By George Hirsch
Summer in the Hamptons is all about outdoor entertaining. Hamptons Chef and TV Personality George Hirsch offers great tips on how to create the best outdoor party Hamptons Style! Hirsch, a certified Executive Chef, has authored five cookbooks in addition to producing and hosting his own TV series, George Hirsch Living it UP!, which was nationally syndicated for 12 years. Hirsch will unveil his newest TV series this fall on PBS titled George Hirsch Lifestyle.
- First and foremost consider buffet style to take the pressure off serving courses, therefore allowing more time to enjoy your guests. Buffets can be a fun way to entertain and also span the levels of formality from casual to a very upscale celebration. The best parties’ most memorable outcomes have resulted from a more casual entertaining atmosphere, making buffet style entertaining my favorite way to organize a get-together.
- Tableware is essential to a successful party. Whether using disposables or traditional glassware, as a rule of thumb, have plenty of glasses, at least 3 times guest count without any being washed. Roll-Ups: Set up forks, spoons and knives rolled up into napkins. Make extra. Plate-Up according to your menu: Always provide one plate for hot prepared foods and another for cold dishes. Got umbrellas, canopies or a cabana? Provide shade for the bar & buffet food serving table and shade for guests.
- Cool beverages with an ice bath, ice mixed with water. It chills wine, beer and all container beverages faster than just ice. The ice maker is your friend: You’ll need about 1 pound or more of ice per person for drinks and chilling soft drinks, wine and beer.
- Include in your party plan the option of preparing some foods from home and buying some prepared foods from a local restaurant or specialty food market, which can alleviate party menu pressure for the busy home cook. The menu should include a complementary mix of meat, poultry, seafood, vegetable and salads for wide audience appeal. Themed menus are straightforward to get inspired by—simple done well, is my motto. Grill as much in advance of the party, so the grill chef gets to have some fun and enjoy the guests.
- Set up the bar one hour before guests arrive and close a couple of hours before guests leave. Time to close the bar is the perfect cue to put out desserts and coffee. Serve cookies and brownies. Make extra batches to send home with guests as a sweet token of your party.
What’s on the Menu?
Your menu should include a mix of items for a wide audience appeal. A popular and relatively easy summer item on the grill is Kebabs.
King of Kebabs Recipe
Makes 4 servings | Recipe by George Hirsch
1 pound mixed beef, pork tenderloin, and chicken, cut into two inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1/4 teaspoon ground red (cayenne) pepper
1/2 teaspoon each; ground cumin, dried oregano
1 tablespoon each: fresh parsley and fresh mint
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Pinch sea salt
1/4 cup olive oil
2 fresh lemons, sliced
Fresh mint, chopped
1 cup plain Greek yogurt, optional
Use any mixture of onion, peppers, squash, eggplant and mushrooms, cut into 2 inch cubes.
Mix the cut up meat and vegetables. Grease metal skewers with cooking spray or oil. If possible, use long, flat metal skewers. Divide the meat mixture evenly on all skewers (depending on the length of skewer). Push the skewer through the middle of the meat, lengthwise, and alternate with a piece of onion on the skewer, spreading it evenly. Repeat with the other skewers. Season with the garlic, cayenne, cumin, oregano, parsley, mint, black pepper and salt in a bowl. Brush kebabs with the olive oil. Cover and place in refrigerator to chill and allow seasoning to bloom with meat. When ready to grill, brush the outside of meat with additional olive oil. Preheat the grill to high. Place kebabs on very hot grill with lemon slices. After lemon slices brown, place them on top of kebabs while cooking for added flavor and moisture. Grill meat and vegetable kebabs 5 minutes, turning frequently, or until cooked through to desired doneness.
Dips To Serve with Kebabs:
Olive oil, grilled lemons, chopped olives and chopped fresh mint
Tzatziki or chopped cukes, garlic, olive oil, Greek yogurt and dill