baked olive martini antipasto – date night

Surviving winter 2015 takes planning. A detailed, leave nothing to chance because at the drop of another snowflake your plans will be ruined, strategy to make it to Friday. Once the weekend arrives with fewer work obligations and a full wine rack, success is likely, even if it snows. To truly appreciate how completely unmagical thirteen feet, not kidding, of snowfall over three weeks is requires on site-suffering. Looking at photos on social media or traditional media only allows for curious voyeurism. Until you’ve spent a couple of hours in sub-zero weather trying to dig your car from a plowed-in snow bank, then have your husband yell driving instructions over the shriek of your tires spinning on the icy snow-packed street, all the while knowing you are only going to get the car stuck worse – ah yes, my friend, and that just begins the day – can you have a true appreciation of how much this sucks.

Little things like where our puppy, Fynn will do his ‘business’ takes a feat of engineering genius to design a safe spot. He’s six inches below the top of our eight foot high garden fence enclosure. Another snow storm and he’ll be able to step over the wall and leave a gift in our neighbour’s yard. Or how about trying to push a grocery cart from the store to your car. The only bare pavement is the tire tracks usually committed to vehicles. The rest of the parking lot is inches deep in muddy slush which binds up the cart’s non-winter wheels. Instead of pushing your groceries to your car, you end up having to pull and yank. Once the groceries are loaded, you’ve the civic duty to then drag your cart to the holding pen. There are a lot of abandoned shopping carts waiting to roll into an unexpecting driver.

Suffice to say, the annoying frosty aggravation is shoving me towards a bleak place. The effort of hauling myself out of bed to deal with another day is becoming too much. Hibernating is totally underrated! I would happily burrow into the covers and comfort of my bed and stay there until May – although this year it might be June. Sadly, that plan isn’t practical and might prove more boring than being house trapped due to too much winter.

The best that I’ve come up with is ‘date night’. An evening devoted to ignoring the boring and routine of winter by reigniting the fun of warmer times. Sometimes, it’s just the two of us, sometimes we include friends. Sharing the weight of this winter, somehow, lessens the load – I couldn’t resist… Having friends in for dinner or dining out forces me to move. One step in front of the other until voila, dinner is ready or I’ve left the house and am sitting among other winter weary souls breaking bread.

For the rest of the world ‘date night’ is a romantic evening to keep excitement in a relationship. In eastern Canada, it’s a stamina building endurance ritual to help us from losing our minds.

We had another snowstorm this week. Urgent action is necessary. Friends are called. The evening is planned. This is one of the easiest ‘date night’ recipes I have. They take no time to prepare and everyone loves them. A perfect combination when energy levels are running on low.

There’s flurries in the forecast…

BAKED OLIVES ANTIPASTO
Preheat oven 400*F

3 cups mixed olives, rinsed and patted dry
1 cup marinated artichoke hearts
1 cup marinated hot peppers
½ lemon, sliced into ¼” slices
1 small orange, cut into quarters
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 bay leaves
2 dried red chiles, broken up
1 rosemary sprig, broken into 2” pieces
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 ounces gin – optional

baked olive martini antipasto - date night / bitebymichelle.com
THE STEPS

  • Place olives, artichoke hearts, hot peppers, sliced lemon, olive oil, bay leaves, red chilies, rosemary and fennel seeds in a large mixing bowl.
  • Toss until well coated.

baked olive martini antipasto - date night / bitebymichelle.com
baked olive martini antipasto - date night / bitebymichelle.com
baked olive martini antipasto - date night / bitebymichelle.com
baked olive martini antipasto - date night / bitebymichelle.com

  • Place mixture in large cast iron skillet.
  • Squeeze the juice from the orange over the olive mixture.
  • Add the squeezed orange pieces to the skillet.

baked olive martini antipasto - date night / bitebymichelle.com

  • Place the skillet in the oven on the bottom rack.
  • Bake antipasto for 25 minutes.
  • Remove from oven to a cooling rack and pour gin over top.
  • Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  • Serve with toothpicks and a small bowl for the pits.

THE LOVE: The beautiful thing about this recipe is it’s versatility. Use whatever olive, marinated vegetable, herbs and spice combination you want. They’ll taste delicious.

Thanks for reading.

photography by michelle

baked olive martini antipasto - date night
Print
AUTHOR:
Yield: 4
INGREDIENTS
  • 3 cups mixed olives, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 cup marinated artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup marinated hot peppers
  • ½ lemon, sliced into ¼” slices
  • 1 small orange, cut into quarters
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 dried red chiles, broken up
  • 1 rosemary sprig, broken into 2” pieces
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 ounces gin - optional
THE STEPS:
  1. Place olives, artichoke hearts, hot peppers, sliced lemon, olive oil, bay leaves, red chilies, rosemary and fennel seeds in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Toss until well coated.
  3. Place mixture in large cast iron skillet.
  4. Squeeze the juice from the orange over the olive mixture.
  5. Add the squeezed orange pieces to the skillet.
  6. Place the skillet in the oven on the bottom rack.
  7. Bake antipasto for 25 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven to a cooling rack and pour gin over top.
  9. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  10. Serve with toothpicks and a small bowl for the pits.
THE LOVE:
The beautiful thing about this recipe is it's versatility. Use whatever olive, marinated vegetable, herbs and spice combination you want. They'll taste delicious.

 

  • I am going to make this one. I really, really am.

  • Lori Thurrott

    I feel your pain and can relate ~ I am over winter and doing the happy dance as they are calling for 4 degrees tomorrow ~ and sun! I call the slush in the parking lots slush soup ~ I believe I may see my front lawn by the long weekend in May ~ here’s hoping. Sending sunshine wishes from snowy Moncton.

    • Hi Lori, I think your right! I heard CBC say more snow storms in March… Keep warm!