I’m my mother’s child. The older I get, the more I realize I’m becoming her. It’s quite awesome. Few things I want to ensure I depart from; like her immensely intense personality in which she has to take care of everything for everyone, at the cost of even her health. But I’ll gladly assume everything else. Mostly, her selfless spirit and open door policy in their house. Anyone is welcome whenever, for however long, and always replete with chucherias — or snackage. If food isn’t offered, check her temperature cuz something is not right.
And so it very often is the case that impromptu gatherings take place en casa Herrera. Last weekend was a perfect example of how in no times notice, my mother has a house full of people to nosh on this, that, and everything she can pull from her pantries. I love it! These little charges of “drop everything you’re doing, mija, and let’s make this happen” nights are epic.
This particular soirée revolved around the fireplace. She wanted a lovely ambiance of crackling ignited by my father. I knew the perfect friends who’d enjoy that. So they got a 30-minute notice. But she insisted I advise them (she’d already pinged her friends) this was not a sit down dinner with large servings. Rather a “pica pica” – or bite, bite, in literal translation. Noshings. Little nibbles. Small plates.
When I tell you these are the best shindigs ever to host, I mean it’s like getting call from my stylist at Saks Fifth Avenue letting me know the that special cashmere sweater I’ve been eyeing went on sale. In and out. No fuss. No overthinking. Little effort. And that’s exactly how Saturday was. No pots, not pans, no skillets. That was the rule. The only heat we could use was from the toaster oven.
And so I perused our collective stash of noshery and settled on an artisanal cheese plate accompanied with four varieties of crackers. Crackers are so versatile so we also pulled out a divine assortment of jams, namely a fig one we found first in Monaco a few years ago and now obsessed with grabbing it at HomeGoods! Fresh fruit, pita crackers, and a fresh caprese salad for those wanting to keep it lighter and slimmer.
And then of course, plenty of cured hams (you know, for the swine eaters), some roast beef slices with spicy mustard to nicely dip into, and a truffle/porcini spread. Since spreads and crunchy bites dominated the tablescape, I had to add some of my Marzetti® offerings. After all, they are known for their tasty and super duper easy, ready to eat dips and dressings.
Because my job was committed to being the minimalist, I pulled out some of their goodies to enjoy with the salted pita chips, sliced apples, some of the crackers, and the fresh salad. This was the easy part since their collection is ready to eat. The Marzetti® Spinach Veggie Dip was amazing with the pita chips. I even played around and enjoyed it as spread on a cracker topped with a thin slice of Manchego. That made it to the bar cart full of food.
The quintessential American snack of dipping apples in caramel sauce also made it to the bar. But I opted for the their Peanut Butter Caramel Dip because, well, it was new and different and I love anything peanut butter! This was a take on such a classic throwback, but so perfect on a night where the temperatures fell to 9F. And next to a crackling fireplace? Sexy. Como si no tuvieramos sufficient de picar, I added a nice bowl of their Otria® Garlic Hummus as another dipper for the pita chips. A bit of olive oil drizzle with our fresh dried oregano and we were set.
Finally, no real pica pica would be right without a caprese salad. This was much more mom’s idea. She loves it and has to have it anytime she’s got company. Instead of a standard dark balsamic vinaigrette, I took a stab at the Simply Dressed Light Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette. Heavenly. Perfect. And just too easy. Drizzle, drizzle and a gorgeous trio of fancy ingredients made for a beautiful presentation.
Our wintry but cozy Cuban tryst turned into an international mire poix of varying cultural dishes. Everything balanced lovely and fortunately for us, the best part was the lack of clean up! If feeding family and friends could always be this easy and fuss-free, bring on the cheese and dips! Every day. No reason not to.
Especially on Sunday for the Super Bowl! You see this spread here? I’m duplicating it to the ‘T’ and adding a few more goodies to the mix… you know for the more FundaySunday traditionalist liking chips and other highly commercialized snacks. I’ll have something for everyone.
This took less than hour to prep and set up. You can do it too!
*I have been invited to participate in a Marzetti® ambassador program. This post is sponsored by Marzetti and product has been provided by them. I appreciate you checking out the brands that help keep my lights on, shoes looking fancy, and SkyMiles racked up! Eat well, love hard.
Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.