If you like having dinner and cocktail parties, you know how important it is to have a decent stockpile of serving ware, platters, casserole dishes, trays and such to present your culinary masterpieces on.
And, in case you haven’t been out shopping for serving pieces lately, let me tell ya, they’re not cheap. Check out Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, Bed, Bath and Beyond, or any of those large home goods stores. The average cost of serving platters runs from $30 to over $100!
For someone who enjoys entertaining the cost can really add up for serving pieces, especially if you like menus and presentations based on a theme or season. You’ve got to have so many options.
Which brings me to the reason for my post. Shopping thrifts and flea markets for vintage serving pieces is a great way to build up your “hostess with the mostess” inventory for a fraction of what you’d pay for new.
You’ll also often find better quality goods, often USA Made, and it’s a way more fun way to shop. For example, I recently purchased the Atlas China 12k gold plated dishes for $5 at an estate sale, the two toleware trays $1 each at a thrift store and at a flea market scored the cool mid-century Taylor Smith Taylor (Walter Dorwin Teague design) platters and casserole for $22, for a grand total of only $29!
Now, unlike new stuff, you’ll sometimes see scratches, dings, chips, or other blemishes. Or you may find odd number pieces from what were once a set. But if the price is right, the design is great and there are no super detracting imperfections, then don’t pass it up. You’re not buying for investment purposes. You’re just looking for some inexpensive, interesting things to put your food on.
I actually prefer to mix and match stuff. Besides, nothing wrong with a little “shabby chic” right?
Now onto the recipe part. I had some friends over last week for snacks and cocktails before going out to dinner. I made my eezy peezy bruschetta crostinis, which has been a favorite recipe of mine for years, all the way back to when I used to cook for a living. Not only is it simple to put together, it tastes yummy and looks great. And if you make extra of the bruschetta, you can use the rest later. Add in fresh chopped basil. It’s delicious mixed with pasta, or spooned over grilled chicken or fish.
6 plum tomatoes, chopped, drained
1/2 can artichoke hearts, chopped, drained
3 tbsp capers
1/4 chopped pitted kalamata olives
3 tbsp chopped scallions
1 chopped garlic clove
2 tbsp Balsamic glaze
Shredded three cheese Italian blend
1. Combine first 7 ingredients in a bowl.
2. Crostini toasts are now available already made up in the deli or bakery section of many supermarkets. Otherwise you can slice up a baguette into rounds, brush with a little olive oil and toast in the oven.
3. Smear some pesto sauce on the crostini, top with the bruschetta, then sprinkle on the shredded cheese.
4. Broil until cheese it melted. Keep an eye on this, it happens very quickly!
5. Arrange on a vintage platter or tray. Then mangia, mangia!
I only made about a dozen crostini that night. But the recipe makes enough bruschetta for probably triple that, or to use in another dish later. Also, the proportions of olives, capers, etc can be adjusted to your taste.
And I was also able to use my Atlas China dishes for a little cheese platter and hor’s deouvre plates, along with some pretty vintage napkins, which are also nice to collect for entertaining.
Those little jelly like rectangles are apricot fruit paste. If you’ve never tried it with cheese and crackers, you don’t know what you’re missing! Comes in other flavors too. Very, very yummy.
Till next time…..
Linking up with Catherine of Not Dressed as a Lamb for #saturdaysharelinkup