Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Hors d'Ouvres Dilemma

Cocktail hour.  That special time when you glance at the clock and deem it appropriately late enough to have your favorite libation (or pop as my mom likes to call it, as if it's a secret code). Whether you're at home after a rough day at work, on vacation, happy hour with the girls or at a swanky gallery opening, it's always nice to have some sort of solid food to ingest so as not to get too mimsy.  This witching hour can, however ruin your diet (and your night) if you're not careful.  Normal tray passed appetizers include the likes of spanakopitas, mini quiches, salmon canapes and things on crostini.  Tantalizing flavors most of the time, but all wrapped and cheesed up beyond recognition. 

We recently had friends over for dinner and and about 10 minutes prior to their arrival I realized I had been so consumed about the main course, that I nothing set out for appetizers.  A good hostess always has something set out for her guests to munch on while they wait for dinner, what's a girl to do??  The quick answer - olives and charcuterie.  It satisfies any paleo panic during happy hour, as well as your non paleo guests who rarely notice the difference.

Charcuterie is the art devoted to cooking and curing of meats, and dates back to when you had to salt everything to keep it from going bad.   I had salami and proscuitto on hand, but it can include pancetta, sausage, coppa, bresaola and the list goes on.  Pates and terrines can also fall under this umbrella, so it's not always paleo.  

For any locals out there, the Side Door in Corona Del Mar does some fantastic charcuterie - and they have a chef to help you make selections while you enjoy the English pub atmosphere and eavesdrop on the conversations of the OC housewives.   

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