Every year we have a reunion in some tucked-away corner in Montana. It is definitively my children's favorite year - the one thing they hated to miss when we went abroad for a year. Because. Because it is magical.
Adults sit around and catch up about everything and nothing. Kids make up games, kayak on the lake, ride go-carts and hang with aunts and uncles, grandpa and grandma. We all fish, some of us float the river, we eat a lot. It is typically over the fourth of July so we always bring an enviable stash of firecrackers. Which we blow up for hours.
And we have arranged it so: each family (okay it is absolutely the moms that do the Costco-runs and meal planning) is responsible for one feed-the-masses dinner. It is around 25 people, depending on which extended friends and family join us or pass through. I hail my sisters who have it down to a science---meals from them we have grown to love, expect and consume.
For some annoying reason, I keep trying to reinvent the wheel, creating a new menu each year (seriously this takes way to much time!). But I guess I like it, so here goes:
Drinks: Kamikazes (lots of fresh squeezed lime/triple sec/vodka), Red Wine, Beer and for the kids homemade Italian Sodas. I am bringing two huge jars of homemade strawberry and vanilla simple syrup and big bottles of club soda.
Almond Stuffed Dates wrapped in Bacon. (OMG this is my favorite 2011 appie; will share recipe soon). Truffled popcorn. (OMG this is also my favorite appetizer and people love it! Will share recipe soon). Goat Cheese, Pesto, Pine nuts with crackers. (spread goat cheese on plate, top with homemade pesto and toasted pine nuts: done!).
Grilled Chicken skewers with Soy Peanut Sauce (brined - this helps a ton, more on that later) Roasted Broccoli (it's quick, it's green and Costco didn't have zucchini...) Corn & Chive Souffles in cream sauce (oh yeah: this is my signature dish of the menu, so good!) Homemade Onion Rings with Chipolte Aioli (easier than you think... and who doesn't love onion rings?!)
Larger than Life Marshmallows. (did you see these in the store? They are huge!) Vanilla Arborio Rice pudding with homemade preserves and/or fruit compote
I hope you have friendly campfires and marshmallow toasting, boat floating and game playing, hanging-out time planned for your summer! After Montana, I have a one-day turn around then am off to Italy! Pinch me already!!!