When we have parties, my favorite appetizer to prepare is an antipasto platter — delicious savory treats, piled high on a platter, and shared family style. Add some crostini or baguette to soak up the vinegar and oil from the various foods and you’ve got a treat that will please everyone. The time may be over for summer BBQs, but as the holidays approach, so will entertaining opportunities!
My typical antipasto platter includes cured meat (usually pepperoni or salami), fresh mozzarella, olives, roasted red peppers, maybe some artichokes or pickled asparagus… really, whatever I have on hand. Last month I got the idea of using beans on the antipasto tray I prepared for the boys’ birthday party. Not sure how or why that popped into my head (possibly they were talking about a bean salad on an NPR program about picnic foods that I was listening to as I drove). I threw this recipe together for Marinated Butter Beans and they were a huge hit! Not only were they delicious on their own, but they added zing to a tossed salad and bulked up a pasta salad, too. You may have seen marinated butter beans at the deli case or in the “olive bar” area of your grocery store, but why pay those prices when you can make it yourself for a whole lot less?
In the bottom of a mason jar or a bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar, capers, onion, red pepper, Italian seasoning, and salt. Drain butter beans and rinse well. Add beans to the jar and stir to coat. Refrigerate the beans for at least a few hours, or better yet, overnight.
Add to your antipasto platter, salad, or just enjoy as a snack.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I am an unabashed carnivore. I love meat. There. I said it. I love my veggies, too, but I have a hard time making them the star of the show. However, every year I see Lent as a challenge to ramp it up. I’m hoping to have a lot more meatless meals to share with you over the next few weeks, but in the meantime, here are a few of my favorites. If you’re stuck for a dinner idea tonight, any one of these is perfect. Just pair it with a salad and BAM! (as Emeril might say)… dinner is served.
Last night I made a pot of chicken curry and while I had out all my spices and ingredients, I decided to make a batch of Indian Potatoes & Peas while I was at it. This originally started out as a filling for samosas, but because I have a fear of deep-frying, it has become a simple side dish that is even better the next day. I have also frozen small containers of this recipe with some quinoa in there, too, and it tasted fine! I know sometimes potatoes don’t freeze the greatest, but the texture didn’t seem to change too much.
1 jalapeno pepper, diced (remove the seeds if you want less heat)
1/2 c. water
1 tsp. salt (potatoes absorb salt, so you may need to add more)
1 Tbsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. coriander
3/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. chili powder
juice from 1/2 a lemon
Boil the potatoes in well-salted water until tender. Drain, and set aside to cool.
Melt coconut oil or ghee (or fat of your choosing) in a deep skillet or large pot. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add the jalapeno, peas, ginger, and a little of the water (a splash at a time, just so the vegetables don't stick). Cook for about 3 minutes, or until the peas begin to thaw.
Break the cooled potatoes into small chunks and add to mixture (I just do this right over the pan). Add the rest of the water and the salt, curry powder, coriander, cumin, and chili powder. Squeeze the lemon juice over everything and give it a good stir.
Cook for an additional 10 minutes. Stir again before serving
This is a highly nontechnical recipe. Use more or less water. Add more onion. Make it milder. Make it spicier. It's very forgiving, and very delicious.
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If you have some mint chutney around, it will really complement this dish! But it’s just as good plain.