Now is that a photo of summer or what?

Yesterday’s birthday party / summer bbq / hope & jess wedding celebration part trois was a success. We all helped out in the kitchen beginning around 8 am, and were putting the finishing touches on salads when guests started arriving around 2:30. Arianna helped me with the chive gougères which came out well despite all the moisture in the air. The sour cherries we pitted for hours on Saturday went into a salsa and a fruit topping for ice cream.

Probably one of my favorite eats from yesterday was a cashew spread that filled little celery stalks. It’s a Mark Bittman special from his 101 inspired picnic dishes. This is the recipe in its entirety: “Process a cup or two of cashews, a chili or two, some garlic, a splash of soy sauce and enough water to get the food processor going; fold in chopped cilantro or chives. Fill celery sticks and chill. This is the best celery-filler since cream cheese.” I agree.

On the grill: swordfish, tuna, ribs, chicken, and two hot dogs (one for my father – “hey it’s my birthday” – the other for a 5-year-old guest). We actually had two sets of ribs, one from a family friend, the other from my brother’s friend Chris, owner and executive chef of Blackstrap BBQ in Winthrop, Mass.

There were pasta salads, potato salads, tabouleh, caprese, green salads, crab salad, green salads. Eric and Amos brought their own just-baked bread and croissants from Good Companion Bakery, a bakery and farm across the street from my parents’ house. We were sufficiently fed.