Friday, April 10, 2009
I love Olive Tapenade. It has that wonderful salty olive goodness that is great on everything from pizza to sandwiches to pasta to chicken to fish. Huge spoonfuls of olive yumminess (drool dripping onto brand new laptop. Must STOP thinking about it). I could eat it like breakfast cereal. OMG, I have eaten it like breakfast cereal.
Last Saturday I was craving olive tapenade with hummus on pita bread. Nothing would do but that I had olive tapenade RIGHT. NOW. Quick search of the refrigerator revealed no tapenade, olive or otherwise. What's a desparate woman to do? Run right out to the store? No, not me. That would be too easy.I made my own out of ingredients that I had at home.
While in my grip of tapenade madness I dragged my friend Lisa under the bus with me. That's just the kind of friend I am. (why, oh why does the blogger spell checker want to turn tapenade into tapeworm? Tapeworm would not taste near so good. Or I don't think it would never having eaten tapeworm. Can you eat tapeworm? Should I just shut up about tapeworms?)
Here is what we did:
1 jar Napa Valley Bistro - Mediterranean Antipasto with Herbs & Napa Valley Merlot
1 can black olives
1/2 jar green olives stuffed with pimento
I got the jar of antipasto as a gift at Christmas and was pretty sure I'd never use it. My family just doesn't seem to go for this type of thing (we're common folk). This is a mixed bag of things. It had Kalamata olives, green olives, peppers, and garlic. All good stuff. (Don't go out to buy something like this. Use whatever you might have around the house.) We drained off the liquid into a bowl, pitted the Kalamata olives, cut the stems from the peppers and tried to pit the green olives. Those puppies were tough to work with. Quit trying to pit these little turds (by throwing one on the floor and stomping on it all the while swearing profusely) by calmly reaching for the jar of martini olives.
Yeah, this was a sacrifice but I was willing to make it. We drained a can of black olives also. Everything went into the food processor with the dangerous blade thingy in place. We pulsed this about 10 to 15 times so that everything was chopped up pretty fine but not mush. You could drizzle a little olive oil in to make it more of a paste.
Serve in a fancy bowl because it deserves it or you could do what I did; grab great handfuls and smear it into my mouth like a 1 year old baby with birthday cake.
Have you got those little bits of leftovers hanging out in your refrigerator? The cup of rice from dinner 2 days ago, that half cup of veggies from dinner last night, that sauce from the pasta that is not enough for a meal by itself but too much to throw away.
If you are anything like me (which you are probably not because you are sane) you feel guilty throwing these bits and bobs of breakfast, lunch, or dinner in the trash. I tend to place these into the refrigerator, pushing them further and further back then leaving them there until they turn into science fair projects.
When the boys were in school these green fuzzy containers would have made great projects for that biology class. I was saving it for them. I wanted them to do well in science. That's my story about why this happened in my fridge with disgusting regularity and I'm sticking to it.
Now, if you tell me you never ever do this I'll believe you because I'm gullible. If you are willing to come clean then let me give you an idea of what to do with these meal droppings.
Upon inspection of my fridge Sunday afternoon I discovered that I had the following:
2 cups roasted potatoes, carrots, yellow squash & zucchini with Italian herbs from dinner 3 nights before
1 cup of Swiss cheese and portabella mushroom dip from the party
1 cup cooked white rice from dinner 2 nights before
1/2 loaf of french bread
I had 3 choices;
1. a casserole;
3. science fair fodder.
Monty, I chose door number 2
I pulled out the food processor to grind up the roasted veggies. I tossed that mush into a big soup pot, added the party dip and rice. Poured in 3 cans (about 4 cups) of veggie broth and one can of stewed tomatoes with Italian seasonings. (see a theme here? Getting this to taste good you have to make it all about the theme). I simmered this for about 30 minutes. I wanted this a little smoother so hit it with the hand held blender but rustic would have worked.
I toasted one side of the french bread under the broiler, flipped them over, topped with Parmesan cheese, and melted that under the broiler. These I put on top of each bowl of soup like a big crouton. Oh yeah!
I've been making leftover soup for years. In that time I've had some major successes and some major failures. Sunday night's soup was a hit. 3 out of 5 went back for seconds. That's a win!
The key to leftover soup is the theme. If you are using leftovers that have a theme; Italian, Mexican, whatever anything that you add needs to go with the theme.
Leftovers from taco night; taco meat (not at this house but you could have it), Mexican rice, refried beans, cheddar cheese, hard taco shells. Hmmmm...what would I do?
Toss the meat, rice, beans into a pot with beef broth (or veggie or chicken) let simmer for about 20 minutes. Top each bowl with cheese and crunched up taco shells. Voila! Dinner!
Your leftovers need not linger in your fridge to become those fuzzy green science projects. With a little creativity they can become a fantastic (or at least edible) dinner.