Italian appetizers for 350? Sure, no problem.
As you may or may not know, I am in career changing mode. Though I am always game for a part-time tech-company marketing gig, I am embracing the part of me that is food-enthralled. Why else would I cut and paste my own cookbooks at age 10 or blog-without-income re: food for five plus years? You may have followed along when I went to cooking school. And I suppose it didn't hurt to take a small, family sabbatical and live in Italy where I cooked non-stop. It is where I fell in love with olive oil (even more so), cinghiale, polenta, risotto, arugula salad, ragu and tiramisu---and easily the reason I have fava beans growing in my garden.
I recently started offering cooking classes. I teach private classes in my Seattle-based home (with groups of 4-8 friends), and also teach at the nearby Blue Ribbon Cooking School (corporate events, iron chefs etc.). When my son's schools asked me to submit an 'auction item' indeed: I gave them an Italian [group] Cooking Class. Recently, I have worked a few nights at a local restaurant - a fill in sous chef. And I love it.
Pushing into this food-crazed community, embracing the multitude of farmer's markets, plowing and planting in my recently-acquired yard-to-become-urban farm feels right. I love playing with food, being with people who love food and want to learn about food, digging in the dirt and dreaming big about all of the possibilities...
So when I was asked to come up with Italian-themed appetizers for 350 (on a very tight budget), of course I said yes. I made a trio of bruschetta (and yes I even rubbed the crostini with raw garlic just as they come out of the oven): roasted garlic white bean spread, classic tomatoes with basil chiffonade with a splash of quality balsamic plus a sprinkle of salt. Third: kalamata olive and fig tapenade that I dusted with parsley for color. And I made slow-roasted tomato sauce (make slow-roasted tomatoes, then flash puree) as the swirl for the tray to hold handmade, smallish meatballs. They were gone in a flash. And of course: prosciutto-wrapped cantaloupe bites. Another Italian classic.
And as I move into this game-changing career that includes wearing my 'chef hat' more frequently, my time in my kitchen and garden simultaneously increase... and I am regularly challenged to grow into my chef shoes (see pic of my purple sparkly chef shoes). I have more plans, things to plant, food to plate---the big tease for you to keep coming back for more;).
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