Antipasto Peppadew Deruta Raku Oysters Carpets Memling

I really REALLY don’t like Martha Stewart.

But my wife and I caught her show (very much by accident) and saw her put together this antipasto platter. Tonight I pretty much exactly duplicated it for a party (my film group was discussing “Big Night”) and it was a big success.

I don’t think I had ever realized what Peppadews were before I saw this show. Louise had bought a big Deruta platter, and we lined it with saran wrap and collard green leaves to protect against any possible lead in the glaze.

My point – if you want a fabulous antipasto platter DO THIS. There is even a video…" onclick=";return false;

Thanks Serge, I love looking at the old ceramics – the Chinese pots often get my attention at the Metropolitan though. We went to Deruta and some of the hill towns when we were last in Italy. I worried a little when I heard about the earthquake they had there very recently.

In fact Martha Stewart used a tin platter, ceramic coated. The sort of thing that washbasins are made out of, to be unbreakable. If you cover the platter with leaves it doesn’t matter too much.

For those who are shy to click on the URL I provided one of the cool things about what Martha did is to provide a great variety of choices on the platter. You get a lot of the things straight out of jars, like artichoke hearts, pepperoncini, and red cooked pepper strips. You chunk up provolone cheese, and put out the peppadews. I bought one of those 3-meat packages of salami etc. that you can find in good stores and just laid out the meats in 3 stripes, and you sort of crumple the thin prosciutto slices to make them easier to pick up. Of course whatever olives you can find are appropriate, we had pitted nicoise olives and some big red ones that I can’t remember the name of.

With the balls of fresh mozzarella, you coat them with hot red pepper flakes and chopped parsley so they look red and green. You stir in olive oil and chopped fresh garlic cloves with the red pepper strips.

This was just hugely popular at the party we took it to. It was amazing that when we took it home nearly all the food was gone. This was a BIG platter…

For a dinner I recently broiled some peppadews stuffed with spicy Italian sausage. The sweet peppadews with the spicy sausage was perfect and everyone was raving about them!!

I had never heard of a peppadew until I saw the recipe and decided to give it a go.

Peppadews are addicting. Don’t toss the liquid-- it’s delicious in dressings and marinades. Costco did a peppadew-feta dip a while back, but since it looked like a five gallon container, I never tried it.

Martha Stewart gets a bad rap because of her decorative toilet paper covers, but she has fantastic ideas in the kitchen. I love her Hors d’Oeuvres book.

Melissa, I honestly am going to have to revise my opinion of Martha. EVERYTHING we saw in that show was great. Of course it was about “party foods” – hors d’oeuvres and appetizers.

You know why it’s called Majolica? Serge and anyone who likes Italian pottery, read this." onclick=";return false;

Hi Serge

You’re not saying you found raku ware on the island of Rhodes??

I’m familiar with raku, my mother loved it, but I don’t own any. I have a small collection of 18th century British stuff. If I could afford it I think I’d have a house full of Sung dynasty pottery.

Hi All,

I didn’t take a picture of the Martha Stewart platter, but here is our lunch which consists of a tiny remnant of what was on that platter, plus oysters and Champagne with bread sticks etc.

I LOVE Big Night! Because of that movie, I made a Timpano once for a party. I was a HUGE PITA to make, but it was pretty darned good.

And I agree, Martha Stewart’s Hors D’oeuvres book is excellent.

If I bought Raku it would be the simpler older stuff that they use for the tea ceremony in Japan.

音楽 = “on-gaku” = music – enjoyment of sound, using the same kanji with different pronunciation…

楽焼 = “raku-yaki” = raku pottery – literally enjoying the oven.

Tastes differ, for me American raku would be like a Persian rug made in Turkey or India or, well, Alabama…" onclick=";return false;

Linda, our neighbor also made a Timpano and we had a Big Night party, back around 1997 when the movie was quite popular (came out in 1996). While it is gorgeous as you said it’s a trial to make and in fact the flavors were not all that special. It’s comfort food, about as interesting as Lasagna but with a different geometry. Several different recipes were available and you CAN make it to include pheasant and rabbit and truffles or whatever… Like anything I suppose what you put in is what you get in the end.

Emilia-Romagna, where the Timpano probably comes from, can probably claim a richer food tradition than Tuscany.

The cookbook, “The Splendid Table” is pretty much a guide to the “cucina” of Emilia-Romagna.

Serge, the very best silk carpets come from Qom, the holy city of Iran. Fortunately for me, I have never been interested in those, because as you point out they can be extremely expensive. Often in some of the highest quality wool carpets you will see silk used for “highlights” – because it is hard to dye silk, compared to wool, often the silk is a striking white color surrounded by the soft tones of the wool.

My brother in law had a large silk carpet which he hung on the wall, to keep it “good as new.” They neglected to tell their new Golden Retriever about this plan, and she chewed off the bottom 4-5 inches soon after they had brought her home. Also chewed the bottoms of various elaborate hand carved pieces of teak furniture. My b.i.l. is an engineer for a hotel chain and thus gets sent around the world. I was a little surprised that the dog survived this rambunctious period in her life, I think I would have sent her “off to the farm” with that much provocation. But she simmered down and they still have her. Blondest Retriever ever, she never did develop any sense, but she’s much more careful about what she chews these days.

I have never bought a Turkish rug but I’m not really a snob about Persian I guess, I like the red and black tribal patterns and mine are mostly Afghan or Baluch.

As I said, tastes differ, and while none of the Baluch rugs in the link you sent appeal to me, there is a power in the geometric simplicity – I don’t often see online images of rugs like the ones I have bought, they are unusual examples. One thing I like is cultural connections, like a tartan woven in Scotland etc. So in my living room I have a pair of doorway carpets, the sort of carpet which would form the door of a Yurt or similar dwelling. If you Google the words Hatchli or Ensi you will see examples, they have a cruciform pattern – mine are more interesting than any of the ones I can find online as I said.

And here is another connection I like. Hans Memling painted the still life below in 1490. Turkoman women from that same tribe are still weaving the same pattern, dealers call it the Memling Gul (gul means flower or rose, it’s the name for the tribal pattern). (Gulistan means rose garden). I have several examples of bags with Memling gul’s, I throw them over the backs of chairs.

I have been a fan of Bosch since the psychedelic sixties, when he was quite popular.

I think his best paintings are in the Prado, but we saw some great ones in Brussels and Ghent when we were there a couple of years ago." onclick=";return false;

The Bosch paintings in Ghent are not disputed.