Hot Weather Entertaining

August nights are perfect for having company in Seattle. The chances of rain are slim and no matter how toasty it may have been during the day it cools off after 7 PM. To celebrate a recent house guest I invited a small group to pig out on my favorite entertaining recipes. This is not weeknight cooking, nor exactly what you might guess is a hot weather menu. Eating spicy food is believed by some people to be an antidote for high temperatures. Selecting a few easy menu items like the corn and watermelon compensate for deep fat frying. A charming guest brought the dessert. If it's true that cooking for someone shows your affection, this group definitely feels the love.

 Summer Entertaining Menu--Family Style

Summer Entertaining Menu--Family Style

The Indoor Outdoor Menus

On the deck: French 75 and Ike's Wings with Pickled Daikons and Persian Cucumbers.

Inside at the table: Watermelon Salad, Pok Pok Hens, Corn on the Cob, Home-made Chocolate Ice Cream with Theo's Dark Salted Almond Garnish. Served with Oregon Pinot Gris, Vino Verde and Catalan Red Table Wine.

There really is some method to this madness. Yes, the hens take three days and the wings have to be fried an hour ahead of the company arriving. But the hens are largely out of sight and the guests begged me for the wings. Figuring out the logistics of the prep for the wings and hens is a challenge, but it's all done three days before the party and forgotten about. To preview the ingredient list here is a link to the recipe as posted on Serious Eats. The watermelon with grape tomato vinaigrette is quick and easy and can be refrigerated several hours before serving. Corn on the cob is always popular and refreshing with the spice of the hens.

 7.5 ounces of garlic!

7.5 ounces of garlic!

My Pok Pok mortar and pestle were busy making that happy noise. Tons of garlic, lemon grass and fish sauce are required along with a few other things.

 The brine for the Pok Pok hens

The brine for the Pok Pok hens

 Ike's Wings are fried and then stir-fried in a wok to create a caramelized finish.

Ike's Wings are fried and then stir-fried in a wok to create a caramelized finish.

 Ike's Wings made a beautiful platter garnished with pickled daikons and Persian cucumbers. True finger food.

Ike's Wings made a beautiful platter garnished with pickled daikons and Persian cucumbers. True finger food.

When the wings were done at 7 PM, the company arrived, the hens went in the over with no fiddling necessary while we ate the wings on the deck and thoroughly enjoyed the French 75 cocktails. The French 75 is refreshing on a hot night and definitely up to the task of accompanying the bold wings.

 The brined, dried, stuffed, marinated hens garnished with crispy shallots.

The brined, dried, stuffed, marinated hens garnished with crispy shallots.

Jokes were made by me about how much faster it would be to drive down to Pok Pok in PDX for take out the next time someone wants wings and hens. But that wouldn't be as much fun.