It started with an email from my friend Dana about 6 weeks ago. She wanted me to come to her house in London so we could make antipasto together. I jumped at the chance because if there is one thing I love more than preserving, it is doing it with friends! It brings the sense of community that I love about the history of preserving to life for me. I mentioned it to Megan and Dana mentioned it to Tania and before you knew it there were 4 of us.
Last week was my first week in my new job. It had been a busy week with no shortage of new information to absorb so Saturday morning when I was packing the car for my drive to London I was looking forward to spending some time in the kitchen with friends or soon to be friends and resetting the batteries for week 2.
The antipasto recipe is a family recipe for Dana and she had made it before, so I was excited to try something new. I came loaded with my preserving tools and a bottle of wine. Dana had done all of the shopping and prepared a fantastic lunch for us to get us prepared for the work ahead.
We quickly sorted out our tasks and the chopping begain. Cauliflower, green beans, green olives, black olives, pickles, pickled onions, red, green and yellow peppers. Chop, chop, chop. We were all pretty focused but there was also some pretty lively conversation going on. It was exactly what I pictured took place when my mom, aunt and nona would spend the day peeling silverskin onions or preparing the cucumbers for dill pickles. The only difference perhaps is that I envision their conversation being slightly more PG than ours was, but perhaps I am wrong :).
About an hour into it Dana opened our first bottle of wine, an hour later, she opened the second, a couple of hours later she opened the third. Thankfully by this time the chopping was done, but the conversation hadn't even had the smallest of breaks. Four women making antipasto and drinking red wine I discovered can certainly cover no shortage of topics. We made 2 batches and just over 70 jars. In my opinion it was a perfect way to spend a Saturday and I really hope that it won't be the last time we do this. I have so many recipes to share with friends and I think it is the perfect excuse to make time to get together. Thank you ladies for reminding me that sometimes it is the simple things in life that can be the most enjoyable.
If anyone is interested in this great Antipasto recipe, please let me know and I will see if Dana is willing to share. It is delicious and is the perfect size batch to make with friends.