Thanks to Sam, I am no longer indifferent to guacamole. In fact, I can now say I love it. To be more specific, I love Sam’s recipe. I never realized (never really thought about it either) how personal guacamole is. I want LOTS of fresh cilantro, but know you either love or hate cilantro; there’s no middle ground. At least that’s been my experience and if certain friends are coming over and there’s cilantro involved, I have to stop and think, “hmmmm are they lovers or haters”? It’s not worth losing friends over, but I admit to feeling a bit sorry for them. Salsa without cilantro? A Banh mi sandwich? A wrap without stems and leaves just snipped from the garden? Perish the thought.
I had a panic attack over these quinoa bites. Let me explain: at the critical point of making the recipe, I thought I was out of quinoa. Right, the main ingredient. I had already been to the grocery store, list in hand and didn’t buy the darn quinoa because I said to myself, “you have two kinds at home to choose from!” I then drove my satisfied self home. To my horror, the box of red quinoa felt almost empty. Then as I muttered to myself, pleaseohpleaseohplease, I discovered (whew!) the other package of quinoa. One more time, let’s hear it for not having to drive to the grocery store again, “WHEW!” Because really, is there anything more annoying than having to drive back to the grocery store (for whatever reason) when you were just there? Right.
When it comes to Thanksgiving, I’m a complete and total purist. I want and LOVE the same old food year after year. Having said that, I do like to peek at magazines with their beautifully inviting photos and blurbs boasting New Turkey Roasting Techniques and Easy Last-Minute and NO STRESS whatevers. Actually, I’m still looking for something that will tell me how to Eat All the Carbs and Turkey You Want With No Narcolpetic-Like Side Effects or Weight Gain! Right.
Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and mediterranean vegetable relish! Huh?! We went to visit our friends for a July 4th barbecue and I would have loved to have baked a pie or made some deviled eggs, but just could not. My roots were calling again (see About) and instead I brought the flavors of the mediterranean to celebrate being an American. And of course, the crusty bread – my favorite scoop for all things scoopable. I love this photo and picture myself nestled on top of a pile of sliced, crusty bread instead of the relish. I only have to turn my head slightly and nibble.
This relish is similar to the Sicilian condiment caponata (eggplant relish), but requires no cooking. It has great flavor with lingering notes of olives and roasted peppers. It’s perfect for an appetizer and makes enough that I was able to leave half at home (yay). I sliced 2 baguettes, used all 4 ends to “taste-test” and still had plenty left over. The ratios of all the ingredients are about the same so you can use cup measurements if you’re using olive bar/deli ingredients or can/jar measurements if using cans/jars. I’ve used both and there’s really no difference in flavor. I say use whatever is cheapest and easiest. The beauty of this is there’s really no way to wreck it, there’s no cooking involved whatsoever and it’s delicious. Our friend John said it reminded him of the spread used on a mufuletta sandwich. He’s right! If you’re wondering here’s the quick version: spread the relish on a long sandwich roll and layer on ham, salami, provolone cheese and… dig in.
Mediterranean Vegetable Relish
Makes about 6 cups or 1 1/2 quarts
- 1/4 cup red onion
- 1 14 oz can artichoke hearts
- 1 12 oz jar roasted red peppers
- 1 cup (or small jar) spanish olives
- 1 cup (or small jar) kalamata olives
- 1 1/2 cups diced tomato (drained if using canned)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse to a rough chopped consistency. The longer this sits, the better! But, it still tasted great right out of the food processor scooped, of course, onto crusty bread.