7 Recipes to Start Your Summer Entertaining

Chow on 06.14.13
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All photos: Kelly Rossiter

I love entertaining and I tend to do a lot of it during the summer. Much of my entertaining is done at the cottage, so I like to keep things as simple as possible. Who wants to spend a lot of time in the kitchen when you could be sitting on the deck looking at the loons swimming by? It seems like summer entertaining is less formal in any case, and on a warm spring afternoon you could get away with a bowl of strawberries and some whipped cream to dip them in and a bottle of prosecco to wash it down.

This week I've kept the recipe choices to things that your guests could eat with their hands. Some of them are things you could pass around at a cocktail party, while some are things that you can just leave out on the table for anyone to snack on. They are all easy and no fuss, allowing you plenty of time to visit with friends and family.

1. Mushroom Crostini

Crostini are one of the easiest things to make. Lightly toast some sturdy bread and than add whatever topping you like. Here I have a nice mushroom and cheese topping, and I also have a hugely popular pea topping.

2. Leek Tart

The recipe calls for this leek tart to be served hot, but I served it at room temperature and liked it very much that way. The puff pastry crust is sturdy enough that guests can eat this with their hands, but make sure there are lots of napkins to catch the crumbs.

3. Potato Chip Frittatas

These potato chip frittatas are a great thing to serve if you are having a party with kids attending. They fit perfectly into little hands, you can serve them at room temperature, they don't make a mess, and best of all, they taste great.

4. Mushroom and Kale Wontons With Sesame Ginger Dipping Sauce

This recipe for mushroom and kale wontons is really the only thing in this collection that requires any time. The filling itself is fast and easy, but it takes a bit of time to stuff the wontons. It is however, a terrific way to get the kids to help, because it isn't hard, it just takes a bit of time.

5. Homemade Corn Chips

You can make these homemade corn chips ahead of time, but I advise you to hide them when you make them. They are downright addictive, and if you leave them out, you'll find yourself having to make another batch. This is a terrific recipe to make as a nibble before a barbeque.

6. Tejas with Sunflower Seeds

Tejas means roof tiles in Spanish, which is what these tasty little snacks look like. Like the corn chips, these are a light snack you can have out on the table for people to nibble on with their cocktails.

7. Candied Tomatoes

I spooned these candied tomatoes onto some brie and baguette to make these simple nibbles, but the recipe actually called for them to be spooned over baked ricotta which would be pretty fabulous. You could toast the bread if you like. This makes a great change from the standard bruschetta.

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