March 28, 2006


A favorite weekend treat for us is making a meal out of this Italian appetizer. Antipasto is an Italian word which translates as before meal. This typical appetizer serving ( as shown above ) consists of marinated artichokes, hard-boiled eggs, oil-cured and marinated mixed olives, hard salami, pepperoni, liver pate, grapes and an assortment of cheese. But so much more, like roasted red and yellow bell peppers, sliced into strips and drizzled with olive oil, are best added. Toasted Italian, french or ciabatta bread completes the meal. We're just pleased with the variety of food items they sell these days. This batch of marinated olives and mushrooms ( above ) come from our favorite grocery's olive buffet stand. We particularly like oil-cured olives. Always full of flavor, having a few of these in the fridge are quite a treat in salads, sandwiches, pasta or for plain snacking. In Manila, I've tried and used only two kinds of olives, ripe or black and green. I've never really snacked on them but have now learned to appreciate them. Back in the Philippines, we usually just add them in sauces and stews. With very limited usage, we just knew that sliced black olives are a must in puttanesca pasta sauce, while green olives, add flavor as well as color to caldereta ( a Filipino beef stew with Spanish flavors ) or chicken pastel ( a chicken pot pie version ), etc. The many olive varieties and flavors available will even make good side dishes.

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