Thursday, December 31, 2009


Tapenade is an olive spread, I use it all the time on bread, or in salads to give the olive flavor with out the big pieces of olive, I use it to top fish or chicken (actually why I made it today). It is a nice flavorful spread that gives a lot of punch. If you don't like olives you will not like this spread but if you are normal and like olives ;o) then you will love it. dump some olives, a clove or 2 of garlic (made into a paste) half a lemons worth of juice (or a splash from a bottle) about 2 teaspoons of capers (I am not the biggest caper fan so I think less is more here) a few anchovies WHAT.. HEY did she just say ANCHOVIES???? Is she out of her freaking mind I mean really who the heck eats anchovies?!?!?!?!? Yes people anchovies, and if you leave out this step I will know and I will haunt you.. anchovies do not make your food "fishy" you know what makes Worcestershire sauce so yummy on just about anything??? YEP anchovies! They are great in many sauces, they add so much flavor to your dishes and leaving them out would be a mistake.. but do what you will... OK so where was I... oh yes, olives, garlic, lemon juice, capers, anchovies, and basil to a food processor and let her rip... Oh and I added more calamata olives to this after taking the picture so I had about a half a jar of olives added to what you see here.

Give it a whirl and there you have it fast and fabulous!
Much like this post! ;o)

Oven dried tomatoes

Today we made a batch of oven dried tomatoes... they are the less expensive version of "sun dried tomatoes" You can use them in any recipe that calls for sun dried at a fraction of the cost... so here is what you do....

Have you cutest sous chef help you out by taking all the seeds and inners out of the tomatoes. Today we used grape tomatoes, I usually use roma but this is all I had on hand today so it is what I used... Ok now a note here you are drying them so you want them as dry as you can get them before you start.... don't go crazy just take the juice and seeds out of the middle...

So they look like this (below)

Season them up with a little garlic paste (see earlier post about garlic paste) salt, pepper...

And some olive oil

Give them a gentle toss

Then put them on a cookie sheet (or as we used here a cast iron pan... all my cookie sheets were dirty from making cookies and I really didn't want to wash them! :o)

See they are looking yummy already! Heat your oven to 250-275 and pop them in.

This is them half way through the cooking time... this is when I would take them out if I were using them in a sauce and I wanted the flavor of roasted tomatoes but not the chewy texture of dried tomatoes.. but alas today I want dried so we let them cook...

and cook... and forgot they were in there so a few of them burnt but.. I got enough for what I needed them for tonight.. I lost about 12 of them :o( but hey it happens. You want them dry and chewy and not crispy, think raisin not potato chip! ;o)

You can toss these in a salad, in just about any dip, the possibilities are endless! Now at this point if you cover them in olive oil they will stay in your fridge for about forever or you can baggie them dry and freeze them and they will stay forever.. I usually just bag them I like them better that way.

Now a note here.. I am a roasted garlic girl... I could eat the stuff alone (ok not quite, but almost) but if we had added roasted garlic to this we would have had burnt garlic... we needed the garlic to roast along with the tomatoes to flavor them.

Smashin' garlic into mush! YUM?!?

This is going with my roasted tomatoes post (hence the tomato juice all over the cutting board) I know this sounds simple but I wanted to post it anyway... I usually buy my garlic, roast the whole 3 lbs and section it out to freeze... there are very few times where I don't substitute raw garlic for the roasted. But when I need to use raw I use it in paste form or thin slices...I don't mean to insult anyone here but it took me a few times to get my garlic into paste so I am putting this out there for all of you that are like me and need a little help in the oh so obvious things! LOL

Alrighty then...
so you start with a smack to peel (my garlic was super easy to peel today so I just pulled the paper off first but if you give the clove a good smacking it will come right out of it's paper).

Then you smack that sucka again to get it nice and flat!!!

I chop it a little, most people say they just smash but it takes too long for me so I chop really fast then I add some coarse salt. For those of you that have read this blog you know I am a pincher and have nothing against you shakers... that being said, here coarse salt would be better... if you don't have it then I would use a tiny pinch of sugar (you won't even notice in the end and it is coarse enough to do the job) mixed with the table salt.

Use the flat part of your knife, press it against the garlic and pull the knife back toward you all the while applying pressure to the part of your knife that is pressing on the garlic you only have to do this a few time and it turns into... this less than pretty glob of garlic goodness. When you use it like this you don't end up having bites of sharp garlic in what ever you are making with it.

Now doesn't that look good?!? OK so it looks really nasty but I promise the 45 sec it takes to do this is worth it. I am sure you could do a big ol batch in a food processor if you wanted to...I mean if you like the raw garlic taste over the roasted (which would be just plain weird! ;o)) then you could freeze it at this stage for later use.