Take Olive Me


I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this on ES before, but I went through a long, torturous process before I was able to like olives. You see, I was a picky eater as a kid (I didn’t like meat or vegetables), but have slowly grown into the food-obsessed person you know and love, eager to eat anything and everything. I take an undue amount of pride in that, so when I dislike something, I get really ashamed of it.

So a few years ago, olives were left as one of the only mainstream foods left that I didn’t like, but I kept convincing myself that I had to, and that my taste buds were still just maturing. So I went about it slowly but surely, first adding bland ones to salads and pizzas, then getting more into strongly-tasting olives, until today, when I could eat an entire jar, down a dirty martini, and put olives on anything.

Back to the point—for our big family Christmas, I was assigned dips. I wanted to do something new, and stumbled upon the idea of doing an olive tapenade type thing. Like the best dips, it’s super easy and people are unduly impressed by it. For Christmas, I made a green olive-red pepper-red onion dip. I found the onions didn’t really add that much to it, so for New Years, I revisited it and replaced the onions with pine nuts. So, the following recipe is basically just a slightly blended mix of my four favorite foods:  Roasted red peppers, pine nuts, olives, and garlic. Don’t know why I never thought of this before. You just have to pulse everything in the food processor a couple of times–there’s no work at all–it’s almost Sandra Lee-ish

Pepper-Pine Nut Tapenade

– Pour into food processor:

1 jar of green olives,

1 jar (8 oz.) of roasted red peppers,

1/2 cup of toasted pine nuts, and

2 cloves of roasted garlic.

Mix it up with a few short pulses (don’t actually blend), until it is minced semi-finely. That’s it.

Oh, and at the New Years party, I tried a shrimp cocktail. Big deal, you normal people might think, but shrimp happens to be the very last “normal” food left that I don’t enjoy. I used to hate it–even say I was allergic to it because it disgusted me that much. Now I know some of you are pisted already–people get ANGRY when you don’t like shrimp. It’s like saying you don’t like ice cream. But since the foodie days have started, I’ve been doing the olive thing and weening myself on to it, olive-style. I’ll eat fried shrimp, or little shrimps mixed into pasta or rice. But on New Years, I bonded with my friend Sara, who shares the same, slightly embarrassed anti-shrimp sentiment. So we each took a bit of shrimp cocktail and tried our best to enjoy it.

It was OK. I mean, I’m definitely not allergic, but I still don’t get it. And to that persistent question, it’s the texture AND the taste. I couldn’t even eat a whole one. I know, I’m embarrassed. Worst food blogger ever.

So my New Years Resolution: To eat and enjoy shrimp by December 2009. Let me know if you can help.

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  • gansie January 2, 2009  

    so there’s no liquid or spicing at all in this dip? no olive juice? no olive oil? no salt? no pepper? i can barely stand the simplicity.

  • BS January 4, 2009  

    I know! It was so hard — you know I usually like to empty the entire spice rack in every dish – but I resisted temptation. It’s already salty from the olives, and olive oily from the olives and roasted red peppers…actually, the first time I added pepper, but I really did that just b/c it was killing me not to add anything at all–it really didn’t need it.

  • Yvo January 5, 2009  

    Hahahahahahaa I’m sorry because I’m not laughing at you. First: I, too, have felt like I should like olives for years. I kept trying them. Seriously. I was like, what is the big deal? But really, it nagged me that I didn’t like them because hello, they’re salty (I love salty snacks), they’re pickl-y (I love pickles)… why don’t I like olives? And then one day, while trying yet another olive, I found one I liked. So I ate another. I tried more and more and now I’m happily enamored of olives, but not “I crave them” yet that jar of olives from some giant gift basket – it sits in my fridge, opened once and I kind of hate the yuckiness that is those olives. Sigh. Olive snob and I don’t even know what kind of olives I actually like. Sadness.
    Also, shrimp: do people really get angry when you don’t like shrimp? I grew up adoring shrimp: popcorn shrimp, yum! Fried shrimp, check! (Ok, they’re the same thing) Shrimp cocktail – yes please but with tartar sauce, none of that cocktail sauce for me thanks! Shrimp with lobster sauce, all time favorite Chinese take out dish (best when made by Daddy, though, admittedly). Etc. Then I got involved with the picky eater bf who doesn’t like shrimp, and I tried to convince him they were good, when I suddenly realized: they’re not. lol. They are boring and rubbery (even when cooked properly) and just blah, and need so much to make them taste good, forget it. The only shrimp I now eat is rock shrimp, because the texture is very lobster-like and has its own delicious taste, but for all intents and purposes, I do not like shrimp 90% of the time. (My favorite dim sum is a shrimp dish, where the texture and bland taste work in its favor against the smooth, slippery rice noodle. In fact, liking shrimp/seafood is almost a pre-req to liking dim sum since most dishes are seafood.) Anyways, I’m with you BS, I’m totally on your side. My suggestion for liking shrimp: WHY BOTHER??? Make a new resolution. 🙂

  • Yvo January 5, 2009  

    PS Full disclosure: when I met bf I was working at a crab bar that served boiled/steamed shrimp with old bay and/or cajun seasoning. I ate a lot of shrimp those few summers I worked there, and he tried them a couple of times as well. I probably developed my boredom of shrimp during that time. But I maintain that shrimp I’ve eaten since then have not really done anything to excite me.

  • Sheila January 5, 2009  

    I too always resist anything with olives and I wasn’t aware that your Christmas tapenade had them but I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. Now if you could find a way to make me try peanut butter!

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