How to Dine Al Fresco, or Mama Tapas

When February gives you sunshine, eat outside. Though Monday’s meal plan called for breakfast for dinner, waffles al fresco was not thrilling my practical soul. So it was time to punt, tapas style. Thanks to the bits and pieces leftover from Snack Week last week, I was able to cobble together a light repast that could be eaten sans utensils.

Mama Tapas Platter

Mama Tapas Platter

We call this Mama Tapas because it has some internal rhyme and sounds better than random leftovers.

Featured here, left to right, front row first:

  • Broccoli Bouquet with Carrot Stems
  • Kapows (aka Grape Tomatoes, thusly named because of how they explode in your mouth, like a healthy Pop Rock)
  • Hummus
  • Creamy Dill and Lemon Sauce (leftover from Sunday Night Dinner)
  • Pear wedges, plain (found sitting out on my cutting board, remains of a snack)
  • Medjool dates (these are my obsession right now)
  • Pita wedges with Havarti Dill tucked artfully inside
  • Pear in Salami on a Spear (if prosciutto and melon works, why not—reviews were mixed)

Off camera was a basket of lightly toasted pita wedges, to offer a contrast in temperature and texture, and because toasting things freshens them and improves the flavor of older breads. Less than 20 minutes to prepare, the kids were able to play outside while I arranged everything, and they had the joy of discovery when they saw the platter.

Key takeaways (as we say in Corporate America):

  • Keep it simple if you’re eating outside. Nothing is worse than having to run back and forth.
  • Presentation, presentation, presentation. Do it for yourself and anyone else at the table. You will enjoy it more.
  • Let no leftover languish, no matter how small. If you have a full meal planned, consider the tapas as appetizers route. This lighter approach does work better in warmer weather.

How do you dress up your leftovers?

Coming soon, Cooking in Advance: Five Survival Strategies. Till next time Gentle Readers, keep up the good work in the kitchen!

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2 Comments

Filed under Kitchen Philosophy, On the Table, Punt!

2 responses to “How to Dine Al Fresco, or Mama Tapas

  1. This weekend I wrapped some blue cheese-stuffed medjool dates in bacon and threw them in the over for about an hour for a party app. Delicious!

    I have dinner tapas all the time, mostly due to my extreme laziness. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Weekly Menus: Week of 3/6/2011 | The Practical Cook

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