Though filled with gifts, champagne, and general merriment, the holiday season is downright exhausting. From parties to ugly sweater get togethers to family brunches, having even a small dinner party can seem daunting. So, we created a super simple yet absolutely delicious dinner party, where you don’t even have to turn on your stove or oven! Yeah, you read that right. This menu doesn’t sacrifice any elegance, and it won’t leave you sweating over the stove while everyone waits in the other room.
Appetizers are an awesomely easy place to embrace a no-cook meal. In addition to setting out some olives and mixed nuts for guests to snack on before dinner, we recommend these recipes:
Tuna tartare and stuffed figs
Savory, refreshing, and quite classy, this tuna tartare appetizer looks very cheffy and impressive but is a snap to put together. Serve it with crackers or with cucumber rounds as we’ve done here. Or, for a meatier option, try these prosciutto-stuffed figs. Okay, just make both.
For a lightened up main course that doesn’t require any actual cooking, we recommend a big, bountiful salad with our gin and grapefruit-cured gravlax (see below recipe) or even a store bought rotisserie chicken.
6 sprigs fresh dill
3.5 tablespoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 pound skin-on center-cut salmon fillet
3 tablespoons gin
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon capers
3 sprigs fresh dill
.5 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
.5 tablespoon white wine
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pick the dill leaves from the stems. Zest the grapefruit to yield about 1 tablespoon. In a small bowl, stir together dill, grapefruit zest, salt, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and pepper.
Cover a rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap and arrange the salmon skin-side down. Drizzle half the gin over the fish and gently rub it into the flresh. Sprinkle half the grapefruit mixture over and rub it in. Carefully flip the salmon skin-side up and repeat with the remaining gin and remaining grapefruit mixture.
Wrap the salmon, still skin-side up, tightly with the plastic wrap on the baking sheet. Wrap the salmon in another layer of plastic, as it will release liquid while curing. Place a large plate on top of the salmon and add cans or a heavy pot to weight it down. Transfer the baking sheet to the fridge and allow the salmon to cure for at least 12 hours and up to 24. Flip the salmon on the baking sheet so that it’s skin-side down, then replace the weights and continue to cure for another 12 to 24 hours.
Up to 2 days before serving, make the tartar sauce: Finely chop the capers and dill leaves. In a medium bowl, whisk together the capers, dill, mayonnaise, horseradish, and vinegar. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Yes, we said no-cook, but freezing is allowed! This adult slushie is only time consuming because of the time in the freezer. Other than that, it’s a no-brainer and has a boozy twist with the addition of Kahlúa.
2 cups hot coffee or espresso (or a combination)
.5 cup + 1.5 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon kahlua
.5 cup heavy cream
In a 9×13 inch baking dish, combine the coffee, .5 cup of the sugar, and the Kahlúa. The mixture should be about .25 inch deep in the dish. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes.
Transfer to the freezer until chilled, about 30 inutes. Remove and scrape the mixture with a fork, until some shavings have come loose. Return to the freezer and continue to scrape every 30 minutes until slushy, about 3 hours.
Before serving, in a large bowl, combine the heavy cream and remaining 1.5 tablespoons sugar. Using an electric mixer or a whisk, beat until stiff peaks form. Serve the granita with a dollop of whipped cream on top.
Jam and Citrus Parfaits
Using store bought pound cake is the key to these no-bake parfaits, which look fancy shmancy even if they’re ready super fast. Citrus is at its seasonal peak right now, so go to town on those oranges.
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup powdered sugar
¾ cup strawberry jam
1 8-inch pound cake
In a medium bowl, whisk together the cream and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Place in the fridge to chill for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile halve the oranges and squeeze the juice into a separate medium bowl. Add the strawberry jam. Break the pound cake into bite size pieces.
Divide one-third of the poundcake among parfait glasses, short, wide glasses. Top with one third of jam mixture, followed by one third of the whipped cream. Repeat the layers with the remaining pound cake, jam, and whipped cream. Serve immediately or chill in the fridge for up to an hour.
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