Appetizers for backyard party when temp is 90+

I want to have a few neighbors over to show off my newly landscaped back yard. Everyone saw the trucks and they’re curious. It turned out great. I’m going to ask them to come over around 6:30, and the temperature will be over 90. Even if they hang around til 10 pm, it will still be over 90. :rolleyes:

Any suggestions for super-easy snacks that won’t melt, go bad, or become disgusting in the heat? I want to avoid cheese, dips, and meat/fish (e.g., smoked salmon).

I plan bring to some stuff out from the fridge like gazpacho (it’s the creamy gazpacho Andaluz from America’s Test Kitchen*), but I’d like some things that can just sit out.

Spiced nuts come to mind. Maybe popcorn or Chex Mix. Big stuffed olives? There will be fewer than a dozen people so I don’t need tons of stuff, just four or five things.

I will have wine and beer and lemonade. These people all live on my block so they don’t have to worry about drinking and driving. :cool:

*You might need ATK membership to view this recipe.

Are they not allowed in the house to cool off?

I’d suggest a fruit tray. Watermelon wedges in particular would be great. (I normally keep the trays in coolers with ice.)

Regarding the lemonade…

For a party my sister had, she made (pink) lemonade and some kind of alcoholic drink, put them in mason jars with ice and put a ribbon around them to make them look nice then tossed them in an open bucket with ice and had paper straws on the table nearby. I believe she got the idea from pintrest. Looking for the pictures, I see some people slid the straws into the ribbon so they were right there.

On preview, I see that picture doesn’t have ice in jars, I would put ice in the jars as well.

Fruit is good when it’s hot. I’ve done a bean/salsa/cream cheese sorta layered dip for tortilla chips, it’ll be fine at 90 degrees for a while.

Italian style anti pesto is my go to in summer (Australia) also putting things on ice is a big help but alas in that heat you need to just bring out things as you need them.

Watermelon wedges are great. Here’s a variant:

Soak the wedges (cubes, whatever) in the dryest white wine you have. It’s really nice.

You can either soak the cut-up watermelon pieces, or, before cutting up the watermelon, make a hole in it the size of a wine bottle neck. Turn the melon so the hole is on top. Upend the wine bottle and stick it in the hole. Let all the wine drain into the melon. Then cut up the melon.

Antipasto. But the OP wants to avoid meat, which is a large part of most antipasti.

My go-to starters are a selection of olives, and roasted artichoke hearts. Serve with crispbread, no need for fridge.

Gazpacho is a great idea, could I suggest serving it in cucumber “shooter glasses”?

Watermelon is a great idea.

Yes, people can go in the house if they want. What I’m looking for is stuff I can leave sitting outside that I don’t have to tend.

Can people go in and out of your garage and still (at least somewhat) be part of the party? Having the food in the garage and out of the sun will make a world of difference.

Any kind of pasta salad dressed in a vinaigrette is pretty easy and low maintenance. Add some cherry tomatoes, basil and pine nuts.

No, that scenario is not the set-up here. Anyway, the back yard is in deep shade, which is one of the best things about it. (And, yeah, it’s 90+ in the shade, too.)

Pasta salad with a vinaigrette is a good idea.

Popcorn and Chex Mix will go downhill fast if there’s any humidity.

What about caprese salad skewers? (random example)

Don’t know if this is in your price range, but if you have a high-end fancy cheese shoppe, ask the person behind the counter for a cheese that would work well for an outdoor party when it’s hot out. A friend of mine did that and got a couple of amazing cheeses that would have been kind of weird & boring if they weren’t half-melted. Plus some crackers or chips & such to put the cheese on.

Also, beer.

I know you said no meat, but my go-to appetizer at outdoor events is linguica sausage. It’s smoked, cured and strongly spiced, which means you could probably leave the stuff out for days before it started to go bad. I throw it on the grill just to get a few dark marks on the outside and warm it through, then serve it sliced with toothpicks for people to pick it up with.

One trick for dips is to put a bowl within a bowl. The outer bowl contains ice, the inner bowl has your dip. That way, the dip stays cool, even in the heat. Of course, you can always go with something like salsa that doesn’t mind heat.

I also like stuffed mushrooms. While I usually put things like crab and cheese in there, you might want to use a stove-top stuffing (bread, celery, onions with chicken or beef stock if you make it yourself; Italian sausage optional). The mushrooms go well on the grill, too, and they’re tasty at any temperature above cold.

If you have a crockpot, then you could go the other way - instead of worrying about things going bad because they’re warm, keep them warm enough to stay out of the danger zone of 140 F. For example, Swedish meatballs or mahogany chicken wings (sample recipe, though I use plum sauce and hoi sin instead of the honey and molasses).

Depending on how elaborate you want to be, melon wrapped in prosciutto would be cool and refreshing, and like dracoi’s suggestion, that meat is unlikely to go bad quickly.

In addition to the watermelon, you could have some cantaloupe pieces, strawberries, pineapple chunks, etc.

You can soak the pineapple in rum until party time to add a little kick.

Good suggestions all! I like the idea of sausage chunks with toothpicks. I have a gas grill outside and could just deliver the sausage right to the table. Maybe some skewers with sausage, pineapple chunks (love grilled pineapple) and a mushrooms.

Ok, must have a snack now…