I’ve been revamping Old Town Post to include more hostessing and food elements — both our chef driven restaurants as well as my favorite recipes. The irony is, with all the extra time I’m putting in on the back end of the foodie stuff I haven’t been cooking as much. And forget about the time it would take me to go to the market at the moment. So, when we haven’t been splurging on door dash or eating out, I’ve been shopping the kitchen.
That’s just what I had to do entertaining last week. Just about every Thursday when the weather is nice Miles and I go down to the docks to hang-out. I call it Appy Hour, because the majority of food is typically appetizer-ish. It’s very informal entertaining. We all share and we typically create a meal from our appetizers and snacks.
I usually try for a homemade element. But last week that just didn’t work. All of a sudden it was Thursday, Miles was off of work and asking what time I wanted to go down to the boat. He was itching for drinks, camaraderie, and the imminent feeling that the weekend is just one day away. I was ready too, but I planned nothing to bring. My only choice at that point was to shop the kitchen.
There are typically things I buy on purpose because they last for a bit in the fridge or the pantry. Sometimes it’s not about the cooking but the cohesiveness of the menu and assembly that makes for a fine presentation. They say you eat with your eyes first — you’ve got to nourish the presentation.
As I scanned what I had on hand, I decided to go with an Italian feel for our contribution. My plan was to cluster everything on my plastic Mediterranean-ish lemon tray I keep on the boat. I put salami, prosciutto, soppressata, and coppa on a plate grouping each individual meat together. Then my little white dish of Ritz crackers and another of Harris Teeter’s cheddar cheese. The cheese was actually sandwich slices that I ripped with my hands — easier when preparing items on a boat. I then presented the cheese with the ripped sides up for an interesting rustic visual.
Meat, cheese, and crackers is pretty typical. And typical for a reason. It’s good. Everybody likes it. But I just felt like something lacking on my menu if I don’t have one more item. Olives is what was always be my go-to with antipasto. But I recently found a mix of pickled vegetables at Harris Teeter called giardiniera. It’s cauliflower (my fav), red peppers, carrots, celery, and olives.
Giardiniera is actually on Mia’s Italian Grinder, albeit theirs is made in-house and in a small dice for the sandwich. Harris Teeter’s bottle has big hunks of vegetables in the mix so it makes for a colorful presentation. The vinegar really helps to cut through the richness of the meats. I’ve served it twice now, the first time as part of the salad bar for Miles’ birthday, and now on the docks. It’s delish! I’ve gotten compliments on the taste both ways it was presented.
Harris Teeter’s Giardiniera makes for a unique element to an otherwise common menu. I definitely recommend keeping some in the pantry in case you need to shop the kitchen.