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So you’re having a party and it’s hot outside. Of course you don’t want to turn on the stove because you’ll make your entire apartment and guests roast. So what’s a party gal to do when she needs to provide the eats? Forget the heat – we’ve slimmed down 78 classic recipe ideas into bite-sized instructions, and none require a stove. Your guests will thank you at every bite and you’ll look like the culinary hero in your cool oasis.
Fresh Ricotta – Stir lemon zest into fresh, homemade ricotta and swath on a slice of grilled bread. Drizzle honey on top.
Spicy Mango Pickles – One day ahead, cut mango into large pieces and shove in a mason jar. In a small bowl or cup, combine a generous amount of jerk marinade, white vinegar and water, pour over mango and let it sit in the fridge. For a spicier variation, add slices of habanero, but maybe don’t eat those bits unless you want your mouth to fall off.
Stuffed Tomato – Hollow large cherry tomatoes or small plum tomatoes. Combine one part cream cheese with one part sour cream and finely shredded arugula. Combine and put into a plastic baggie. Cut off the corner and pipe into hollowed out tomato. Garnish with a sprig of arugula.
Classic Bruschetta – Seed and dice plum tomatoes, toss with shredded basil and finely diced red opinion. Add a generous amount of olive oil, salt, pepper and a hint of red wine vinegar. Spoon onto grilled or toasted Italian loaf, sliced.
Cucumbers and Lime – Thinly slice cucumbers and sprinkle with lime and chili powder.
Green Apple and Goat Cheese Stacks – Thinly slice green apples, add a smear of goat cheese, garnish with chives. Tip! Don’t set out the apple too early and in order to prevent browning, hold slices in a bowl with water and lemon. For a variation, garnish with minced beet.
Quick pickles – Cut super fresh radishes, asparagus, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans, or any firm market vegetable and marinate in half water, cider vinegar, and play with the ratio of some or all of the following: garlic, fresh dill, red pepper flakes, black peppercorns and/or mustard seeds. Submerge and marinate at least 4 hours in advance.
Beets with Fresh Dill – Buy peeled and cooked beets in a fresh pack, cut into bite-sized chunks, sprinkle with red wine vinegar and garnish with plenty of fresh dill.
Cheese Spread – Grate three or four kinds of cheese, like cheddar, Colby, Jack, or swiss. Dice pimento and add to cheese. Form into a ball and cover with sesame seeds. Chill until firm and serve with crackers.
Japanese Tofu – Cut silken tofu into one inch cubes and lay tight on a platter. Drizzle soy sauce, sesame oil and finely chopped ginger and scallions. For a spicy variation, add chili oil.
Antipasto – Create an antipasto plate with delicacies from an Italian grocer. Try roasted red pepper, marinated eggplant, grilled artichoke, a selection of olives, mozzarella and/or marinated mushrooms.
Zucchini with Lemon – Thinly slice zucchini (use a mandolin for super thin stips) and marinate in lemon juice and toss with chopped mint.
A Taste of France – Get some sloppy, soft, Brie and let it sit out for at least an hour before the party starts. Serve with sliced green apples and red grapes.
Classic Pesto – With a food processor, mince garlic, add tons of basil, pine nuts, grated parmesan cheese, and olive oil. Puree until smooth. Smear on a tear of baguette with a slice of tomato and/or mozzarella
Arugula Pesto – Same as above, substituting the basil for arugula
Spinach Pesto – Substitute half of the basil from the classic recipe and add baby spinach leaves instead.
Cilantro Pesto – Substitute the basil for cilantro, add lemon.
Sun-Dried Tomato Spread – Toss garlic, oil-packed sundried tomatoes with their oil, some of your favorite jarred tomato sauce in a food processor. Smear on toast and garnish with finely chopped parsley.
Tapenade – Blend kalamata olives, anchovies, capers, olive oil and spoon on toast. A slice of tomato on top will brighten it up.
Get baguettes and make one long sandwich, then cut into bite sized pieces and spear with toothpicks.
- Roast beef, arugula, horseradish with crème fraîche and sliced vine tomato.
- Spicy salami, provolone, shredded iceberg, banana peppers, olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Babaganouj with hunks of feta and black olives.
- Smoked ham, butter and hunks of Brie.
- Toast thinly sliced white bread and butter. Top with super thinly cut radishes.
- Brush honey mustard on half inch thick bread. Lay lox flat and cut then cut into inch sized pieces. Sprinkle a bit of fresh chopped rosemary.
Gazpacho – To a large bowl, add roughly chop vine tomatoes, scallions and lots of basil, a couple ice cubes, a glug of red wine vinegar, salt and pepper, a few scoops of full fat plain yogurt, and some olive oil. Use an immersion blender to puree till smooth. Serve in shot glasses.
Cold Cucumber and Dill Soup – Seed and roughly chop a couple cucumbers and add to a large bowl with buttermilk, some chicken broth and a ton of fresh dill. Use an immersion blender to puree. Serve in shot glasses.
Salsas and Dips
Pico De Gallo – Seed plum tomatoes and finely chop, add chopped red onion, cilantro and jalapeno to taste. Add salt to taste, serve with tortilla chips.
Guacamole – Using the ripest of avocados, peel, seed and mash with a fork, add plenty of lemon and salt. Variations include the addition of any or all of the following: cilantro, jalapeño (seeded or not, keep the seeds if you like it spicy), seeded and chopped tomato, diced red onion, left either chunky or finely pureed.
White Bean Dip – Puree canned white beans aka cannellini beans with lemon zest, lemon juice, rosemary, salt, olive oil, and water. Serve with bread, chips or pita.
Spicy Black Bean Dip – Puree canned black beans with a small can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Garnish with plenty of sliced scallions.
Hummus – Puree canned chickpeas with tahini sauce (this is different from tahini paste), water, lemon and plenty of olive oil. Garnish with olive oil and serve with pita and cut, raw vegetables.
Caprese Salad – Get fresh, super moist mozzarella, alternate slices of cheese with slices of vine tomato. Scatter with shredded basil and drizzle with good olive oil. For a variation, skip the basil, garnish with capers. Or, try adding slices of avocado and drizzling basalmic vinegar in addition to the oil.
Three Bean Salad – One can of each, Cannellini bean, pink bean, white string beans, toss with red wine vinegar and olive oil. For a variation, add beets and/or diced ginger and/or couscous.
Heart of Palm Salad – Using canned hearts of palm spears, cut into chunks, toss in a bowl with some or all of the following: beets, marinated artichokes, avocado. Sprinkle with red wine vinegar and olive oil, salt to taste.
Peas and Feta – In one bowl, add Greek yogurt, feta, scallions, peas, lemon juice, fresh dill and salt and pepper to taste.
Blood Orange and Fennel Salad – Cut the rind and pith, then slice blood oranges and fennel, layer on a platter and drizzle olive oil. Roughly chop black oil cured olives and garnish.
Spicy Asian Orange Salad – Cut the rind and pith, then slice navel oranges and lay on a platter. Drizzle sesame oil, chili oil, and fish sauce. Scatter chopped peanuts and tons of fresh cilantro.
Raw Kale Salad – Chop kale. Mix, then massage the leaves with one part lemon juice, one part olive oil, salt, pepper and a dab of honey. Toss with chopped mango and toasted pepitas.
Meat and Fish
Scallop Ceviche – Dice super fresh scallops and simply toss with lime and seeded and thinly sliced jalapeño.
Faux Ceviche – Buy cooked and shelled shrimp. Dice and toss with chopped mango, avocado, sliced jalapeño, fresh lemon, lime and orange juice.
Pâté Plate – Buy pâté and serve with cornichone, cocktail onions and sliced white bread.
Breasaola and Dates – Wrap bresaola around fresh dates stuffed with bleu cheese.
Prosciutto and Asparagus – Using super thin asparagus, wrap prosciutto around the spear and add a squeeze of lemon over them all.
Summer Rolls – Soften round rice paper in warm water and place on cutting board. Add some or all of the following: shredded carrot, shredded purple cabbage, basil, cilantro, mint, bean sprouts, cucumber sticks, peanuts, cooked shrimp, and serve with spicy peanut sauce.
In a food processor or blender, combine peanut butter, soy sauce, water, ginger, jalapeño, cilantro and sesame oil.
Simple Lox – Drape lox on toast points, garnish with fresh chives.
Mini bagels – Add cream cheese to mini bagel halves and drape lox. Top with capers and thinly sliced red onion.
Tuna Tartar – Using sushi grade tuna, finely dice and mix with soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds, lime juice, finely diced scallions and serve with avocado and potato or tortilla chips.
Steak Tartar – Finely chop sirloin or tenderloin cuts of steak, mix with dijon mustard, chopped capers, minced red onion and parsley. Serve with hard-fried potato chips.
Ham and Pineapple Stacks – Cube ham from a butcher, top on a piece of pineapple, freshly cut or from a can. Spear with a toothpick.
Boquerones – Get oil marinated white anchovies and place one on a thinly cut, toasted slice of baguette. Dribble a bit of the oil over each. Garnish with chopped parsley.
A Taste of Spain – Get finely sliced serrano ham, drape in fluffy piles, scatter broken pieces of manchego cheese.
A Taste of Italy – Cut chunks of fresh cantaloupe and drape small pieces of imported prosciutto over each, spear with a toothpick.
Crab Cups – Peel, seed and cut cucumber into little boats. Add fresh prepared crab meat that has been mixed with some lemon and lemon zest. For a variation, add mayo and/or siracha.
Nutella and Fruit –Nutella is magic. Let it star with cut fruit. Cut banana into bite sized chunks and put a dollop on top. Fill a hollowed out strawberry or raspberry using a plastic bag to pipe it in.
A Midwestern Dessert – Add instant pudding to packaged graham cracker cups. Top with whip cream.
Homemade Ice Cream Cookies – Use any flavor of ice cream, gelato, sorbet, or frozen yogurt your heart desires. Match the flavor with a thin, crispy cookie. Use a melon baller or small ice cream scoop and place the ice cream between two cookies. Put it back in the freezer and let the inside get hard and the cookies get soft.
Yogurt Parfait – Greek yogurt, brown sugar, berries, mini parfait. Done.
Strawberry Shortcakes – Marinate strawberries in powdered sugar. When a thick juice is created, spoon over sliced pound cake and top with whipped cream.
Carmel Apples – Section green apples, drizzle with carmel sauce and sprinkle with peanuts.
Oreo Truffles – Crush Oreos with softened cream cheese and form into balls and freeze. Dip in chocolate if you’re fancy.
Yogurt Truffles – Roll yogurt, blueberries and honey into balls. Freeze.