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Even while celebrating with a small group or on your own, now is the best time for outdoor cooking.

Preparing, cooking and eating food brings joy to any holiday! Enjoy the journey. Dig up some of your summer favorite recipes (see our SFLA favorites below). Spend some together time – planning a menu and shopping for ingredients, chopping, marinating, preparing side dishes, and cooking on the grill – the entire process can feel purposeful and calming. We all seem to have more time in our schedule these days, so no need to add self pressure and feel rushed. Ask the whole family to get involved – giving everyone their own dish or task and then celebrate each accomplishment whether large or small!

If prepping and making food is not your thing, creating and decorating your outdoor space to gather and eat together can be refreshing and a fun activity. Whether you simply spread out a welcoming picnic blanket on the ground or a decorative table cloth to your outdoor dining table, you can also spruce up the space by adding a floral centerpiece of cuttings from your garden, lighting candles, lanterns or outdoor lights for ambiance; arranging the serving area with bowls of salads, dishes and utensils; helping with serving the fabulous grilled meats and/or vegetables hot from the grill; and topping it all off with fresh berries and ice cream. Sound delicious! Are you hungry yet?

Yum Yum; Here are some of the SFLA Team’s favorite summer recipes:

Susan loves her marinated flank steak recipe that she got many years ago from one of her co-workers at Scott Byron & Company, Inc. in her early Landscape Architecture days in the Chicago area.  As you can see, this recipe has been well loved over the years:

Ian is the “head chef” of our company! His creativity in the kitchen rivals his creativity as a landscape designer. Ian’s passion for cooking is contagious and he is often talking about food and sharing recipes.  Here’s his favorite Grilled Indonesian Chicken recipe. He likes substituting sugar for the 2 tbsp kecap manis (dark sweet soy sauce), using half an onion (instead of just 2 tbsp), and adding 1 – 2 tsp grated  ginger.

Audrey’s family favorite BBQ chicken, shared by her fiancé, goes really well with mashed potatoes or baked sweet potatoes:

Eugene’s Creole Beer Chicken

  • 1 Whole chicken (or whatever cuts you like)
  • 1 Beer (Sam Adams is good for it but most any work)
  • Lemon Juice from 3 Lemons
  • Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
  1. Cut chicken (if a whole chicken is used)
  2. Put chicken in a large bowl and add in beer & lemon juice and soak for 20-30 minutes.
  3. Lay chicken out on a tray and cover all sides of each piece with the Creole seasoning. 
  4. Put it on the grill and cook it up! Takes about 40 minutes to cook.

Karyn’s husband has a great recipe for Grilled Salmon.

Michelle’s 7 year-old son, a creative soul himself, makes a beautiful edible flower salad that could serve as a light, fragrant first course or a beautiful and fragrant center piece for your table.

flower salad

Karyn fondly remembers the smells and taste of the peach cobblers her mother used to make. She now buys over-ripened peaches from her local Farmer’s Market to try and recreate her mother’s traditions. She uses Deborah Madison’s recipe and serves it piping hot and a la mode with vanilla ice cream (of course!).

Do you have a favorite marinade or grill recipe you’d like to share? Please share it in Comments.

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