The fun outdoor season is just around the corner! Time to put on your sunscreen, fire up the barbecue and put together a summery bop-heavy playlist to play on your bluetooth speaker. What is it you say Your only outside space is a 3 by 3 foot piece of grass or a rusty fire escape that should only be used technically in an emergency? We can work with that. We’ve put together our editors’ favorite outdoor entertainment essentials – from space-saving patio furniture to home decorations that can be used outdoors or indoors – that will keep any garden, driveway, or even the most humble park lawn in place, all summer long to be.
We love enamelware, but sometimes that classic speckled finish can look a little Maine-cabin-in-the-woods-circa 1932, a great vibe to be sure but maybe not for every soiree. Handcrafted in Turkey, these bowls feature bubbly, modern color combinations such as coral and flamingo pink that brighten any tabletop. Grab the matching dinner plates and mugs for a complete outdoor dining set.
No space for a large outdoor dining table? Made of ash, steel and linoleum, this three-legged café table folds flat for easy storage and comes with a leather strap so you can hang it out of sight when not in use.
Departo folding coffee table
Which outdoor bash is not enhanced by a fire function? Senior commerce editor MacKenzie Chung Fegan gave her mom a solo stove last year after she got tired of excuses that it was “too cold” to entertain friends in the backyard and therefore had to hang inside during a pandemic. The Bonfire – the medium-sized fireplace of the solo cooker – is very easy to use, generates a lot of heat and is almost completely smoke-free. While the bonfire isn’t great for grilling, it’s perfect for roasting weenies or toasting marshmallows for s’mores.
Because you can always use extra seating, especially in cheerful cobalt. These lightweight metal chairs fold flat and are rust-resistant so you don’t have to worry about summer thunderstorms passing by. There’s also a matching 20-inch folding bistro table if you want to go on blue.
Folding chairs with metal slats
Those triple-spoiled candles smell so good that editor-in-chief Dawn Davis would still use them even if she wasn’t keeping mosquitos out. That they contain citronella, a natural detergent made from lemongrass, is the icing on the cake. Dawn has a penchant for the scents of sea salt and eucalyptus, which can keep your outdoor area bug-free for up to 80 hours.
Skeem Design Citronella Candle
Fairy lights can transform even the dreary outdoors into something nicer, but if your garden really needs help, reach for a colorful set. These 21 LED lamps are available in a spectrum of warm colors from cantaloup to tomato red. (Note that the appropriate lamp holder strand for these light bulbs is available separately.)
Nothing ruins a pool party like a minefield of broken glass, so stick with drinkware that won’t break. This set of six colorful glasses is made of super durable Tritan plastic, is also dishwasher safe, BPA-free and does not tarnish or discolour.
DuraClear Tritan Double old-fashioned glasses
When ex-social media manager Emily Schultz is expecting a crowd, she rolls out this bar cart / cooler that will keep 110 bottles of beer and cans of the White Claw flavor of her choice (it’s Black Razz) cold for up to 36 hours. She loves that it has a built-in bottle opener and cap catcher. That means she won’t sweep up stray bottle caps after the party.
Rollable refrigerator truck from Permasteel
This is a pineapple-shaped stool. 15 inches tall and made of molded resin, it is suitable for outdoors but would look pretty fabulous as a side table in the living room too. Use it as an extra seat when a friend brings a surprise to your dinner party, or to hold a serving tray of sliced pineapple. Meta! The perfect conversation starter – and after a year with the same three people, we need all the help we can get.
Art director Christa Guerra bought these handcrafted aluminum cups in Mexico as a “present for her boyfriend” but somehow they found a permanent home in her picnic bag. They’re their wine glasses for on the go, but they’re also cute enough to use as part of a real table setting at home. Christa recommends grabbing a few of different colors so guests at your next outdoor party can remember whose cup is whose.
Mexican Utility Aluminum Cup Utility
The hours of daylight in summer are longer, but they’re not infinite – so make sure your fun outdoor lighting schedule is in place before dark. This rechargeable lamp provides up to 20 hours of soft light and can be dimmed or brightened depending on your mood. Put it on a picnic table or hang it on a branch by its brightly colored handle. Also cute for camping!
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The 7 best kitchen offers for early Amazon Prime Day 2021 that Bon Appétit editors want
Like Christmas and my mom’s praise, Amazon Prime Day only comes once a year. While it doesn’t technically start until Monday, we’ve rounded up the best early Amazon Prime Day 2021 deals to buy right now. If you’ve been waiting for a Mondo sale to buy this Le Creuset or replace your age-old kitchen tongs, get them early before the hordes sink (these lightning deals go faster than Jeff Bezos’ space rocket). Amazon Prime Day begins June 21st at midnight PST and lasts for 48 hours. So if you’re not a Prime member, log in here and check back on Monday as we continue to reveal the best kitchen deals.
In the eternal words of Sisqo, “pliers pliers pliers”, so to speak. Save 55% on this 9-inch set (Test Kitchen Director Chris Morocco’s preferred plier length) and 12-inch silicone-tipped pliers. This is a lightning deal so act fast!
Silicone and stainless steel pliers – pack of 2
Perhaps the best early Amazon Prime Day 2021 deal of them all is this 3.5 quart Le Creuset sauté pan, now 40% off. Not quite as deep as Le Creuset’s iconic Dutch Oven, the sauté pan has a wide base ideal for browning and braising, and its sloping sides allow you to really get into corners with a whisk or spoon.
Le Creuset sauté pan in enamelled cast iron (3.5 qt.)
In 2017, we boldly claimed that a fish spatula was the only spatula you need, and we stand by it. Tender enough for top pancakes but sturdy enough to turn a burger, a fish spatula is a versatile kitchen tool that every amateur cook needs. Save over 50% on this Amazon Prime Day.
Stainless steel fish spatula
With this 24-piece glass food storage set (now 40% off) you are well on the way to getting single-use plastics out of your kitchen.
Bayco 24-Piece Glass Storage Food Containers
Did the lack of a springform pan stop you from making a Basque roasted cheesecake? Your time is now.
9 inch spring pan cake pan
Save this beautiful stainless steel kettle for my princesses.
Electric kettle with gooseneck made of stainless steel
If, like digital editor-in-chief Amanda Shapiro, you’re a virgin who loves a good system, stock up on these wire storage baskets, currently 32% off.
Wire Storage Baskets – Pack of 4
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A dish that your guests will love … and a backup just in case
Welcome to You’ve Got Time for This, a column where Bon Appétit Editor-in-Chief Dawn Davis highlights recipes from our archives that are delicious, easily accessible, and work every time.
I’m here to rave about a dish from the BA archives that pays off with minimal fuss, but first let me tell you about one dinner that the party went wrong.
When my friend Greg graduated from law school, it was time for a party. I reached out to Second Helpings at Union Square Cafe because the main courses are consistently tasty and foolproof, if admittedly a bit complicated. I chose the Indian bouillabaisse, monkfish and shellfish, cooked in a fragrant broth with accents of cardamom, coriander seeds and fenugreek flowered in mustard oil. As a starter, I served a hearty lentil and celery salad that I thought could serve as a main course should a dinner guest be allergic to shellfish. What could go wrong?
Much. One of Greg’s friends, let’s call her Madeleine, was not only allergic to shellfish but also to lentils. As for dinner parties, it’s been an embarrassing bankruptcy. I didn’t know how to turn at the time, so it was up to Madeleine to save the day. She was always polite and pretended to have had a late lunch. I could hear her stomach growling with hunger.
Since that day I’ve always been asking if anyone has allergies and I always have a backup plan that I had to use this weekend.
I had a dinner party on Friday and chose another shellfish recipe: Chris Morocco’s chile lime clams with tomato and grilled bread. This dish is over the top delicious and is refined with restaurant-grade butter and sambal oelek, a chilli paste that adds flavor, but in this case not much spiciness. With autumn hues, this dish is gorgeous, especially with a touch of red onion (which I used in addition to the shallots called for in the recipe) and brightly colored cherry tomatoes. The pan goes straight to the direct heat of a grill, although you can use your stovetop instead. Everyone loved it so much that we tried hard to get that little bit of leftover in the pan. (If you like mussels, I highly recommend.)
I did notice, however, that a friend was eating around the clams and opted for the chickpeas, jam, caramelized onions, and grilled bread instead. I had asked before; She wasn’t allergic to shellfish. So what was the problem? Coriander, with which the dish is ready.
Instead of panicking, I turned to my choice this time: Fridge-Dive Pesto Pasta. It’s great for an impromptu Plan B because, as the name suggests, you can make it with “any leftover hardy greens, lettuce, or herb that you don’t know what to do with.” I had fresh arugula and basil and some wilted escarole and parsley on hand, although I suspect it hardly matters because it’s the sesame seeds I toasted in the pan while the greens cook and the ricotta salad that makes it memorable. (Ricotta may not be a pantry, but it takes a while, good enough to have on hand.) Twenty minutes later the pasta was ready and this time no one went hungry. So if a surprising allergy or aversion shows up, don’t panic – open another bottle of wine and bring your water to a boil.
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When it’s too hot to cook, I turn to my Royal Gourmet Flat Top Grill
This is highly recommended, a column that explores what people in the food industry are obsessed with eating, drinking, and buying right now.
Like yesterday and the day before yesterday, it is almost 100 degrees in Austin, so hot that I feel like a melting figure in a Dali painting. Should I heat my pan or my oven? Prepare an ambitious recipe? Give me a call in November when autumn does begin in Texas and my mood can no longer be described as “sweating”. That’s why my Royal Gourmet Flat-Top Grill was my savior this summer. Dinner is ready in the time it takes to chop a broccoli, and the only tools for cleaning are a bottle of water and a spatula. It perfectly delivers a Hong Kong street vendor’s wok-Hei and, more importantly, it brings me back to my ultimate childhood comfort food: food court take-out from Sarku Japan, a teppanyaki chain that sells almost exclusively in malls all of America can be found.
In the sprawling suburbs of Cypress, Texas, northwest of Houston, summers are best described by their duality – the Gulf Coast heat (demonstrated by the Texan Neapolitan, sunburned on top, pale in the middle, with a distinctive Old Navy flip-flop -Tan on the bottom) and the coolness of the mall where it’s always 65 degrees. The mall raised me when I was five years old walking around permanently sticky playgrounds up to my thirteenth year doing Forever 21. It’s in my DNA – even my prom was at the mall. And while some kids grew up with PB&J or Little Caesar’s Hot-N-Readys, I grew up on Sarku Japan. Every time I visited Willowbrook Mall, my mom and I shared a $ 5.69 styrofoam box of teriyaki chicken and beef, perfectly caramelized and piled high on rice and steamed vegetables. For an additional $ 1.79, we ventured to double our meat, but only after taking a free sample.
Now at home, the Royal Gourmet Grill challenges me to escape the rigidity of daily menu planning. Armed with a squirt bottle and a spatula, I reef. Whether it’s a smash burger, tacos al pastor or my favorite diner breakfast, the flat top makes it easy for me to just pop up without the pressure of perfection. No timers, no thermometers, just me and my mise en place are flowing. When the neighbors curiously perk up their heads to smell my teppanyaki, it’s time to toss the glaze on the meat, the sweet and savory varnish balanced by the pleasant familiarity of cabbage and rice .
Now that I’ve left my hometown, the nearest Sarku Japan is about a 30-minute drive away, in an unfamiliar mall that someone else raised but still has the best summer air conditioning this side of the Colorado River. A trip to the mall feels a little sad now. Some things, like low-rise jeans, are better left in the past. But thanks to my Royal Gourmet Grill, I can eat food court teppanyaki at any time. In a way, cooking Sarku Japan at home hits the same note as cooking a Cantonese recipe from my mother. It feels like a return to my legacy, a culture shaped by frappuccinos, soft pretzels and the Zumiez background music. Mall Food Court Teppanyaki is a part of me, and my backyard plancha is my homecoming.
Royal Gourmet flat grill
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