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Entertaining your summer guests

Simply put, summer is entertaining season. Patio parties come together at the last minute and long-planned events fill up the calendar months in advance. But no matter whether you’re having an impromptu gathering or an invitation-only celebration, focusing on the flavors and sensory delights of summer will make your party a success, without demanding too much of your time.
   The heart of any party is the food and drinks you serve. Summer offers an array of delicious options unlike any other season — when else can you find as much variety and such good quality, often right from the farm? Let that spirit of simplicity guide your approach to putting together a meal, and you’ll find that easy-to-prepare recipes can be real crowd-pleasers.
   With a trip to the farmers market and a stop at the grocery store, you can get inspiration, as well as all the ingredients you’ll need. As you shop, consider what’s in season, and when buying things that are available all year like cheese and meats, look for sustainable options that focus on quality, sustainability, and letting natural, unadorned flavors shine through.
   Grass-fed beef steaks and blue cheeses are two simple ingredients that, when combined, make a show-stopping centerpiece. Add grilled vegetables adorned with herbs and a seasonal salad with a creamy dressing for a perfectly-balanced plate that’s easy to put together and focuses on what’s in season. For drinks and desserts, turn your attention to fruits that are ripening at the moment, which provide maximum flavor with minimum effort. Lemonade with mint and