November 16, 2009

Muffaletta with Olive Relish

When I taught middle school many years ago, the team of teachers that I worked with got along pretty well. We used to get together at each other's houses once a month or so to socialize outside of school, to get to know everyone's families. I am convinced it helped us to work together better.

So, in an effort to promote faculty bonding (something which we needed after a somewhat stressful & drama-filled beginning of the new school year)...AND because personally I needed to have some fun instead of working every day...I invited some co-workers (the Humanities Lunch Bunch--i.e. HuLuBu--and a few selected "VIP's") over on Friday for some food & libations.

John, Joni, & Bill: They're funny people!

Neely & Jesse: The "newbies"

I know that this crowd isn't all that adventurous (yet) when it comes to food, so I tried to keep the menu fairly simple. And, wouldn't you know it, the first things to get devoured were the popcorn and taco dip!


Assorted cheeses, crackers & olives
Veggies & curried hummus
Truffled popcorn
Muffaletta sandwich (see recipe below)
Roast duck-seasoned chicken wings
Spinach, tofu & black tea spring rolls with roasted tomato chutney
Trashy taco dip (by request)
Honey-lavender ice cream
"World Peace" cookies

I did manage to get Jeni, the self-professed anti-cook who requested that I include some "white trash" food, to help with some of the cooking. She volunteered to assemble the spring rolls. I think she just wanted to look cute in my apron! Nonetheless, she did an excellent job. There is hope for her yet!

Jeni looks so happy cooking!

My favorite recipe of the night was the muffaletta. Originating from Central Grocery in New Orleans, this monster of a sandwich is made on a huge round loaf of Italian bread with piles of salami, ham, mortadella, mozzarella, & provolone. It's dressed simply with a flavorful--salty & slightly spicy--olive relish.

Olive Relish (for Muffaletta)

1 1/2 cups pimento-stuffed green olives, chopped
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
1 cup prepared gardiniera (pickled cauliflower, carrots, celery & pepperoncini), chopped
1 tablespoon capers, drained
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon thinly sliced scallions
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a bowl or jar, cover and let sit overnight or up to a week.


Miranda said...

mmmh. This looks great. I would be happy cooking too if this is what I was making. Awesome Menu!

Anonymous said...

I made Kelly's blog!!! WHOO HOO!!!