summer drinks

It’s officially SUMMER! Out here in the woods, we are gearing up for some outdoor entertaining. Here are some Forest Feast favorites from summers past to get you going with your summer menu planning:  
    Cucumber Sangria   
   Watermelon Bruschetta   
   Peach Salad   
   Cucumber Caprese Bites   
 ALSO! There are a few more California Forest Feast cookbook events coming up in the Bay Area: 
  Tonight! June 25th in Santa Cruz,  7pm Bookshop Santa Cruz  
 Tomorrow! June 26th In Oakland,  6-8pm at Umami Mart  
 July 14th: A special dinner event at  18 Reasons in SF (tix here)  
 Aug. 9th in Healdsburg at  SHED  (workshop at 12pm & signing at 1:30pm) 
 More info here:  Hope to see you then!

It’s officially SUMMER! Out here in the woods, we are gearing up for some outdoor entertaining. Here are some Forest Feast favorites from summers past to get you going with your summer menu planning:

ALSO! There are a few more California Forest Feast cookbook events coming up in the Bay Area:
More info here: Hope to see you then!


Yesterday evening Jonathan and I hosted a little wine and cheese tasting garden party for the Jewish holiday of Shavuot (the one where you are supposed to eat dairy- basically, my favorite holiday ever!). A friend brought plums from her tree and it was fun to see the early fruits of the garden, including blackberries that will arrive in a month or two.

I am no wine connoisseur, but I did some research online to find wine/cheese combinations that went well together, and then came up with simple, no-cook appetizer ideas using each cheese to pair with 5 different wines (ranging from bubbly to after-dinner port). I learned that when pairing cheese and wine, it’s best to match similarities in flavor (like a light fruity wine with a light cheese/fruit appetizer) or go for complete contrast, (like a sweet robust port paired with a pungent blue cheese like gorgonzola). It’s fun to take your time and pay attention to how the flavors dance in your mouth! I think they are best enjoyed in this order:

  1. Prosecco: spread camembert (a brie-like) cheese on a toasted piece of baguette, top with a peach slice, and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
  2. Pinot Grigio: spread fresh whole milk ricotta cheese on a toasted piece of baguette and top with lemon zest and honey. See more details on that recipe in this post.
  3. Pinot Noir: stack a cube of watermelon, a cube of feta and a leaf of mint on a toothpick.
  4. Cabernet Sauvignon: top a slice of sharp white cheddar with a slice of crisp green apple, then sprinkle with honey and black pepper.
  5. Port: put a smear of creamy gorgonzola on a leaf of purple endive and top with a red grape or 2.

Happy summer entertaining!

xx Erin


Independence Day is tomorrow and we are going to a BBQ pool party! We’ve been asked to bring a dish to share, and since the white peaches at the farmers market right now are soooo sweet, I was thinking of making this savory Peach Salad. It’s a bit unique, easy to make ahead, and great at room temperature.

Above is a little round-up of some of my favorite past recipes that I think would be fun to have at an outdoor summer gathering, like Radishes with Butter, Watermelon Bruschetta, and a refreshing Berry Fizz. Happy 4th!

By Erin Gleeson for The Forest Feast


This might be my new summer drink! I am kind of in love with this Cucumber Sangria from BHG’s new cookbook. Click over to my post on Delish Dish for the recipe- it’s a good one for a BBQ!!!

Recipe by BHG, Photos and Illustration by Erin Gleeson for The Forest Feast


I just got back from the most lovely weekend in New York City. A dear friend from college is getting married this summer so we threw her a “Spice Shower” dinner party in our friend’s backyard in Brooklyn. It was a warm evening so we passed out fans (which we needed!!) and served summery drinks.  We made Basil Lemon Cocktails with basil syrup, vodka or gin, seltzer and a lemon slice (for the basil syrup, just make some simple syrup and toss it in the blender with fresh basil). Each guest brought a different spice in a jar and a favorite recipe to go with it for our bride-to-be. We served spicy foods like jalapeno poppers (her favorite) along with cheese, spicy cured olives and salami from Brooklyn Larder. Fireflies twinkled as we ended the evening with stories, toasts and an ice cream parfait with berry compote.

The rest of the weekend was also tasty, and I documented my adventures on Instagram (@theforestfeast)- croissants for brunch at Balthazar, a Mister Softee cone while shopping, a cheese stuffed portabello “burger” from Shake Shack, a glass of sparkling rose wine on the top floor of Bergdorf’s overlooking Central Park, and plantain black bean quesadillas from Rockaway Taco during a day at the beach. Until next time!

By Erin Gleeson for The Forest Feast