Thursday, August 11, 2011

The BIG 29

The view from where we sit at the local park

The Only Platter that should Matter
                SO my hubby Matt is turning 29 this week and since it’s a Wednesday when he actually makes the shift, as he calls it, we are going out to din on Friday. I like that idea because it allows me to both go out to dinner with him and cook for him, 2 of my absolute favorite things in this world. (too mushy?) Anyway, it being summer and us living near a beautiful waterfront park I decided to make one of our go-to relaxing but awesome dinners: The Only Platter that should Matter. That’s what we call it or aka meat & cheese night. I usually make this platter with the following (aka ingredients):
¼ lb good quality Prosciutto di Parma
¼ lb good quality salami
¼ lb good quality hot sopressata
¼ lb sharp provolone
½ lb fresh mozzarella
¼ lb Gouda cheese
2 zucchini squash, roasted
1 can marinated artichoke hearts
4 roasted peppers, sliced
Olive oil mixed with roasted garlic
S & P- salt and pepper
Good Italian bread
Assorted crackers
Fresh basil

1. Place olive oil dipping concoction into a small bowl
2. In a medium sized bread basket, place cut or torn Italian bread and crackers
3. On a large platter with sections if you have, if not no sweat, gently layer the prosciutto pieces, next to that roll the salami and then alongside place the slices of sopressata – this is your meat section
4. On the opposite side, layer the gouda slices, next to that mound up the mozz slices, and then roll or spread out the provolone
5. In the middle section, place the roasted zucs in a mini-pile, then fan out the tomatoes next to that, and place the artichoke hearts and roasted peppers where there is room left in the middle!
*** As the pictures display, you can organize this anyway you like, I clearly change it up each time I make this ***
6.  Drizzle the cheese with olive oil, sprinkle with S & P, and add fresh basil for garnish
7. Bring to the table, grab your glasses & wine, then curl up and enjoy!
                                                                                    One Variation......

                  Okay so that is the basic Platter, you can of course use your favorite choice of Italian meats and/or cheeses. In the past I have used sliced sausage, pepperoni, crumbled goat cheese, and feta. This recipe is for 2 but you can definitely double it or triple it for a crowd. A crowd, one that includes me that is, would love this and it pleases most. One word to the wise though…..When traveling with this or trying to make it ahead, place the prosciutto on the platter at the very last minute because it oxidizes (eh, air gets to it) and turns color and doesn’t taste as good.

                                                             Another variation.............
The "to-go" variation.....
                    I must also note the importance of going with good quality meats and cheeses. They are the star here and going with inexpensive options will disappoint you. Believe me, I have tried to buy cheaper this and cheaper that for this platter but it just doesn’t make the mark. I live in central Jersey and Livoti's Old World Market is where I buy my ingredients. It is truly an amazing store and one that will keep you roaming around for hours in awe. I have to say though, Shoprite brand fresh mozzarella and ciabatta bread are beyond good in my mind so I use them on this platter. Everything else though has to be “the good stuff”.
                                                        Even on vacation, we managed to find a park
                                                                                and enjoyed our picnic feast platter....


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