Friday, May 14, 2010

Salade Tapenade

I've made this salad a few times and, each time, I felt like I was inventing something new.  Well, in the food world (or the whole world), there's seldom anything new.  But one of the most cool things about being a well-seasoned cook (ha ha) is that you begin to have a sense, a feel, a love for whatever's around and what you can do with it.  It's not just, for instance, that strawberries taste better in late spring and so that's when you make strawberry shortcake.  But that's part of it.  I mean, don't make shortcake with fedexxed strawberries in January.  The rest of it is being able to look around the at the weather, your loved ones, the refrigerator,  the general mood of life, and figure out something to eat that uses up what you have and makes you (and others) pretty happy.  Maybe avoids a trip to the store.  Keeps you at home.  Perhaps saves you time by making something that doesn't require cooking from scratch that day.

I often make tapenade, which is generally a mixture of chopped olives and something else.  Spread it on a cracker or toasted baguette.   Of course there's more than one kind.  I have a cracker-licking good one that involves olives, figs, walnuts, and thyme...  Gee!  But I make a regular old kalamata-anchovy-garlic-parsley one that I use to top grilled pork chops or chicken.  I always have some left.  Sometimes I throw it into or on top of an omelette.  But I adore this salad.  The tapenade, some greens, maybe a few sauteed cherry tomatoes..  That's it.   Have a little leftover grilled fish you don't know what to do with?  Throw it in.  Deli chicken?  Shred it and make a meal.  I like it just like it is, though.  A little bread.  A little wine.  A little tapenade salad.  Make some and see.  Even if you bought the tapenade in a plastic bucket at Sam's for a party.

If I don't post again for a little while, I'm on a vacation break.   I've also just begun another Examiner title, so watch for me under the "Food and Drink" section of Colorado Springs for recipes.    More later.

Salade Tapenade
serves 4

8 cups greens of choice
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1 lemon, juiced, divided
3 T olive oil, divided
8T tapenade
1 c cherry tomatoes

Wash and dry salad greens.  Place in a large bowl.  Drizzle a little lemon juice over all and dust with salt and pepper.  Put in frig briefly while you cook the tomatoes and make the dressing.

In a small bowl, whisk together   2T olive oil, 2T lemon juice, and a pinch each of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.  Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, and add tomatoes.   Salt and pepper lightly.  Stir and saute for about 5 minutes until tomatoes begin to pop.

Remove greens from frig and divide among four salad plates.  Top with 2T tapenade for each salad.  Spoon the hot tomatoes over the greens.   Drizzle with dressing and serve immediately.

News from the Two-Dog Kitchen and from Around the 'Hood

Well, Tucker survived neutering, but I hardly did.  He's been the weirdest dog and his personality totally changed.  He spent the last week running outside to pee, only to sit down very quickly and look around at the world, as if to say, "What???"   No playing.   Lying around like a dumb bunny.   Jumping up in the middle of my bed.  Crying.  Carrying on.  Finally took him back to the vet today; he's infected himself (a  little)  and given himself a rash.  So I guess you'd act weird, too, with a rash on your tush and a chewed-up incision that hurt.  I guess.  (Eeeck.  Dogs.)

   The weather?  Funny you should ask.
77 and sunny on Mother's Day.  Other days:  rain, snow.... freezing....   I have a couple of pots of flowers already, but am not fool enough to plant anything.  I keep spending my time bringing them in and hauling them out.  In Colorado, you should buy plants on Thursday of Memorial Day Weekend.  Then you'll  have that weekend to plant them, and won't have to go in and out, in and out.   Here, however are a couple of things:

            Flowering crab, left.  Primrose on front path, above.

Sing a new song; don't plant anything,

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