All of the materials for this cocktail party came from the local supermarket, and no heavy duty cooking was involved; everything can be prepared ahead of time.
Having absolutely no desire to pay inflated prices, or to be out on the streets among all the impaired drivers or the knuckleheads who think shooting firearms in to the air is somehow cool, the Mrs. and I spent the evening "in" last night. Instead of cooking dinner it was an evening of browsing on antipasti and sipping wine.
The spread consisted of two platters of assorted vegetables, one platter of meat and cheese and a platter of assorted crackers and two hot hors douvre; two bottles of ice cold Sutter Home Gewürztraminer and two bottles of equally ice cold Gunderloch Riesling Kabinet Baptiste 04 rounded off the evenings refreshment.
The antipasti consisted of bread & butter pickle spears, stuffed green olives, marinated cherry peppers, pepperoni, domestic black olives, marinated artichoke hearts and roasted, marinated sweet red peppers straight out of their jars. In addition to the no-prep antipasti, I had roasted fresh sliced eggplant, Portobello mushrooms, cauliflower and asparagus spears.
The meat was sliced Gallo low-fat salame, and (Primo Taglio, Safeway House brand) sliced portabella, and the cheese consisted of sliced provolone and a block of mozzarella that I sliced in to triangles.
The hot items were store-brand frozen, pre-cooked mini meatballs and store-brand frozen mini chicken, cheese, and jalapeno empanadas.
Food prep went like this: earlier in the afternoon I sliced one head of cauliflower in to ¼ inch thick pieces, two eggplants in to ¼ inch thick pieces, trimmed two bunches of asparagus spears (not big, fat thick asparagus, but young, thin asparagus spears) and laid them all out together with four Portobello mushrooms on two jelly roll pans that had been coated with extra virgin olive oil. I also spread olive oil on all sides of the vegetables with a pastry brush and sprinkled a scant amount of kosher salt on all of the vegetables.
The vegetables were placed in to a 400° pre-heated oven. After 15 minutes the mushrooms and eggplant were turned over, after 20 minutes the mushrooms were removed from the oven and placed in a pin tin on the stove to cool and the cauliflower was turned over. After 25 minutes the eggplant was removed from the oven to cool, and after a total of 30 minutes, the asparagus were removed from the oven to cool. The cauliflower remained in the oven for 45 minutes total. The vegetables were left out to cool down to room temperature until serving.
The antipasto platters were put together simply by arraying the pre-roasted vegetables and the jarred items just before serving, the cheese was sliced and the meat and cheese arranged on a platter. Just prior to serving basalmic vinegar was sprinkled over the antipasti. The wine was opened and began flowing.
While we were enjoying our wine and antipasti I emptied two 32 ounce packages of Manor House (Safeway house brand) beef mini meatballs in to a large pot, I added two jars of Newmans Own Sockarooni tomato sauce, a few good shakes of cayenne pepper, two tablespoons of chopped garlic, and about 4 ounces of a shredded 4 cheese Italian cheese mixture available at the Vons (Safeway) deli department, stirred and heated through. The empanadas (Safeway Manor House) were placed on a baking sheet and prepared according to package instructions.
The Mrs. and I and the offspring enjoyed a quiet night at home, the Mrs. had a good suggestion for the next time I do this, I will serve guacamole with the empanadas.