No-Cooking Dinner Party: Stay Cool and Relaxed this Summer

The current temperature map makes the United States look like the surface of the sun. Let’s say you want to have people over to suffer in the heat together. Misery loves company, after all.

You don’t want to exacerbate that misery by preheating the oven or turning on the stove. When my wife’s cousin came over for dinner last night, I whipped up two simple salads and got some meat and cheese from the deli.

One note: I baked my own baguettes; in the middle of a heat wave you certainly don’t want to be doing that. Go to a bakery instead.

Serve these dishes with some chilled wine and you’ll be cooling down in no time.

Tomato and basil salad

I took the fresh tomatoes and basil from my garden and sliced everything up, then drizzled high-quality balsamic vinegar and olive oil on top. I opted not to include mozzarella in this salad because we were eating other types of cheese. If you want to be fancy, though, get a ball of burrata.

Peach, pickled onion and candied walnut spinach salad

Peaches are in season, so I had to include one in this salad. The candied walnuts paired with the peach quite well. To balance the sweetness of those two ingredients, I sprinkled pickled red onions on top. The acid from the pickling liquid was the perfect bright balance. It’s always worthwhile to have a jar of pickled onions on hand.

Fresh baguettes with meat and cheese

I adapted this baguette recipe, using my sourdough starter for extra tang. Along with it I served humboldt fog cheese, prosciutto and the best feta I’ve ever had in my life. Eating the feta together with the tomato and basil salad was incredible.

Dessert is a no-brainer: Serve ice cream.

Another great thing about these dishes is they require essentially no clean up. I washed a platter, a cutting board and a salad bowl and I was done for the evening.

These dishes are easily adaptable to your number of guests. A couple suggestions: Figure about one medium tomato and 8 inches of baguette per person.

  • NP

    What wine did you serve with this? Love the look of the tomato basil salad BTW. 

    • Mark Evitt

      I served a dry rosé, which worked well.

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