Sun-dried Tomato & Olive Tapenade| Reflecting Back

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Every New Year, rather than making resolutions, I take a moment to reflect on what I’ve done in the past year, and I was flipping through my agenda. In the summer before freshman year, I bought this agenda that I’d intended to use for the school year. It was a fairly plain one, about the size of a novel and covered in camel colored canvas with a little pocket on the front. Little did I know that I would end up using this agenda for the next three years, and how attached to it I would become.Three years later, the pages are covered in my hand writing and random little scribbles, the spine is no longer a spine but rather a mass of tape, and I had doodled on the cover so much that it looked like I had attempted to color the entire thing with my pen. Looking at the ratty old thing I still managed to call an agenda, it amazed me how far I had come in the past three years and how fast that time had passed. I remember as freshman I thought I wouldn’t make the next four years. I’m now a junior in high school, taking my SATs and ACTs and getting ready for college.

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Moving along to the food portion of this post, these are sun-dried tomato and Kalamata olive tapenade crostinis. Sun-dried tomatoes are one of my favorite things, and they play a huge part in this tapenade. They’re slightly salty and mostly sour accented with a tinge of sweetness, the olives add a deeper flavor to the mix, and the brie complements it all by adding an earthy but creamy undertone. I really love the complex mix of flavors in this, and this has definitely become one of my favorite snacks to come home to after school. Plus, it’s really quite a simple recipe, and great for parties (you can definitely make this ahead of time, and just make sure you have a loaf of bread nearby!).

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Sun-dried Tomato & Kalamata Olive Tapenade

adapted from this blog

NOTE: I actually feel like this tastes the best a day after it’s made, because the garlic’s flavor is absorbed much more into the tapenade.

Ingredients
  • 1 loaf bread (I used ciabatta, french bread is great too!)
  • Brie Cheese (typically comes in whole wheels, I reccommend one 5 inches or more in diameter)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 oz. Kalamata Olives coarsely chopped
  • 7 oz jar of sundried tomatos (note: if you have tomato halves it will be approximately 21 tomato halves, and  be sure to julienne them!)  (Note: if your tomatos are preserved with oil, drain the oil out of them as best you can, and don’t worry about the tapenade being greasy, it will be fine!)
Instructions
  1. Slice your bread into 1.5 cm slices.
  2. Toasting the bread: preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and toast the bread until the edges start becoming golden, approx. 5-8 minutes.
  3. Put the sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and garlic cloves into the food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Be careful not to over pulse the mixture or you might end up with a sort of a paste.
  4. To serve place a slice of brie on the bread( the slices of brie should be able to cover the entire piece of bread), add 1/2 tablespoon of tapenade on top, and serve :)

Enjoy!
~Deepshikha

Simple Spinach Dip

School has finally started again, and as have the hectic days filled with work. Days seem to get shorter, and fall is soon approaching. The leaves haven’t yet fallen, but you can feel it in the air. I’d say fall is one of my favorite seasons, with its warmth of flavors, the colors, and even fall fashion. Its the season of pie, cinnamon, apples, and pumpkins. However, summer is also one of my favorite seasons, and one of the vegetables I see as part of the summer is spinach. It may seem strange, but its very much like summer, bright, vibrant and good for you. This post is a good bye to summer.

This spinach dip is a simple easy spinach dip, and you can add more to it to add a bit more of your own flavor to it. I’ve never made this recipe the same, not even once. What is here is simply a base, that you can add to, and make it better.

Simple Spinach Dip

adapted from Sailu’s Kitchen

  • 1 3/4 a cup of spinach
  • 1 tbsp. of butter
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. flour
  • 1 c. of milk
  • 3 tbsps. of cheese
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic
  • any other ingredient you feel you want to add, to give it a little more flair :)
  1. Parboil the spinach, adding a little bit of water to the bottom of a medium sized pan(until its about centimeter deep), and cover. Check every couple minutes, and cook until wilted.
  2. Turn off the heat, and strain the spinach with a sieve to remove the water. Set aside
  3. In a pan, melt the butter, then add the flour. Cook until slightly browned.
  4. Add the milk and cook for approx 5-7 minutes on high-medium, until the flour/butter mixture is smoothly blended in.
  5. Add the cheese, and anything else you want to add(such as more cheese/ different cheese or artichokes, or increasing the garlic, or instead using roasted garlic or whatever you feel is right)
  6. Add in the properly drained spinach ( if theres too much water left in the spinach, it could mess with the consistancy of the dip).
Sometimes I even use this dip for a sandwich.

Bon apetit & happy fall!

~Dee D.