Cheese, Charcuterie, Tapenades, Toasts and Bites.
It is possible to be prepared for impromptu visitors and set yourself up to enjoy the visits instead of being stressed out by them. Even if the visits are planned, you may have had one of those days where everything took twice as long as you programmed. A little strategy can help. Stock your pantry for success. With a tapenade, some McEvoy Ranch Olive Oil and Tuscan Table Olives together with some salami and cheese and a baguette, you have options for stress free nibbles.
McEvoy makes three tapenades – Spicy Green Olive, Olive and Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke and Almond. The flavor profiles are different but virtually interchangeable in these recipes. They are all ready to lend you a hand in making it easy to produce a dazzling array of treats.
Marinate McEvoy Ranch’s Tuscan Table Olives with some herbs and lemon zest. Drizzle some Lemon Olive Oil over them. The olives will keep for a week in the refrigerator and the flavors just get better. Serve them slightly warmed for a cold evening treat. They are a delicious accompaniment to cheese.
You can have a baguette sliced in your freezer ready to toast or grill for crostini. Depending on the size of your baguette the yield will be approximately 40 thin slices if you slice straight across. If you angle the cuts, you will get fewer slices with a different look that is adaptable for dipping.
Here are some suggestions:
Make or purchase hummus – Puddle a little McEvoy Ranch Olio Nuovo on top with some tapenade or chopped spiced walnuts. Use your favorite dippers.
Unique dippers for hummus or salsa can be made by toasting tortillas or pita bread. Cut into wedges, brush with olive oil and crisp in the oven, or buy them ready to go.
Toss baby potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven. Cool slightly and scoop out the top with a melon baller. Cut a little slice on the bottom of each potato so they sit upright on a tray or plate. Fill with cheese – return to the oven to melt the cheese. Top with McEvoy Ranch Olive and Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade, let cool slightly and serve.
Brush those baguette slices you have in the freezer with McEvoy Traditional Blend olive oil. Bake in a 350 F oven for approximately 15 minutes. Top with tapenade, lemon zest and a shave of parmesan.
Make soup shooters of carrot soup, leek and potato – your choice – and garnish with McEvoy Ranch Olio Nuovo.
Adorn those toasted baguette slices with some smoked salmon and creme fraiche. A sprig of fresh dill or a caper makes a lovely addition to the visual and the flavor. A brush of McEvoy Lemon Oil completes the bite.
For more baguette enhancement, make or purchase a white bean puree. Spread on the toasted slices, add tapenade or just drizzle with Olio Nuovo.
Separate endive into individual spears. Fill with blue cheese, drop on some McEvoy wildflower honey and toasted walnuts.
Cookie dough can be made ahead, scooped and held in the freezer. You can pull the pre-scooped cookies out and bake as needed. Freshly baked cookies send a welcoming message and your house will smell wonderful. There is an excellent recipe in Gerald Gass’ Olive Harvest Cookbook for Chocolate-Olive Oil cookies. They are quick to put together and delicious. There are many good recipes for biscotti which are easy to make and hold well.
Entertaining is much more fun with a glass of wine in hand and ready for your guests. At McEvoy Ranch, our selection of wines offers something for every occasion and flavor pairing. The savory, robust flavor of tapenades, olives and roasted potatoes pair perfectly with the earthy, spicy character of our Red Piano Syrah based blend. The milder flavors of hummus come to life with the brightness and zest of our Stubbs Ranch Chardonnay or Rosebud Rose. And our Evening Standard Pinot Noir will really enhance the complex flavors of a cheese and salumi tray.
Hospitality is truly about enjoying your guests and making them feel welcome. It is much easier to do if you are relaxed so that you may enjoy the occasion as well. All you need are a few delicious pantry essentials and a few simple tips.