In my family dinner must be accompanied by a plate of various pickles such as icicle pickles, pickled beets, pickled onions and most importantly, olives. It really is considered a side dish and without it the table is not considered set. With that said I was an olive eating machine by the age of three. Within minutes of the pickle dish being served, I had usually devoured at least half of the olives.
When I was in the 4th grade I was invited to my friend’s Halloween birthday party. Dressed as a cat with birthday present in hand I was greeted at the door by the grim reaper; aka Nikki’s yoga loving environmentalist father. The reaper led me to the basement where all the children were sitting in a circle. I carefully took my place as the lights dimmed.
A flashlight below the chin suddenly lit up the reaper’s face as he chuckled like a mad man. He began to tell the story of a murdered man who relentlessly haunts the living. “Tonight we have some of his restless remains, so we’ll make you acquainted at once with his .. BRAINS” And the reaper passed a bowl of tofu around the circle. As the bowl made its rounds each girl would screech at the touch of brains.
The reaper continued “And now your shuddering touch will know, the victim’s HAIR has continued to grow” and he passed around a bowl of what seemed like hair. The screeching became louder this time as the girls ran the dead man’s hair through their fingers.
As the reaper prepared the next bowl a familiar smell filled the air. The reaper then announced “His EYES were small, but very keen, though the kind deed of earth they’ve never seen”. As the bowl made it’s rounds the smell became more prominent and by the time it reached me I had realized it was not eyes inside but olives! With excitement I began to snack on the poor man’s eyes as the reaper continued with the story. A few minutes later some of the girls began to complain that they hadn’t touched the eyes yet. The confused reaper turned on the light in search of the eyes and with horror discovered I had eaten them. All the girls screamed at the horror of sitting so close to an eyeball eater, many bolting straight for the stairs. In the following years, the eyeballs were replaced by grapes, lest any other young girls be scarred for life by witnessing my cannibalistic ways.
My love of olives still lives strong , I hope you enjoy this, it won’t take long.
1 cup pitted black olives
2 Tbsp. capers
1 garlic clove
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tsp. fresh rosemary
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
Juice from ½ a lemon
crusty French loaf
In a food processor combine olives, capers, garlic, olive oil, rosemary, red wine vinegar and lemon juice; pulse until smooth.
Spread tapenade on a French crusty loaf and top with goat cheese and baby spinach.
Olive Tapenade should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge and can last up to one month.