Entertaining

No Sweat

In the heat of the summer, stay cool with this no-cook menu
How to Throw a No-Cook Dinner Party
Photo: Tasting Table

You know the saying, "If you can't take the heat, then get out of the kitchen"? Well, we're about to prove it wrong.

We may not be turning on the stove or oven during the hottest days of summer, but that doesn't mean we're not entertaining. We've put together a menu that will keep you in the kitchen, even if you can't handle the heat.

Starting off with a vibrant green bone-broth gazpacho from James Beard Award-winning chef Marco Canora (see the recipe), the menu stays fresh with a shaved summer squash salad over ricotta (see the recipe) and shrimp summer rolls (see the recipe).

But don't worry: You can indulge all you want with a rich espresso mud pie made of layers of dark and milk chocolate ganaches, and espresso whipped cream (see the recipe).

You'll need to use the microwave for five minutes, but the point is that you don't need to turn on your stove or oven, so your kitchen will stay cool. Though you could knock out this no-cook feast in about four and a half hours, we suggest inviting over three friends two hours before your guests arrive to help you tackle everything in no time. And if they need extra persuading, frozen Negronis (see the recipe) are involved.

The Food

① As soon as your sous-chefs arrive, put someone on mud pie duty, since you'll need four hours of chilling time before serving.

② You're on summer roll duty. Cure the shrimp, make the dipping sauce and mise-out everything else. During one of the chilling periods for the mud pie, grab friend number one to help you roll. You're going to want to store these guys in the fridge, covered with a damp paper towel.

③ Have another friend prepare the squash salad. This means shaving the squash, making the herb oil, whipping the ricotta and preparing the dressing separately. Keep everything separate until your guests arrive.

④ Task your final friend with the gazpacho and cocktails. We'll call this blender duty. First, your friend can blend up the gazpacho and get it chilling in the fridge. Then, have him or her batch the cocktail for the frozen Negronis.

The Drink

① This is not one of those make-ahead drinks, so be sure to wait for all of your guests to arrive before blending the ingredients.

② What you can do in advance is line up glasses and batch all the ingredients, except for the ice, to store in the fridge. You can also prepare orange twists; just make sure to cover them with a damp paper towel.

③ When you're ready to blend, add ice to the batched ingredients and get whirring. Then you can quickly pour everyone the perfect frozen beverage to kick off this cool menu.

Game Time

Once everyone's sipping on their frozen Negronis, it's time to finish up this no-cook menu.

① Pour your gazpacho. We love serving this soup in shooter glasses, so guests can just knock them back sans spoons.

② Toss the squash with the dressing and serve on a large platter. We recommend presenting this buffet-style alongside the summer rolls, leaving out plates for your guests to serve themselves.

③ Finally, slice the mud pie, and you're set.

So chill out. This no-cook dinner party is as easy to execute as it is delicious to devour.

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