Tasting Table's July 2012 Menu

A rooftop picnic for two

There's something about cooking a meal for someone that zeroes in on what matters most.

This month's dinner party truly elevates dinner, transporting it up a few flights of stairs for a rooftop date with the grill as the main squeeze.

String up garden lights, shake out a picnic blanket and grab an oversize pillow before settling down with sparkling rosé cocktails and green goddess guacamole. Once the coals are hot and the sun has begun to set, grill a thick-cut orange-and-cumin-rubbed porterhouse meant for sharing. Serve the cut steakhouse-style with creamed-spinach hobo packs and blast the custom summer playlist.

Keep the fire–and the grill–going for grilled banana splits. Cinnamon-sugar-coated bananas are flame-licked until they're caramelized, then buried beneath a blitz of ice cream, hot fudge (made on the grill) and toasted macadamia nuts.

No roof access? All you need is a grill, a blanket and a clear weather forecast. This dinner party redefines "dining out."

A gin cocktail is topped off with bubbly wine and lemon.

Guacamole, a picnic standby, gets upgraded with green goddess dressing flavors.

Pair grilled creamed-spinach hobo packs with a thick, juicy porterhouse steak.

The steak gets a spicy rub and takes a turn on the grill for smoky, meaty flavor.

Warm, grilled cinnamon-sugared bananas play nicely with cold vanilla ice cream in a shareable dessert.

Sparklers make a picnic date festive after a few glasses of wine and a round of good food.