No-fuss Fourth of July party

Easy appetizers, lime rickeys, and casual style

Mediterranean shrimp salad in cucumber cups

Scooped-out cucumber slices hold Mediterranean shrimp salad.

Ericka McConnell

Here's something to ease your mind about entertaining: Even professional party planners keep it simple when they host at home. "There is never enough time to be perfect in all things, so be good in a few," says Alexandra Angle, who, with husband Eliot, runs the firm Aqua Vitae Design in Los Angeles.

After launching an event-planning business in 1999, the Angles became the go-to caterers on the L.A. party circuit, and released their book Cocktail Parties with a Twist (Stewart, Tabori & Chang; $30) in 2002.

The Angles have moved away from party planning, but they still bring style to gatherings at their home in Elysian Heights. Here they've created a fun, hassle-free Fourth of July party. "It's too hot to spend hours working inside," Alexandra says. So she devised a menu of appetizers that can be served cold. "Perfect for an easy party."
 

Patio party hints

• Lift the table. To create an outdoor buffet, the Angles brought their dining room table outside and raised it 6 inches by placing the legs on stacks of books. "For a walk-around party, it's better to have the table at bar height," Alexandra says. "The guests can move comfortably around it and serve themselves."

• Jazz up the menu. "Don't feel constrained by the typical July Fourth fare," Alexandra says. "We are a country of people from many countries, so don't hesitate to mix it up."

• Make edible center-pieces. The Angles placed florist foam in square containers and put a candle in each. Then they pierced strawberries on bamboo skewers and poked them into the foam around the candles, so that guests could "pick" the berries during the party.

Printed from:
http://www.sunset.com/food-wine/entertaining/no-fuss-fourth-july-party-00400000017281/