A Grain Free Summer Lunch or Dinner Party {Gluten free, Paleo}

To me, eating is not just a daily routine, it is a chance to create, to use the beautiful colors and flavors God has created for our enjoyment.  It is a chance to make mistakes, make magic, make a dish to serve to the people who come to gather around your table.  It is a chance to set aside the worries and demands of the day and simply feast—nourishing our bodies with food and community.

One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.

— Luciano Pavarotti

To say I am not constantly dreaming up recipes and flavors would be a lie.  Usually, as I am falling asleep at night, I am already dreaming of what to make for breakfast.  And as I am serving dinner, my husband and I are usually deciding what treat to have for dessert.  As I am picking out steak to grill, or finding fresh herbs at the market, I am already dreaming of a glass of red wine and what cheese would go best with the meal.  

When my husband is out to sea, which seems to be a lot this summer, I always miss the nights when we cook together and weekend mornings when we have coffee and cream and walks with the pup.  Food truly tastes better when eaten with company.  I am so blessed that I got to travel to California this week to see my new baby niece, family and friends so since I was in town, we decided to celebrate Father’s Day early.  My father and I have always enjoyed cooking together and he always calls me up on the phone when he discovers something fabulous to make. 

So, obviously my head has been dreaming of what “manly” food to make for our Father’s Day celebration.  Something simple as our time together is short, something that can be thrown on the grill, but something unique suiting everyone’s tastes and appetites.  So I came up with a feast of grilled sausages, grilled summer squash, a cheese platter, and a plentiful assortment of tapenades, pestos, olives and mustards—all my father’s favorite foods!  We drank my mint, lime sparklers while we cooked, but this meal was so simple to prepare it made the process that much more enjoyable. 

Mint Lime Sparklers from Colorful Eats

Mint Lime Sparklers from Colorful Eats

When cooking for groups of people, it is so important to me to make the table a safe and enjoyable place for everyone to gather, feeding people according to their needs and tastes.  I’m not talking about the picky eaters or those not willing to try anything new, I am referring to people who have to eat or avoid certain foods for their daily survival and health (more about balancing health and hospitality here).  I love foods that naturally are grain or gluten free, but most importantly comforting, fun and delicious!  Buffets or family style usually work best, allowing each person to fill their plate with the foods that nourish and comfort them.

Many meals naturally lend themselves to a grain or gluten free menu.  I absolutely love this grilled sausage and charcuterie spread because there is something to please everyone, allowing people to pick and choose and fill their plates with the foods they love.  Something for the meat lovers.  Something for the cheese lovers.  Something for the vegetable lovers.  There are endless options with this menu—If you guest cannot eat dairy, they simply can skip the cheeses, or if they cannot handle cow’s milk dairy, serve a soft goat or manchego sheep cheese.  There are no nuts on the menu, unless of course you decide to serve with my grain-free crackers or white, fluffy rolls.

Enjoy this fun summer meal, creating in your kitchen sharing with those who come to gather around your table! Mix and match your flavors creating a result that suits your tastes and needs.

Sir Kensington's Mustard is fabulous!!

Sir Kensington’s Mustard is fabulous!!

A Grain Free Summer Lunch or Dinner Feast {Gluten free, Paleo}

A delicious, simple grain free lunch or dinner party with options for everyone’s tastes and needs.  An assortment of grilled sausages, cheeses, dipping sauces and grilled vegetables for an outdoor summer party.

Grilled Sausage Platter

  • Choose a variety of chicken, beef, pork (I recommend purchasing from US Wellness Meats).
  • Choose some spicy and some stuffed with spinach or artichokes to suit everyone’s needs.
  • Grill sausages for about 10-14 minutes (depending on the heat of your grill), rotating every few minutes.

Summer Grilled Zucchini

  • 3-4 zucchini squash
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup basil, thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Melt together the butter and garlic. Slice each zucchini, long-ways, into 3 slices. Brush with half the garlic butter. 
  • Grill the zucchini for 3-4 minutes, flip and continue to grill on the other side for 3-4 additional minutes.
  • Plate on a serving tray and drizzle with remaining butter.  Garnish with fresh basil.

Balsamic Caramelized Onions

  • 1 large (or 2 small) red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • sprinkle of salt, to taste
  • In a large skillet, melt butter.  Add onions, drizzling in balsamic vinegar.  Sauté onions for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft.

Building a Cheese Platter

  • Choose from an assortment of cows’, goats’ or sheeps’ milk cheeses such as sharp cheddar, herb goat chèvre, gruyere, smoked gouda, parmesan, brie or manchego.  Raw or grass-fed cheeses are best. 
  • Plate on a bed of lettuce or garnish with grapes and berries, or whatever is fresh from the market.
  • Serve with something for everyone—grain free olive and rosemary crackers, a box of gluten free crackers from the market or even a slice baguette for those wanting some bread.

To serve and garnish

Arrange in small bowls, platters or baskets so that people can choose their sauces, dips and garnishing flavors.

Drinks | Sweet Sips

 

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