My favorite snack at my grandmother’s house when I was little was a bowl of olives – green or black. My love for olives is still strong. While strolling the aisles of Wegman’s last week, I discovered the most beautiful olive bar.
It made me crave my favorite olive dip – olive tapenade. I’ve made this for several parties and it’s always a hit. It works for your vegan and vegetarian guests. And it is super easy to make. Serve with crackers, flatbread, baguette, or slices of a toasted artisan bread. Or use it in salads, sandwiches, or omelets.
Some tapenades are a bit fancy – a little anchovy fillet maybe some capers. I prefer to keep it simple.
- 1/2 cup black olives
- 1/2 cup green olives
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
Add the olives, garlic and lemon juice to food processor. Pulse 2-4 times until broken up. Drizzle in the olive oil and process until smooth and well blended.
But if you don’t know much about olives or haven’t experimented with them, this “Olive for Dummies” tutorial will get you up to speed:
||This enormous olive is sold both green and black. The green variety has a mild and vegetal flavor. When black, the flesh is softer and sweeter, and the pit is much easier to remove.
||Small brownish black olive that can be hard to pit, but the flavor, which is reminiscent of nuts, is worth the effort.
||A plump, purplish black Greek variety that’s especially popular in U.S. markets and a good choice in most recipes calling for black olives.
||This small, brownish purple variety grows in southern France. Removing the large pits from these chewy, flavorful olives is hard.
||These wrinkled black olives have a meaty, chewy texture and are often very salty.
||Sometimes called Sicilian Colossals, these oversized olives have a dense, somewhat sour or tart flesh.
Many kids have memories of food shopping with their moms, pulling items on the shelf, begging for that candy bar at checkout. I am not one of those kids. I honestly have no memory of food shopping with my mom as a kid. I’m not even sure how food got into our house.
My mom didn’t get her license until I was 8 and didn’t like to drive far once she did. Then the unthinkable happened – the local Acme (a mere four blocks from our house) burned to the ground when I was 15. It was tragic. Would we ever eat again? What would become of us?
Unlike my dear sweet momma, I love shopping for food. Whether it’s a farmers market or a big old supermarket, I enjoy roaming the stands or aisles and putting meal ideas together as I shop. Earlier this week I took a mini road trip to the King of Prussia Wegmans. It was as fabulous as I expected. Enormous, sleek, clean and chock full of speciality kiosks like a gourmet cheese counter and a Mediterranean bar with fresh olives, tapenade, artichokes. I didn’t know what to grab first, but eventually settled on some fresh mozzarella, a salty, melt in your mouth bleu cheese, an organic whole chicken and some gluten-free pizza shells. And if I were single and hated to cook I’d probably move in just for the take out thai, asian and indian hot bar.
Today, I kept things a bit more simple at the Bryn Mawr Farmers Market where I made some new, local discoveries:
- Momspops – homemade popsicles that are vegan and dairy, gluten, soy, and nut free. They are made by a local mother and son. Ryan tried the Chocolate Sea Salt. Delicious. Plus it made me happy to see swirls of little kids running around with popsicle juice all over their faces (including Ryan).
- Good Spoon Soups – a variety of wholesome soups and stews for all seasons, available packaged for retail sale or in bulk for wholesale food service. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options are regularly available. We sampled the Sweet Corn Poblano Bisque and bought a quart to take home. Sweet, spicy and good hot or cold.
Check these folks out at your next visit to the farmers market. And if this is not enough incentive I heard that Harrison Ford was at today’s Rittenhouse Square market. Add that to the list of “things I hate to hear since I moved out of the city.”
My favorite thing about belonging to a farm share is an email from The Farmer’s Wife. Sharing a recipe, checking in, offering me extra apricots. I often imagine in another life my husband would end up a farmer and I would be milking cows in high heels. I’d be waiting for my latest package from Amazon to arrive or rushing to the mailbox everyday for the latest J Crew catalog. But alas I am the wife of a business analyst and I live in the burbs with easy access to the city. This is a good thing.
But I do look forward to our weekly box from the farmer and his wife. This week we’ve got lots of carrots, basil, small white potatoes, Swiss chard, cherry tomatoes, a dozen eggs and more zucchini. Inspired I made my first “head to toe” farm share meal tonight – Ginger Carrot Soup and a Frittata with Potatoes and Swiss Chard. The only cheat was the store-bought mozzarella I drizzled atop my frittata. I’m actually quite pleased with the turnout (a budding chef always samples before inflicting others with her cooking). However, I was a little too generous with the ginger in my soup. Lesson learned.
The added beauty of this simple rustic meal is that it is gluten-free. Uncork a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and you are good to go.
“Classic Carrot Ginger Soup” (from Healthy Happy Life)
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2 Tbsp ginger, peeled & sliced thin (add more to taste)
- 1 1/2 bunches of stemmed carrots (about 9 medium carrots) – (I used yellow carrots)
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cups soy milk (I substituted almond milk)
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 Tbsp agave
- 1 tsp black pepper
- salt to taste
- Heat oil, 2 Tbsp broth, onions, ginger & garlic in soup pan. Saute for a minute or two.
- Add remaining broth, soy milk, pepper, agave, & carrots.
- Bring to a simmer. Heat until carrots are soft & will break with a fork.
- If soup seems too thick, add more broth to adjust consistency.
- Remove pan from heat. Wait a minute or two for soup to cool.
- In small batches, about 1 cup each, blend the soup to a thin puree. Blend longer for a creamier soup.
- Once all the soup is blended, re-pour into soup pan and allow to simmer until it is ready to be served. Re-heating the soup will lead to a thinner, less airy consistency. You may notice some ‘air bubbles’ in the soup right after the puree.
Swiss Chard & Potato Frittata (from NourishedKitchen.com)
- 3 tbsp clarified butter
- 2 shallots (peeled and sliced thin)
- 1 bunch Swiss chard (stem removed and chopped coarsely)
- 4 small potatoes (about 1 lb, sliced thin)
- 1 dozen eggs
- 3 tbsp heavy cream
- unrefined sea salt (to taste)
- black pepper (to taste)
- 1/4 cup mozzarella (I added to my version)
- Melt three tablespoons clarified butter in a skillet over a medium flame. Toss peeled and thinly sliced shallots into the skillet and fry in butter until fragrant.
- Add coarsely chopped Swiss chard and thinly sliced potatoes into the skillet and continue to cook until the Swiss chard wilts and the potatoes are tender when pierced by a fork.
- Beat one dozen pastured eggs with three tablespoons heavy cream until the mixture becomes uniform. Season the eggs to your liking with salt and black pepper.
- Reduce the flame to medium-low then pour the beaten eggs and cream into the skillet, over the vegetables. Cook over medium-low until barely set, about six minutes or so.
- Place the frittata in your oven, under the broiler for about six minutes until it is cooked through. Sprinkle with mozzarella.
- Serve warm.