Monday, November 16, 2009

Complicating Things

Whenever I prepare something for the first time, I often don't have the cookbook (or the laptop if the recipe came from a blog) with me in the kitchen; unless I'm baking. Once I get the general idea, I skip/ modify the ingredients as needed. The modifications are usually to simplify things. This takes the notion of making it my own to a whole new level.

But that is not what happened yesterday when I set out to make a spread. This spread required just four ingredients not counting the capers which where optional. The major ingredients were figs and olives. When I actually started making the spread I realised that the recipe called for fresh figs (I had dried) and Klamata olives (I had green and black). I was forced to make things work just as they where.
A pinch of this and a smidgen of that later I had more than doubled the number of ingredients!
The ends certainly justified the means!

Fig-Olive Spread
The proportions are a mere guideline.

6 dried figs, remove stems
½ cup green olives
½ cup black olives
1 tbsp olive oil
a pinch each of dried oregano, rosemary, and red pepper flakes
2 tbsp capers
4 cloves garlic
¼ cup roasted almonds (optional, but recommended)
1 little lemon zest (optional)

Mix the oil with ½ cup water and bring it to a boil.
Add the oregano, rosemary, and the lemon zest (if using).
Add the figs and turn off the heat.

Let the fig-spice mixture sit for a couple of hours.

With the motor of the food processor running drop in the garlic.
Add the almonds (if using), olives and the fig-spice mixture along with the liquid.
Pulse the food processor till you have a coarse-ish mixture.
Mix in the capers.
Add salt if necessary; the olives are usually briny enough.

The bread in the above picture is Vaishali's whole wheat french bread. This fail-proof recipe is my current favourite.
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