Ides of March party
I am throwing an Ides of March themed party... have asked my guests to don togas and will be serving hors d'oeuvres. Any ideas for hors d'oeuvres along this theme? Preferably cold items that can be left out...
You might get some ideas from looking at the book A Taste of Ancient Rome on Amazon: http://books.google.com/books?id=KVbB...
Carciofi alla Romana (artichokes Roman style) are best done ahead and served at room temp. You could offer them on toothpicks.
I package baby artichokes
big handful fresh mint
big handful fresh parsley
4 to 6 cloves garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
Prepare baby artichokes by pulling off tough outer leaves (if in doubt, keep going, the outer ones will stay stringy no longer how long they are cooked), then cut off the tips and trim the bottoms till tidy. If they are fairly large cut them in half and get rid of any fuzzy stuff in the center. As you finish each one, put it in a bowl of cold water to which you have added the juice of one lemon.
Use a heavy non-aluminum saucepan (I use a Le Creuset). Put in artichokes, water to almost cover, juice of the other lemon, olive oil, herbs, garlic and salt and pepper. Simmer covered until the artichokes are tender which can take from 10 to 20 minutes (it's that variable). Cool and serve at room temperature. These are great made a day ahead -- refrigerate but don't serve actually cold.
When I was studying Latin in school, the highlight each year was our Roman Banquet. Besides dressing the part, we ate in a reclining position. Not as easy as it sounds! The food included roast chickens and loaves of wholemeal bread that we tore with our hands, and ate with honey. The wine (grape juice -- we were underage) flowed freely. IIRC, we had grapes and dried figs for dessert. We did not go so far as having a vomitorium. :D
Since the Ides of March has a Roman history, I would suggest anything typicaly Italian or from the Roman cuisine such as these which were eaten in ancient Rome:
Bread/crostini with cheese and/or sausage rounds and other salamis;
Crudites such as radishes, parsnip chips, asparagus;
Small fish such as fried smelts, sardines;
Olive oil, wine, and herbs along with what is very similar to fish sauce (Garum)...were used lavishly so you can use these freely to spice things up.