Outdoor Dining Style with George Hirsch
One of the most favorable compliments I receive from my guests while entertaining is, “You make it look so easy”. Sure, they offer their appreciation for how tasty the food is and how great everything looks; but I am most flattered with that statement about making it look effortless.
Here are a few of my key style tips to keep in mind when putting together your next outdoor gathering:
No Fuss: Make no fuss dishes that can be prepared ahead and grilled even before guests arrive.
Field of View: Flowers can set a tone on a dining table. Just be sure to accent the table with low, simple arrangements; don’t hide the view between guests impeding easy flow of dining conversation.
Seating is Critical: Are your chairs a 20-minute or 3-hour chairs? Think about providing deep seating with plush cushions, allowing guests a comfortable experience throughout the entire meal.
Opposites Attract: When accessorizing your tabletop complement your table surface; often mixing hard surfaces with a mix of other textures creates an appetizing look. If your table has a natural stone top then use place setting accents like rattan chargers with oversized sage-green linen napkins. If your dining table and chairs are metal based surfaces, soften up your table style story by using simple woven placemats and complementary napkins.
Double Up: For entertaining 4-6 guests you can use one set of platters or bowls to present foods. But for entertaining parties of more than 6 guests; double your display of food by utilizing 2 sets of serving bowls and platters for each dish for easy plate-up!
George’s Grilled Chicken Kebabs
Recipe by George Hirsch | Makes 4 servings
1 pound boneless chicken breasts, cut into two inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon each; dried oregano, thyme, rosemary
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Pinch Sea salt
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 2 fresh lemons
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley
For the vegetables:
Use any mixture of onion, peppers, squash, eggplant, and mushrooms, cut into 2 inch cubes. Tomatoes can be used but are best grilled a separate skewer as they cook very quickly.
Grease metal skewers with cooking spray or oil. If possible, use long, flat metal skewers. Divide the meat mixture evenly on all skewers. Push the skewer through the middle of the chicken, lengthwise, and alternate with a colorful assortment of vegetables on the skewer, spreading it evenly. Repeat with the other skewers.
Season with oregano, thyme, rosemary, black pepper, and salt. Brush kebabs with 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil.
Cover and place in refrigerator to chill and allow seasoning to bloom.
Combine remaining olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and fresh parsley in a small bowl to baste kebabs when grilling.
Preheat the grill to high.
Place kebabs on very hot grill. Brush with garlic, olive oil and lemon juice mixture. Grill kebabs 5 minutes, turning frequently, or until cooked through to desired doneness. Continue to baste kebabs with additional olive oil mixture.
Serve kebabs displayed on a wooden platter over a bed of cous cous topped with lemon and fresh garden tomato wedges. Top with fresh sprigs of herbs such as thyme or rosemary.