I almost hate to give away my olive tapenade recipe, because of the rave reviews it gets when I take it to parties. Everyone thinks I'm a culinary goddess, and it's really so easy I think of it as my little secret weapon. But it's just too good to hoard.
First, you will need a really good food processor. Now, I feel about my Cuisinart the way other foodies feel about their Kitchenaids, that is to say, it's among the things I would take with me if my apartment was burning down, so if you don't have one, I suggest you go the Cuisinart route. This is the one I have, and I love it, but I gotta say that if someone wanted to get my this bebe one for my impending 30th, I would be ecstatic.
Olives. Mmmmm, olives. I love olives. They're firm and juicy and salty and oily and all the good things the world of food presents. The texture of the black ones is a little mealy for me, although but sometimes I use them for my tapenade or my puttanesca. This time, however, I went to Central Market and they have an olive bar. Hello!!! I got a large container (a pint, maybe?) of pimento-stuffed Spanish queens and a smaller container (about a cup) of pitted Kalamatas.
1 large jar or container of green olives, pitted and drained
1 small jar or container of black or kalamata olives, pitted and drained
2 T capers
3 garlic cloves, minced
juice of 1/2 a lemon
tiny squeeze of anchovy paste (optional)
fresh cracked pepper
Pulse in your processor until the consistency is even, then s-l-o-w-l-y drizzle in extra-virgin olive oil while the blades are running. Probably about 1/4 C, but it will depend on how oily your olives are. You can also throw in some fresh herbs (basil and/or oregano) at the last minute. I serve with feta on top; you could also use some flaked parmesan or romano. Eat with crackers.
NEXT: pizza. What's better for a night on the couch than pizza?? Now, I think I've mentioned before, I'm violently allergic to yeast, so pizza crust is somewhat of a trial for me. However, I've perfected my yeast-free version- it's the right texture, if a little bland, and is a perfect vehicle for the toppings of my choosing.
1 1/2 C whole wheat flour
1/4 C corn meal
1-2 T salt
1/2 t baking powder
couple of pinches of dried oregano
1 1/2 C +/- of cold (but not ice) water
drizzle of olive oil
Mix all the dry ingredients and add the water a little at a time. The dough will pull away from the sides of the bowl and form a ball naturally. Roll it out on the counter to about the size of your pizza stone (and don't even THINK of making homemade pizza without a pizza stone). Scatter some cornmeal on your stone and transfer the crust. I brush it with a little bit of olive oil, but don't use too much or it will get soggy. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes.
THEN... add your toppings. I always keep homemade sauce in my freezer (onions, roasted garlic, basil, and oregano) and that can go on at room temperature. This pizza is sweet Italian sausage (cooked and drained), mushrooms, and basil- but I like to use baby spinach, onions, fresh tomatoes, olives, or whatever other veggies I happen to have lying around. Top with medallions of fresh buffalo mozzarella (not shredded) and cook for another 15 minutes. Voila! The perfect Friday night dinner!