Twas the night before Christmas, and my husband and I were enjoying the glorious peace and quiet of a holiday alone. I made a lovely Italian-themed dinner, but before that, we had our own cocktail party. On the menu, roasted olives and fennel, blue cheese cookies (cut in the shape of stars, to be festive), and negronis.
Roasted Olives and Fennel
I am a huge olive fan. Love them. But, there is only one thing better than olives, and that is warm olives. To make them, I rinsed off a mix of olives from the olive bar at the store. I then zested an orange and lemon, removing the zest in big chunks, then juiced each of them. Toss the olives in the juice. Then, take a fennel bulb (or part of one, depending on how big and how much you like fennel), cut it in strips, and toss that in. Add a bay leaf and a few cloves of garlic smashed up. Toss it all together with a drizzle of olive oil. Preheat the oven and stick them in. This is not an exact science, so if your oven is already on for something else, that’s fine. In general, I’d say a good 12-15 minutes or so at 375 or so ought to do the trick. You want to heat them up, and cook the rawness out of the fennel. And voila, warm yummy olives.
Now on to the drinkies. I am not a huge cocktail person. Wine is my vice. But, I make an exception for these. They are just lovely. The Campari is bitter, but it’s cut nicely by the vermouth. Not too sweet, not too harsh, just right. To make one, put one ounce each of gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari in a shaker with some ice, shake it up, and serve with an orange wedge. Cheers!