While on vacation in Portland, The Man and I took a Spanish Tapas cooking class at Hip Cooks. Besides having a lot of fun and learning some new techniques, we came home with some new recipes and fresh inspiration for a few dishes that we were already familiar with.
It’s funny, but I can remember a time when I didn’t like olives at all. They just weren’t part of our family’s diet and the only time I was ever exposed to them was when they ended up on a pizza (by mistake, I’m sure). When I was eighteen years old, I decided that being olive-averse was unacceptable and determined once and for all I was going to learn to like them. So, from that point on, every time I had the opportunity to eat an olive, I did. And little by little, I learned to love them. Now I can’t imagine life without them! My favorite olives are Castelvetrano olives. I love them as much for their neon green color as for their buttery flavor!
These marinated olives could not be more simple and they are perfect to serve with cocktails and appetizers. I used a variety of pitted and stuffed olives and there are so many varieties out there that the possibilities are endless. Just remember to make them ahead of time to allow them to marinate–at least overnight, as their flavor improves the longer they sit.
2-3 jars of olives in brine, drained. I used a jar of garlic and jalapeño stuffed olives, a jar of olives stuffed with red peppers and a handful of kalamata olives.
4 cloves of garlic, minced
zest of one lemon
a few sprigs of parsley, chopped
4 cherry peppers, seeded and sliced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
The cherry peppers and red pepper flakes are optional, but they add a nice, spicy kick to these olives. Combine all of the ingredients together in a medium sized bowl and refrigerate at least overnight if not longer. Before serving, allow the olives to come to room temperature.
While hummus is typically made with chickpeas and tahini, I’ve made this very simple hummus with white beans (one can of cannelini beans and one can of navy beans) and left out the tahini. The white beans have a softer texture than chickpeas and I found that it takes less olive oil to create a creamy texture. It is such a simple recipe and we have been snacking on it almost every day with cucumber slices, which makes it a very healthy snack!
2 cans of white beans, drained
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
Juice of one lemon
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
In a food processor, mince the garlic, then add the beans, lemon juice, cumin, salt, pepper and olive oil. Puree until smooth. I topped the hummus with a mixture of roasted red pepper, capers, a splash of white wine vinegar, olive oil and fresh chopped parsley.
The cucumber sticks are simply small persian cucumbers cut into quarters and dressed with a squeeze of lemon, fresh chopped parsley and a sprinkle of sea salt.