I’m a fan of hosting parties at my place, especially now that I have an apartment that is all my own. Sure its a bit stressful making sure the house is clean, you have enough ice, and planning the menu; but the final product is completely worth it. A night in with good friends is hands down one of the best ways to spend your time. You aren’t yelling over bad music to be heard, fighting for the attention of the bartender, or paying an arm and a leg for over-priced, watered-down drinks. Instead, you get plush chairs, great company, and the option to choose the best entertainment for your group, whether that’s lots of talking, a few board games, or an impromptu dance party.
So it was with a bit of fanfare a few weeks ago that I hosted some friends for an evening of wine, food, and conversation. I decided on an antipasto menu with cheese, cured meats, bread, olives, and veggies. Most of the spread was easily purchased at Trader Joe’s, thanks to their amazing and inexpensive cheese selection. I also picked up a few jars of olives, a tapenade, and some meats. While it would have been just as easy to pick up a few jars of pickled veggies to go with everything, I wanted to make sure that there was something homemade on the table. I chose to marinate artichokes and mushrooms in place of the traditional giardiniera selection of pickled cauliflower and carrots. If you aren’t a fan of mushrooms, or finding frozen artichokes is proving a bit difficult, I think this would work with blanched asparagus, roasted red peppers, or halved cherry tomatoes.
Lemon-Thyme Marinated Artichokes
1 12 ounce bag frozen artichokes
¼ cup quality olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons dried thyme
salt & pepper
1) Defrost artichokes in a colander and drain well. Pat dry and put in a Tupperware container.
2) In a small mixing bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, shallots, thyme, salt, and pepper.
3) Pour over artichokes, stir to coat. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 24 hours, or longer to develop more flavor.
1 package baby bella mushrooms
¼ cup olive oil, plus more for sauteing
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1½ tablespoons dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
salt & pepper
1) Wash and quarter mushrooms.
2) Heat about a tablespoon of oil over medium heat and saute mushrooms in small batches for about 5 minutes each. Place in a Tupperware container as you finish sauteing them.
3) Whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Pour over mushrooms and cover tightly.
4) Refrigerate for at least 24 hours, or longer for more developed flavor.