On Your Marks. Get Set. Go Summer!

This month marks the official start of summer and I’m craving sunshine and to fine dine outdoors once again! It’s also the month of dad. Why not pull out all the stops for Pops and create a casual, next level outdoor lounge for Father’s Day? Next, fire up that grill for juicy barbecue beef tenderloin, bake steak fries, and toss easy an arugula and strawberry salad. Top it off with rustic berry shortcakes with a twist, and shake up an old school cocktail chilled with hand-carved ice cubes! Hooray for summer. Cue the outdoor jams, and let’s hear it for the boys!


Arugula Salad

Arugula & Strawberry salad

with pine nuts and honey dijon dressing

4 teaspoons Dijon mustard

4 teaspoons honey

1/2 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 chopped fresh chives with blossoms

4 cups arugula

6-8 sliced strawberries

Radish microgreens

Pine nuts

A drizzle of balsamic vinegar

To make the dressing, whisk the first five ingredients in a small bowl, then add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle the pine nuts with balsamic vinegar, and toast in the oven at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. To assemble the salad, fill a bowl with arugula and strawberries, sprinkle on the microgreens and pine nuts, and add dressing.



Your DIY Lounge List

This Father’s Day, create a swanky but comfy outdoor corner for Dad to kick back in. I pulled in a mix of patterns, from stripes to citrus prints — but stuck to blue hues to unify the look.

Plush pillows: Outdoor pillows are a must, but I also like to borrow down-filled indoor pillows for added comfort.

Tables: Set up outdoor and indoor small side tables, footstools, and poufs for lounging and serving.

Umbrella: Keep things cozy, and protect from the sun, or sprinkles.

Candles: Scatter small votive candles throughout the lounge.

Greenery: Potted succulents and big leafy plants create a lush look.


Tenderloin and Fries

Herbs de Provence Beef Tenderloin

with cumin parsley steak fries

Beef tenderloins

Aged balsamic vinegar

Herbs de Provence

Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced into wedges

Olive oil

Fresh lemon juice


Chopped parsley

Place beef tenderloins in a plastic zip-top bag. Drizzle liberally with good olive oil, add a generous glug of aged balsamic vinegar, and sprinkle with Herbs de Provence and sea salt. Marinate in the fridge for 2 to 3 hours. Let the steaks come to room temperature before grilling on the barbecue to your preference. Remove, and tent with foil for a few minutes to rest before you serve.

To make the steak fries, drizzle potatoes with olive oil, fresh lemon juice, cumin, chopped parsley, and coarse sea salt to taste. Roast on a baking sheet in a 375-degree oven for about 25 minutes, or until they are tender and turn golden brown. I serve them in parchment-lined mini cocktail shakers. Try dipping the fries in the Dijon dressing.


Old Fashioned

Old Fashioned

with brown sugar syrup

2 teaspoons dark brown sugar simple syrup (instructions below)

2 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters

2 dashes blood orange bitters

2 ounces rye whiskey

Large slice orange peel

Amarena Italian black cherries in syrup 

1 very large, clear ice cube

To make the simple syrup, combine 1/2 cup water and 1 cup dark brown sugar in a stovetop pan, simmer until sugar dissolves, and cool in the refrigerator.

To make the cocktail, put the first five ingredients in a bucket glass and stir. Add one large ice cube, top with a cherry, and serve.


Hand-Carved Ice Cubes
Ice Cubes
Clear ice is nice, and it can elevate your cocktail game. A handful of swanky area bars use these clear cubes, and you can at home with a bit of work. Plus, clearer ice causes less dilution to your cocktail. I picked up a jumbo clear block of ice from local company Creative Ice and purchased a special handsaw! I’m not gonna lie — it was a bit of a workout to make these custom cubes, but totally worth it!


Berry Shortcake Sandwiches

with whipped cream and mascarpone

1 cup toasted slivered almonds

1/2 cup vanilla bean sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon baking powder

A dash of salt

Zest of 1 small orange

1/3 cup unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

1 cup almond milk

1 teaspoon vanilla 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toast the almonds in the oven or a dry pan, then finely chop in a food processor. Add sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and zest, and pulse until combined. Add cubed butter, and pulse again until roughly combined. Whisk almond milk and vanilla, and then pour the mixture over dough and pulse until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Pat the dough into three ungreased, 6-inch cake pans. Bake in the upper third of the oven for about 12 to 16 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack, and cool. Slice off the upper third of the cake, and set aside.

Monica Hart

Shortcake Toppings:

½ pint whipping cream

3 tablespoons mascarpone

2 tablespoons vanilla sugar

Fresh fruit (like blueberries)

Zest of small orange

A few drops of dark rum

Whip together whipping cream, mascarpone, and vanilla sugar until it forms stiff peaks. Mound the whipped cream onto the bottom half of each cake. Sprinkle with berries, orange zest, and rum. Pop on the top, and add a dollop of cream. 


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