Valley & Co.’s Kitchen Picks for Summertime

Summer is just on the horizon! Sure, we technically have a couple of months, but we’re chomping at the bit to get out and enjoy of our favorite summertime activities this year, both in Southern California and in Washington. {Needless to say, we can now announce that we’re teaching an entertaining + design evening at West Elm San Diego 5/17 so we’re extra into summer mode!}

Scouring glass beach near the Canadian border for glowing gems and bits of tattered pottery, riding the ferry to Aleah’s parents’ primary home, perusing the Saturday market, indulging in S’mores campfires, riding scooters to the beach, grilling outdoors, baking up berry goodness….catch our drift? Needless to say, summer is our very favorite season and we can’t get enough of it!

In preparation, we put together some of our kitchen must-haves for summer, along with little tidbits as to why each of these picks are important to our kitchen, both indoors and out.

1. Good olive oil is essential for spur of the moment entertaining. You can whip up anything from caprese salad to a simple herbed olive oil dip with rustic bread and it adds richness to dishes like paella and coats steaks pre-grilling nicely. Nuñez de Prado Extra Virgin Olive Oil $28

2. Decorative tea towels are an easy way to transform a table top for summer. They can pair as napkins for guests, too, not to mention keeping a stack of 3 on hand cinched in twine makes for a great grab-and-go hostess gift!  Claudia Pearson Tea Towel at West Elm $9

3. To us summer screams fresh berry pies and cobblers. These petite pie dishes are fantastic – serve your guests up their own pies or bake up a cobbler for a birthday bash and gift the guest of honor a pie and a new dish. Le Creuset Petite Pie Dish $12

4. On hot summer days water and juice dispensers can be such a great asset. Cut down on bottles and spruce up ordinary water with citrus slices and herbs or keep fresh lemonade on hand. Apothecary Beverage Dispenser from Z Gallerie $49.95

5. A melon baller is a necessity to jazz up snack time. Serve melon balls with basil and goat cheese or on skewers with strawberries and scoop out orange halves and serve sorbet in the rind. Sur La Table Melon Baller $8.95 – 10.95

6. Flour sack towels are a big must in our kitchen and we go through them like crazy. They are great dish dryers and also act as cheese cloth and a great platform for patting dry poached eggs. Not to mention, they can be used {for over sized napkins at a messy crab boil like we did for this magazine shoot} Crate & Barrel Flour Sack Towels $9.95

7. Mr. Valley is big into grilling, as is Aleah’s dad. A must-have for any outdoor grilling king is this great smoker box – fill it with wood or herbs and accent your meats and veggies in a delicious way. Mini BBQ Smoker Box from Williams-Sonoma $9.95

What tops your summertime kitchen list? Any favorite gadget or tip you can share with us?

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