Entertain in late summer without breaking a sweat (at least not from your oven). Here’s how to put together a cooking-free party that will still leave guests impressed with your culinary skills.
It’s the time of year where the outdoors can seem daunting. Gassing up the grill sounds less like a good time and more like a trip to Dante’s Inferno. You want to see your friends—but everything (making reservations, cooking, being a human) sounds hard.
No sweat—you can host a crowd without cooking for hours. Enter the snack-based dinner. The fork-free fete that provides enough sustenance where your friends don’t leave saying “Can you believe he only served us dip?!?” Make a meal of mixed veggies. Chow on charcuterie. Gorge on Goddess. Host the easiest, cooking-free party ever with our favorite recipes from the archives.
Adult snacks as a meal are all anyone really wants. Lean into the feeling and craft a cheeseboard that will be talked about for parties to come—the secret is it’s really just about shopping smart (which you can read how to do here). Or try this technique: provide the accoutrements and the board basics then assign the rest to your guests. Tell pals to bring a cheese of their choice (if you don’t want to take that much of a risk you can assign soft vs. hard or by region). It’s a potluck without the crummy casseroles.
Get your daily dose of fruits and veggies with bright colors and unexpected textures in a salad that never feels repetitive. Kick off with a cool crunch when your base incorporates fennel, radicchio, endive and radishes. When you’re ready to amplify the feel and flavor, start to layer in pistachios, ricotta salata, and finally d'anjou pears for a burst of sweetness and a dish that can entertain any number of RSVPs.
This one’s best if you plan on staying inside and soaking up the air conditioner, but a cheese ball makes a surprisingly delicious summer treat. The bounty of oddball herbs you have leftover from previous recipes come together perfectly as a fantastically fresh coating. Plus, who doesn’t like a cheese ball?
Green Goddess Dip sounds difficult (it’s a deity after all), but this recipe from David Kirschner, the owner and executive chef of dineDK doesn’t take religious dedication to craft. With under half-an-hour and a food processor, you have a heaven-sent topping for your CSA’s cucumber bounty.
Ok technically you could turn the oven on to toast your baguette—but you can also cheat and buy pre-toasted slices or you can use any of these rainbow recipe combos from our friends at Gather Journal on crackers. Consider this the more adult way to taste the rainbow.
Pair any of these recipes with copious amounts of beer or wine (mixing a drink is too much work). You shouldn’t lift a finger, minus the work of texting your friends when to show up. Challenge yourself to do that much.