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Italian summer cicchetti

Most people find that summer is the busiest time of the year. It's a time when you can finally do whatever you like without having to account for winter weather conditions. As much as I love summer, I don't always like the routine food that goes along with it. It's only June, and if I have to see another hotdog or hamburger I don't know what I'll do. People are creatures of habit. You go to the grocery store and buy the same things, you visit a restaurant and order the same things. It's easy and it's safe, but it's boring. This is a concept that I really want to talk people through in my cookbook: the problem with routine. There is a world of flavour ready to explore but sometimes, you need a push to try something new.

Today I made this Italian snack platter (cicchetti). Here's what I used:

-some sun-dried tomatoes, coated in olive oil and dried oregano

-mixed olives from the grocery store olive bar

-a bunch of fresh organic grapes

-a wedge of smoked cheddar

-a small wheel of brie

-a little pile of grated parmesan

-some bocconcini (mini mozzarella balls) with basil, threaded on toothpicks. I glazed these with 80 year old balsamic vinegrette.

-some sliced three-day-old crusty bread

I didn't follow a strict of technique for this tray. You can use any type of ingredients that you have on hand and serve it on whatever board, slate, tray or plate that you have available to you. The key to a good Italian snack plate is variety, balance, and abundance. To make it look authentically Italian, cram it as full as you possibly can.

Buon appetito.

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