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Entertaining in Hot Weather

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In a few days I'm hosting a sit-down club dinner for about ten people, and I've no inclination to be fussing about in the kitchen in this weather when the first people arrive. So I'm looking for ideas for a grazing type meal, where everything can be made in advance and served room temp or cold. No soups. Tending to Italian highly preferred. My thoughts so far: cheese and charcuterie, tapenade, farro salad of some sort, bean salad of some sort, marinated vegetables, something with shrimp. Maybe a frittata if I can do one well in advance.

Help me brainstorm? Thanks.

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salad made of grilled vegetables and you do the grilling the day before, because they taste better when the dressing has had a chance to settle in overnight. Weather this hot screams for ceviche (whatever the Italian word for that is). Bowls of good olives and a big antipasto platter.

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Drizzle olive oil on asparagus on a baking sheet and roast in a preheated oven for about 8 minutes at 450 degrees. Let them cool to room temperature and wrap each stalk with some prosciutto. Shave or grate some Parmigiano-Reggiano on top just before serving. You can serve this at room temperature or even cold. It has never failed to impress. Even kids like it.

Also, cut some corn from the cob, uncooked. Add chopped tomatoes of any type ( I would seed anything but cherry tomatoes) and some red onion. Dress with a simple homemade vinaigrette of your choosing. Maybe toss some chopped fresh herb on top if you are feeling sporty.

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There might be some other related, established threads since I know I constantly recommend Susan Hermann Loomis's prosciutto-wrapped sage leaves.

Good spiced nuts like ones at Union Square Café or soaked, raw almonds. (A gifted cook who's a farmer's wife swears nuts taste better after they've been soaking for a while.) Salad of corn, small, tart blueberries and basil dressed w Champagne vinegar, no oil. Watermelon-feta salad.

Just do a big antipasto type of spread served family style and skip the pasto altogether cuz it's too darn hot. Mandolin-sliced eggplant brushed w olive oil, then sprinkled w red wine vinegar and layered w mint leaves and slivers of garlic, marinaded for a day or two; same thing w zucchini only w basil, skip the vinegar. Big jar of those pickled vegetables that include cauliflower (giardinaro or whatever). Provide thick grilled bread rubbed with...well, you know. Spread on fresh, spreadable cheese or cut off a slice of mozzarella and then top w the jarred giard. Not everything has to be Italian though shaved fennel w lemon and thick shards of Parm is good, too. Lots of wine.

Clear the table. Load on gorgeous sliced and whole summer fruits, including berries. Marscarpone or whipped cream and nothing else unless it's ice-cold rice pudding made w rich milk from Clear or Trickling (your pick) Springs and Arborio rice (budini di riso kind of thing, but without the frou frou pastry beneath) or buttermilk ice cream. Tuiles if ambitious.

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Just curious - why no soups? Seems a chilled gazpacho would go well with the spread you are planning, and you can even serve it in cups for drinking - no bowls/spoons needed!

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In a few days I'm hosting a sit-down club dinner for about ten people, and I've no inclination to be fussing about in the kitchen in this weather when the first people arrive. So I'm looking for ideas for a grazing type meal, where everything can be made in advance and served room temp or cold. No soups. Tending to Italian highly preferred. My thoughts so far: cheese and charcuterie, tapenade, farro salad of some sort, bean salad of some sort, marinated vegetables, something with shrimp. Maybe a frittata if I can do one well in advance.

Help me brainstorm? Thanks.

Not so Italian but a poached salmon might be nice. That would go well with your farro salad.

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Just do a big antipasto type of spread served family style and skip the pasto altogether cuz it's too darn hot.

That's exactly the idea. :mellow:

Just curious - why no soups? Seems a chilled gazpacho would go well with the spread you are planning, and you can even serve it in cups for drinking - no bowls/spoons needed!

I have enough large plates, small plates, large bowls, glasses, and forks and knives to serve 30 people at once, but believe it or not, I have very few small bowls, about 5 assorted mugs, and absolutely no cups. Not even a coffee cup. Otherwise a gazpacho would've been first on the list.

Love the ideas so far, everyone. Thanks.

eta: it doesn't have to be strictly Italian, but since it's an Italian-themed group, we like Italian-inspired dishes.

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There might be some other related, established threads since I know I constantly recommend Susan Hermann Loomis's prosciutto-wrapped sage leaves.

{Yep, and I'll merge this one into that one, but I'm leaving it as a stand-alone for a while to give it visibility so Porcupine can get some good feedback. :mellow: }

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{Yep, and I'll merge this one into that one, but I'm leaving it as a stand-alone for a while to give it visibility so Porcupine can get some good feedback. :mellow: }

Thanks, L. I did check the index first, really I did...

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Cippolini onions steamed or roasted until just tender and then marinated in balsamico--can be done many days in advance, and are better for it.

White beans and olive oil-packed tuna, sweet onion, garlic and basil

Mixed seafood salad--calamari, shrimp, small scallops, clams lightly cooked and marinated in evoo, parsley, basil and garlic.

panzanella

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White beans and olive oil-packed tuna, sweet onion, garlic and basil

That sounds lovely, and speaking of which, Trader Joe's has been carrying some very respectable tuna packed in olive oil under their house label, at a very gentle price. They have both albacore and yellowfin, 5 ounces of either for $1.99 (at the West End store). The albacore is fancier, but the yellowfin has more flavor.

Always and famously (possibly tritely) popular on this sort of table: deviled eggs. I'm not sure how you could make them Italian, but perhaps with parsley and capers and a little peperoncino? Present them on a bed of prosciutto?

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You may wish to consider cold, sauteed broccolini with crushed garlic. We have that about once or twice a week during the summer, and it can be made about two days in advance.

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