Herbed Olive Tapenade with Goat Cheese Bruschetta


Here is an easy appetizer idea perfect for a relaxed evening with friends or something pretty to take to a party.  You can purchase store bought Olive Tampenade at Costco.  It is really good and could easily be substituted for the tampenade step in this recipe.   Note:  Tampenade is a Provençal dish consisting of finely chopped or pureed olives.  It’s a popular food in the south of France and perfect eaten on slices of bread.

I found the recipe on Pinterest and it’s pinned to my Appetizers board here.



I cup of chopped Kalmata olives (pitted)

1 cup of chopped Manzanilla olives

3 large cloves of garlic diced

3 TBL of chopped fresh oregano

3 large basil leaves chopped

salt and pepper to taste

3 TBL extra virgin olive oil

2 TBL red wine vinegar

1 fresh squeezed lemon

4 oz cream cheese softened

4 oz of goat cheese

1 baguette

Preheat oven to 350.  Slice baguette into 1/2 inch slices and butter each side with real butter.  Bake for about 10 minutes until golden, flipping half way through so they toast evenly on each side.

Mix the cream cheese and goat cheese together in a bowl and set aside.

Combine all of the tampenade ingredients (olives, garlic, herbs, seasoning, oil, vinegar, and lemon juice) in a small bowl.

Spread cheese mixture onto each baguette slice and place on a platter. Top each toast slice with a tsp (or more) of tampenade.  Chill or serve right away.  If you have more tampenade left over you can save it for another day or eat as a snack with pita chips.  It’s great served on top of grilled chicken or salmon, too.


Wednesday’s Weave — Watermelon Salsa

watermelon salsa with wildflowers

I made the most refreshing salsa with a twist this week — Watermelon Salsa.  I found the recipe on Pinterest.  It requires a little assembly with all the chopping, but the results are worth it.  We had it with sweet potato tortilla chips and there was enough leftover to serve it with grilled salmon later this week.

Here’s a tip from Earnie:  When you slice a melon, do it over a paper grocery bag.  It will catch all the juice, then roll up the rinds in the bag and toss in trash (or compost bin).  The bag helps contain the odor until trash day.  Earnie taught me this trick years ago and I am still doing it!

sliced watermelonHere’s the recipe:

1/2 a baby seedless watermelon (I got mine at Trader Joe’s)

One large mango, diced (do yourself a favor, buy mango already sliced by the grocer)

1/2 red onion, diced

1 jalapeño, diced (I seed mine to control the heat)

2 limes, zested and juiced

1 pinch of salt (I added 2 pinches, but salt it to taste for you)

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Slice one baby seedless watermelon in half lengthwise. Trim a little off of the rounded edge of the watermelon, so it sits up like a bowl without rolling around. Use a spoon to scoop out the watermelon flesh of one half—being careful not to scoop all the way through the trimmed bottom—forming a bowl with the watermelon rind. Dice the watermelon flesh into bite-sized pieces.

Pour the diced watermelon, mango, onion, jalapeño, lime juice, lime zest, salt and cilantro into a large mixing bowl, tossing to combine.

Spoon the salsa into the watermelon bowl. The salsa tastes better as the flavors sit, so if you can, refrigerate this for 20-30 minutes before serving.

Serve with tortilla chips.

watermelon salsa 2

watermelon salsa on table

Be sure to check out more recipes on my appetizer board on Pinterest.

A Ploughman’s Lunch

with floral

When we get the chance to travel, especially in Europe, I am always intrigued how different the food is presented.  In the U.S. we are accustomed to our plates overflowing with tons of food — meat, potato, vegetables, bread, and dessert.  When we traveled to Turkey last summer (you can read about here), the food was simple, fresh, delicious and just enough.  I never felt uncomfortably full, but simply satisfied.

Mr. Bee is English.  Raised in the U.S. by his English parents — Tony and Irene — he loves traditional Christmas dinners with yorkshire pudding, making Christmas pudding with Miss Bee and a good Ploughman’s Lunch.

with dougs hand

By definition, a Ploughman’s Lunch is an English cold meal which consists of cheese, pickle, and bread.  You can add other items like apples, boiled eggs, ham and pickled onions.  This was the farmer’s midday meal.  Quick and easy to eat often tucking the hunks of bread or apple into his pocket as he went back to work.

Really, it’s the perfect summer meal. No need to heat up the kitchen or cook. Easy to assemble on a platter, and great with a good glass of wine.

Deconstructed, traditionally you need a good hunk of cheddar and a hearty loaf of bread.  The Branston Pickle (which is a chutney made from a variety of pickled vegetables diced very small) and pickled onion were purchase from World Market and the rest of the cheeses — Brie, Apricot Stilton and blueberry goat cheese — came from Trader Joe’s. Add a few hearty crackers, honey crisp apples, and a small dish of olives.

full screen with platterWe sipped a new, to us, variety of wine from Blue Apron’s wine club, Las Canovas Tempranillo.  The bottles are 500 ml and sized for two people.  It was smooth and perfect with the hearty cheddar and the dark chocolate for dessert.

soft focus

up close 3

We have leftovers for the week to make grilled cheese sandwiches.  What’s your perfect summertime meal?

Easy, easy appetizer for spring

I helped host a bridal shower for a co-worker recently.  When I saw a recipe for Kale and Goat Cheese Empanadas, I knew she would love them.

They are super easy to make and very yummy.  Check out the latest issue of Oprah magazine for this and other recipes, including brownies made with just a jar of Nutella, eggs, flour and salt!

I doubled the recipe.  I took two bunches of Lacinato kale and washed and chopped the greens.  Mix in salt and pepper then saute them in olive oil, I didn’t measure but about 3 tablespoons would do it for doubling the recipe.  After about 4 minutes of sauteing, put the greens to the side to cool.  Once cooled, I added one cup of crumbled goat cheese.

Then you take refrigerated pie crust dough.  I didn’t do it like the recipe said because I needed more than 8 empanadas per recipe.  So I took my Martha Stewart biscuit cutters and made 16 cut outs from each disc of dough.  I took about a pinch full of the kale mixture, put it in the center of the dough circle, wet the edges with a little water and sealed the edges by pinching them off.  This method yielded 32 bite-sized empanadas.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden.

You can make these ahead, cover with a damp cloth and foil.  Then bake when you need them later in the day.  Easy. Easy.