Thursday, September 2, 2010

Insalata Caprese on a Toothpick - A Caprese Salad Martini for Poker Night

My first time hosting the neighborhood poker game since we got back.

We have three rules...

  1. It's dealer's choice for which games to play, but no one is allowed to call wild cards.
  2. Never tell your wife who won or who lost and especially how much (tell one woman, may as well tell them all).
  3. We are here to play cards, not judge a culinary contest.  Food must be easily eaten with little chance of the cards getting ruined by messy fingers.

So, while you would think that chicken wings would be a big hit, in fact, they are the worst to serve.

Sandwiches are safe, but the game doesn't start till 7 PM, after dinner.  So something that big is also not the best.  If you do serve sandwiches, cut them small enough so that you can eat one in 2, no more than 3 bites.

Food on a stick is good.  You have a handle. 

Food on a toothpick is better still.  Two fingers, one bite and back to check raising the dentist (he always will call, "just to keep you honest (dumbest excuse to give your money away ever invented... but I digress))

Oh, and one more rule about poker food...

Food with booze
whenever possible.

We have six regulars, everyone except Bill got half a dozen of these with a shot of Absolut Pepper infused Vodka as a garnish.

As a friend of Bills, I followed his wishes and served him virgin (non-alcoholic) salad on a stick by giving him a shot of bloody Mary mix with a few twists of the pepper grinder  (sorry, no photo, but the baby Caprese Salads sunk into the red, so not really worth looking at anyway).

I also made a few sandwiches (my fancy, Toasted Grilled Cheese Sandwich - Gruyere Cheese and Pesto,  each sammy cut into 4 wedges, two bites each (still following the rules).

But, back to my drunken salads...

Here's what I did...

6 shots  of Absolut Peppar (pepper infused vodka)
Bloody Mary mix as a non-alcoholic alternative
36 Cherry Tomatoes
1 cup of Ohio Pesto (Pesto made with Walnuts instead of Pine nuts (Click HERE for the recipe)
36 cube shaped pieces of Mozzarella Cheese (about the same size as the tiny tomatoes)
6 slices of Prosciutto Ham, rolled and cut into the size of the cheese cubes (which were cut into the size of the tiny tomatoes)
36 toothpicks or olive swords
6 Martini Glasses

Only prep work, slice the tomatoes about 4/5ths of the way through, without cutting all the way through.  Stuff a tiny bit of the pesto into the tomato and pack firm.  If it is too loose, when they get their vodka bath, they will start to break up.

one piece of each item on a sword, arrange in a martini glass and pour the vodka to coat.

And only draw to an inside straight if you are getting 12 to 1 on your money.  Flush draws are sucker bets at even money.

Oh, one more thing

If not poker, how about serving these as a lunch treat when you host the, "finally, the little darlings are back in school" neighborhood luncheon.

It's noon somewhere.



  1. Looks like a tasty little treat and very creative.

  2. As a retired dental hygienist, the dentist always calling to keep you honest cracked me up. They're like that.... ALL of them.

    Those little appetizers are just too cute!

  3. You are absolutely correct, it IS noon somewhere! Good luck on the project food blogger. I am still working on my first assignment :-)

  4. These look so delish and so cute, too! Love the Absolut Peppar in them! Cheers!

  5. These look SO good! I'd probably use cigliene mozzarella instead of cubing it because I'm lazy. Do they keep long? I'd love to serve them up next time we have friends over for a homemade-pasta-and-sauce night, but the pasta and sauce part takes all day, so appetizers would probably have to be prepared the day before. Also, WHERE DO YOU GET ABSOLUT PEPPAR? I've been searching for months! Stupid Massachusetts...

  6. Sounds like someone isn't missing the islands any longer, ha ha!

    These are fun finger food, nice idea, Dave!

  7. lol @ "it's noon somewhere." The ladies in my neighborhood already tease each other about being "The Real Housewives of...."

    This is a great recipe. Tasty, fun, and functional. Good call!

  8. I haven't had a good Bloody Mary in forever. the Caprese salad on a toothpick is perfect! It sounds like you've got this poker night business down to a science! :D