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Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Pork Seafood vegetarian

Holiday Antipasti Platter



Antipasti platter with crostini, salumi, and cheese

Holiday Antipasti Platter with Assorted Cheese, Salumi and Crostini

While visiting Tuscany this past Autumn, almost every meal began with an antipasti; signifying the beginning of the meal.  It’s a first course served to create anticipation of the meal to come, as well as stimulate the appetite without filling the stomach. Much like the French hors d’oeuvres and Spanish tapas or the American appetizer, Antipasti sets the stage for the dinner meal.

In Tuscany, antipasti usually consists of assorted dry cured meats, olives, cheese, roasted peppers, Crostini, marinated artichokes and traditional Bruschetta.  For a special occasion or light lunch the traditional pappa al pomodoro, ribollita (a lovely cabbage and bread stew) and rosemary white beans might be served.

Antipasti is the perfect starter for holiday celebrations, special occasions, dinner parties or social events. Lovely nibbles to build excitement of the event.

Holiday Antipasti Platter

This my favorite assortment of antipasti, including two of my favorite crostini and a traditional bruschetta.  Many of these were served for lunch or before dinner while visiting Tuscany with the Storytellers.  A delicious combination that pairs beautifully with all the DaVinci wines.

I created this platter for DaVinci Wine and it can be found on their Facebook page. Just click HERE.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!

Buon Appetito,


PS: Wishing everyone a very happy and safe New Years Eve!


Appetizers Kid Friendly Pork

Proscuitto, Arugula and Parmesan Party Starters

Prosciutto, Arugula and Parmesan Rolls

I popped into my local fish market (Gemini) the other day and was greeted by one of my favorite fishmongers, Chef Dave Gibson.

Fresh Organic Arugula

I love chatting with Chef Dave.  I love listening to the adventurous food stories from his days as a private chef for several northwest cruise lines.  And he’s always got a great recipe or two in his back pocket, especially when it comes to seafood.


So while I was selecting my fresh seafood for dinner, I asked Chef Dave if he had any great ideas for a chilled starter.  And snap!  There it was.  Chef Dave gave me this yummy idea of rolling up beautiful, slightly salty prosciutto with fresh aromatic arugula leaves a little shaved parmesan. Ok, what a great idea!

Ready to roll

So I tried it.  It’s so yummy I’m preparing this for my friends holiday party.  Then I thought, I have to share!  A simple, delicious, fresh and vibrant tasting appetizer to get the holiday parties started.

Prosciutto, Arugula and Parmesan Rolls

Now that my sample platter is gone, I think I’ll have to prepare a few more.  I might even have them for lunch.  🙂

Prosciutto, Arugula and Parmesan Party Starters

Recipe compliments of Chef Dave Gibson

Serves 8


1/2 lb sliced prosciutto (or two 5 oz packages)

1 bunch arugula (larger leaves)

4-5 oz wedge of parmesan (parmigiano-reggiano is the preferred)

Party picks (optional)

Drizzle of high quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar (optional)


Place a slice of prosciutto on a flat surface, cutting board or parchment.  Layer with an arugula leaf and then top with a shaved piece (or pieces) of parmesan.  I’ve included a photo above.

Roll tightly. The prosciutto should stick to itself but you can always toothpick with festive party picks.  Place on a platter.

For a little extra zing, when finished rolling, lightly drizzle with high quality extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Serve and enjoy!

Appetizers Kid Friendly vegetarian

Bruschetta Open Face Sandwiches

Bruschetta Open Face Sandwich

The word “sandwich” is rarely used in my house.  Especially if you’re referring to something that’s being served for dinner.  “That’s lunch food” as my little gal would say.

However, on warm summer evenings I love to prepare an assortment of giant open faced Bruschetta sandwiches.  A traditional Bruschetta is a must of course.  I can’t resist those beautiful and sweet summer tomatoes.

Asparagus and Proscuitto Bruschetta with Arugula Pesto

And I can’t forget all the delicious spring and summer asparagus.  I was completely beside myself last week when I saw the beautiful local organic spring asparagus in the market.  I absolutely had to purchase a few pounds.  Once I got home with my stash, I needed to think of a new and creative use for my three pounds of delicious asparagus.  Behold, an asparagus and prosciutto Bruschetta was born.

Two divine giant Bruschetta sandwiches that burst with intense flavors and satisfy even the hungriest diner. (Even if my little gal thinks a sandwich is for lunch!)

Bruschetta Open Face Sandwiches

Tomato, Mozzarella and Fresh Basil with a Balsamic drizzle


1 large loaf Rosemary Garlic or French Artisan Bread

2 large vine ripe or heirloom tomatoes, sliced

1 large mozzarella ball, sliced

¼ cup fresh chopped basil

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (my fave is California Olive Ranch Everyday Fresh EVOO, light, fragrant, clean and fresh)

Sea salt and cracked black pepper

2 cloves garlic, halved


Slice the artisan bread into 1-2 inch thick slices.  Brush or drizzle each slice with olive oil.  In a skillet over medium heat and add the bread slices.  Toast on each side, adding additional olive oil if needed.  You can also toast the slices in the oven at 350F or under the broiler (but watch carefully as they burn quickly!) until each side is golden brown.  As soon as the bread slices have been pan toasted, rub each piece with the halved garlic.

Transfer the toasted bread slices to a platter and top each with a tomato slice, and then a slice of mozzarella.  Drizzle each Bruschetta with a little balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.  Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper and then garnish with the fresh basil.

For a reduced balsamic glaze, heat ½ cup balsamic vinegar in a small pan over medium heat.  When the vinegar comes to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer and let the vinegar reduce by half.  It will be a thicker, richer glaze for the Bruschetta.  Very yummy!

Asparagus and Prosciutto Bruschetta Open Face Sandwich


1 loaf Artisan bread (rosemary and garlic, French, etc.)

½ cup arugula or basil pesto (can be store bought or homemade)

1 lb fresh asparagus, steamed, roasted or grilled

8 oz prosciutto, sliced

Shaved or shredded fresh parmesan or Romano cheese

Extra virgin olive oil from California Olive Ranch

Sea salt and fresh pepper


Slice the artisan bread into 1-2 inch thick slices.  Brush or drizzle each slice with olive oil.  In a skillet over medium heat and add the bread slices.  Toast on each side, adding additional olive oil if needed.  You can also toast the slices in the oven at 350F or under the broiler (but watch carefully as they burn quickly!) until each side is golden brown.

Transfer toasts to a platter and spread a teaspoon or two of pesto on each slice.  Add a layer of prosciutto and then top with 2-3 asparagus spears.  Drizzle each Bruschetta with a dash of olive oil, and sprinkle with a little sea salt and pepper.  Garnish with shaved or shredded parmesan or Romano cheese.  (if you want to use up the rest of the balsamic vinegar/glaze, drizzle a little over the asparagus, Yum!)