With Valentine's Day approaching, it's time to start thinking about romantic food again. This year, I'd like to take a more playful, and more intimate, approach to romantic food. Let's talk tiny appetizers.
Why appetizers? Mostly because they're small, easy to make, and you can feed them one by one to your sweetheart between light, exploratory smooching.
Let's start with marinated olives. You can actually buy pre-marinated blends these days, but they aren't cheap. Some are actually pretty good, but others ... well ... let's just say they leave you wanting, but not in a good way, as in, “I want more.” Instead, they leave you wanting as in, “I want my money back.”
The fun part of marinating your own olives is that it's easy and relatively inexpensive. You really just need some herbs and spices, a little oil and an acid. You can add a little sweetness by adding some wine, if you want. This recipe combines the fruitiness of the wine and the acid by using balsamic vinegar, but feel free to try your own variations.
measuring cups and spoons
medium sized bowl or jar with a lid.
2 cups mixed pitted olives, drained if needed*
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
Mix everything except the olives together in a bowl. Add the olives and toss. Cover and refrigerate for 1 or 2 days before serving.
Share them with your sweetheart as part of a romantic evening. If you don't have a sweetheart, snack on them while watching romantic comedies to kill the pain.
*Use a mixture your favorite black and green olives varieties. They can be plain or stuffed, whatever you like. Just avoid avoid the all too common “California” olives. These are actually green olives that have been chemically treated to make them turn black, and taste terrible when compared to other olive varieties. They don't have to be pitted, if you don't want, but it may ruin the mood if you're sweetheart cracks their teeth on them.
Photo by Yucel Tellici