Side Dish: Simple to elaborate, Steele offers party tricks | Entertainment/Life

“Effortless Entertaining Cookbook: 89 Recipes That Will Impress Your Guests Without Stress” by Meredith Steele, Page Street Publishing Co., $22.99, 223 pages, paperback

Would you love to throw a party but worry you don’t know how to prepare creative, yet easy, dishes that will leave you time to enjoy it?

Look no further than recipe developer and food photographer Meredith Steele’s cookbook, “Effortless Entertaining Cookbook: 80 Recipes That Will Impress Your Guests Without Stress.” In it, Steele, publisher of the blog, offers interesting recipes, drink pairings, and plenty of tips and tricks for hosting both simple and more elaborate get-togethers.

She organizes her book by season and 16 menus. For example, the spring section suggests recipes for brunch, Easter lunch, a sunset garden party, and dinner with friends. Summer ideas include a backyard seafood boil, fiesta taco bar, a summer soirée and an Indian summer cookout. The fall section includes a menu for Thanksgiving, of course, and winter has ideas for a big holiday gathering. Winter is also where you’ll find tips for setting up a Champagne bar.

Recipes range from Jamón Serrano Manchego Wraps with Quince Paste, Carrot Ginger Soup with Mint Cashew Pesto, and Bee’s Knees Cocktail with Thyme Honey to super-simple-to-make Orange Scented Palmiers. Each recipe is illustrated with a lovely, full-color photograph.

“Effortless Entertaining Cookbook” is a terrific choice for either a novice or accomplished party host.

Steele’s Orange Cardamom Cookies recipe, which also includes pistachios, is on her Easter menu. She suggests using both icing and decorating sugar, but I preferred to decorate with chopped pistachios. Either make a lovely presentation.

Cheramie Sonnier is a food writer and…

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