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We had something yummy tonight!

I saw a lady on food network making an antipasto salad a few weeks ago and it looked delicious and easy.  I didn’t bother writing down or researching the recipe, I just attempted to mimic it. 

That’s mostly how I cook.  I watch, I learn, I imitate.  So I try to pass that on to you. It’s not an absolute science, this cooking thing.  It’s actually quite subjective.

If you’re unfamiliar with antipasto, it’s the course in an Italian meal that’s similar to an appetizer or relish tray.  I think we need to adopt the concept forever.  I could make a whole meal off the meats, cheese, olives, artichoke hearts, peperoncini, and other delights. 

Oh, wait, I did.

I decided if I was going to make the Man of the House eat only a salad for dinner, I’d better serve some bread.  So I began by turning on the oven. 

But that’s it!  That’s all the cooking this meal required. 

And I’m not sure you can call this actual cooking.

I followed directions.

Next, I opened a can of artichoke hearts and drained off the brine.  Be sure to give them a rinse if they’ve been canned in a brine.  The lady on TV had artichoke hearts in olive oil and she used that for the salad dressing, but they didn’t have that at Wal-Mart, so I had to marinate my own. 

Pour on some olive oil, everyday vinegar (red wine vinegar), some fresh pepper and salt, and toss to combine.

Meanwhile, get to work chopping some romaine lettuce. Truly, hearts of romaine (they’re crunchier), but I can’t bear to throw away good food, so I serve my family the outer leaves too.

Next, I used a damp towel to wipe off some mushrooms. I don’t know if mushrooms are technically allowed as antipasti, but I wanted them and it’s my salad.

I threw (tossed?) the mushrooms into the salad bowl.

Added about a half a can of black olives (we’re saving the others for pizza topping later this week).

And now I turn my attention to this.

What the heck is that?!! Oh, turn around.

I rarely have an unmet craving. Last week’s fried cheese is really where this all began.

I sliced the fresh mozzarella into rounds. . .

and cut it into cubes. Here’s what it looks like when you bite into it. (Now, who could have done that?)

Next, some salami. I asked the person at the deli counter to cut it thick so I could cube it. This is just under six ounces.

Cubed and thrown in the salad bowl.

The Man of the House and the little younguns love tomato. So we had to add tomato.

(To dice the tomato, cut slices almost all the way through in one direction, then the other, then turn the tomato on its side and slice into dices. I’ll show in more detail some other day.)

Next, I thought it needed some basil. I wanted some for my bruschetta topping too. I thought I had some in the garden that looked like this

Pretty Basil

but it’s been awfully dry lately and it actually looked like this.

No worries, it still tastes good. You’d eat dried basil wouldn’t you?

Now, I added the artichoke hearts and their marinade.

And tossed to combine.

Haha! Aren’t these salad hands hilarious. I just had to show you. Unfortunately, the Man of the House is not as good as I am at cropping out the clutter in the photo. Hey, nobody’s perfect.

The Finished Product

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you about the bruschetta. When the Italian bread in a can was baked, and slightly cooled, I sliced it into half-inch slices. The I broiled them until crunchy.

This was served with some diced tomatoes tossed with a little basil, extra-virgin olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Flat leaf parsley and oregano would be a lovely addition to this as well, but we were keeping it simple.

This is a super easy, almost no cook, meal. It would be great for lunch or dinner. I think it would be great for bringing to a luncheon or something like that.

I can’t believe my family ate this with no balks. Y’know, it doesn’t exactly say Man-Food or Kid-Food. They loved the salami and olives.

I have the best family in Texas.

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