We've reached the point in the summer when hot days ooze into still-hot nights. At the end of days like this, I don't really want to cook. Turning on the stove/oven doesn't appeal, especially since I just want to eat something cool and refreshing. My solution is to put together a Mediterranean mezze platter. Mezze take many different forms, and often fill the roll of appetizers to be paired with wine. They are certainly a great start to a meal (as this one was), but I also find that they make satisfying lighter dinners during the dog days of summer.
My mezze interpretation isn't strictly traditional, but I do love a lot of the dishes that typically appear in mezze platters. I always include hummus, babaghanoush, and tzatziki, but generally skip tabbouleh because it's not my favorite. I've made my own babaghanoush (I like it really deep and smokey) and tzatziki, both of which are easy to prepare. For this mezze platter, I picked up the dips from Sahadi's to simplify prep since I was hosting a large dinner and making this orzo.
I always put out soft pita bread and often crunchy pita chips (to add contrasting texture, and then round out the spread with olives (often Castelvetrano, which are my favorite), pistachios, and something sweet, typically dried figs. I add cucumber spears and slices for dipping, which add a coolness that is so welcome. And then, I serve and enjoy!