'Tis the season for holiday parties, family get-togethers, and all sorts of entertaining, whether for work or for pleasure. I've often been asked what to serve that's organic and tastes good, and most of all, is a crowd pleaser. So over the next few weeks, I'm going to share my party favorites--the stuff that gets eaten to the bottom of the bowl, plate, or dish. I actually don't entertain as much as I'd like to, so let this be a reminder to me, too, that entertaining doesn't have to be hard or overwrought, and the best get-togethers are informal and fun.
Sure, you can buy the stuff in a jar already made, but I can tell you now it's not going to taste as good as with this method. I'm blatantly stealing it from a woman I know (a brilliant painter named Sandy Corpora--yes, married to Pat of the tomato-staking intervention). But the fact that she made it for me once over 10 years ago and I've made it ever since with my own variations means, I hope, that the statute of limitations on stealing a good recipe is up.Ingredients:
- 1 jar of niçoise olives (This is the secret ingredient. No substitutions!)
- Olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- Lemon or orange zest (optional)
- This is the hardest part, but it can be relaxing, too: Take the pits out of the olives. I just do it by hand or with a small knife. Don't worry about the size of the pieces; this is a lumpy tapenade. Put the olive bits in a bowl.
- Chop the clove of garlic into tiny pieces and add it to the bowl.
- Same with a sprig of rosemary, or you can just add the sprig for decoration.
- I like to add a tiny bit of organic lemon or orange skin zest for a tiny bit of citrus flavor.
- Pour good olive oil over the mixture and stir.
- Put it into a serving bowl.
- Take a loaf of crusty organic bread, preferably a baguette of some sort. Slice into thin, bite-size pieces.
- Let people spoon the tapenade onto the bread themselves.
For more from Maria Rodale, go to www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com