Here it was Day One of Emeril’s One Pot Cooking Party but Day 6 of over 90 degree temperatures in the, usually temperate, Pacific Northwest. I had planned to make Emeril’s Artichoke Soup with Poached Oysters (sounded so sinful) but after an unusually busy Sunday (seeing our German houseguest off, landing a handful of major writing assignments, dealing with a restless, talkative toddler, and wrestling with feelings of loss on the 5th anniversary of my father’s death) I was left feeling like a wilted lettuce leaf.
What to do? Do I suck it up, trudge off to the fishmonger and Whole Foods at 6pm on a Sunday night and then come back to work in the heat of the kitchen for another couple of hours?
Nope, not a chance.
This is where I think many busy working moms trying to cook at home make a mistake — they either carry on with their plans, even when the day has been too challenging and after a few days like this, ultimately end up feeling as if cooking at home is unrealistic or say forget it and pop out for fast food. I know my limits — but you won’t find me queuing at McDonald’s anytime soon.
No, on a night like this, I opted for Anti-Pasto. My husband is a fiend for anything deli and toddlers love fingers foods and loads of variety. At my house this makes Anti-Pasti and Ploughman’s big favorites. But alas, Anti-Pasti is not covered in Emeril’s Sizzling Skillets and One-Pot Wonders. In fact, the dishes in this book are wonderfully comforting, hearty and hot –perfect for the fall and winter months. But they just seemed too heavy for a hot summer’s day. So Anti-Pasti it was, served up in these beautiful, Emeril – by zak! Table Art 7-piece Flame-Shaped Serving Bowls (courtesy of Morrow Cookbooks— thanks Morrow!)
Quick and Easy Anti-Pasti
- 1 package nitrate-free Mortadella
- 1 package Applegate Farms (nitrate-free) prosciutto
- 1 package Applegate Farms Organic (nitrate-free) Genoa Salami
- 7 oz container of Galbani Mozzerella Fresca Medallions (love these!)
- 1 pt grape tomatoes
- 1 small red onion
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 cans Crown Prince smoked oysters in olive oil (or Trader Joe’s version)
- 1 head organic Romaine lettuce
- 1/2 pt bleu cheese stuffed olives
- 1/2 pt garlic stuffed olives
- 1 loaf crusty olive loaf
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cut tomatoes in quarters, dice red onion and toss with vinegar and oil — let chill.
- Rinse and chopped lettuce — chill.
- Open the oysters and prosciutto, cutting the prosciutto in thirds lengthwise. Wrap each oyster tightly, in a third of prosciutto, covering the oysters completely and placing on a lipped baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees or until prosciutto is lightly crisp.
- Plate the meats, olives, cheese.
- Put lettuce into bowls, topping with the tomato, onion and balsamic mixture.
- Remove oysters, insert serving toothpicks and plate.
- Slice olive loaf into chunks.
Contest — Win Emeril- by Zak! Flame Serving Bowls!
And so, because I spent my first day of the Cooking Party, barely cooking, but instead assembling and presenting a cool and fun to eat dinner, in serving dishes that made me look good, I thought, maybe we should kick things off with a contest! If you like what you see and you wanna look like a celebrity chef in the kitchen (even on days when you feel like a wilted lettuce leaf) you can enter to win this 7-piece Flame-shaped serving bowl set for yourself.
How to Enter:
In the comments below, share your story about a challenging day, in which you still found a way to cook at home. The winner be drawn at random by my precocious three-year old.
Best of luck and Happy Eating!
UPDATE: The winner of our 7PC Zak! Set is busy, supermom and foodie, Lacey Ferrero. Lacey is a resident of Beaverton, Oregon who spends her days managing a household of 5, including two teen sons and her disabled mother, yet still manages to make a home-cooked meal each day for her family. Congratulations Lacey!
- One-Pot Cooking Party – BAM! Emeril Chose Me! (groovyfoody.wordpress.com)
- Emeril joins ‘Top Chef’ as new judge: Bam? (insidetv.ew.com)
- Celebrity Chef Emeril Lagasse’s Secrets to Healthy Home Cooking (self.com)
Everyday is challenging with two sons, a mother, and husband to care for. This Saturday was most challenging taking my oldest son to a band competition, my younger son to aim lessons, running my husband back, and firth to work, and caring for my mother. At the end of the day I was totally wiped, certainly not in the mood to make dinner, but not wanting to serve my family unhealthy fried food. Then, I remembered the idea on this site for anti-pasti. We usually would have a small version of that before a big Italian meal I’ve slaved over. I took your advice, and expanded the portion of meats, cheeses, vegetables, and some toasted crostini with olive oil for a quick, and family pleasing meal. Thanks for the advice, and keep up the good work, and great recipes!
Household of 5
So glad this post could spark an idea for some relief! And BTW, You’re our winner, Lacey Ferrero! Look for your package coming from William Morrow (allow 4 to 6 weeks for delivery!)