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Simple Summer Dinner By The Pool

My husband’s brother and his fiance were in town over the weekend.  We wanted to spend the day in Carmel so I prepared the dinner in advance so we could get home and just enjoy the views before the sun set.climbing roses
I gathered a simple bouquet of hydrangeas, eucalyptus, and fennel blossoms from my yard and plopped them in one of my vintage glass jars.

I set up a collapsable 48” table in front of the fireplace so we could start a fire once the air cooled.
poolside dinnerI fixed (a new favorite) Lemon Feta Dip for the appetizer (also made the day before)
feta dip

Lemon Feta Dip (via A Cup of Joe)
7 oz. feta cheese (about 1 cup crumbled)
1 tbsp. grated lemon zest, plus more for garnish
1–2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
6 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Crudités, chips, toasts or pita crisps, for serving

This is super easy,delicious and one of my new favorites !  If you buy really good Feta it is even better.

This Ina Garten Guacamole Salad is one of my go to’s to serve with Mexican food and you can whip it up in a flash.

ina garten guacamole salad

Guacamole Salad
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and ½-inch diced
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup small-diced red onion
2 tablespoons minced jalapeno peppers, seeded (2 peppers)
½ teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice, (2 limes)
¼ cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon minced garlic
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 ripe Hass avocados, seeded, peeled, and ½-inch diced
These crab enchiladas are an old standby recipe of mine that I have made for years.


 Crab Enchiladas



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Saute onion in oil, add flour, milk and chili.
  3. Cook until medium thick.
  4. Reserve 1/4 cup of cheeses to sprinkle over top of sauce.
  5. Heat 1/2 to 1 tsp of canola oil at a time in skillet.
  6. When oil is warm quickly dip tortillas in oil until soft and warm.
  7. Immediately put 1 Tablespon each of cheese, crabmeat and sauce in tortilla and roll up.
  8. Place seam side down in a 11×7 inch pan.
  9. Repeat until all tortillas are used.
  10. Pour the remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with reserved cheeses.
  11. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes.

For dessert, I served coconut sorbet with good old Trader Joes Lemon Cookies since I hate baking!!
Of course, Beau was happy to keep everyone entertained (and damp) throughout the evening!

yellow lab swimming


Reader Interactions


  1. kim at northerncalstyle. says

    Cindy love your entertaining style. Great idea getting it all together so you could come home and enjoy your gorgeous home. These are super recipes and I am going to save them! Thanks for sharing your secrets! Hope summer is good to you and you are feeling great! xo Kim

  2. Heather Lindstrom says

    What a purely delightful evening! Your patio is so inviting and your dishes sound delicious. We are having a rekindled love of feta this summer (especially with watermelon) so I'm adding this dip to my menu for this evening. Thanks for joining us at the #stylefocus Lifestyle Linkup, Cindy. You are such a stylish inspiration!
    xx, Heather

  3. Leslie Harris says

    Oh Cindy what a fun post. I'm going back to read the recipes …the menu is my kind of food. Yum. Your entire ambiance looks so warm and inviting. How lucky to be a guest at your home. 🙂

  4. Jennifer McCracken says

    Cindy, this meal sounds delicious and I would like to try it! I am wondering about the Crab Enchiladas recipe. I see you are baking at 250 degrees. I have never made these before, but that sounds like a very cool oven. Just wanting to be sure it is not a misprint. Thanks.

    • Cindy says

      Oh Jennifer that is a misprint! The cookbook that it originally came out of said that….I have always baked at 350! Thanks for catching it!!

  5. La Contessa says

    WELL,I think I will COPY YOU since IAM back to cooking meals again.The BIRTHDAY celebrations are over as of lunch TODAY!!THAT FETA looks DIVINE…….as does everything else!I adore the BAREFOOT CONTESSA's recipes!!
    SOUNDS like your getting around …………….YIPPY!!!!!!XX

  6. Karen says

    This is my kind of meal, especially during the summer months. Anything I can prepare in advance goes to the top of my "favorite thing to cook" list. There used to be a restaurant in Newport Beach that prepared crab stuffed enchiladas. They were my favorite. I'll have to give your recipe a go. Your day, with your brother and his fiance, sounded ideal!

  7. Rie | Portobello Design says

    You have created an amazing en plein air dining! And the food looks delicious, if I was your extended family I would be thrilled to come your home for the weekend, or any other time for that fact! Lovely!

  8. leslie says

    Hi Cindy!! Dinner looks amazing and your table and flowers –WOW, beautiful country you live in!! I know they loved everything!! Leslie Sinclair

  9. the polished pebble: says

    Crab enchiladas!!!! sounds so delish. Beau looks pretty happy in the pool too. Millie really misses swimming in the bay in Newport but she's so old she would probably sink. We would have to get her some floaties ; )

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