Sometimes you get tired of figuring out what’s for dinner. Sometimes it’s just too dang hot to cook (or even think about cooking). Sometimes you aren’t up to preparing a meal, but don’t want to drag yourself out to a restaurant (or even to the phone to order in).
So — what’s for dinner? Time to put out an appetizing dinner of appetizers. More specifically, an antipasto plate.
This is the time to open those jars and bottles of delicious but “special” goodies and add them to a plate of cheese and meat to create a cool but inviting meal.
Most of us have some cold cuts or lunch meats on board, and cheeses too. Slice up some salami or ham or chicken, add a wedge of cheese (or break up a slice into smaller pieces). Then open those olives, artichoke hearts, pickled green beans, marinated mushrooms, etc., and arrange a few on each plate. Got some leftover broccoli or chickpeas, a few cherry tomatoes? Use them, too.
Drizzle some salad dressing on top from one of the jars of marinated whatever, or apply some of your own (for a delicious homemade dressing, see my post from July 4).
Round it out with a few slices of crusty bread, a small roll or some good crackers, and a glass of your favorite wine or beer — and relax! You’ve created a filling, pretty fuss-free meal to be enjoyed leisurely, like the rest of your evening.
And note — this idea has endless variations for the picky eaters in the family. Someone wants a handful of smoked almonds instead of olives? Go for it. Prefer to share some sardines instead of sliced ham? Knock yourself out. Do the kids prefer PB&J, pickles and potato chips to prosciutto and palm hearts? No worries. Maybe you can slice the sandwich into strips instead of the usual quarters to make it a bit special. Use the sweet gherkins instead of the dills, or vice versa, and add a few wasabi peas or honey-mustard pretzels that you bought on a whim to the potato chips.
(“Antipasto” is an Italian word, but this doesn’t have to be a plate of all-Italian specialties, by the way. Leftover Chinese dumplings, stuffed cabbage rolls or bratwurst would work just as well here with assorted other goodies. Use that imagination!)
The point is, your pantry and fridge probably hold a few pickled, marinated or other goodies that are waiting for that “special” moment or “special” guests. I say, crack open the good stuff once in a while and treat yourself to this easy summer meal because, hey — you are “special,” too.
(c) copyright 2016 Laura Groch