Pica-pica, nibbles, appetizers, antipasti, metze — whatever you call them, these pre-meal munchies are often one of my favorite parts of our festive holiday meals. We have to keep everyone busy while the finishing touches on dinner are frantically going on in the kitchen, and a snazzy spread is always appreciated. Here is what we did this year for one of our holiday dinners with friends…
Some sliced home-made Pate de Campagne or country style pate, this one with pistachios and green peppercorns. It turned out very nicely for my first attempt, but a tad on the dry side, and could have used a little more fat perhaps.
Some cornichons and pickled pearl onions and grainy mustard for the pate. Nibbles served on olive wood boards and bowls, an acacia board I had made earlier in the year, and the table decorated with pine cones, leaves and some candles in light green votive holders.
We also served some home-made chicken liver pate with brandy and green peppercorns as well. On the side, some caramelized onions with a touch of sugar and balsamic vinegar. The onion relish piled on top of the liver pate on a piece of bread was delicious. I could have eaten a few of those and a salad for a terrific light meal!
For those who preferred a non-meat nibble, we had a bowl of home-made patani or lima bean spread with fresh mint leaves. Blanche and peel some fresh patani or broad beans, then blitz in a food processor with a bit of plain yoghurt, olive oil, fresh mint, salt and pepper. This was light, tasty and practically guilt free. We served dried bagel chips on the side. We also had the most fantastic baby radishes from Gejo at Malipayon Farms which folks could eat straight or dipped into the dip/spread.
Some multi-colored carrots from Down2Earth (red, orange, yellow, purple and white) were washed, peeled and sliced and served in an olive wood bowl… to be enjoyed as is or dipped into the patani spread/dip.
Finally, the table had some peeled and salted roasted pistachios and unsalted peanuts as well. The idea behind the table was to have a variety of munchies on offer… rich, natural, light, salty, sweetish, herbal, texural and all served on different levels, in varying vessels and types of wood, with warm candlelight to illuminate it all.
This was one of my favorite pica-pica spreads of all time. I hope your holiday plans are in full swing… I know ours are, and it’s getting hectic in the MM household today…