Tuesday, January 10, 2006

It's the pits

We live in the heart of Olive Country. Our city is dotted with black oily messy olives. They don't all get harvested and turned into great eating. Most unfortunately turn to compost or crow food. Olive trees by their very nature are messy. They grow like weeds and bushes if they're not tended to, but can yield marvelous fruit if well cared for.

My father-in-law, the farmer, turned all of us into an olive loving group. He would harvest the olives each year from the trees on his property and cure them. There was always the caution to the girls to stay away from granpa's olives until he presented you with a jar. Why the concern? Well, he did cured the old fashioned way - with lye. Yes, that creepy stuff that would eat a hole in you if given the chance. You could always find a bucket or two filled with olves in the process of becoming food.

At each celebration, as a family, olives are present. Green, Black, Kalamata, tapenades, stuffed, you name it. Muffelata sandiches are what's ordered when we go into LA to the Farmer's Market and visit the Gumbo Pot. We'll order a bowl of red beans and rice and a bowl of gumbo too though! This is a picture of what is currently in the fridge - pimento stuffed, tiny, tiny green olives, my favorite Kalamata and one I eat all the time - jalapeno stuffed olives! I love the jalapeno stuffed with chicken salad, it's great!

I have discovered a new product to enjoy! Olitos! This is such a great idea. Spreadable olive jam. I have not yet tried it, but I am ordering some from their website and can hardly wait for it to arrive! From their website: "A Mediterranean recipe with an added twist from Olitos®. We have combined natural hand picked olives, apple juice, rosemary mountain honey, herbs and spices and a dash of lemon to create this luxurious jam.

Since olives are actually a fruit, this versatile jam works well in both savoury and sweet dishes, see below for some suggestions or visit our recipe page. Our forum has been created for our customers to add their own creations – please feel free to join the food innovation."

I can imagine it with some crunchy toast and eggs in the morning. Mmmm. Another time of day to enjoy olives. Another would be a pizza with the jam instead of traditional sauce.