Traditional recipes

No-Cook Dinner Party Dishes for Those Sweltering Summer Evenings

No-Cook Dinner Party Dishes for Those Sweltering Summer Evenings

It is possible to throw a dinner party without even turning the oven on

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Chilled gazpacho is the perfect dinner party appetizer.

When it’s too hot to cook, throwing a dinner party is totally unappealing: If you’re lucky enough to have a grill, you’ll end up sweating over it for several hours; if you don’t have a grill, you’ll need to turn on the oven and push the temperature in your apartment to more than 100 degrees. But neither of these options need to apply — a much better idea is to throw a dinner party without cooking anything at all. You don’t even need to boil a pot of water.

No-Cook Dinner Party Dishes for Those Sweltering Summer Evenings (Slideshow)

No-cook dishes don’t just consist of crudités and a tub of store-bought hummus, followed by a sweating cheese platter. Although we would never reject either of those offerings, we fancy something slightly more refined, more decadent, and more extravagant for our summer dinner party. And, of course, everything should be accompanied by cool, crisp wines, ice-cold water, and regular blasts of chilling air-con.

Begin your meal with a simple, vegetable-focused offering: Handing round creamy, herbed avocado tartines with pre-dinner drinks is always a popular way to get your party started. For the appetizer you have so many options ranging from a chilled tomato gazpacho to a classic Italian Caprese salad. The hardest part of this meal to navigate without an oven is obviously the entrée, but when you can choose between ceviche, zucchini pasta and pesto, or a marinated zucchini chicken salad, the lack of oven really doesn’t appear to be a problem.

Obviously, dessert could just be your favorite pint of ice cream, but it could also be homemade cookie butter ice cream, or an ice cream pie, or some super simple but super refreshing summer fruit. We think maybe we need to host a no-cook dinner party multiple times this summer so that we have a chance to serve and eat all our absolute favorite no-cook dinner party dishes.


How to Host a Gorgeous Summer Dinner Party Without Cooking

To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories.

In the kitchen with Skye McAlpine.

To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories.

My favorite kind of party is the kind that comes together at the last minute. A quick drink at home that turns into a proper sit down dinner. That sort of evening that's deliciously spontaneous, where you cook and you chat and somewhere along the way, you eat. It’s all very casual and has none of the stuffy rigmarole that the words "dinner" and "party" inevitably seem to conjure when spoken together.

This kind of effortless entertaining—sometimes improvised on the spur of the moment, sometimes not—is, frankly, what I’m all about. It’s what I love. And I find, it comes easiest in the summer it’s not just that the weather puts everyone in a rosé-drinking, carefree kind of a mood, though that helps, of course. It’s also that food is simplest in summer there is a bounty of fresh, seasonal produce to play around with. And unlike the root vegetables of autumn which are all about slow roasting, or the bitter winter produce that really only comes into its own with much artful braising, good summertime ingredients call for little (or nothing) else. Think tomatoes (the plump, flavorsome variety on a pretty plate with a drizzle of olive oil and a few strewn basil leaves), a loaf of bread, some charcuterie, a bottle of wine, and you're halfway to a complete dinner. And those juicy, sweet orange melons that are just coming into season right now, slice and drape them with slithers of salty prosciutto crudo and you have yourself prosciutto e melone bliss.

Summer food, you see, is instant gratification it makes even those of us who don’t call ourselves cooks feel intuitive, cool, and confident in the kitchen. Start with burrata buy it, lots of it. Burrata on a plate with a drizzle of olive oil and topped with pretty much anything. The recipe below calls for slithers of preserved lemons, that are tang-y and salty and pay the most extravagant compliment to the exquisite creaminess of the cheese but there are countless other variations on that same theme which work every bit as beautifully. Try burrata with a few sweet baby tomatoes a drizzle of salsa verde perhaps or a handful of roughly chopped black olives and capers. Frankly, even burrata on it’s own is sublime.

Panzanella is another favorite of mine a Tuscan bread salad, its very name pan-za-nella rolls off the tongue with the same intoxicatingly languid charm of dolce-vita. To my mind, it is the culinary incarnation of la dolce vita. Essentially: bread torn roughly into pieces, drenched in grassy olive oil, and tossed with tomatoes, sweet red onion, fennel, olives, and even anchovies or a tin of tuna if you have them on hand. I love panzanella it’s the kind of dish there is no right or wrong way of making.

For the rest: it’s the small touches that create that sense of occasion. Nice linen napkins, neatly ironed and laid on your place settings (if you don’t have good napkins, tea towels will do), better still if they’re mismatched as it adds character to the table. A jug of flowers: pink peonies, or overblown garden roses, with a few sprigs of lavender, sage, and higgledy piggledy greenery mixed in. Mind not to cut the stems too stiffly, you want to create that casual semblance they’ve been picked from your garden—even if you don’t have a garden. And if it’s dinner, then candles, lots of them and of all different heights. Candlelight masks the sins of the plainest kitchens, and will transform pretty much any old dining table into a something utterly magical.

And last but not least: dessert. Dessert elevates all meals however humble or simple they might be. It needn’t be some kind of great culinary confection you could buy a fruit tart or a cake from the store, there is certainly no shame in that. There is always ice cream, bought from a decent gelateria and served in cones—it gives the party an alfresco charm and who doesn't like to eat ice cream from a cone? But at this time of year, also consider a bowl of strawberries, piled extravagantly high (more is always more in these instances), and served with clotted cream. Or berries that swim in their juices and syrup-y red wine. And there you have it, the recipe(s) for a perfect no-cook dinner party.


How to Host a Gorgeous Summer Dinner Party Without Cooking

To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories.

In the kitchen with Skye McAlpine.

To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories.

My favorite kind of party is the kind that comes together at the last minute. A quick drink at home that turns into a proper sit down dinner. That sort of evening that's deliciously spontaneous, where you cook and you chat and somewhere along the way, you eat. It’s all very casual and has none of the stuffy rigmarole that the words "dinner" and "party" inevitably seem to conjure when spoken together.

This kind of effortless entertaining—sometimes improvised on the spur of the moment, sometimes not—is, frankly, what I’m all about. It’s what I love. And I find, it comes easiest in the summer it’s not just that the weather puts everyone in a rosé-drinking, carefree kind of a mood, though that helps, of course. It’s also that food is simplest in summer there is a bounty of fresh, seasonal produce to play around with. And unlike the root vegetables of autumn which are all about slow roasting, or the bitter winter produce that really only comes into its own with much artful braising, good summertime ingredients call for little (or nothing) else. Think tomatoes (the plump, flavorsome variety on a pretty plate with a drizzle of olive oil and a few strewn basil leaves), a loaf of bread, some charcuterie, a bottle of wine, and you're halfway to a complete dinner. And those juicy, sweet orange melons that are just coming into season right now, slice and drape them with slithers of salty prosciutto crudo and you have yourself prosciutto e melone bliss.

Summer food, you see, is instant gratification it makes even those of us who don’t call ourselves cooks feel intuitive, cool, and confident in the kitchen. Start with burrata buy it, lots of it. Burrata on a plate with a drizzle of olive oil and topped with pretty much anything. The recipe below calls for slithers of preserved lemons, that are tang-y and salty and pay the most extravagant compliment to the exquisite creaminess of the cheese but there are countless other variations on that same theme which work every bit as beautifully. Try burrata with a few sweet baby tomatoes a drizzle of salsa verde perhaps or a handful of roughly chopped black olives and capers. Frankly, even burrata on it’s own is sublime.

Panzanella is another favorite of mine a Tuscan bread salad, its very name pan-za-nella rolls off the tongue with the same intoxicatingly languid charm of dolce-vita. To my mind, it is the culinary incarnation of la dolce vita. Essentially: bread torn roughly into pieces, drenched in grassy olive oil, and tossed with tomatoes, sweet red onion, fennel, olives, and even anchovies or a tin of tuna if you have them on hand. I love panzanella it’s the kind of dish there is no right or wrong way of making.

For the rest: it’s the small touches that create that sense of occasion. Nice linen napkins, neatly ironed and laid on your place settings (if you don’t have good napkins, tea towels will do), better still if they’re mismatched as it adds character to the table. A jug of flowers: pink peonies, or overblown garden roses, with a few sprigs of lavender, sage, and higgledy piggledy greenery mixed in. Mind not to cut the stems too stiffly, you want to create that casual semblance they’ve been picked from your garden—even if you don’t have a garden. And if it’s dinner, then candles, lots of them and of all different heights. Candlelight masks the sins of the plainest kitchens, and will transform pretty much any old dining table into a something utterly magical.

And last but not least: dessert. Dessert elevates all meals however humble or simple they might be. It needn’t be some kind of great culinary confection you could buy a fruit tart or a cake from the store, there is certainly no shame in that. There is always ice cream, bought from a decent gelateria and served in cones—it gives the party an alfresco charm and who doesn't like to eat ice cream from a cone? But at this time of year, also consider a bowl of strawberries, piled extravagantly high (more is always more in these instances), and served with clotted cream. Or berries that swim in their juices and syrup-y red wine. And there you have it, the recipe(s) for a perfect no-cook dinner party.


How to Host a Gorgeous Summer Dinner Party Without Cooking

To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories.

In the kitchen with Skye McAlpine.

To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories.

My favorite kind of party is the kind that comes together at the last minute. A quick drink at home that turns into a proper sit down dinner. That sort of evening that's deliciously spontaneous, where you cook and you chat and somewhere along the way, you eat. It’s all very casual and has none of the stuffy rigmarole that the words "dinner" and "party" inevitably seem to conjure when spoken together.

This kind of effortless entertaining—sometimes improvised on the spur of the moment, sometimes not—is, frankly, what I’m all about. It’s what I love. And I find, it comes easiest in the summer it’s not just that the weather puts everyone in a rosé-drinking, carefree kind of a mood, though that helps, of course. It’s also that food is simplest in summer there is a bounty of fresh, seasonal produce to play around with. And unlike the root vegetables of autumn which are all about slow roasting, or the bitter winter produce that really only comes into its own with much artful braising, good summertime ingredients call for little (or nothing) else. Think tomatoes (the plump, flavorsome variety on a pretty plate with a drizzle of olive oil and a few strewn basil leaves), a loaf of bread, some charcuterie, a bottle of wine, and you're halfway to a complete dinner. And those juicy, sweet orange melons that are just coming into season right now, slice and drape them with slithers of salty prosciutto crudo and you have yourself prosciutto e melone bliss.

Summer food, you see, is instant gratification it makes even those of us who don’t call ourselves cooks feel intuitive, cool, and confident in the kitchen. Start with burrata buy it, lots of it. Burrata on a plate with a drizzle of olive oil and topped with pretty much anything. The recipe below calls for slithers of preserved lemons, that are tang-y and salty and pay the most extravagant compliment to the exquisite creaminess of the cheese but there are countless other variations on that same theme which work every bit as beautifully. Try burrata with a few sweet baby tomatoes a drizzle of salsa verde perhaps or a handful of roughly chopped black olives and capers. Frankly, even burrata on it’s own is sublime.

Panzanella is another favorite of mine a Tuscan bread salad, its very name pan-za-nella rolls off the tongue with the same intoxicatingly languid charm of dolce-vita. To my mind, it is the culinary incarnation of la dolce vita. Essentially: bread torn roughly into pieces, drenched in grassy olive oil, and tossed with tomatoes, sweet red onion, fennel, olives, and even anchovies or a tin of tuna if you have them on hand. I love panzanella it’s the kind of dish there is no right or wrong way of making.

For the rest: it’s the small touches that create that sense of occasion. Nice linen napkins, neatly ironed and laid on your place settings (if you don’t have good napkins, tea towels will do), better still if they’re mismatched as it adds character to the table. A jug of flowers: pink peonies, or overblown garden roses, with a few sprigs of lavender, sage, and higgledy piggledy greenery mixed in. Mind not to cut the stems too stiffly, you want to create that casual semblance they’ve been picked from your garden—even if you don’t have a garden. And if it’s dinner, then candles, lots of them and of all different heights. Candlelight masks the sins of the plainest kitchens, and will transform pretty much any old dining table into a something utterly magical.

And last but not least: dessert. Dessert elevates all meals however humble or simple they might be. It needn’t be some kind of great culinary confection you could buy a fruit tart or a cake from the store, there is certainly no shame in that. There is always ice cream, bought from a decent gelateria and served in cones—it gives the party an alfresco charm and who doesn't like to eat ice cream from a cone? But at this time of year, also consider a bowl of strawberries, piled extravagantly high (more is always more in these instances), and served with clotted cream. Or berries that swim in their juices and syrup-y red wine. And there you have it, the recipe(s) for a perfect no-cook dinner party.


How to Host a Gorgeous Summer Dinner Party Without Cooking

To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories.

In the kitchen with Skye McAlpine.

To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories.

My favorite kind of party is the kind that comes together at the last minute. A quick drink at home that turns into a proper sit down dinner. That sort of evening that's deliciously spontaneous, where you cook and you chat and somewhere along the way, you eat. It’s all very casual and has none of the stuffy rigmarole that the words "dinner" and "party" inevitably seem to conjure when spoken together.

This kind of effortless entertaining—sometimes improvised on the spur of the moment, sometimes not—is, frankly, what I’m all about. It’s what I love. And I find, it comes easiest in the summer it’s not just that the weather puts everyone in a rosé-drinking, carefree kind of a mood, though that helps, of course. It’s also that food is simplest in summer there is a bounty of fresh, seasonal produce to play around with. And unlike the root vegetables of autumn which are all about slow roasting, or the bitter winter produce that really only comes into its own with much artful braising, good summertime ingredients call for little (or nothing) else. Think tomatoes (the plump, flavorsome variety on a pretty plate with a drizzle of olive oil and a few strewn basil leaves), a loaf of bread, some charcuterie, a bottle of wine, and you're halfway to a complete dinner. And those juicy, sweet orange melons that are just coming into season right now, slice and drape them with slithers of salty prosciutto crudo and you have yourself prosciutto e melone bliss.

Summer food, you see, is instant gratification it makes even those of us who don’t call ourselves cooks feel intuitive, cool, and confident in the kitchen. Start with burrata buy it, lots of it. Burrata on a plate with a drizzle of olive oil and topped with pretty much anything. The recipe below calls for slithers of preserved lemons, that are tang-y and salty and pay the most extravagant compliment to the exquisite creaminess of the cheese but there are countless other variations on that same theme which work every bit as beautifully. Try burrata with a few sweet baby tomatoes a drizzle of salsa verde perhaps or a handful of roughly chopped black olives and capers. Frankly, even burrata on it’s own is sublime.

Panzanella is another favorite of mine a Tuscan bread salad, its very name pan-za-nella rolls off the tongue with the same intoxicatingly languid charm of dolce-vita. To my mind, it is the culinary incarnation of la dolce vita. Essentially: bread torn roughly into pieces, drenched in grassy olive oil, and tossed with tomatoes, sweet red onion, fennel, olives, and even anchovies or a tin of tuna if you have them on hand. I love panzanella it’s the kind of dish there is no right or wrong way of making.

For the rest: it’s the small touches that create that sense of occasion. Nice linen napkins, neatly ironed and laid on your place settings (if you don’t have good napkins, tea towels will do), better still if they’re mismatched as it adds character to the table. A jug of flowers: pink peonies, or overblown garden roses, with a few sprigs of lavender, sage, and higgledy piggledy greenery mixed in. Mind not to cut the stems too stiffly, you want to create that casual semblance they’ve been picked from your garden—even if you don’t have a garden. And if it’s dinner, then candles, lots of them and of all different heights. Candlelight masks the sins of the plainest kitchens, and will transform pretty much any old dining table into a something utterly magical.

And last but not least: dessert. Dessert elevates all meals however humble or simple they might be. It needn’t be some kind of great culinary confection you could buy a fruit tart or a cake from the store, there is certainly no shame in that. There is always ice cream, bought from a decent gelateria and served in cones—it gives the party an alfresco charm and who doesn't like to eat ice cream from a cone? But at this time of year, also consider a bowl of strawberries, piled extravagantly high (more is always more in these instances), and served with clotted cream. Or berries that swim in their juices and syrup-y red wine. And there you have it, the recipe(s) for a perfect no-cook dinner party.


How to Host a Gorgeous Summer Dinner Party Without Cooking

To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories.

In the kitchen with Skye McAlpine.

To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories.

My favorite kind of party is the kind that comes together at the last minute. A quick drink at home that turns into a proper sit down dinner. That sort of evening that's deliciously spontaneous, where you cook and you chat and somewhere along the way, you eat. It’s all very casual and has none of the stuffy rigmarole that the words "dinner" and "party" inevitably seem to conjure when spoken together.

This kind of effortless entertaining—sometimes improvised on the spur of the moment, sometimes not—is, frankly, what I’m all about. It’s what I love. And I find, it comes easiest in the summer it’s not just that the weather puts everyone in a rosé-drinking, carefree kind of a mood, though that helps, of course. It’s also that food is simplest in summer there is a bounty of fresh, seasonal produce to play around with. And unlike the root vegetables of autumn which are all about slow roasting, or the bitter winter produce that really only comes into its own with much artful braising, good summertime ingredients call for little (or nothing) else. Think tomatoes (the plump, flavorsome variety on a pretty plate with a drizzle of olive oil and a few strewn basil leaves), a loaf of bread, some charcuterie, a bottle of wine, and you're halfway to a complete dinner. And those juicy, sweet orange melons that are just coming into season right now, slice and drape them with slithers of salty prosciutto crudo and you have yourself prosciutto e melone bliss.

Summer food, you see, is instant gratification it makes even those of us who don’t call ourselves cooks feel intuitive, cool, and confident in the kitchen. Start with burrata buy it, lots of it. Burrata on a plate with a drizzle of olive oil and topped with pretty much anything. The recipe below calls for slithers of preserved lemons, that are tang-y and salty and pay the most extravagant compliment to the exquisite creaminess of the cheese but there are countless other variations on that same theme which work every bit as beautifully. Try burrata with a few sweet baby tomatoes a drizzle of salsa verde perhaps or a handful of roughly chopped black olives and capers. Frankly, even burrata on it’s own is sublime.

Panzanella is another favorite of mine a Tuscan bread salad, its very name pan-za-nella rolls off the tongue with the same intoxicatingly languid charm of dolce-vita. To my mind, it is the culinary incarnation of la dolce vita. Essentially: bread torn roughly into pieces, drenched in grassy olive oil, and tossed with tomatoes, sweet red onion, fennel, olives, and even anchovies or a tin of tuna if you have them on hand. I love panzanella it’s the kind of dish there is no right or wrong way of making.

For the rest: it’s the small touches that create that sense of occasion. Nice linen napkins, neatly ironed and laid on your place settings (if you don’t have good napkins, tea towels will do), better still if they’re mismatched as it adds character to the table. A jug of flowers: pink peonies, or overblown garden roses, with a few sprigs of lavender, sage, and higgledy piggledy greenery mixed in. Mind not to cut the stems too stiffly, you want to create that casual semblance they’ve been picked from your garden—even if you don’t have a garden. And if it’s dinner, then candles, lots of them and of all different heights. Candlelight masks the sins of the plainest kitchens, and will transform pretty much any old dining table into a something utterly magical.

And last but not least: dessert. Dessert elevates all meals however humble or simple they might be. It needn’t be some kind of great culinary confection you could buy a fruit tart or a cake from the store, there is certainly no shame in that. There is always ice cream, bought from a decent gelateria and served in cones—it gives the party an alfresco charm and who doesn't like to eat ice cream from a cone? But at this time of year, also consider a bowl of strawberries, piled extravagantly high (more is always more in these instances), and served with clotted cream. Or berries that swim in their juices and syrup-y red wine. And there you have it, the recipe(s) for a perfect no-cook dinner party.


How to Host a Gorgeous Summer Dinner Party Without Cooking

To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories.

In the kitchen with Skye McAlpine.

To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories.

My favorite kind of party is the kind that comes together at the last minute. A quick drink at home that turns into a proper sit down dinner. That sort of evening that's deliciously spontaneous, where you cook and you chat and somewhere along the way, you eat. It’s all very casual and has none of the stuffy rigmarole that the words "dinner" and "party" inevitably seem to conjure when spoken together.

This kind of effortless entertaining—sometimes improvised on the spur of the moment, sometimes not—is, frankly, what I’m all about. It’s what I love. And I find, it comes easiest in the summer it’s not just that the weather puts everyone in a rosé-drinking, carefree kind of a mood, though that helps, of course. It’s also that food is simplest in summer there is a bounty of fresh, seasonal produce to play around with. And unlike the root vegetables of autumn which are all about slow roasting, or the bitter winter produce that really only comes into its own with much artful braising, good summertime ingredients call for little (or nothing) else. Think tomatoes (the plump, flavorsome variety on a pretty plate with a drizzle of olive oil and a few strewn basil leaves), a loaf of bread, some charcuterie, a bottle of wine, and you're halfway to a complete dinner. And those juicy, sweet orange melons that are just coming into season right now, slice and drape them with slithers of salty prosciutto crudo and you have yourself prosciutto e melone bliss.

Summer food, you see, is instant gratification it makes even those of us who don’t call ourselves cooks feel intuitive, cool, and confident in the kitchen. Start with burrata buy it, lots of it. Burrata on a plate with a drizzle of olive oil and topped with pretty much anything. The recipe below calls for slithers of preserved lemons, that are tang-y and salty and pay the most extravagant compliment to the exquisite creaminess of the cheese but there are countless other variations on that same theme which work every bit as beautifully. Try burrata with a few sweet baby tomatoes a drizzle of salsa verde perhaps or a handful of roughly chopped black olives and capers. Frankly, even burrata on it’s own is sublime.

Panzanella is another favorite of mine a Tuscan bread salad, its very name pan-za-nella rolls off the tongue with the same intoxicatingly languid charm of dolce-vita. To my mind, it is the culinary incarnation of la dolce vita. Essentially: bread torn roughly into pieces, drenched in grassy olive oil, and tossed with tomatoes, sweet red onion, fennel, olives, and even anchovies or a tin of tuna if you have them on hand. I love panzanella it’s the kind of dish there is no right or wrong way of making.

For the rest: it’s the small touches that create that sense of occasion. Nice linen napkins, neatly ironed and laid on your place settings (if you don’t have good napkins, tea towels will do), better still if they’re mismatched as it adds character to the table. A jug of flowers: pink peonies, or overblown garden roses, with a few sprigs of lavender, sage, and higgledy piggledy greenery mixed in. Mind not to cut the stems too stiffly, you want to create that casual semblance they’ve been picked from your garden—even if you don’t have a garden. And if it’s dinner, then candles, lots of them and of all different heights. Candlelight masks the sins of the plainest kitchens, and will transform pretty much any old dining table into a something utterly magical.

And last but not least: dessert. Dessert elevates all meals however humble or simple they might be. It needn’t be some kind of great culinary confection you could buy a fruit tart or a cake from the store, there is certainly no shame in that. There is always ice cream, bought from a decent gelateria and served in cones—it gives the party an alfresco charm and who doesn't like to eat ice cream from a cone? But at this time of year, also consider a bowl of strawberries, piled extravagantly high (more is always more in these instances), and served with clotted cream. Or berries that swim in their juices and syrup-y red wine. And there you have it, the recipe(s) for a perfect no-cook dinner party.


How to Host a Gorgeous Summer Dinner Party Without Cooking

To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories.

In the kitchen with Skye McAlpine.

To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories.

My favorite kind of party is the kind that comes together at the last minute. A quick drink at home that turns into a proper sit down dinner. That sort of evening that's deliciously spontaneous, where you cook and you chat and somewhere along the way, you eat. It’s all very casual and has none of the stuffy rigmarole that the words "dinner" and "party" inevitably seem to conjure when spoken together.

This kind of effortless entertaining—sometimes improvised on the spur of the moment, sometimes not—is, frankly, what I’m all about. It’s what I love. And I find, it comes easiest in the summer it’s not just that the weather puts everyone in a rosé-drinking, carefree kind of a mood, though that helps, of course. It’s also that food is simplest in summer there is a bounty of fresh, seasonal produce to play around with. And unlike the root vegetables of autumn which are all about slow roasting, or the bitter winter produce that really only comes into its own with much artful braising, good summertime ingredients call for little (or nothing) else. Think tomatoes (the plump, flavorsome variety on a pretty plate with a drizzle of olive oil and a few strewn basil leaves), a loaf of bread, some charcuterie, a bottle of wine, and you're halfway to a complete dinner. And those juicy, sweet orange melons that are just coming into season right now, slice and drape them with slithers of salty prosciutto crudo and you have yourself prosciutto e melone bliss.

Summer food, you see, is instant gratification it makes even those of us who don’t call ourselves cooks feel intuitive, cool, and confident in the kitchen. Start with burrata buy it, lots of it. Burrata on a plate with a drizzle of olive oil and topped with pretty much anything. The recipe below calls for slithers of preserved lemons, that are tang-y and salty and pay the most extravagant compliment to the exquisite creaminess of the cheese but there are countless other variations on that same theme which work every bit as beautifully. Try burrata with a few sweet baby tomatoes a drizzle of salsa verde perhaps or a handful of roughly chopped black olives and capers. Frankly, even burrata on it’s own is sublime.

Panzanella is another favorite of mine a Tuscan bread salad, its very name pan-za-nella rolls off the tongue with the same intoxicatingly languid charm of dolce-vita. To my mind, it is the culinary incarnation of la dolce vita. Essentially: bread torn roughly into pieces, drenched in grassy olive oil, and tossed with tomatoes, sweet red onion, fennel, olives, and even anchovies or a tin of tuna if you have them on hand. I love panzanella it’s the kind of dish there is no right or wrong way of making.

For the rest: it’s the small touches that create that sense of occasion. Nice linen napkins, neatly ironed and laid on your place settings (if you don’t have good napkins, tea towels will do), better still if they’re mismatched as it adds character to the table. A jug of flowers: pink peonies, or overblown garden roses, with a few sprigs of lavender, sage, and higgledy piggledy greenery mixed in. Mind not to cut the stems too stiffly, you want to create that casual semblance they’ve been picked from your garden—even if you don’t have a garden. And if it’s dinner, then candles, lots of them and of all different heights. Candlelight masks the sins of the plainest kitchens, and will transform pretty much any old dining table into a something utterly magical.

And last but not least: dessert. Dessert elevates all meals however humble or simple they might be. It needn’t be some kind of great culinary confection you could buy a fruit tart or a cake from the store, there is certainly no shame in that. There is always ice cream, bought from a decent gelateria and served in cones—it gives the party an alfresco charm and who doesn't like to eat ice cream from a cone? But at this time of year, also consider a bowl of strawberries, piled extravagantly high (more is always more in these instances), and served with clotted cream. Or berries that swim in their juices and syrup-y red wine. And there you have it, the recipe(s) for a perfect no-cook dinner party.


How to Host a Gorgeous Summer Dinner Party Without Cooking

To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories.

In the kitchen with Skye McAlpine.

To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories.

My favorite kind of party is the kind that comes together at the last minute. A quick drink at home that turns into a proper sit down dinner. That sort of evening that's deliciously spontaneous, where you cook and you chat and somewhere along the way, you eat. It’s all very casual and has none of the stuffy rigmarole that the words "dinner" and "party" inevitably seem to conjure when spoken together.

This kind of effortless entertaining—sometimes improvised on the spur of the moment, sometimes not—is, frankly, what I’m all about. It’s what I love. And I find, it comes easiest in the summer it’s not just that the weather puts everyone in a rosé-drinking, carefree kind of a mood, though that helps, of course. It’s also that food is simplest in summer there is a bounty of fresh, seasonal produce to play around with. And unlike the root vegetables of autumn which are all about slow roasting, or the bitter winter produce that really only comes into its own with much artful braising, good summertime ingredients call for little (or nothing) else. Think tomatoes (the plump, flavorsome variety on a pretty plate with a drizzle of olive oil and a few strewn basil leaves), a loaf of bread, some charcuterie, a bottle of wine, and you're halfway to a complete dinner. And those juicy, sweet orange melons that are just coming into season right now, slice and drape them with slithers of salty prosciutto crudo and you have yourself prosciutto e melone bliss.

Summer food, you see, is instant gratification it makes even those of us who don’t call ourselves cooks feel intuitive, cool, and confident in the kitchen. Start with burrata buy it, lots of it. Burrata on a plate with a drizzle of olive oil and topped with pretty much anything. The recipe below calls for slithers of preserved lemons, that are tang-y and salty and pay the most extravagant compliment to the exquisite creaminess of the cheese but there are countless other variations on that same theme which work every bit as beautifully. Try burrata with a few sweet baby tomatoes a drizzle of salsa verde perhaps or a handful of roughly chopped black olives and capers. Frankly, even burrata on it’s own is sublime.

Panzanella is another favorite of mine a Tuscan bread salad, its very name pan-za-nella rolls off the tongue with the same intoxicatingly languid charm of dolce-vita. To my mind, it is the culinary incarnation of la dolce vita. Essentially: bread torn roughly into pieces, drenched in grassy olive oil, and tossed with tomatoes, sweet red onion, fennel, olives, and even anchovies or a tin of tuna if you have them on hand. I love panzanella it’s the kind of dish there is no right or wrong way of making.

For the rest: it’s the small touches that create that sense of occasion. Nice linen napkins, neatly ironed and laid on your place settings (if you don’t have good napkins, tea towels will do), better still if they’re mismatched as it adds character to the table. A jug of flowers: pink peonies, or overblown garden roses, with a few sprigs of lavender, sage, and higgledy piggledy greenery mixed in. Mind not to cut the stems too stiffly, you want to create that casual semblance they’ve been picked from your garden—even if you don’t have a garden. And if it’s dinner, then candles, lots of them and of all different heights. Candlelight masks the sins of the plainest kitchens, and will transform pretty much any old dining table into a something utterly magical.

And last but not least: dessert. Dessert elevates all meals however humble or simple they might be. It needn’t be some kind of great culinary confection you could buy a fruit tart or a cake from the store, there is certainly no shame in that. There is always ice cream, bought from a decent gelateria and served in cones—it gives the party an alfresco charm and who doesn't like to eat ice cream from a cone? But at this time of year, also consider a bowl of strawberries, piled extravagantly high (more is always more in these instances), and served with clotted cream. Or berries that swim in their juices and syrup-y red wine. And there you have it, the recipe(s) for a perfect no-cook dinner party.


How to Host a Gorgeous Summer Dinner Party Without Cooking

To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories.

In the kitchen with Skye McAlpine.

To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories.

My favorite kind of party is the kind that comes together at the last minute. A quick drink at home that turns into a proper sit down dinner. That sort of evening that's deliciously spontaneous, where you cook and you chat and somewhere along the way, you eat. It’s all very casual and has none of the stuffy rigmarole that the words "dinner" and "party" inevitably seem to conjure when spoken together.

This kind of effortless entertaining—sometimes improvised on the spur of the moment, sometimes not—is, frankly, what I’m all about. It’s what I love. And I find, it comes easiest in the summer it’s not just that the weather puts everyone in a rosé-drinking, carefree kind of a mood, though that helps, of course. It’s also that food is simplest in summer there is a bounty of fresh, seasonal produce to play around with. And unlike the root vegetables of autumn which are all about slow roasting, or the bitter winter produce that really only comes into its own with much artful braising, good summertime ingredients call for little (or nothing) else. Think tomatoes (the plump, flavorsome variety on a pretty plate with a drizzle of olive oil and a few strewn basil leaves), a loaf of bread, some charcuterie, a bottle of wine, and you're halfway to a complete dinner. And those juicy, sweet orange melons that are just coming into season right now, slice and drape them with slithers of salty prosciutto crudo and you have yourself prosciutto e melone bliss.

Summer food, you see, is instant gratification it makes even those of us who don’t call ourselves cooks feel intuitive, cool, and confident in the kitchen. Start with burrata buy it, lots of it. Burrata on a plate with a drizzle of olive oil and topped with pretty much anything. The recipe below calls for slithers of preserved lemons, that are tang-y and salty and pay the most extravagant compliment to the exquisite creaminess of the cheese but there are countless other variations on that same theme which work every bit as beautifully. Try burrata with a few sweet baby tomatoes a drizzle of salsa verde perhaps or a handful of roughly chopped black olives and capers. Frankly, even burrata on it’s own is sublime.

Panzanella is another favorite of mine a Tuscan bread salad, its very name pan-za-nella rolls off the tongue with the same intoxicatingly languid charm of dolce-vita. To my mind, it is the culinary incarnation of la dolce vita. Essentially: bread torn roughly into pieces, drenched in grassy olive oil, and tossed with tomatoes, sweet red onion, fennel, olives, and even anchovies or a tin of tuna if you have them on hand. I love panzanella it’s the kind of dish there is no right or wrong way of making.

For the rest: it’s the small touches that create that sense of occasion. Nice linen napkins, neatly ironed and laid on your place settings (if you don’t have good napkins, tea towels will do), better still if they’re mismatched as it adds character to the table. A jug of flowers: pink peonies, or overblown garden roses, with a few sprigs of lavender, sage, and higgledy piggledy greenery mixed in. Mind not to cut the stems too stiffly, you want to create that casual semblance they’ve been picked from your garden—even if you don’t have a garden. And if it’s dinner, then candles, lots of them and of all different heights. Candlelight masks the sins of the plainest kitchens, and will transform pretty much any old dining table into a something utterly magical.

And last but not least: dessert. Dessert elevates all meals however humble or simple they might be. It needn’t be some kind of great culinary confection you could buy a fruit tart or a cake from the store, there is certainly no shame in that. There is always ice cream, bought from a decent gelateria and served in cones—it gives the party an alfresco charm and who doesn't like to eat ice cream from a cone? But at this time of year, also consider a bowl of strawberries, piled extravagantly high (more is always more in these instances), and served with clotted cream. Or berries that swim in their juices and syrup-y red wine. And there you have it, the recipe(s) for a perfect no-cook dinner party.


How to Host a Gorgeous Summer Dinner Party Without Cooking

To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories.

In the kitchen with Skye McAlpine.

To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories.

My favorite kind of party is the kind that comes together at the last minute. A quick drink at home that turns into a proper sit down dinner. That sort of evening that's deliciously spontaneous, where you cook and you chat and somewhere along the way, you eat. It’s all very casual and has none of the stuffy rigmarole that the words "dinner" and "party" inevitably seem to conjure when spoken together.

This kind of effortless entertaining—sometimes improvised on the spur of the moment, sometimes not—is, frankly, what I’m all about. It’s what I love. And I find, it comes easiest in the summer it’s not just that the weather puts everyone in a rosé-drinking, carefree kind of a mood, though that helps, of course. It’s also that food is simplest in summer there is a bounty of fresh, seasonal produce to play around with. And unlike the root vegetables of autumn which are all about slow roasting, or the bitter winter produce that really only comes into its own with much artful braising, good summertime ingredients call for little (or nothing) else. Think tomatoes (the plump, flavorsome variety on a pretty plate with a drizzle of olive oil and a few strewn basil leaves), a loaf of bread, some charcuterie, a bottle of wine, and you're halfway to a complete dinner. And those juicy, sweet orange melons that are just coming into season right now, slice and drape them with slithers of salty prosciutto crudo and you have yourself prosciutto e melone bliss.

Summer food, you see, is instant gratification it makes even those of us who don’t call ourselves cooks feel intuitive, cool, and confident in the kitchen. Start with burrata buy it, lots of it. Burrata on a plate with a drizzle of olive oil and topped with pretty much anything. The recipe below calls for slithers of preserved lemons, that are tang-y and salty and pay the most extravagant compliment to the exquisite creaminess of the cheese but there are countless other variations on that same theme which work every bit as beautifully. Try burrata with a few sweet baby tomatoes a drizzle of salsa verde perhaps or a handful of roughly chopped black olives and capers. Frankly, even burrata on it’s own is sublime.

Panzanella is another favorite of mine a Tuscan bread salad, its very name pan-za-nella rolls off the tongue with the same intoxicatingly languid charm of dolce-vita. To my mind, it is the culinary incarnation of la dolce vita. Essentially: bread torn roughly into pieces, drenched in grassy olive oil, and tossed with tomatoes, sweet red onion, fennel, olives, and even anchovies or a tin of tuna if you have them on hand. I love panzanella it’s the kind of dish there is no right or wrong way of making.

For the rest: it’s the small touches that create that sense of occasion. Nice linen napkins, neatly ironed and laid on your place settings (if you don’t have good napkins, tea towels will do), better still if they’re mismatched as it adds character to the table. A jug of flowers: pink peonies, or overblown garden roses, with a few sprigs of lavender, sage, and higgledy piggledy greenery mixed in. Mind not to cut the stems too stiffly, you want to create that casual semblance they’ve been picked from your garden—even if you don’t have a garden. And if it’s dinner, then candles, lots of them and of all different heights. Candlelight masks the sins of the plainest kitchens, and will transform pretty much any old dining table into a something utterly magical.

And last but not least: dessert. Dessert elevates all meals however humble or simple they might be. It needn’t be some kind of great culinary confection you could buy a fruit tart or a cake from the store, there is certainly no shame in that. There is always ice cream, bought from a decent gelateria and served in cones—it gives the party an alfresco charm and who doesn't like to eat ice cream from a cone? But at this time of year, also consider a bowl of strawberries, piled extravagantly high (more is always more in these instances), and served with clotted cream. Or berries that swim in their juices and syrup-y red wine. And there you have it, the recipe(s) for a perfect no-cook dinner party.