Sun’s out, mountain’s out, and the stars are aligned for creating the perfect summer soiree! Be ready to roll with a color-packed, sweet and savory night to remember. This do-ahead summer party has it all, like the juxtaposition of bold summer flavors and colors and delicate ice cream sandwiches. And then there is the fun factor: bright beach balls, surfboards, and an inflatable white swan. Hey, let’s blow this Popsicle stand and ride that perfect summer wave into the Pacific Northwest sunset!
Tipsy Blackberry and Thyme Sorbet
This beautiful blackberry sorbet takes me back to hot summer days as a kid, picking plump, ripe, wild blackberries in our neighborhood. I gussied up the sorbet with Creme de Violette, a delicate floral-tasting liqueur, and fresh thyme from my cocktail herb garden. You can make this a night or two ahead and freeze.
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup light corn syrup
- cup vanilla bean sugar
- 3 cups fresh blackberries
- Juice plus zest of half an orange
- 3 tablespoons Creme de Violette
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- Over medium heat, combine the water, corn syrup, vanilla bean sugar, and fresh thyme. Simmer and stir until dissolved. Cool, remove thyme springs, and chill in the fridge.
- Add the chilled syrup, Creme de Violette, blackberries, orange juice, and zest to a blender, and blend until smooth.
- Cover and refrigerate until chilled. Place mixture into your ice cream maker and follow machine directions.
Chill out tip
Grab a galvanized round bucket and put purchased sorbet on ice. Include a gorgeous array of flavors and colors. Then create and showcase one sumptuous sorbet of your own like my tipsy blackberry and thyme number.
Orange Blossom Vinaigrette
Balance out the all of the sweetness with a simple and beautiful salad. Serve this vinaigrette over arugula, rainbow radishes, and micro-greens, and top with orange zest and edible flower petals.
- 1 cup olive oil cup Champagne
- 2 tablespoons orange blossom honey
- 1/8 teaspoon orange blossom water
- 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper
Set the scene
For this outdoor gathering I kept it casual, turning our outdoor island into a cool summer sorbet and ice pop stand thanks to a no-sew DIY turquoise skirt made of outdoor fabric, and marine piping. All you need is fabric store materials and a glue gun! I opted for bright Crate and Barrel trays instead of a more formal tablescape and included pretty extras like sorbet toppers on a vintage vertical display rack! Invite guests to grab a tray and create their own sorbet parfaits.
Fresh Blackberry, Honey Chevre, Roasted Garlic, and Basil Pizza
This sweet and savory pizza is so pretty and yummy, and it pairs perfectly with the summer sorbet. To save time, I used Trader Joe’s ready-made fresh pizza dough.
- 1 package premade fresh dough
- 1 pint fresh blackberries
- 1 head roasted garlic
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Honey chevre
- Fresh basil
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Remove dough from plastic and let it rest on a floured dish for 20 minutes.
- Oil the baking sheet and roll out dough on the sheet. Brush on a little olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and brush on half of the roasted garlic.
- Roughly tear pieces of honey goat cheese and arrange them on the dough. Add fresh blackberries and torn fresh basil.
- Bake at 500 degrees for approximately 12 minutes, or until the bottom is golden brown.
- Put the pizza under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese and the berries begin to ooze.
- Pull it out of the oven. Add a drizzle of olive oil and a few additional torn pieces of fresh basil.
Slice the top off of a head of garlic. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in a foil pouch and roast in the oven for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until soft enough that the garlic squeezes out of the cloves.
Edible White Chocolate Cups
Melt 2 cups of white chocolate chips in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Do not let the pan touch the water. Blow up three small balloons. When the chocolate is melted, turn off the heat and remove the pan from the burner. Work quickly to coat the bottom of the balloons with a layer of chocolate, forming a small cup. Be careful not to pop the balloon! Immediately roll in sprinkles and set the balloon inverted in a glass, chocolate side up. Put into the freezer for a few minutes until set. Once set, prick the balloon near the knot, creating a very tiny hole to allow the air to escape slowly. Peel off deflated balloon. Place chocolate sprinkle cups in a container with a lid until ready to use.
Sparkling Raspberry and Coconut Popsicles
I’m loving this raspberry and cream combo! The coconut ice portion is just milky and sweet enough, and the Champagne and raspberry portion is a little tart.
- 3 cups fresh raspberries
- cup Champagne
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped
- 3 tablespoons organic blue agave syrup
- Zest of half an orange
- 2 grinds of nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon orange zest
- 6 ice pop molds
Puree the raspberries with the Champagne in a blender. Add half of the orange zest and pulse. Set aside. Combine the coconut milk, vanilla bean, agave syrup, nutmeg, and the rest of the zest. Pour the milk three-quarters of the way up the mold and freeze till almost frozen, approximately 20 minutes. Top off each ice pop with the raspberry mixture, place the stick, and top. Freeze overnight.
Bellini Champagne Cocktails
Quench that summer thirst with super pretty sips! Try these effortless and effervescent Bellini Champagne cocktails. Put out the carafes of purees, Champagne, and stemware on a cool tray and let your guests help themselves. Invite them to pluck an organic flower garnish from your edible flower container garden! Mine holds organic marigolds, nasturtiums, calendula, and scented geraniums.
Peach and Mint Bellini
- 24 ounces sliced peaches
- ½ cup Champagne
- 6 mint leaves
Puree all ingredients in a blender. Add a dollop of puree to a Champagne flute, top with Champagne, and an edible flower garnish.
Strawberry, Basil, and Balsamic Bellini
- 1 quart strawberries, washed, hulled, and cut into quarters
- ½ cup Champagne
- 4 basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Puree all above ingredients in a blender. Add a dollop of puree to a Champagne flute, top with Champagne and an edible flower for garnish.
Vanilla Bean, Almond, and Orange Pizzelle Ice Cream Sandwiches
My Italian-born grandmother Nettie always had a fresh batch of delicate pizzelle cookies on hand that she stored in airtight recycled coffee cans. We soon discovered the pure joy of the pizzelle cookie ice cream sandwich — delizioso! You will need a pizzelle iron for this. I used purchased vanilla bean ice cream and added a twist — I sprinkled fleur de sel vanilla bean salt onto these ice cream sandwiches.
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup butter, melted and cooled
- ¾ cup vanilla bean sugar (I make my own by adding vanilla bean pods to my sugar jar)
- 1¾ cup flour, plus 2 teaspoons baking powder, sifted
- ½ teaspoon good vanilla
- 1 teaspoon anise flavoring
- ¼ cup finely chopped toasted almonds
- ¼ cup fleur de sel
- Vanilla salt, optional
- In a large mixing bowl combine sugar and eggs and beat until fluffy. Add cooled butter, vanilla, and anise to the egg mixture. Add flour, baking powder, and almonds and mix until smooth.
- Heat the pizzelle iron, and when itís ready put a teaspoon of batter onto each grid. Close the lid for 30 seconds. You may need to add a small application of vegetable spray to each grid – once only – at the beginning to prevent sticking. Cool pizzelles completely.
- If desired, make vanilla salt by scraping a vanilla bean and crushing just a bit of the pod. Add to ¼ cup of fleur de sel. Mix and mash with a fork. Store in an airtight container.
- Allow vanilla bean ice cream to soften a bit and then carefully spread onto one of the delicate pizzelle cookies. Sprinkle with the vanilla bean salt, and pop the tops on. Wrap in plastic or wax-paper bags and freeze.
Get the Look: Wood trays, towels, galvanized bucket, tray and bottle holder, ice cream scoop, glass cups and stemware, glass flower vases and jars from Crate and Barrel at The Bellevue Collection. Beach balls from beachballs.com. Inflatable swan from Nordstrom. Surfboards from Perfect Wave SUP & Surfboards in Kirkland. Vintage metal display stand from Haystack Home in Kirkland. Outdoor landscape lighting by FX Luminaire ó Jefferson Landscaping. Fresh menu ingredients from Metropolitan Market in Kirkland. Hair styling by SEVEN the Salon, senior stylist Chu.