An Excuse for Something Little



I initially started this blog with the intention of highlighting the delight in little things. The great joy a little moment can bring, the importance in little pleasures, the fun in “little” food. But, as with everything, one’s intent must adapt to life – and life rarely allows for original plans. 


Instead, I found myself loosening the terms for what designated an “all the little things” worthy recipe. Mini cocettes of blueberry oatmeal and cheddar pennies made way to batches of summer pasta and pots of gumbo. How could I censor a delicious recipe by no reason other than its size? I don’t limit my cooking to “little” things, why limit what I share with you? I simply find joy in the pleasure of cooking – no matter how “little” the food may be.


Recently however, I recognized an opportunity to revert back to the roots of this blog, to my initial vision. Two of my best friends were having a birthday party. A group of girls were getting together to eat appetizers. What a perfect excuse this was for little food.


These little bites contain all of the elements of a caprese salad, packaged into bite-sized treats. Sweet orange cherry tomatoes, that challenge the ubiquitous tasteless winter tomato, fresh mozzarella, and peppery basil leaves, are combined together on a toothpick and topped with a salty Kalamata olive and balsamic drizzle. Each bite truly refreshes the heavy flavors of winter.


And, I defy you to find an easier appetizer to eat while holding a glass of wine :)       
  

Make these for your next get together – I promise you, your friends will love them.


Emeril's Mozzarella and Tomato Bites with Kalamata Olive Drizzle
(recipe slightly adapted)

Ingredients:

20 cherry tomatoes, halved
8 ounces ciliegine (small mozzarella balls), drained, patted dry, and halved
40 small basil leaves, or 20 halved large basil leaves
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons good balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano or marjoram (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Kosher salt, for garnish
Toothpicks

Method:

1. Pierce 1 half of a tomato, 1 basil leaf, and 1 half of a ciliegine with a toothpick, and repeat until you have 40 filled toothpicks.

2. In a blender or food processor, combine pitted olives, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano, and salt. Blend until smooth.

3. Arrange filled toothpicks on a platter, sprinkle with Kosher salt, and drizzle with Kalamata olive sauce. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Note: You can prepare these bites in advance and keep covered in the fridge. Then, drizzle with sauce when you are ready to serve.