Sunday, September 28, 2008

Summertime Tapenade

Technically, this is not a true tapenade. But the bold presence of the black olives made me call it that. I think it has a nice ring..

chopped perfectly ripe tomatoes (don't even think about making this in the winter! use olive-oil-soaked sun-dried tomatoes if you do. and leave out the cucumber.)
~ I have discovered dry-farmed tomatoes this season. oh. my god. ~
diced Armenian cucumber (discovered that this season, too.. )
minced garlic
chopped oil-cured black olives, with the brine set aside
freshly toasted cumin
freshly toasted coriander
sea salt to taste
chili flakes to taste

Combine these ingredients to meet your needs. I used enough small early girl tomatoes to fill my two hands, and diced enough cucumber to fill it out nicely, but not densely (then I ate the rest of the cucumber slice-by-slice as I prepared dinner!). I minced 4 regular-sized garlic cloves, and chopped.. 8 olives, because that's what was in the fridge. I toasted a little more than a teaspoon of cumin seeds, and a little less than a teaspoon of coriander. Toasting spices brings out their flavor; I can't recommend this highly enough. It's really worth the few extra minutes of effort and attention. You will smell when they're done. Trust your nose. Add the reserved olive brine to your taste. Then the sea salt and chili flakes.

We ate this atop grilled lamb chops.
Then the next day, after it had had a chance to meld overnight, I ate the remainder on my scrambled eggs.

Nourishing Sea Veggie and Greens Soup with Coconut

When I need deep nourishment, my body calls out for sea vegetables and real, homemade broth.
Here's a Thai-inspired bowl I ate this evening.

Serves 1 big bowl.

real, homemade chicken broth (or, in my fortunate case, broth from Three Stone Hearth)
1/3 cup coconut milk
1-2 Tbs coconut oil (don't be afraid of this oil. so good for you.)
a small handful of arame, or whatever sea veggie you have or like
1 tsp kelp powder
fish sauce, to taste
grated fresh ginger, to taste
large handful chopped leafy greens ~ collard, kale.. dandelion.. whatever you like or is on hand
a sprinkling of powdered gelatin (Bernard Jensen is a good brand), to even greater soothe and encourage digestion

Measure out enough chicken broth to almost fill your favorite large soup bowl. Put this in a small pot (or my favorite tiny cast-iron skillet). Add the coconut milk and oil, and the arame. Once it warms close to a simmer, sprinkle in the kelp powder and gelatin and let them dissolve on top before stirring them in. Add the other seasonings ~ fish sauce and ginger ~ to taste. When the broth comes to a light boil, add the chopped greens and let these simmer till they are wilted and their color turns slightly. Adjust seasoning as necessary, and add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes if your tummy is up for it. Sit down, turn off the noise, and bring this bowl up to your face to let the steam warm you flushed. Drink and chew and be well.