Tag Archives: antipasto

Pleasantly Pleasing Pottery

Pottery is something that I’ve developed a craving for in the last few years.  There is something very earthy about pottery that appeals to me.  I love the weight of it.  I love the silkiness of the glazes and the fantastic colour-bombs produced on Raku.  Whether it’s an uber-useful ovenproof piece or a simply flat slab with decoration to die for, I’m a total addict.

I picked up these dynamite raku coasters at the Craft Fair.  They’re made by Andrea Revoy, as is the next piece.  They shimmer and glow and are a million light-years away from the ugly resin ones I had.  They’re lined with cork on the back and were just $2.50 each.  You just CAN’T beat that deal.  I also love that they were handmade locally.  In my  house, globalization is out and local hand-made is in.

Now this.  This is a dilemma.  Once I realized what this was, I had to have it.  I wanted more.  They didn’t have more.  Hence, the dilemma.  Do I keep it or do I give it to someone I know would LOVE it as a gift?  While it may look like a rather unassuming but very pretty dish, what it really IS is a Brie Melter.  Yes.  A Brie Melter.  Have you had melted Brie?  If you have, you’ll know what I’m talking about….if you haven’t, you simply must.  Pop a wheel or wedge of brie into your oven (the cheap stuff actually works best) and bake it at 350 F for 8 to 10 minutes or until it’s soft and melty inside.  Serve it on crustini or crackers with some bruschetta or antipasto or on sliced pears drizzled with Truscott honey and roasted pine nuts.  To.  Die.  For.  This little beauty even has a lovely wooden spatula for cutting and spreading the brie.

So…my dilemma.  Keep or give.  Decisions, decisions…….

Best.Antipasto.Ever.

I waited until the weekend for this project because it’s just soooo much chopping.  Granted, the recipe makes 26 pints, and I could very easily make just half a recipe, but where’s the fun in that?  Besides, this stuff disappears so quickly that it just makes sense to make lots once you’ve gotten started.

My husband was shocked that I was going to share my mom’s recipe for antipasto.  We’ve both eaten a lot of antipasto over the years, and this recipe has always just consistently been the best.  Tart yet sweet, tangy yet mellow, crunchy veggies with killer sauce.  Thing is, though, I guess I just feel it needs to be shared.  To not do so would be horribly selfish….the world deserves this recipe.

I know some people think antipasto should be finely chopped, like a relish.  Perish the thought.  Some like it with chunks so big you can only fit one piece of each veggie into each jar.  That’s just plain silly.  I like a conservative, middle-of-the-road approach.  I know…who’da thunk? I want the chunks to all be identifiable yet be able to fit a bit of several things on  one cracker.  I want to see beautiful, miniature cauliflower florets, perfect inner-tubes of green olives still stuffed with bits of melt-in-your-mouth pimento, and crunchity little rounds of baby dill pickles.  So, if you’re going to make this recipe, banish your food-processor or mechanical chopper to the pantry.  To use it here would be nothing short of blasphemous.

I do recommend getting comfy for this.  A TV table in front of a good movie is a nice way to go.  I totally can get into the zen of this project.  A good, sharp, pointy paring knife is a must.  I do the beans first, cleaning them and chopping them into approx. 1/2″ diagonal pieces and then blanch them in boiling water for 5 minutes before dropping into cold water.  While those are cooling I chop the cauliflower and peppers.  The recipe calls for green, but substitute whatever kind you like, as long as you keep the weights constant.

At this point you will add the ketchup, vinegar, and oil to the peppers, cauliflower, cucumbers and beans and bring to a boil, then boil gently for 10 minutes.  If you’re using pickles instead of plain cukes, hold them until the next step.  Chant the whole “double double toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble” thingy if you like.  You may as well, as it takes a long time for this to boil.  Stir as often as necessary to prevent sticking….I keep a VERY close eye on it.  You may wish to check and see if you’re alone before cackling madly though.  I don’t bother checking, but you might want to.

Now…let’s talk tuna.  Please, please pleeeease do NOT buy flake tuna.  I like a chunky tuna, and then I break it gently into smaller chunks with my fingers.  Flake tuna is just….well….flakey.

Add your tuna and all remaining ingredients and stir.

Return everything to a boil.

Now here’s where things get tricky.  If you read the info on canning low-acid foods such as olives and fish, many of those writings will say that this is not safe for home-canning in a water bath or pressure cooker.  Therefore, I will hereby recommend you freeze your antipasto.  They have pretty little plastic jars that look just like canning jars that even come with colorful plastic tops.  That is my official recommendation for processing this recipe.

That said, I canned mine, as I, my mother, and everyone I’ve ever given this recipe to has done for the last 40 years, processing for 15 minutes in a boiling-water bath.  You should do the method you consider safest.  The Bernardin website http://www.bernardin.ca/ has tons of info for people who want to do home canning.

As with all pickle-type recipes, this is best after it’s aged 4 to 6 weeks.  It’s then best eaten on buttery crackers like ritz, with a schmear of cream-cheese. Absolute Nirvana.  Thanks Mom!!

I like to do lots of different jar sizes for this recipe.  This makes a great hostess gift or all-round present so I like to have lots of options…big jars on their own, little jars with other goodies in a basket or gift-box….the possibilities are endless and positively delicious.