Whether your family and friends are gathering for the Holidays or other special occasions, your outdoor living spaces, outdoor fireplace, kitchen or wood burning ovens, are perfect for providing an extended warm and welcoming atmosphere and a fun environment for all to mingle and visit.
Visit our Outdoor Living Spaces Pinterest board to get ideas and see how others have enhanced their homes for premium comfort and entertainment value.
Gathering Spot #1 – Outdoor Fireplace
If your fireplace does not have a built up hearth for seating, be sure to place plenty of comfortable seating and small tables for your guests to set their drinks or plates while they fill each other in on everything that has been happening with them this past year.
Be sure to have a full supply of fuel, whether your outdoor fireplace is wood or gas burning, on hand so you can refuel as needed through out the night.
A fun idea for the kids: Put reindeer treats next to your outdoor fireplace for Santa’s reindeer to munch on while he’s putting the presents under the tree! There are plenty of recipe ideas out there for
‘Reindeer Food’ but here are 2 that can be put “out” for the reindeer
and secretly consumed later while wrapping presents!
Gathering Spot #2 – Outdoor Kitchen
Take advantage of your outdoor kitchen to provide an excellent gathering spot for your guests to provide the delicious appetizers and snacks for them to fill their bellies while reveling in the holiday spirit and feeling merry and bright!
Recipes for the Grill
Prime Rib Roast
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours, 20 minutes
Yield: Serves 12-14
1 whole prime rib roast (approx 18 pounds)
6-8 cloves garlic, cut into slivers
4 sprigs fresh rosemary (dried can be subst.)
2 tbsp black pepper
2 tbsp dried rosemary
2 tbsp salt (coarse is better)
2 tbsp paprika
Prepare grill for indirect grilling with a large dripping pan under where the roast will be. Aim for a grill temperature around 375 degrees F. Periodically add water to the pan to keep the drippings from burning away if you want to make gravy. Make sure you know the weight of your prime rib. Plan on grilling indirectly for 12 to 14 minutes per pound. If you are using a smaller roast, adjust the ingredients and cooking times accordingly.
With a sharp paring knife make a series of 1/2 inch deep holes every 2 inches all over the roast. Insert the garlic slivers in every other hole and a leaf from the rosemary in the rest. Combine black pepper, dried rosemary, salt and paprika and rub over the surface of the meat. When the grill is ready, place the roast on the well oiled grate directly over the dripping pan. Cook for about 12 to 14 minutes per pound. An 18 pound roast will take about 3 1/2 to 4 hours. It is very important to use an accurate meat thermometer to check for doneness. You do not want to over cook this roast.
When the meat reaches an internal temperature of 115 to 125 degrees remove it from the grill. Place it on a platter and cover loosely with foil. The meat will continue cooking and the internal temperature will continue to rise. Let rest for at least 15 minutes, but no more than 30. If you want the roast rare to medium rare, remove from the grill when the temperature is 115 degrees and let it rest for 15 minutes. If you want it more well done, remove from the grill at 125 degrees and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Honey Glazed Smoked Ham
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6
hours, 30 minutes
Yield: Serves up to 12
1 6 pound “ready to eat” ham
1 cup pineapple juice
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
The night before you smoke, mix together the pepper, paprika, sugar, salt, 1 teaspoon of dry mustard and cayenne. Rub over the surface of the ham, wrap in foil and let sit in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning remove the ham from the refrigerator and let it sit for 1 hour. Remove foil. In the meantime prepare the smoker. You will be smoking at about 210 degrees F. for 6 hours. Mix together the chicken stock, 3/4 cups of pineapple juice, vegetable oil, 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard, and cloves. Warm over medium heat until completely mixed. Place ham in smoker and baste with sauce once every hour. While the ham is smoking, prepare the glaze by mixing together the honey, 1/4 cup on pineapple juice, 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard and a pinch of ground cloves. Brush generously with glaze a couple of times during the last hour of smoking.
Recipes for your Wood Burning Oven
Zucchini Boats with Mozzarella, Tomatoes & Basil
Grape Tomatoes, halved
Diced Fontina or Mozzarella
Cut a zucchini in half lengthwise and trim a little off the bottom so it sit still in a baking dish.
Scoop out the center where the seeds are with a spoon.
Brush the surface with a mixture of crushed garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Arrange halved grape tomatoes into the grooves, sprinkle with bread crumbs and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.
Remove and place diced fontina or mozzarella in between the tomatoes, place them back in, until golden and bubbling.
Remove and drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkling of grated parmesan.
Stone Bake Focaccia
Note: Cook this after your main recipes to allow your oven to cool to somewhere between 200 – 350 degrees.
1 ½ tsp active dry Yeast, or 2 tsp of fresh Yeast
½ pint of luke warm water.
2 1/4 cups strong white bread flour – more needed for dusting
1½ tsp table salt.
4 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil – more needed for greasing and topping
2 tsp Coarse Sea Salt, Optional sprigs of Rosemary, Sage or Pitted Olives for topping
Add yeast to the tepid water, do not stir, leave for a few minutes to dissolve.
In a mixing bowl combine your flour and table salt, make a well in the centre and add the oil, and yeast slowly, stir in until a smooth and sticky consistency is achieved.
Knead the dough on a floured surface for 10 minutes, adding in flour if you need it, see the Pizza Dough Video. The dough should now be smooth and non-sticky, it should not stick to your hands.
Oil a large mixing bowl (large enough for the dough to rise) and place the dough into it, cover with cling film and allow to rise over 1 ½ hours in a mildly warm environment.
Oil a large flat pan generously, lay out the dough into it, kneading and stretching it to fit the pan, cover with a damp tea towel and allow to rest and rise further for 25 minutes. Systematically press your fingertips deep into the dough to make dimples, cover again and leave to rest and rise for another 30 minutes.
Sprinkle sea salt and olive oil over the focaccia.
Alternatively, push small sprigs of rosemary into the dough mix, or add sage or pitted olives to the kneading process for a different flavour.
Place in your wood fired pizza oven for 35-45 minutes or until the focaccia is crusty on top and cooked through. Cover with foil if the top is browning too quickly.