Easy Outdoor Entertaining

mexican grilled corn, elote

One of my favorite aspects of summer is the ability to enjoy outdoor dining. When I’m entertaining at home, I love to make use of the outdoor grill and yard as a way to keep guests entertained as well as hosting fun and stress free.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind…

  • Had enough of fun in the sun? Have your event in the early evening when the sun and temperature have gone down.
  • Plan your menu around the grill. This is the one time of year you can really make use of outdoor cooking. From meats to veggies, the grill is an easy no-mess station for cooking all your summer fare, right down to fruits such as peaches and pineapple.
  • Keep your cool. Jazz up cold drinks with frozen grapes, berries & fruit juice ice cubes.
  • Think “less-mess”. Serve easy to eat foods such as chips and dip, drumsticks, sliders and skewered meats and vegetables.
  • Make-ahead recipes. Crunched for time? Go for “make-ahead” items such as salads, baked potatoes, and chicken, which can be baked in the oven and finished off on the grill a few minutes before serving.

Mexican Street Corn

This simple dish, sold by street vendors in Mexico, tastes amazing–grilled ears of sweet corn spread with cayenne-spiked mayo and rolled in cotija cheese. And it’s easy to prepare at home. To quickly grate the cheese, place small chunks in a food processor and pulse until very fine. If you can’t find cotija, crumbled feta is a good substitute.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Servings: 8


  • 8 ears of corn, husks and silks removed
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, plus more, to taste
  • 1/2 lb. finely grated cotija or crumbled feta
  • Lime wedges for serving


  1. Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill.
  2. Rub the corn with the oil and place on the grill. Cook, rotating the ears a quarter turn every 2 to 3 minutes, until the corn is nicely grill-marked and the kernels are tender, about 10 minutes total.
  3. Put the mayonnaise in a small bowl and season as desired with the cayenne pepper. Place the cheese on a plate. Lightly spread each ear of corn with the mayonnaise, then roll in the cheese to lightly coat. Serve immediately with lime wedges. Serves 8.

Recipes: Williams Sonoma

Grilled Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

Skirt Steak is my favorite meat to grill; it’s obviously full of mouth watering flavor, but when it comes to entertaining this is your go to meat, 3 to 4 minutes per side and you’re done! The Chimichurri can be prepared in advance.

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes


  • 1 cup fresh parsley
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leave
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh marjoram leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 3 Tbsp. Champagne vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 Tbsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 1/2 lb. Skirt Steak


  1. In a food processor, combine the parsley, cilantro, marjoram and garlic and pulse several times to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Generously season with salt and black pepper. Add the vinegar and pulse to incorporate. With the motor running, add the 1/2 cup olive oil in a slow, steady stream until emulsified. Pour into a small serving bowl. Stir in the bell pepper and red pepper flakes. Cover the chimichurri tightly and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 20 minutes before grilling the steak.
  2. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Generously season the steak with salt and black pepper and brush with olive oil. Place the steak on a well oiled grill and cook, turning once, 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare, or until done to your liking.
  3. Transfer the steak to a carving board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice the steak across the grain and arrange on a platter. Pour the accumulated juices from the carving board over the steak and drizzle with the chimichurri. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.