Jenny and Dave Kaplan are the brother and sister team you hope invites you to their next party. Jenny, life stylist and Owner & Founder of styling service An Aesthetic Pursuit, recently welcomed us to her Williamsburg terrace for a fun fête and plenty of decor inspiration. Her brother Dave, restaurant creative developer, delighted us with food and drink recipes we can’t wait to try at home. Read on for Jenny and Dave’s tips on entertaining outdoors in any small space.
1. WHAT INSPIRED THE DECOR ON YOUR TERRACE? WAS THERE A PARTICULAR MOOD YOU WERE HOPING TO SET?
I really built out the terrace to act functionally as an actual outdoor room. My boyfriend Chris, who I live with, built out the chaise lounge, table, and flower boxes. The terrace is a place of reprieve from the hustle of living in the city and I really wanted to make sure it was a comfortable place to unwind. When we replanted our flowers this summer I really wanted to go for a burst of color. The mood was inspired by a modern English garden.
For this party in particular, my brother and I wanted to share how we collaborate by cooking, styling and
entertaining together. We curated a menu that was full of bright flavors and colors. This played off of the décor of the terrace.
2. WHAT IS ONE MUST-FOLLOW RULE FOR
ENTERTAINING IN SMALL OUTDOOR SPACES?
Organization is key! Keep your menus simple and select dishes that can be easily prepared in advance. The most important thing to remember is that the host of the party should always have fun- anything you can plan in advance rather than shooting from the hip will make life easier! Plan out how you want your tablescape to be configured. For example, every time we host a party I coordinate each dish I want to use in advance and label which items to serve in each one.
3. WHAT ARE YOU FAVORITE KINDS
OF OUTDOOR EVENTS TO HOST?
A casual Sunday BBQ with our family and friends. It’s a nice way to close out the weekend and catch up with everyone.
4. WHAT’S THE BEST HOSTING
ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
Have cocktails and cold beers ready to serve to your guests when they walk in. It instantly sets the mood for fun vibes.
5. WHAT IS THE IDEAL PARTY SIZE
FOR A TERRACE OF THIS SIZE?
As many as we can fit! Sometimes it’s just a few of us having dinner on the terrace but we have had as many as ten or more people fill up the space.
6. ANY SPACE-SAVING HACKS FOR SMALL
SPACE EVENTS YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE?
Set up a designated space for a bar area like we did for the margarita stand. Its very functional, looks cute, and allows guests to be interactive in making their own drinks. Think of creative solutions for serving your menu. In this case the terrace did not allow for everyone to have a proper place setting. I used to always set the table to eat but in the end everyone wanted to congregate around the food. Eventually I gave up on this and put more energy into styling out all of the dishes in a fun way
7. WHAT IS THE MOST MEMORABLE NIGHT (OR
DAY) YOU’VE HAD ON YOUR TERRACE?
Last Memorial Day we kicked the summer off by hosting a whole hog BBQ and served it bo ssam style. Seeing everyone’s faces when we uncovered a 40-pound smoked pig was priceless, and also set the bar pretty high for future cookouts.
8. WHAT ARE SOME SMART DECOR ITEMS OUR
READERS SHOULD USE FOR A SMALL TERRACE
THEY’D LIKE TO BE ABLE TO USE FOR ENTERTAINING?
A functional and cute cooler for storing beverages. Bright, outdoor pillows to add color and comfort to your space. Think outside of the box of traditional tableware. In this case we used the banana leaves to add a natural element to the décor and diy napkin holders made from hydrangea flowers. We use our table as a place to eat breakfast in the morning but it also served as a bar area for this bbq. Natural walls were created with high grasses and flowers to add privacy.
MAKES 6 SERVINGS
6 EARS OF CORN, HUSKS REMOVEDM
1 TABLESPOON VEGETABLE OIL
½ CUP MAYONNAISE
1 LIME, JUICED
1 CUP COCONUT FLAKES
1 TABLESPOON ALEPPO PEPPER
Preheat grill to medium-high. Brush corn with oil to
prevent from sticking on grill.
Char corn on the grill, turning occasionally for approximately 8-10 minutes.
While corn is cooking, mix together mayonnaise, lime
juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside.
Next, in a shallow baking dish, mix the coconut and
aleppo pepper and set aside.
When corn appears browned and nicely caramelized
on all sides, remove from grill. While still
Warm, brush corn with an even coating of the
mayonnaise mixture and roll in the spiced coconut.
Serve warm or at room temp.
SALMON POKE TOSTA
MAKES 6-8 SERVINGS
½ CUP VIDALIA ONION, THINLY SLICED
1 TABLESPOON GRATED GINGER
1 LIME, JUICED
¼ CUP SOY SAUCE
½ TABLESPOON TOASTED SESAME OIL
1 TABLESPOON RICE WINE VINEGAR
1 TABLESPOON TOASTED SESAME SEEDS
1 TABLESPOON BLACK SESAME SEEDS
1 TEASPOON SUGAR
1 TEASPOON ALEPPO PEPPER
1 POUND SALMON, CUT INTO ¼ INCH DICE
½ CUP MAYONNAISE
2 TABLESPOONS SRIRACHA
6-8 TOSTADA SHELLS
1 JALAPEÑO, THINLY SLICED
In a bowl, whisk together the first 10 ingredients. Prior to serving, combine dressing
with salmon and let sit for 15-30 minutes. While salmon poke marinates, mix together
the mayonnaise and Sriracha in a separate bowl. Set aide.
To serve, brush each tostada shell with the spicy mayonnaise mixture, top with salmon
poke, and garnish with a jalapeño slice.
GRILLED HANGER STEAKS WITH MISO
MAKES 6 SERVINGS
2 POUNDS HANGER STEAKS, TRIMMED
1 STICK UNSALTED BUTTER, SOFTENED
¼ CUP WHITE MISO PASTE
1 TABLESPOON SOY SAUCE
2 TABLESPOONS KOSHER SALT
2 TABLESPOONS COARSE CRACKED BLACK PEPPER
Preheat grill to medium-high. While grill is heating
up, let the steaks come to room temperature.
While grill is heating and steaks are cooling, mix the
softened butter with miso paste and soy sauce. Set
When grill is ready, dry steaks with paper towel and
season liberally with salt and pepper. Place steaks on
hot grill and cook for 3-4 minutes. Turn steaks, and
baste the charred side with the
Compound butter mixture. Cook for another 5-6
minutes for medium rare. Remove steaks, baste
again with compound butter, and let sit for 10
Slice steak on a bias and against the grain. Serve
with the extra miso butter.
CHARRED PINEAPPLE MARGARITA
MAKES 1 COCKTAIL
1 FRESH PINEAPPLE, PEALED, CORED
AND CUT UP INTO RINGS
2-3 PINEAPPLE LEAVES
1 OZ OF FRESH SQUEEZED LIME JUICE
½ OZ OF AGAVE NECTAR
2 OZ OF TEQUILA BLANCO
1 OZ OF COINTREAU
Preheat grill to high. Brush pineapple rings with
vegetable oil to prevent from sticking on grill.
Char pineapple on the grill, turning occasionally for
about 5-10 minutes. When pineapple has nice grill
marks and is caramelized, remove from grill. Cut
grilled rings into 1 inch pieces and set aside to cool.
To make cocktail, put 4-6 pieces of pineapple in a
cocktail shaker. Add the agave nectar and muddle
ingredients to loosen up and release juices.
Add lime juice, tequila and cointreau to muddled
ingredients. Fill shaker with ice. Shake well and
strain over fresh ice into prepared glass.
Garnish with additional grilled pineapple pieces and