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I found this Antipasti Platter a while back and have made it a few times for get-togethers at my apartment. Everytime, though, I find myself left with bread I can’t eat and olives that I hate (I’ve tried, I just can’t do it). So this time I set out to make a nice gluten-free Focaccia bread and to make a pepper tapenade, instead. The greatest thing about this platter is its versatility, I mean you can literally put whatever you want on a plate and call it a “platter.” It isn’t, however, the cheapest of platters. The cheese and meat alone ran me close to $16 (from Trader Joe’s). But, it does leave you with the ability to include a little something for everyone, and is quite allergy- and dietary restrictions-friendly. Think, do I have vegetarians coming? Vegans? Non-pork eaters? I know it can be a lot to consider sometimes, but I know what it’s like to feel left out. Try to accomodate, within reason, when you can. ­čÖé

shown with Rosemary Skillet Bread, but decided to serve with home-made Focaccia Bread instead

shown with Rosemary Skillet Bread, but decided to serve with home-made Focaccia Bread instead

Focaccia Bread (try this gluten-free recipe, or this gluten-free skillet bread)
Assorted Deli Meats
Assorted Cheeses
Cut vegetables

Pepper Tapenade:
2 peppers, roasted (I used 1 red, 1 green)
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
2-3 tablespoons of capers
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
Salt and cracked pepper, to taste

If you’re taking this to a party and trying to get all this done in, like, an hour and a half, this is what you do (otherwise, you could take your time about it and do it all separately and neatly, but I don’t really operate that way):

Set your oven to broil. Get your bread mixed and proofing. (Or you could buy some, I suppose.)

Cover a sheetpan in aluminum foil and place your whole, washed peppers (stickers removed) on the pan. Roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes, rotating frequently. You want them to be quite blackened on as many sides as possible. Remove and place in a ziplock bag to steam, so the skin is easier to remove. If you’re baking your own bread, lower the oven temperature to 375. While the peppers cool and the oven temperature lowers, you can start cutting up veggies (like celery, carrots, cherry tomatoes, etc.), or slicing cheese, or arranging your meats on a platter. I like to buy kielbasa (turkey, usually, since I get pork salami), and brown it with crushed red peppers.

Ok, get your bread in the oven. Remove the peppers from the ziplock bag, remove the stems and most of the seeds, and dice finely. Combine in an oven-safe bowl or dish with the garlic, oil, lemon, and capers. Taste for salt and pepper. Place in the oven on a rack under your bread for about 15 minutes, just to warm it really, and slightly cook the garlic.

(Your kitchen is probably a mess right now. Wouldn’t you love a sous chef? I could use a permanent one of those. I mean, I do love the little rascals that hang around my feet waiting for me to drop something, but some help would be much appreciated for a change. ­čśŤ )

Well, I think that’s all the pieces. The tapenade goes really well with the bread, a slice of cheese and a piece of salami or sausage. And each piece tastes yummy on its own, too. And actually, Jen’s Spicy Tomato Oil would also be a good side for the bread and veggies. Happy snacking!