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Olives Galore

I used to hate olives. Hated them in salads, hated them on pizza. And the idea of drinking a martini with olives? Yech.

Then I realized I had only really tasted bad olives. Those canned nasty little black things that are diced, sliced and completely flavorless, save for the salt.

Fortunately, I have been saved from olive ignorance by small producers and merchants who have created morsels of brined deliciousness.

Lately I’ve been on an olive quest, tasting and savoring olives pickled, brined and flavored from all over the world. Our little apartment in La Jolla is close to a Middle Eastern market where I recently tried small, black, dry-cured olives hailing from Morocco. They are meaty and tangy, delicious with a salad with a strongly acidic salad dressing or with a buttery Spanakopita.

At the farmer’s market in Santa Barbara today, I discovered an olive producer from Paso Robles that makes Chipotle/Adobo French Oak Smoked Olives (www.fusanoolives.com). These are wonderfully garlicky, spicy, tangy, smoky bites that would be perfect for serving with a glass of Sangiovese or Tempranillo right before dinner.

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Posted by on November 1, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

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Olive, Feta and Basil Flatbread in a Flash

Yesterday afternoon, the boy casually informed me that his cousin was coming over for dinner. Tonight? I asked. I had been thinking of throwing together a quick pizza with the ready-made pizza dough from Trader Joe’s and calling it a day. But this cousin of his had worked at a New York restaurant and was a foodie himself. I couldn’t just make a quick pizza meal for this guy!

So I set to work. Instead of the pizza idea, I decided to put together a tasty flatbread that would pair together with a tomato and garlic stew with prawns I was thinking of making. Both are easy to make and are impressive. Add a nice salad and you’ve got a nice meal for company.

I scrounged around the apartment for some ingredients for the flatbread. Black olives? Check. Feta cheese? I knew there was some in the fridge… Herbs? Ah, yes, there was still some fresh basil left. Nuts? I knew I had some toasted pine nuts in the pantry. I picked up a couple of slices of prosciutto we had left and grabbed a bottle of olive oil.

I whipped out the herbed pizza dough from Trader Joe’s and assembled the whole thing in a matter of minutes. I would most definitely make this delicious flatbread again, either to pair with a soup or as an appetizer.

Ingredients:

1 package of Trader Joe’s herbed pizza dough (find it in the refrigerated/prepared food section). You can substitute any prepared pizza dough or make your own.

1 can of pitted black olives (packed in water)

4 Tablespoons of feta cheese (I used the Trader Joe’s light feta)

I good handful of toasted pine nuts

1 good handful of fresh basil

olive oil

2 slices of prosciutto

flour

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1. Take the herbed pizza dough out of the fridge and let sit out in room temperature for 20 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss flour or cornmeal over a pizza stone or baking sheet and stretch and spread the pizza dough to a thinness of your liking.

3. Pour a little olive oil over the top of the dough. Tear the prosciutto slices into little pieces and sprinkle on top. Chop the olives into small pieces and spread over the dough. Sprinkle the feta cheese and the pine nuts. Chop the basil and spread over all of the toppings. Add a couple of dashes of chili flakes and pepper.

4. Pop it in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes.

Voila! Gorgeous-looking flatbread in no time!

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2008 in Breads

 

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