Friday, May 22, 2015

“Antipasto-Stuffed Baguettes” & “Tomato Salad with Feta Cheese” For "Memorial Day" Weekend

Well, its here, "Memorial Day" weekend! The unofficial start of the summer season. The last Monday in May is celebrated as a federal holiday in the United States since 1971. It was formerly known as Decoration Day and then changed in 1882 to Memorial Day. A day that we commemorate all American soldiers who died in military service. Memorial Day is an occasion for expressions of memory as people think about the courage of their deceased relatives that served in the military. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries. As time marches on it now has become a long weekend increasingly devoted to shopping, family get- togethers, BBQ’s, fireworks, parades, and trips to the beach.

Grandfather Louis Fiore
Memorial Day is not to be confused with Veterans Day; Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving, while Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, living or dead.

My grandfather Louis Fiore served in the Army. He was a corporal in the 9th US Infantry and was in Company A. When he was 17 he in-listed. (which he was under age) My grandfather fought in WWI and was wounded, (shot in the leg) in the battle at Chateau-Thierry, in France. He received a Purple Heart for his bravery and other medals as well. After his leg healed, he chose to go to Germany and joined the Army of Occupation with his old unit. When he passed on he was buried in the Long Island National Cemetery, NY. I am so proud to have a grandfather who loved his country to defend it for our freedom. So, today I honor him on the Memorial Day weekend. 

For Italian Americans it is especially important to remember that more that 1.5 million Italian Americans served in World War II – thousands of them died to liberate Italy. All Italians and Italian Americans have much to be grateful for today on this Memorial Day. Memorial Day is also a time to celebrate peace and sacrifice. There are many popular activities that some may enjoy which takes place in your local towns or cities. However you celebrate your Memorial Day remember to incorporate your holiday traditions with your family and no matter where you are, take time to be thankful for our freedom.

One way to kick off the summer is with a family gathering…. This weekend I have two recipes that go together so nicely you will want to have seconds…“Antipasto-Stuffed Baguettes” is my first recipe and the second one is “Tomato Salad with Feta Cheese.” My family loves these spruced up Italian sandwiches. 

                                                 “Antipasto-Stuffed Baguettes

These Italian-style sandwiches can be served as an appetizer or as a light lunch. A homemade olive paste makes every bite delicious for your Memorial Day. 

1 can (2-1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained, and no pits
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/8 teaspoon each dried basil, thyme, and rosemary, crushed
2 French bread baguettes (10-1/2 ounces each)
1 package (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
1/2 pound thinly sliced Genoa salami
1 cup fresh baby spinach
1 jar (7-1/4 ounces) roasted red peppers, drained, and chopped
1 can (14 ounces) water-packed artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained, and quartered

In a blender or food processor, combine olives, oil, lemon juice, garlic and herbs; cover and process until olives are chopped. Set aside 1/3 cup olive mixture (refrigerate remaining mixture for another use). Cut the top third off each baguette; carefully hollow out bottoms, leaving a 1/4-in shell (discard removed bread or save for another use). Spread olive mixture in the bottom of each loaf. Sprinkle with feta cheese. Fold salami slices in half and place over cheese. Top with the spinach, red peppers and artichokes, pressing down as necessary. Replace bread tops. Wrap loaves tightly in foil. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight. Serve cold, or to serve warm, preheat oven 350°F. Place foil-wrapped loaves on a baking sheet. Bake 20-25 minutes or until heated through. Cut into slices; secure with a toothpick. Yield: 2 dozen.

Editor's Note: 1/3 cup purchased Tapenade (olive paste) may be substituted for the olive mixture.

Enjoy this recipe with a medium-bodied white wine such as Riesling. 

                                          “Tomato Salad with Feta Cheese

4 tomatoes cut into cubes
1 small onion cut into strips
Feta cheese for sprinkling on top (or goat cheese)
Fresh Basil leaves
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste

Chop into cubes, tomatoes, and Feta or (Goat) Cheese. Chop the onion into strips
In a bowl, add the onion, tomato, and cheese. Add a handful of fresh basil leaves coarsely chopped. Then drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. If you want to add salt and pepper to taste. Allow a few hours for the flavors to touch and chill for about an hour.

So, enjoy your holiday weekend, be safe, and 'Tutti, Mangia”

Till Next Time…………………….

Copyright © 2015 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved


  1. Your panini look delicious! Well presented and perfect for Memorial Day weekend. The tomato and feta salad is great to be served with the panini too. You are right we should be grateful for our freedom but we all take it for granted these days. We are lucky and we have no idea about it.
    I wish you a lovely weekend dear Dottie. Enjoy with your family and eat fantastic food!

    1. Dear Alida,
      Thanks for your visit...I love these baguettes or paninis. They have so much flavor and texture that who wouldn't love these? The tomato salad is one of my favs but when the tomatoes are really ripe and in sean this dish is mouthwatering. I agree we all seem not to think about how grateful we are that we have our freedom. Thank you for your comment, have a fun and safe weekend as well with your family. Enjoy your food and traditions dear friend...
      Dottie x :).

  2. Good evening Dottie dear ,
    Your post hot all the bases .
    What a great honor it is to give your grandfather and I know how proud of him you and your family are .
    My father also received the Purple Heart , we always place it in the center of the table of celebrations so all the family can see it and be thankful for our freedom ... so many just take their freedom for granted .
    The kids will make your Antipasto -stuff Baguettes and Tomato Salad with cheese .
    Have a great weekend my friend Nee ;-D

    1. Good afternoon Nee,
      Thank you for your heartfelt comment. That is what Memorial Day is all about, to remember the men and women that made our country what it is today. We always honor my grandfather and your father as well. I agree so many take their freedom for granted! So glad that you liked the recipes, Hope that your kids enjoy them both...Have a safe and fun weekend dear friend and thanks for your visit...
      Hugs :) Dottie x

  3. Dear Dottie, Thank you for your grandfathers service and bravery. It is a weekend to reflect and be very grateful for all the service of so many.
    The salad is one of my favorites. I love to dip nice good bread in the dressing.
    The baguettes are wonderful as well. Very nice luncheon.
    I would love to enjoy this.
    I wish you a wonderful, restful and happy weekend. The weather should be beautiful. Blessings dear friend. xoxoxo Catherine

    1. Dear Catherine,
      Thank you for your comment. I hope that you had a wonderful weekend and yes we have to be so grateful for the men & women that served our country for our freedom. Yes, I agree I always loved these sandwiches and also would dip the bread in the dressing. The weather has been really nice and I thank you for your visit. Have a blessed week ahead...
      Dottie :)