Thursday, October 30, 2014

Making an Antipasto Party Platter

 Friends were having a birthday party.  I asked,  "what can I bring?"   They said, "How about an Antipasto Platter?"
 So I gathered the ingredients: a really good ham sliced very thin, Provolone sliced thin, Swiss cheese, Pepperoni sliced thin, Genoa Salami sliced thin, fresh Mozzarella cheese in Ciliegine Cherry sized balls, Spring Mix greens, Queen sized Pimiento Stuffed Green Olives, large Pitted Ripe Olives, Artichoke Hearts packed in oil, Roasted Red Peppers, Stuffed Sweet Peppers in olive oil, Fresh Basil Leaves, Extra Virgin Olive oil,  and Balsamic Vinegar, Sour Dough and Rustic Italian Bread.
 Select a really large platter, oval or square, better make it a large one.  I started by making a bed of the baby lettuce leaves.

 Then I rolled the slices of ham.  I asked the butcher for a recommendation and he suggested the ham that usually comes as Spiral ham.  They carried it in the deli section packaged without the bone.  It was truly delicious.
 Then I cut the Provolone in halves,
 strained and rinsed the Mozzarella cheese.
 I started to arrange the ham and cheese on the platter.
 Next I strained the black and
 the stuffed green olives.
 The arrangement started to come together.
 I strained the artichoke hearts
 the Roasted Red Peppers, and  the cute stuffed Sweet Peppers.
 Things were coming out well, so I added the sliced Pepperoni that I also rolled up.
 I put the tops of the Basil leaves,
 rolled the Genoa Salami and Swiss Cheese and added these to the platter design.

 Since this platter was  going to travel, I cut a piece of waxed paper and laid it on top,
 then wrapped the whole thing in extra long plastic wrap.
 I pre-sliced the Italian and Sour Dough bread and
 chopped and bagged the rest of the Basil leaves, to sprinkle over the bread.
 All of that went into zip lock bags, and into a matching bowl.
I found these little plastic forks at a paper goods store, which are step up from tooth picks, and they worked well with this type of hors d'oeuvre.
 Later, at the party we placed the two platters together on a sideboard, along with small white plates, the tiny forks, cocktail napkins, and two flavors of olive oil.  As it happened, it kept everyone happy while we waited for the guest of honor.  There are many other pickled condiments that you can add to your platter, these were the ones that I put together.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Montauk, Long Island Surprises on the Beaches

 This is the Montauk Light House at the eastern end of Long Island. It was a fantastic clear, brisk , weekend and there were surprising things to see.
There were stone arrangements everywhere!  Who did this?  And why?  What did they mean?
The first one that I saw was on a log on the beach.
The next one that I saw was down near the jetty.  A memorial.
 So we decided to make one too.  An anchor the natural choice.

We changed it up a bit.  Would it be there the next time we traveled to Montauk?
 Later near the beach in the Light House park, we saw other stacks of rocks.

 A large frog stone carving sat in the hilltop cemetery.
 When we first got to Montauk, I saw an unusual thing, a telephone booth.
 That was just the start of unusual Montauk surprises.  A walkway coming out of the Phragmities in another perk lead to
 a strange boat house that was used for Fire rescue?

 Then we explored Camp Hero.

 We saw the only surviving intact example of a large frequency diversity radar unit left in the U.S. and it was huge!
 At the Second House in Montauk, a preserved historic structure we found a dug out canoe.
 But the strange thing was , a face was carved in the inside end of the canoe!
 Because a hurricane blasted Bermuda that week,
 giant waves made their was to Montauk.
 Surfers came out by the dozens.
 and what was odd to me was that unlike other Long Island beaches with their smooth sandy shores, where surfers flock, this beach at Montauk was littered with large rocks, known as Glacial Erratics. 
 These rocks were left over after the glaciers formed Long Island,  and by the erosion of the cliff  over time by harsh tides.
 What drives surfers to test these waters and  dodge large boulders!  Is it the ultimate challenge, and  a demonstration of skill?
There were signs warning surfers and hikers to stay back from the unstable cliffs.
 The waves were so tempting to these daredevils, that they braved rocky trails to get to the surf on beaches, one named Ditch Plains, carrying their boards.
 Getting back to the village of Montauk, all of the lamp posts were decorated for Halloween with creepy figures.
 If you have followed this blog you know that years ago I wrote about plastic wagon wheel debris.  They were released by accident by the millions from of all places a water treatment plant in Mamaroneck, NY.
 Each time I visit a beach on Long Island's north shore, I look for these wheels.
 The first ones I saw were in Sunken Meadow, western Suffolk County.
These were found in Montauk!  That is more than a hundred miles away from the original location.  Sadly somehow they have reached the end of the Island.

As you can see the weekend was crystal clear and probably one of the last warm stretch of days to enjoy Montauk.  So, there were unusual elements to the landscape, and these gave the pre-Halloween weekend a special twist.