Even though I’m in pre-surgery mental mode, food still can grab my creative attention.
I’ve been playing around in my head with artichokes — not the gorgeous and expensive whole globe guys, but the more mundane and accessible canned artichoke hearts. I’ve written up two simple recipes that I really enjoy.
The first needs a food processor to make satisfactorily, but it is so delicious on bread, or as a quick pasta sauce:
Artichoke-Olive Tapenade a la Laurie1 can artichoke hearts 1 cup green stuffed olives 1/2 cup black pitted olives (can be kalamatas for a stronger flavor) 1 clove garlic (or more to taste) a handful of basil leaves (fresh is best, but I have some frozen in vacuum bags that works) 1/2 can diced tomatoes or 1 medium fresh tomato enough extra-virgin olive oil to mix salt & pepper to taste Start with the olives and pulse a little in the food processor. Add the remaining ingredients, pulsing briefly to achieve a semi-smooth texture. Use just enough oil to help bind the ingredients. Keeps in the fridge for a few days, but it never lasts long at my house. You can vary this with other ingredients, like grated cheese, capers, or red peppers.
Olive-Artichoke Macaroni Salad4 cups freshly cooked elbow macaroni (still hot) 1 can artichoke hearts, quartered 3/4 cup green stuffed olives, halved (quartered if large) 1 cup diced celery 1/2 cup chopped marinated red peppers 1 tablespoon capers 1 glove minced garlic Italian seasoning mix to taste olive oil and lemon juice to taste for dressing Mix all the ingredients into a large bowl, then stir in hot pasta and add any additional oil and lemon juice needed to make moist enough. Serve warm or chilled. Serves 4. To make this a main dish salad, add a can of “tonno” which is italian-style light tuna packed in olive oil. To quote my Nonna, “mange, mange, tutti fa benne!” (Excuse the mangled Italian. It means, roughly, “eat, eat, everything’s good!”)