like this*:

That AM Grocery shopping
Set out butter for Ginger Lime Butter
12:00 PM Make madeleine batter and refrigerate
12:45 PM Make Ginger Lime Butter and refrigerate
1:00 PM Make quinoa salad and refrigerate (prep veggies and mango while quinoa cooks)
2:00 PM Bake madeleines
2:30 PM Make chocolate dipping sauce
3:00 PM Prep asparagus and place on baking sheets; store in fridge
3:15 PM Relax!
5:00 PM Set out serving dishes
Open wine
5:15 PM Preheat-grill
Set table
5:35 PM Steak to grill (cooking time varies based on thickness of steak)
5:55 PM Steak from grill to rest
6:00 PM Guests arrive
6:05 PM Asparagus to oven
6:10 PM Slice and plate steak; top with butter
Plate asparagus
Plate quinoa salad
6:15 PM Dinner is served
6:45 PM Re-warm chocolate sauce; plate madelines and strawberries
7:00 PM Dessert is served

*We typically have kids at our dinner parties so we eat a bit earlier, but for an all adult dinner you might not start until 7 or even 8pm, in which case, adjust the schedule accordingly.

And that’s really it. This dinner goes together so beautifully and is perfect for a warm summer evening. It combines healthy grains, fruits, and veggies with the summer tradition of grilling for a dinner that’s special but not complicated. Enjoy!

9 Comments

  1. I LOVE the way you have written out the schedule for preparing and serving the meal. I’m such a nervous hostess — especially with timing food while guests are milling around but your excel spread sheet has motivated me to try this sometime. Thanks, Natanya!

    • Natanya Anderson /

      Jodi – I’m glad the plan helps. I learned from an Ina Garten book years ago that the plan is the key to party success without stress. I’d be lost without one for most events.

  2. What an organized gal you are. Good job. You know I am starting to think the BEST recipes come from food bloggers. And, you get the real story. What works, what doesn’t. I am so inspired by the blogging community! I like what you’re doing.

  3. Wow what an impressive post! I love how you collected so many from other bloggers. I have tons of bookmarks and love trying blogged recipes :)

  4. Natanya Anderson /

    Angela and Amanda: Thanks for the kind comments. I’ve found I spend less time with my cooking magazine recipes now because of my wealth of blogger recipes. I wish there were more hours in the day to cook so I could try more of them!

  5. What a great idea – and such a fab collection of recipes! The schedule does make everything look really straightforward – I’m always trying to get Logan to plan out menus like this, or he’d be in the kitchen all the time when guests are here. It was great seeing you yesterday and sniping about TAKS!

    • Natanya Anderson /

      Ha – somehow Logan doesn’t strike me as the planning type :-) I bet your kitchen is tons of fun during a party too. So great to see you again.

  6. Loved meeting you, Natanya! By the way, I got an email from the Cookie Lounge about another decorating event on Saturday. Your daughter might want to go. Here’s the scoop.

    Event: Little Baker’s Workshop
    What: Workshop
    Host: Cookie Lounge
    Start Time: Saturday, May 30 at 11:00am
    End Time: Saturday, May 30 at 2:00pm
    Where: Cookie Lounge

    To see more details and RSVP, follow the link below:
    http://www.facebook.com/n/?event.php&eid=101954261417&mid=7bb4fbG25b153f3G265ae58G7

    • Natanya Anderson /

      Anna – thank you so much for sharing the little baker’s workshop information. I’ve signed my daughter up and am on the mailing list now.

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