While some of my friends are of the belief that serving nothing more than a bowl of peanuts with cocktails is completely appropriate (they are of course the friends that don’t read my blog), I think that having something to graze on while sipping is always nice. It is rare that I ever cook anything when preparing a grazing platter. I typically buy a variety of bits at the store – olives, cured meats, cheese or a dip (assorted hummus to the left) and some bread or crackers. Arrange them on a large platter with some herbs or leaves from the garden (hydrangea or lemon leaves work well).
Of course, the key to a grazing platter is to provide enough food to soak up the booze but not so much that guests stay through the night and never want dinner!