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Tag Archives | Olives

How to host a Meze party

‘Great Sauces Transform Good Food into Gourmet’ 


MezeArab music, lots of pillows spread around the room, a few chairs and stools, friends invited, and of course, prepare some eastern Mediterranean Meze. The dishes are easy to assemble and you can buy up the ingredients at any supermarket. These rustic dishes are seasoned with a mild warmth of spices and textures from countries nestled around the eastern rim of the Mediterranean Sea; Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and Greece.

Hummus – Chick pea bean dip mixed with tahini, green onions, cumin and pureed until smooth and creamy. Drizzle with olive oil and scatter a few whole chick peas on top. Serve with torn pita bread.

Baba GhannoujBaba Ghannouj – A Middle Eastern eggplant dip with tahini, garlic, fresh lemon juice and regional spices, it’s a smoky, creamy vegetable dish scooped up with toasted pita bread wedges or crisp pita chips.

Falafel – Golden brown chick pea balls made with tahini, onion and spices served with tzatziki cucumber sauce.

Souvlaki – Pork chunks or strips laced on skewers after marinating in mint, oregano, red wine vinegar and olive oil, then grilled and served with Tzatziki sauce for dipping.

Tzatziki – Mint, oregano, garlic, lemon, red wine vinegar and yogurt for dipping Falafel and Souvlaki.

Dip Pita in LabnehLabneh – Thickened yogurt dip with a hint of lemon; it’s seasoned with za’atar and drizzled with olive oil.

Pita Bread – Home baked then grilled, torn pieces of this Middle Eastern flat bread are dipping vehicles for Hummus, Baba Ghonnouj and Labneh. Or you can roll up some Falafel or fill them with Souvlaki and Tzatziki sauce.

Mixed Olives and Pickled Peppers – Find mixed olives at your local olive bar and serve with pickled or stuffed peppers.

Garnishes – Assemble lemon slices, mint leaves, parsley, chick peas, sliced scallions, drizzled olive oil, and radishes or other crisp vegetables.

Also choose from Tzatziki Feta Dip, Roasted Red Pepper Htipiti, Crispy Chickpeas, Cannellini Hummus.
Cook with Sauces
Written by
Recipe Tester for the Washington Post
Photographs and Styling by Helen Horton
Updated: June 1, 2014

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Tapenade is a briny olive spread packed with flavor and served on grilled baquette slices.

The Sauce: Tapenade – Appetizer made with olives, capers, thyme, lemon, anchovies, garlic and spread on grilled or toasted baguette slices.

‘Great Sauces Transform Good Food into Gourmet’ 

Ancient olive trees

The first time I touched a gnarled, twisted olive tree with mossy green leaves was on the Mount of Olives in the Garden of Gethsemane. That was over 20 years ago. Just last year Reuters reported findings on the eight olive trees in the garden from the National Research Council of Italy Trees and Timber Institute along with academics from five Italian universities. “Carbon dating showed that samples taken from the oldest part of the trunks of three of the eight trees came from the years 1092, 1166 and 1198….” Olive trees have longevity and some would argue, genealogy.

Seeing ancient olive trees in person is completely distant from childhood canned black olives on the tips of my five dainty fingers. No going back to those, I select fresh ones from the Olive Bar at local supermarkets where I can pick the variety and amount desired. Bins are filled with ripe black, oil, brine, dry-cured and green olives perfectly plain or stuffed with pimiento, cheese, peppers or garlic. Some are cured with crushed red pepper, cayenne or hot peppers to kick up the heat.

sliced baguetteIf you’re an olive lover too, maybe you eat them out of hand. And I’m betting you’ll like this Tapenade with your favorite olive variety or a mix for extra depth. It’s spread on grilled baguette slices so you can enjoy olives in a fancy, but easy olive hors’douvres. It’s easy to pulse in your food processor for a salty crostini appetizer on your buffet. Thank goodness for the fruit of olive trees.

You may also enjoy Rockamole, Fetamole, Jalapeño Bean Dip, Parmesan Zucchini Crisps, Vegetable Tapas, Hummus, Baba Ghannouj, Bleu Cheese Ball, Nigiri Fruit Sushi, Smoky Sweet Wings, Teriyaki Wings, Buffalo Wings, Maple Chili Wings, Gyoza, Pearl Balls, Maytag Bleu Terrine, Shrimp with Miso Sauce, Creamy Italian Feta Dip, Htipiti Feta Dip, Tzatziki Feta Dip, and Yakitori.

2012 AniversaRecipe – Chocolate Truffles
2011 AniversaRecipe – Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes

Recipe: Tapenade

Prep Time: 5 Minutes | Cook Time: 0 Minutes | Yield: 1 1/2 Cups | Level: Easy

Tapenade ingredients1 1/3 cups mixed pitted olives
1 Tbsp parsley leaves
1 Tbsp capers, rinsed & drained
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp lemon zest
3 canned anchovy fillets
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 baguette, sliced diagonally
olive oil

Special Equipment – food processor

ingredients in food processor1 Place olives, parsley, capers, thyme, lemon zest, anchovies, garlic and pepper in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Place in a small bowl on a large plate.

2 Brush baguette slices with olive oil. grill breadToast one or both sides on a hot grill pan until they sustain grill marks, or toast under the broiler. Arrange slices around tapenade.

I used French Mix olives which has a little heat. Kalamatas and green olives are mild and have a nice color texture. Try an all black or all green olive mix.

3 anchovy fillet’s are about 1/4 oz anchovies.

I love to finely grate garlic on a microplane grater or mince it with a knife so it mixes well.

Oil-cured: soaked in oil for several months.
Brined-cured: soaked in brine for one to six months.
Dry-cured: packed in salt for one or more months.

You can also serve this with crackers or pita triangles.
Serve on scrambled eggs for a special brunch dish.

Grill or bake white fish and serve tapenade on the side or top of each fillet.

Spoon over tomato slices or on Caprese Salad.

Dish Designer

  • Use kalamata, manzanilla, Nicoise, Arbequinas or other choices from the olive bar.

Tapenade with grilled baguetteInspiration – Helen Horton
Cook with Sauces
Written by
Photography and Styling by Helen Horton
Updated: December 1, 2013

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Tapas Class

Class on making Tapas

Small plates

Marinated-Manchego-Cheese-and-OlivesTapas, meaning ‘small plates’, are a wide variety of appetizers or snacks originating in Spanish cuisine. Nancy Hartwell executive chef of My Kitchen Catering and instructor explains, when people would sip sherry on a restaurant patio the sweet wine aroma would collect flies.Tapas-Class-Instructor-Nancy-Hartwell To keep them at bay, a small plate

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would be put on top of the glass. In time, it just made sense to serve little morsels of goodness to encourage conversation and lingering a little longer. Combining several together they become a tasty meal with a variety of textures and flavors. We made Lamb Chops with Parsley and Garlic, White Beans with Spanish Chorizo and Rosemary, Roasted Vegetables with Sherry Vinaigrette and Marinated Manchego Cheese and Olives.
Cook with Sauces
Written by
Photographs by Helen Horton
Updated: June 2, 2012

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