Antipasto Skewers

This is one of my favorite go-to appetizers. Who doesn't love apps (and zerts)? These skewers are great to bring to a party, whip up for company, or (in this case) kick off a birthday dinner for two.

To make the cut for my aforementioned go-to appetizer list, there are some rules. Apps gotta be*:

1. Room temperature and prepared without the oven or stovetop. This means I can prep them whenever, they won't take up precious burners (occupied by dinner), and they can sit out for guests to pick at.

2. Versatile/adaptable with ingredients that are currently in my fridge or pantry. Related, but not its own bullet point: adaptable to be vegetarian. 

3. Packaged into a bite/single serving.

4. Pretty.

5. Pretty easy.

So these skewers can be made hours ahead of time, are customizable to use up stuff you have on hand, are adorably skewered for easy eating, and are ridiculously easy to make/assemble. (And spoiler: if you don't use meat, they're vegetarian!)

* I almost added [6. Travel well] but I don't necessarily need all my food to be transported. More for me! But these are easy to transport, just hold the glaze until serving.

Antipasto Skewers
makes 12-15 skewers

1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes (the little heirloom ones add nice color!)
1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted
1/4 cup green olives, pitted
4 oz ciliegine mozzarella balls (the tiny cute ones - or cubed fresh mozzarella)
4 oz manchego, cubed (or any hard cheese you like)
15 leaves fresh basil
5 slices prosciutto, torn in half
5 slices salami, torn or cut in half
(again, feel free to use any cured meat you like - or no meat)
Balsamic glaze**

Using long toothpicks or bamboo skewers (pictured), alternate skewering tomatoes, olives, cheeses, basil leaves folded in halves or quarters, and prosciutto and salami pieces folded in half.

Plate skewers on serving platter and just before serving, drizzle with balsamic glaze.

**One of my favorite semi-homemade shortcuts is Trader Joe's Balsamic Glaze. You can easily make your own by reducing balsamic vinegar until syrupy in texture, but the TJ's version is delicious and cheaper than the actual vinegar would cost to make it.