Last night I hosted an Olympic Party--each guest/couple declared a “country” identity and brought food and beverage representing their chosen nation. As the hostess (I can hardly write that word without adding “with the mostest,” a little in-joke from my college sorority days), I presented the culinary delights of Italia...
Due to a busy work week, I decided to spend more money and less time creating a memorable dish or two, and I made an Antipasti platter and Tiramisu. After work each day, I ventured to a different food store in search of the perfect ingredients...and at week’s end, I discovered that I bought ingredients at 6 different locations...I will spare you the details of my hours wandering through grocery stores, but I must say that when planning a party or a special meal, I love the thrill of gathering the most delicious, freshest, best ingredients I can find.
For my Antipasti, I made Balsamic Roasted Red Peppers, riveting in their simplicity of salt, pepper, chiffonade of basil, 10 year aged Balsamic, and the peppers;
Marinated Kalamata Olives, blended with lemon zest, basil, crushed red pepper flakes, and olive oil;
Chunks of Zingerman’s Paesano bread;
Small fresh whole milk mozzarella balls, chunks of fontina, and shards of asiago;
And a spicy Sopressata. Yumm!
My Tiramisu is an adaptation of a *Cooking Light* recipe, to which I add Starbucks coffee liqueur along with the Kahlua and coffee for ladyfinger “dunking.” I also add a thin layer of vanilla and coffee liqueur scented whipped cream. I’ve found that using the crispy imported Italian ladyfingers makes the dish a bit more interesting.
For beverages, I provided a Moscato d’ Asti, one of my new favorites, along with a Barbera d’ Asti, both wines from the Piedmont region, along with one of my favorites, San Pellagrino.
My guests’ dishes were equally thrilling:
A Spanish tortilla and white wine sangria;
Corn chowder and Southern cornbread and a California unoaked Chardonnay (*very* nice--I detest overly oaked wines);
Guacamole and blue corn chips and Corona Light;
Irish Soda Bread and Killian’s;
Cannellini bean soup, garlicky hummus and pita, and misc. olives, and even more Moscato d’ Asti....
We critiqued the figure skating pairs’ costumes, spotted the Olympic hot, hot, hotties (how do those speed skaters fit into those skin-tight suits? And have you ever seen men with such amazing quads?), and shared our own Olympic aspirations (in 1984 I was determined to be the next Mary Lou Retton, a dream fueled by reading *A Very Young Gymnast*, to be updated in 1988, when I dreamed of being an ice skater and even checked out a “learn to ice skate” book from my local public library)...ahhh. I’ll now content myself with the creation of satisfying, pleasurably meals, appropriately descriptive prose, memorable moments with my dear loved ones, as well as the more inner-directed “sports” or disciplines of running and yoga...
Cin Cin ‘til we meet again!