The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

On The Table

February 20, 2013

Amanda Stone: These are a few of my favorite things

JOPLIN, Mo. — I'm a big fan of birthdays. It's the one day of the year you should get to do whatever you want. It's your day to celebrate being alive and to be thankful for everything you have. I recommend celebrating the entire week of your birthday in order to include all the people, things and food that you're thankful for.

This is my birthday week. Following in Oprah's footsteps, I'd like to share my favorite things with you. No, you did not win a car or any of my favorite things, but I sure hope you'll give them a try.

My favorites in the kitchen come down to staples and splurges. There are a few items I use nearly every day such as olive oil, vinegars, honey, whole grains, fresh produce, good knives and my trusty food processor. My kitchen is always stocked with these necessities.

Edible splurges for me come down to items in an antipasto. By definition, antipasto is the appetizer served before an Italian meal. For me, antipasto is the meal. My favorite splurges are assembled together on a platter in a rainbow of color and flavor.

An antipasto platter is almost as visually appealing as it is palette pleasing. Olives are a must. Crusty bread comes in a close second. Fresh fruit is crucial, with figs being my top seasonal choice but grapes are always a good choice for an antipasto platter. After the basics are covered, the options are numerous. I like to add fancy cheese, pickled vegetables, slow-roasted herbed tomatoes and maybe even a few thin slices of spicy meats. This is all accompanied by wine, followed with a piece of dark chocolate. I love my birthday week!

The following recipes are my favorite antipasto choices that I can make at home. The crusty, no-knead bread recipe changed my life. Really. Good bread is so hard to find. This recipe is easy and amazing. It's not 100 percent whole wheat, so it's not a daily staple. The tomatoes are incredible and a great way to use those split cherry tomatoes left on the vine at the end of summer. I bought a box of cherry tomatoes this week just to remind myself that summer will be here soon. The olive recipe is very forgiving and easy to adapt. My mom introduced me to this recipe by making me a huge jar of it for Christmas. They were gone way too soon.

I hope you try some of my favorite things and end up loving them as much as I do.


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