Monday, June 25, 2012

the no-cook dinner party

Now is the time of year when our oven goes into hibernation. As much as I love homemade pizza for dinner, I don’t like cranking the entire apartment up to 500 degrees.

And nothing’s worse than going to someone’s house for a dinner party and finding a sweaty, harried cook rushing around a hot kitchen. Don’t be that person. Keep a cold drink close by, wear something breezy that’s made of cotton and use your stove as little as possible. (No roasted chicken unless you have an industrial strength air-conditioner.)

But what should I serve that doesn't require cooking, you ask? I’ve rounded up some heat-free recipes that are more assembled than cooked. All you have to do is mix and match these recipes to put together your own no-cook dinner party menu. These dishes are all on the lighter side, but isn’t that what you want when it’s sweltering outside?

Tuna-stuffed peppadew peppers
Mango with spicy, salty sugar
Pineapple salsa
Spiced yogurt dip

Butter lettuce with oranges, fennel, and olives
Kitchen sink salad
Simple tomato salad
Melon with cucumber, feta and basil

Main dishes
Martha’s chicken salad with herbs (with store-bought rotisserie chicken)
Chicken tacos (with store-bought rotisserie chicken)
Shrimp rolls (use pre-cooked shrimp)
Pan bagnat

Mini frozen key lime pies
Framboise ice cream floats
A nice cheese plate
Fresh fruit, cookies and a broken-up chocolate bar
Ice cream!

Monday, June 11, 2012

the rules of salad

As soon as the weather turns warm, my mind turns to salads. (And cute sandals.)

You might not think a salad is special or substantial enough for a dinner party, but I want to change your mind about that. Look at this salad, it served four people generously and isn't it pretty? It made a beautiful centerpiece. Which was handy because I was lazy and didn't buy flowers at the bodega.

A big salad is an excellent thing to serve company, if you keep a few things in mind. After the jump: Lisa's Dinner Party Salad Recommendations. (Aren't you curious?)

Monday, June 4, 2012

chocolate puddle cookies

We all have our strengths in the kitchen, and mine does not involve sugar, flour and butter. Sure, I can make a good batch of brownies and sweet, sturdy quick breads. And I have been known to brag about my Key lime pie (regular and frozen), which is awesome, but I think it's also my birthright as a Floridian. Beyond that, my desserts often fall into the "ugly but tasty" category. And Dan and I eat them anyway.

We had some friends over for lunch about a month ago (more on that later) and I wanted to make something homemade for dessert. In this case, the issue was not my lack of baking skillz, it was that one of the guests was gluten-intolerant. So I decided to pull out my trusty flourless peanut butter cookie recipe, which never, ever fails me. (And is only five ingredients!) Then I decided to make a second cookie in case one of our friends didn't like peanut butter. And because I can't leave well enough alone.


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