I can have a hard time reeling myself in. Every time I throw a dinner party, the most challenging part is editing the menu. I write endless lists with far too many ingredients—there’s lots of “or this & or that”—I’m just not a good editor. But that process is part of the fun for me, teetering on indecisiveness and throwing caution to the highly curated wind. I never know exactly what the meal will become and what I find at the local farms and markets ultimately dictates the outcome. In fact, it wasn’t until the very morning of this swoony summer soirée at my Amagansett home that I hosted for Club Monaco that the montage of dishes finally took shape.
Like an artful tablescape, a good meal really is all about the balance and composition. Crunchy, textural, creamy, vibrant, indulgent—a mix of easy, yet unexpected flavors… A necessary nibble at your guests’ arrival in the form of ricotta radish toasts with vibrant bok choi micro greens from Good Water Farms. Slightly bitter and briny notes from charred endive and radicchio shone through a lemony caper sauce. And then came the indulgent bits like an uber-creamy Burrata smothered with sweet summer peaches, pickled shallots and herbaceous basil and roasted fingerling potatoes spiked with jalapenos and a lemon rosemary gremolata. However, without a doubt, the star of this meal was a grilled NY Strip steak with fresh chimichurri—a mélange of peppery arugula, bright parsley, garlic, shallots and a touch of heat from red pepper—super fresh, green and vibrant.
Just as we compose flavors in a meal, it is the composition of those around us that’s ultimately important. Food and friends elevate our lives, making everyday an occasion filled with laughter and love. When I first moved to Amagansett 5 summers ago, I knew NO ONE. We settled into the bay community completely by accident—we cast a wide net and ended up in the quaint Barnes Landing community on the cusp of Springs and Amagansett. It turned out to be a very happy accident (kind of like when one of my menus finally falls into place). In sharp contrast to busy city life, a shared love of surf culture, design, food and entertaining are at the core of the incredible relationships I established here.
Living close to nature—slow living—casts a calm over me. A community of friends that pop over for a BBQ like this one brings my home to life during the ease of summer. Busy in the kitchen is where I am my happiest, I chat with friends as I put the finishes touches on our food and prepare the table. I fill our glasses with rosé, moving about with ease in my summer essential Club Monaco white flowy dress… this is what I swoon most about summer.