Paula’s Poolside Parties

  • Pin It
  • print
  • email to a friend
By Paula Deen

I’ve always said I think I was born in a swimsuit and with skates on.  See, I was raised at River Bend—my grandmother and grandfather’s business.  It was this kind of mini resort in Albany, Ga., complete with a swimming pool and a skatin’ rink.  It was mostly populated with snowbirds heading south for the winter, but for me, it was always the final destination.  I couldn’t imagine why people would ever leave.  Growing up in that resort was a child’s dream—especially for one with high hopes of becoming a mermaid one day.  That’s right, there’s nothing I wanted more than to be a mermaid at Weeki Wachee Springs, Fla.  That itty-bitty town along the Gulf Coast has a big draw: an infamous “mermaid” show.  I so wanted to be a part of that show—to glide through the water wearing a beautiful top and flippin’ a long, shimmering tail. 

Of course I’m older now and I’m sure people are glad I chose cookin’ over the life aquatic.  And while I don’t have the same stamina I once did, I still love swimming.  That’s why I’ve always appreciated having a pool at my house.  I enjoy it for myself, but I just love watching my family splash around the same way I did back when I was a little girl.  There’s such joy in it.  The kids don’t come out until their fingers look like prunes and they’re so hungry they could eat a horse, which means I have to have a big spread waiting for ‘em. 

image

Throwing a pool party for my friends and family is really about as easy-breezy as it gets.  The fun is foremost—the food secondary.  But that doesn’t mean you have to call in pizza delivery.  It’s so easy to throw together a real simple menu that’ll keep you out of the kitchen and your guests satisfied.  For my most recent poolside celebration, I made good ol’ hotdogs, but topped ‘em with Texas Style Chili to make them something special.  Then I served them up with a fresh garden salad, grilled corn on the cob and Grilled Stuffed Tomatoes—something that looks fussy, but is just so easy.

image

Grilled Stuffed Tomatoes
8 large on the vine tomatoes
1 cup cooked barley
2 thinly sliced green onions
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
½ cup crumbled feta
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Juice of 1 lemon

Preheat the grill to medium heat.

Slice ½ inch off the top of the tomatoes. Use a paring knife to cut the tomatoes core out, removing all the seeds and ribs, leaving the tomato hollow. Season the inside of the tomatoes with salt and pepper.

In a medium bowl add the barley, green onions, garlic, thyme, and feta cheese. Mix gently then drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Carefully stuff the tomatoes with the filling. Lightly drizzle olive oil over the tomatoes.

Place the tomatoes directly on the grill with the cover closed and cook for 5- 10 minutes, until the tomatoes are warmed and the filling is golden. 

SERVES 8

Notes: Use any extra filling over some greens for a delicious salad.

image

Besides a healthy helping of food for hungry swimmers, the key to having a good pool party boils down to two things: a clean pool and keeping those pesky flies off the entrees.  I make sure I have plenty of those wire-domed lids in different shapes and sizes so the flies won’t enjoy the food before we can.  I just can’t stand one of those little buggers on my food, ‘cause I know where that fly has been sittin’.

Which reminds me of one of my favorite jokes:

“What did one fly say to the other?”

“Is this stool taken?”

Y’all, I just about split my britches when I heard that joke.

image

So besides good food protected from the “imprint” of flies, you just need to be open to having a good time.  Not too long ago, I threw another pool party where I ended up in the pool with my clothes on!  I was with one of my best friend’s daughters and Jamie and Bobby.  I came up out of that water with my fake eyelashes hanging like monkeys from a tree.  We laughed so hard—about as hard as I laughed when I was little girl at River Bend, dolphin kickin’ my way across the pool. 

After I throw a pool party, I fall into bed completely exhausted.  Not from the hard work, but from the simple pleasures of a party with friends.  And when I close my eyes, I dream I’m mermaid. 

I guess some dreams die hard.

Check out more of these poolside party recipes!
The Lady’s Warm Potato Salad
Buffalo Chicken Livers with a Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce
Lightening Fast White Bean Dip
Caesar Salad with Parmesan Crisps
Spicy Basil Guacamole

Read More From Holidays and Entertaining.

You May Also Like These Blogs:

You May Also Like These Recipes:

Leave a Comment

Reader Comments:

54321

Girl...I love you! :D You have some of most fun recipes and your family is awesome! Was just looking at The Lady’s Warm Potato Salad...looks GREAT! But I have to tell ya, my mom's ('mama's') potato salad is KILLER! Just the way her mother made it...and we all love it warm! So I'm proposing a Potato Salad "cook-off" .... what do you say? Again...LOVE LOVE LOVE you! Jeffrey

By Jeffrey on September 05, 2012

54321

pool parties with friends are the bomb! We are getting together with kids and family for labor day. Just put on a Boston butt with your butt rub all over it in my crock pot. I know it will make the best pulled pork sliders by the pool tomorrow! YUM!

By kathey austin on September 02, 2012

54321

Paula you look fabulous andi enjoy you and your family. You keep it real, fun and tasty.Keep it coming.

By rugenia on September 02, 2012

54321

I love your show. Hope to visit your restaurant someday to partake of that delicious food. I say delicious with even tasting it. Happy trails!

By Mae PINDER on August 31, 2012

54321

IT IS MORE THAN JUST THE FOOD, U ARE SO RIGHT, ROUNDING OUT SUMMER WITH FAMILY ANF FRIENDS IS WHAT MAKES THIS WEEKEND SO SPECIAL. JUST SHARING SOME FUN CHILDHOOD MEMORIES AND SOMETIMES THE LAST OF GOOD THINGS FROM GARDENS AND TAKING TIME TO SHARE A GOOD LAUGH AND JUST RELAX, SOMETIMES THIS IS THE ONE VACATION SOME PEOPLE HAVE TO ENJOY . SO WHETHER U ARE A LARGE GROUP, FAMILY REUNION OR JUST SITTING OUT ON YOUR DECK ENJOYING THE LAST DAYS OF REAL SUMMER. HAVE FUN. PAULA U AND YOUR FAMILY KEEP DOING WHAT U DO, WE LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR TIPS, YOUR LAUGHTER, AT LEAST YOURS IS GENUINE AND HEY IF U CAN;T ACT SILLY ONCE IN AWHILE, U JUST AIN;T LIVING, AND LIKE ON MOVIE LONESOME DOVE- LIFE IS FOR THE LIVING. SO HOOP IT UP AND ENJOY A BIG FAN ROSIE IN CT.(FORMALLY FROM OZARKS OF ARKANSAS AND FOOTHILLS OF OKLAHOMA

By R.Herdman on August 31, 2012

54321

paula i love your show ?wish i could meet you in preason? but i dont have away to get there .i like your family too. we cook the same things at my house like you do.i whatch you a lot .i love to cook too.do you think you could get me away to meet you in preason.i like the way you cook what bo band jammie.iam from carbon hill alabama.

By Anonymous on August 25, 2012

image
Paula Deen
Paula Deen
The Lady's Blog
The Queen of Southern Cuisine muses about her recipes, life and family. See Posts

Brooke Deen
Brooke Deen
Deen Mother
Advice on raising two boys (three counting Jamie). See Posts

Brandon Branch
Brandon Branch
Southern Style
Decorating Inspiration from Paula's Design Director. See Posts

Julia Sayers
Julia Sayers
Hot off the Press
Step behind the pages and let the Associate Editor of Cooking with Paula Deen fill you in on what goes into creating every issue. See Posts

Lisa Scarbrough
Lisa Scarbrough
Thrift Store Mommy
Mom on a dime advice from Paula's Digital Properties Manager. See Posts

Andrea Goto
Andrea Goto
Mom 2.0
Tips from a real-world mom with comedic tendencies. See Posts

Martha Lee
Martha Lee
Earth Mother
Practical, earth-conscious ways to live and parent in the 21st century. See Posts

Susan Greene a.k.a BUBBLES
Susan Greene a.k.a BUBBLES
Bubbles' Corner
Ideas and advice from a 21st Century young at heart Grandmother. See Posts

Cindy Edwards
Cindy Edwards
Southern Proper
Etiquette advice from a true Southern belle. See Posts

image

love the table paula would look good on my new patio. so glad you are back. I hope to get there to see you in person one day.i will start tomorrow to find the patern form the tablecloth.
Gladys Rainesl in Savannah Style: A Spring Table for Two on April 13, 2014 at 7:45 pm

I just want to say this I don't even know if is the right page all I ever wanted to say to Paula Deen welcome back I have missed you. You are my favorite home down girls keep your head up and hang on and feel the love. P.S. from a woman of color.
in Chicken Salad: A Southern Staple on April 13, 2014 at 2:55 pm

I just love love love the table and flowers and am so glad that I can still access all of Paula's recipes, her family life, Bobby's lighter versions and Brandon's beautiful work. Truly thankful to see such beautiful tablescapes. You guys are my heros.
Patricia in Savannah Style: A Spring Table for Two on April 13, 2014 at 9:14 am