Even the most adept of planners will tell you that come Memorial Day Weekend, last-minute hosting is bound to happen. After all, how can you resist the urge to host family and friends in the outdoors at any moment’s notice? Whether you’re throwing an impromptu Memorial Day Weekend barbeque or a last-minute lunch in your backyard, these pre-approved outdoor entertaining ideas are sure to give your in-the-moment outing an easy upgrade.
Every host knows that the key to a successful gathering is in the preparation that’s done ahead of the big event—but last-minute celebrations don’t always work in sync with that philosophy. There’s certainly no fun in scrambling the day of to get all the details in check, which is why foraging for flowers is our favorite tabletop trick. After all, the best way to turn an everyday occasion into something special is with a touch of green. The best part? This can be done mere minutes before guests arrive: simply go for a walk around the block to gather any native plants and florals, opting for varied textures and shades to create an arrangement that’s perfectly in sync with the season.
For last-minute hosting, we keep our menu grounded in simplicity by sticking to the essentials that every guest will need. First on the list? A refreshing cocktail like a Paloma. Make a batch without the tequila or mezcal for any non-drinkers or kids in attendance, and then you’re ready for the next order of business: food. Turn on the grill and get to roasting any vegetables that are on hand, or create a colorful crudité. Another easy addition is a Tuna Niçoise Salad—hearty, wholesome, and always delicious.
One of the easiest ways to elevate any outdoor occasion is with dinnerware details. Skip the paper or plastic and dress your table with your favorite set of plates and the like—we’re fans of Pacific Dinnerware for its durability and versatility. When it comes to tablecloths and napkins, we’re partial to linen for this simple reason: if you don’t have time to iron, you can still use your go-to set and let the relaxed look take on a note of intention. For an added touch on the tabletop, fill bowls with fresh produce (or anything with color in your fridge) for a vibrant and effortless form of seasonal celebration.
Pour some kosher salt on a plate. Rub half of rim of a highball glass with grapefruit wedge; dip rim of glass in salt. Combine grapefruit juice, lime juice, and sugar in glass; stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in mescal, add ice, and top off with club soda. Garnish with grapefruit wedge.
Make the dressing first. Get a medium sized bowl and put all dressing ingredients above in it (except for the olive oil). Mix the ingredients together and slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Beat with a whisk to help the dressing emulsify nicely. Put it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
You’re going to need a lot of ice for this recipe since you need an ice bath for the eggs, haricot verts, and potatoes. Start with the eggs. Set the eggs in a saucepan and cover them completely with water. Uncovered, bring the water and eggs to a boil and as soon as it does boil, cover the pan, take it off the heat, and let them cook for 12 minutes. Move the eggs over with a slotted spoon to an ice bath and let them cool completely. Remove the shells immediately but don’t halve them until you’re ready to serve.
Bring another medium saucepan with salt water to boil. Cook the haricot verts for 3 minutes and then transfer them (again with a slotted spoon) to an ice bath. Pat dry. Set aside.
Now bring your last pot of salted water to boil. Put the potatoes in and bring it down to a simmer. Cook for about 9 minutes. Move the potatoes to an ice bath. Pat dry. Set aside.
Now you’re ready to assemble.
Line the base of your platter with large leaves of red-lettuce. Set a small handful of frisee into each of the four corners of the platter. Take haricot verts and arrange them similarly (four small bunches, one in each corner of the platter). From there, arrange the tomatoes and Kalamata olives in color-blocking lines. Cut the eggs length-wise and put two eggs in each corner. At this point you should have a bit of a sunshine presentation. Set a handful of the potatoes in the center of the arrangement. On top of that, set the tuna. Garnish the tuna with sprigs of dill. Salt and Pepper everything.
Ideally, you present the dish this way and dress it table-side, right before serving.