Backyard Music Festival With Saffron Preserved Lemon Couscous Salad
Summer is in full swing and we're looking for any and every excuse to round up the friends for an evening of fun music, great food and definitely wine. Sometimes keeping track of RSVP's can be challenging, so I always use Evite to rally the troops - it's always the easiest way to bring friends and family together for any event.
This summer we're bringing the beats to the backyard with a music festival inspired get together that will have everyone feeling like they've just scored a free ticket to the VIP lounge. We've got a few boho vibes, tons of great food to try and even some yard games to keep things active - here are 4 ways to easily recreate that summer concert feeling in your own outdoor space!
...You better start working on that playlist now (and we've got a few tips for that too)! Cheers!
BYOB: Bring Your Own Blanket
The easiest and more affordable way to set up instant backyard lounging is with a mix and match of textiles! Lay down overlapping colorful blankets for a casual hang on the backyard lawn. By using serving trays or large wooden boards as flat tables, your friends will have a convenient spot to place food and drink without spilling.
Hot day? Scatter around colorful parasols from the 99 cent store to help beat the heat by providing much needed shade in bright open outdoor spaces.
Keep it Chill
Stock a cooler with plenty of ice so that wine is always chilled and set up as a self serve station for guests to help themselves. We love serving Francis Coppola Diamond Collection at our outdoor events. It's a premium wine in a convenient can that stays cool and leaves you worry-free on glassware. Besides, it wouldn't be a proper music festival setting without breaking out a variety of chilled wine for you to enjoy golden hour with...and they come in four packs, so there's plenty to share!
Whether you choose to serve a brightly balanced Chardonnay, sweet juicy Sauvignon Blanc or a refreshing Pinot Grigio, each one of these Fancis Coppola Diamond Cans goes perfectly with our deliciously herbaceous and fresh couscous salad!
Yard games such as croquet and bocce ball are easy to set up in a snap and are a fun leisure activity even on a super hot evening. Set up a few stations away from your lounging area and allow your friends to play around without setting up anything formal...and don’t forget to break out the instant camera with plenty of extra film for some candid memories of the day for everyone to take home with them.
DIY Foodie Festival
These days most concerts feel more like a food festival offering up a wide variety of flavors and dishes to try from different vendors. Prep an assortment of summer-time bites ahead of the party and serve them up in individual bamboo boats day of for that grab and go festival feel.
Here are some of our favorite dishes that go perfect with your grilling of choice:
Tomato & plum salad with finely chopped red jalapeño, mint & basil served over burrata
Blistered snap peas with toasted quinoa, fresh mint and ricotta
Stuffed squash blossoms with pistachio & basil pesto
Fruit Salad tossed with aleppo chili, salt and lime
And maybe our most favorite - and what we're officially calling the perfect summer salad of to bring to any outdoor gathering - a saffron and preserved lemon couscous salad packed with fresh herbs, on top of a harissa yogurt and topped with chopped almonds and dried apricots.
It's zesty, bright and totally fresh over a spicy yet refreshing yogurt sauce - did I mention perfect for any grilling accompaniment? Chicken, mixed veg skewers and even falafel - it's definitely a crowd pleaser and you can grab the recipe below!
- Saffron Preserved Lemon Couscous Salad With Harissa Yogurt -
Perfect Summer Side Salad - Serves 8
2 cups pearl couscous
1/4 cup preserved lemon juice
6 saffron threads
3 preserved lemons, finely chopped
1/4 champagne vinegar
3-4 TBS olive oil
Juice of 1- 2 fresh lemons
1 bunch flat parsley finely chopped
1 bunch cilantro finely chopped
1-2 TBS Vadouvan spice blend
1 can chickpeas
Chopped almonds & dried turkish apricots + micro-greens for topping
1/2 cup labneh or greek yogurt
3-4 TBS harissa paste
Cook couscous to package specifications, allow to cool. For dressing, heat preserved lemon juice (do not boil) and extract saffron in liquid for 10 minutes. Add chopped preserved lemons, olive oil and champagne vinegar, mix well. In a large bowl add couscous, preserved lemon vinaigrette, chopped herbs, Vadouvan spice and chickpeas. Toss well and add fresh lemon juice to taste. In a separate bowl, combine harissa paste with lebneh and mix well.
Add a large dollop of harissa yogurt to the bottom of your plate or bowl, create a swoop using the back of a spoon. Top with couscous salad and a sprinkling or chopped almonds, apricots and microgreens. Serve chilled or at room temp as a new summer side salad with your favorite grilled chicken, BBQ skewers or even falafel.
Perfect Your Playlist
It wouldn't be a music festival without...well music! Make sure to organize a Spotify Playlist well before the event stocked with plenty of tunes. Ask friends to submit their favorite summer albums before the event to ensure that everyone will have a favorite singalong on the list.
Setting up an outdoor wireless bluetooth speaker is a great way to get music into any yard. Keep your phone near by so anyone can add to the mix or switch to a playlist of their own. You can even stream music festivals such as outside lands, Newport folk and Newport Jazz live!
Here are three rules to consider for the perfect playlist:
Always plan on at least 3 hours of music.
Consider Volume, where this is a music party, you still want people to be able to hear each other and not yell at each other.
Don't overlook the power of the pop anthem, whether it's a hit from this year or 10 years back - everyone loves something they can sing along to sprinkled into a variety of other tunes.
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