Quick, cool menu ideas for a hot open house?
Eek! I just signed up to throw an open-house party for a friend.
But I'm going to be frantically busy before the event, so I don't have time to do any real cooking. Plus, it's looking like the weather will be stinky hot, and I don't want to even think about turning on the oven, standing over the stove, or even grilling (standing outside by a heat source doesn't sound appealing, for some reason). I am willing to get out my crockpot, however, if necessary.
Any ideas for some almost-instant, appealing, crowd-friendly finger foods for a party? Especially things that can sit out for hours without any danger? Oh, and no Cool Whip - I have an undeserved reputation as a natural-foods cook...
Thanks for all the great ideas! Turns out, we all went out for dinner instead - whew. However, I'll keep these around for my next spur-of-the-moment party. I've been in a hummos / tabbouli / spinach pie rut lately.
But I think I'll pass on Martha's ice bowls, Dairy Queen - they sound pretty, but I'm completely unable to plan ahead (not to mention my tiny, crammed-full freezer. :-)
One of my favorites for hot weather is to hit the Italian deli and make an antipasti spread, with an assortment of meats, cheeses, olives, roasted peppers, pickled veggies, etc. Make an attractive arrangement of crudite and serve with both a bagna cauda (warm olive oil and garlic dip) and something else that might appeal to children, like ranch. Serve both with bread.
You can make a little Caprese "salad on a pick" by spearing a cherry tomato and a small piece of fresh mozzarella and drizzling them with an olive oil and basil pesto dressing. You can buy already cooked and peeled shrimp and marinate them in your favorite dressing (though I would make the exception here and cook myself, adding my dressing just after they were drained).
You can even do sausages and peppers, or meatballs in your crockpot if you feel you need something hot.
For dessert, serve fresh fruits, which you can buy already cut up, Italian cookies from the deli, a prepared cheesecake and something chocolate, and you are all set.
I like to make little sandwiches out of tortilla shells.
Combinaitons I have done in the past were:
Cream cheese with dried cranberries, and green onions
Wasabi mayo with cucs and avocado
But you could make up your own. you coulod very easily do a thai inspired one with peanut satay or sesame and chicken with julienne veg, or a mediterannean one with olives and boccocini.
I cover the shells with topping then roll it up tight and slice them into little sushi-like rolls.
Oh, I've been dreaming about cool dishes for the hot weather. I don't know if these are fast or finger-y enough for you:
If you had time to make ahead, the pretty ice bowls I saw in Martha's magazine. I can't decide whether they'd be nightmarishly messy and drip all over your table (she recommends putting a dishtowel underneath, but I think you'd need something more than that--a dish of some kind on a trivet or something), but they would help you keep food cold...
She photographs the ice bowls overflowing with shrimp, which is super easy, although, not super original.
Not finger food, but caprese salad is nice if you can get good tomatoes. You could always use the little mozzarrella balls, sliced in half, then layer a tomato slice, some basil--S&P, drizzle with evoo of course-- and put a toothpick through the whole works for finger food.
Vietnamese spring rolls aren't instant, but if you have a favorite restaurant that does a good job, you could take short cut and order them. Or, Epicurious has several recipes out there if you don't have one you already know and love. Also, I thought these Vietnamese salad rolls looked fun, but too messy for an open house unless you pre-roll them for people, I think.
And I was admiring the watermelon salad & salsa recipes. They look easy. Not finger food, but you could do fruit kabobs instead, maybe, combining similar flavors.
And, I'll bet you can buy a lifetime supply of cukes at the farmer's markets right now, and here are some salads and sandwiches that would be cool. Little sandwiches can be finger food.
And then there's the whole prosciutto & cantaloupe thing. (As you may have seen in the watermelon link, people are doing it with watermelon, too, although I don't understand how such a soft melon would hold its shape).
Endive with goat cheese?
You never see enough jicama, and it's refreshing. How about these jicame-date canapes?
or jicama, cucumber (and mango) chili spears?
Set up a fruit tray: cherries, apple slices, grapes, pineapple, watermelon
Dried fruit tray: Costco has great dried fruit mixtures
Salsa and Tortilla chips
Marinated mushrooms, Marinated veggies both can be either made ahead or bought
Summer sausage and buns with mustard
A sweets tray: cake, cookies, brownies, little tarts