To celebrate my high school graduation, my mom threw a lovely party catered by Elephant’s Delicatessan. There was a huge spread including teriyaki salmon bites with wasabi mayo, sesame chicken satays and plenty of lemon bars. Just before the guests arrive, I came down to survey the dining room table. What I discovered led to a full blown tantrum: there was no cheese platter. “What do you mean we don’t need it?” I screamed, “If we were only going to have one thing, it would be a cheese platter!” So I took action. I stormed out of the house, drove down to Wizers grocery and purchased a dozen cheeses and the appropriate accoutrements. Instead of greeting my friends, I huffily sliced baguettes and arranged grapes on a tray. Now, while this wasn’t my finest moment, I realized last week just how far I’ve come. While planning a menu for a cocktail party, my friend suggested a cheese platter, as everyone likes it. And she’s right, they do. But we didn’t need it. The tomato, thai basil & mozzarella crostini plus the ricotta, stone fruit & balsamic syrup crostini were enough. The moral of the story: my mom was right. While there is always room for charcuterie and cheese, sometimes it’s nice to add a little seasonal variety to cocktail fare. I even attempted to recreate Elephant’s famous teriyaki salmon bites. I marinated one-inch cubes of wild Alaskan salmon in teriyaki sauce and simple roasted them on tin foil in a 500 degree oven for 5 minutes. Then, I finished them off under the broiler for one minute. For the dip, simply mix wasabi or sriracha with mayonnaise and a little lemon juice until desired spiciness. Kind of insane…like my behavior.