What makes having access to an outdoor space (a rooftop, a porch, a yard) even better this time of year? Snacks.
And also cocktails.
This batch of recipes from our archives is ideal for the snacking hour — quick to assemble, easy to pack and transport and won’t fill you up before dinner. (But if you make all of them at once, they could almost be dinner.)
If you don’t have an outdoor space of your own, find a friend who does, and invite yourself over — with one of these snacks in hand, obviously.
Cumin-Cayenne Cashews, Pine Nuts and Pistachios. These spicy nibbles are similar to the Toasted Salt-and-Pepper Cashews you learned to make in the very first Voraciously newsletter. (You are signed up for that, right?) They pair well with whatever drink you set in front of them, and take well to substitutions. We’ve made them with walnuts and pumpkin seeds to happy results; also know that you can dial back the cayenne if spicy nuts aren’t your thing.
Olives With Citrus Zests and Fried Herbs. Is it a social gathering if there aren’t glammed up olives? Does food exist if you don’t Instagram it first? These are questions we’re not equipped to answer. But these olives, intriguing from orange and lemon zest and woodsy thanks to sage and rosemary, are so simple to make that you’ll forget you even asked a question in the first place.
Artichoke Hummus. Is that hummus? Sort of — there are no chickpeas or tahini in this dip, but some canned artichoke hearts and black-eyed peas make for a lively dip nonetheless. Serve it with crackers, pita chips or carrot sticks.
Mashed Chickpea Toasts With Parsley and Capers. We couldn’t let a whole collection of recipes go and not include an option with chickpeas. These healthful toasts are satisfying and elegant, plus a cinch to put together. If you’re packing these for transport, we would carry the chickpea spread and toasts in separate containers, then allow your friends to assemble them as they like with parsley and capers (or pickled onions! Or olives!) on top.
Chicken Pâté. When this spread graced the presence of our office kitchen a few weeks ago, we had a hard time sharing with others. It’s a rich-yet-light mix of bacon, scallions, chicken thighs, cream cheese and sour cream, perfect for spreading on crackers or thin squares of pumpernickel. A little dry sherry is added for balance, but you could substitute dry vermouth or white wine. Leftovers are excellent spread on toast and topped with sliced cucumbers.
Aperol Spritz. This is the easy-sipping, slightly bubbly, low-alcohol drink you’ve been searching for. Its bittersweet notes pair with nearly any food, and the perky orange hue brightens any day. For a few more seasonal cocktail ideas, check out these easy citrusy drinks.
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