I can't let August end without hosting a Summer cocktail party, so this Friday we're gathering in the gorgeous garden of my sister's house to sip drinks and nibble snacks. The assorted menu of savory bites is 100 percent finger food that's both vegetarian and carnivore friendly. In a nonreactive bowl, whisk together the olive oil, mayonnaise, lime juice, sugar and cumin; season with salt and pepper.
Combine the dressing and the avocados and mash until smooth; set the guacamole aside.
In a food processor or blender, process the unrinsed black beans, the eggs, chopped cilantro, cumin, salt and hot sauce until combined. Stir in the flour and the rinsed black beans.
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Working in batches, drop rounded tablespoons of the black bean mixture into the pan and fry, turning once, until crisp, about 4 minutes on each side; add more oil between batches if necessary.
Top the black bean cakes with the guacamole and cilantro leaves. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. (If you are using a charcoal grill, coals are ready when you can hold your hand 5 inches above grill for 3 to 4 seconds.)
Brush corn with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Grill corn and chiles, turning occasionally, until grill marks appear and both are tender, about 10 minutes. Let cool slightly.
Cut kernels off cobs, and transfer to a medium bowl. Peel, stem, and seed jalapenos. Cut into 1/8-inch dice, and add to corn.
Add scallion, cilantro, lime juice, and 1 1/4 cups cheese to corn mixture. Toss until well combined.
Preheat broiler. Arrange chips in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Top each chip with a tablespoon of corn mixture. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese over chips. Broil until cheese is bubbly, about 30 seconds. Garnish with cilantro sprigs, and serve immediately. Make dip: Stir together ingredients, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Make shrimp: Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium heat for gas).
Toss shrimp with oil and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Oil grill rack, then grill shrimp, covered only if using a gas grill, turning once, until just cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes total.
Stir together butter and hot sauce in a large bowl. Add shrimp and toss until coated. Serve shrimp with dip and celery. Light a grill. Thread the garlic cloves onto a skewer. Lightly brush the garlic, bell peppers, zucchini, onion and corn with the vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper.
Grill the vegetables over moderately high heat, turning frequently, until lightly charred and crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer the peppers to a bowl, cover with plastic and let steam for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove the garlic cloves from the skewers, peel them and transfer to a large bowl.
Using a large serrated knife, cut the charred corn kernels into the bowl. Peel the peppers and add them to the bowl along with the zucchini, onion, cumin, crushed red pepper, tomato juice, orange juice, lemon juice and vinegar.
Working in batches, puree the vegetable mixture in a blender or food processor. Pour the gazpacho into a clean bowl and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.
Just before serving, stir the cilantro into the gazpacho. Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with the cucumber and serve. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Toss the tomatoes into a roasting pan, drizzle with some olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the tomatoes have collapsed, about 30 minutes. Remove them from the oven and let them cool.
Drizzle the garlic with olive oil, wrap it in foil, and bake it until soft, about 30 minutes. When cool enough to handle, squeeze the soft garlic onto a cutting board.
Strip the needles from the rosemary, add them to the garlic, and chop them together. Pour 1 cup olive oil into a small bowl; add the garlic and rosemary mixture and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Set aside until ready to grill.
Char the outside of the pepper under the broiler or over a gas flame. Put it into a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap.
When cool enough to handle, peel, seed, and chop and put it into a blender. Add the mayonnaise and chili paste; process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper; refrigerate until ready to use. (Can be made the day before.)
Heat the grill. Remove the meat from the refrigerator about 1/2 hour before you are going to grill it. Brush it with some of the flavored olive oil and season it generously with salt and pepper.
Grill the tenderloin, turning frequently, until the meat is rare or medium rare, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove to a platter and let it rest for 5 minutes, brushing it with the flavored olive oil. Cut the beef into thin slices.
To serve, put some of the flavored mayonnaise onto a piece of focaccia toast. Top it with a thin slice of the beef and spoon on some of the roasted tomatoes. Garnish with some arugula leaves and serve.