Entertaining: Sunday Dinner at the Beach

On most Sunday evenings you will find us having a relaxed dinner with our friends at the local town beach. It's usually more or less a potluck, and sometimes there will be four of us or upwards of twenty plus. Last Sunday, our neighbors (Rick and Cindy) took the lead on dinner by coming up with a menu ahead of time, and getting everything set-up before we arrived. Per their direction, I contributed an hors d'oeuvre, a side dish and some sparkling wine...

Rick and Cindy decided that all the dishes would be prepared in advance, and we would keep the grilling to a minimum. These two are avid cooks so when they plan the menu, you know it's going to be good! The result - we ate much earlier than usual, which is key on a school night before heading back to NYC. 

Cindy set the table with melamine plates from pottery barn atop a pastel picnic style table cloth. Ikea lanterns and wildflowers added to the relaxed setting. 

I brought raw market veggies to much on before dinner (sugar snap peas and radishes). They taste so delish on their own - they don't need much.  Just add chopped chives, a drizzle of olive oil on top, and salt and pepper to taste.

Rick and Cindy prepared quintessential summer dishes full of seasonal favorites. Whole wheat pesto pasta with grilled jumbo shrimp and a watermelon, cucumber salad with feat cheese and chopped mint. To bring out the flavors in the watermelon salad, Cindy added 3 tablespoons of red wine, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

After dinner, we took a stroll along the beach with sparkling wine in hand and watched the sun go down.  

The junior lifeguard in me climbed up the chair for a better sunset view. 

Rick and Cindy's beach dinner was so beautifully planned out and prepared that it has raised the bar for our future Sunday dinners!!

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