Our Christmas Platter

Our Christmas Eve platter

This staffer was invited to a New Year’s Eve party, where an appetizer contest was held. I considered options involving our various products. Little toasts with a savory meat and Il Mongetto fig jam? Little toasts with a dab of ricotta, topped with Villa Cappelli Sun Dried Tomato Ketchup? Something greener? In the end, my selection was an “Americanized” Antipasto Platter crossed with a chopped salad. To allow guests to eat from small plates, while standing, thin slices of Asiago were postage-stamp size, and the meats (capicola, sopressata) were match-stick cut, and the prosciutto was in tiny rolls.  And, the best news: it WON the appetizer contest! (The prize? A new apron!)

The platter was first layered with romaine chopped to size, topped with the scattered meats, followed by artichoke quarters, and hearts-of-palm cut to “coins”. A few marinated Sicilian olives were tossed on and a scattering of marinated sundried tomatoes, also cut to match-sticks. Topped with thin slices of Asiago cheese, and a few slices of pepperoni were placed around the edges for color. The SECRET INGREDIENT was added in two ways. First, it was drizzled over the composed platter and then it was mixed into a dressing with a white balsamic vinegar, one clove of crushed garlic, sea salt, and freshly ground pepper.  The SECRET INGREDIENT? Tenuta di Capezzana Novello 2009 Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  The flavor is terrific!

The best and easiest loaf you can make at home.

No-Knead Bread

And if you would love a great bread to go with this appetizer, what could be simpler than a crusty, rustic bread, that takes a minimum amount of work and only four ingredients: flour, water, salt, and smidgen of yeast. 

I’ve heard of No-Knead Bread for a couple of years now, but had not yet stopped to make it. But, shortly before Christmas, famed foodie and Olio2go customer, Gary V. from Binghamton, NY, convinced me to give it a try. We have made a loaf almost every day since this first (successful!) attempt.

We follow the recipe originally published in the New York Times, and watched this easy-to-follow video during the first rising of our first loaf. Several batches have been made with my All-Clad Dutch Oven, and more recently, oval loaves have been baked in the crock of the crockpot, topped with an inverted baking sheet. There’s another batch rising right now.

Advertisements