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Olives, Olives, Olives!


Aurora
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My 78-year-old mother felt compelled to drive to LA (from Portland) in her 91 Mercury Grand Marquis recently. She asked if I wanted anything, and I knew she'd be stopping at trhe Olive Pit in beautiful Corning, CA, so I asked for a tub of their oil-cured olives.

I like the oil cured olives for cooking because they're esy to pit. You can pretty much just squeeze out the pit and then chop or use in the mangled but whole state. Since they're made from fully ripened fruit, the flavor is less bitter.

So Mom gets back from her little drive. She tells me to get the olives out of her trunk. I was expecting a quart, the typical plastic tub they sell at the Pit, but there, nestled in the spacious trunk of her big Mercury, was a 14-lb pail of olives. "It was cheaper to get the big bucket," Mom tells me.

Jim

olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

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Count me among the olive-phobic. Over the past 10 years I have at least got myself to accept a dish with olives in it and just picked them out. If they are chopped up in a dish or a tapenade, I can stand it. But I still don't eat them if they are identifiable. I've determined to try some new things I don't like whenever they are offered to see if I can get over some of my dislikes (sweetbreads, blue cheese, olives). Hey, I like olive oil now and I used to not.

Can you all recommend some good "beginner" olives?

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I've always felt that if you take an olive and squish it really hard and eventually wind up with a fairly useful and healthy oil... it's okay.

But otherwise... I've never had much use for them. Particularly offensive to me are ones that have been pickled. Not sure why.

Oh well, Rachel and I collectively are probably bumming out the olive lovers. :biggrin:

Then again, I like tomato sauce but I'm not fond of raw tomatoes. Maybe there's a theme here.

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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Rachel, I think a good beginner olive for snacking would be the giant green Cerignola olive that comes from the Southern part of Italy. I'm not a beginner, but it is still my favorite. It is very mild in flavor, not briny tasting, and when one bites into it, it is bursting with juicy meaty true green olive flavor... a flavor almost like drinking excellent olive oil. I buy more of these than anything else, and I think you might like them too. I find them sold in open crocks at the olive bar, but they might also be found in jars?

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I sometimes woder what the chinese would have done with olives...

Well actually the Chinese do something with olives; the trees wre probably first planted in China during the 6th century a.d. (I would imagine they came from the middle east -- there was a lot of trade going back and forth over the silk route.) They're eaten fresh, preserved in salt or dried. In South China, jumbo purple-black olives are boiled with sugar as a snack, and are preserved in salt for use in country cooking. The dried olives are added to steamed fish or steamed with oil, sugar and ginger and used as a snack. The dried ones have to be soaked. There are 3 long seeds inside each stone; these are skinned and sold as olive nuts -- supposedly they have a rich taste and crumbly texture and are used in pastries (mooncakes) and at banquets. The only recipe I could find was for spicy ground pork stir fried with fresh straw mushrooms, fresh red chile peppers, garlic and pickled Chinese olives.

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I have met an olive that is to be avoided at all cost!! Those canned black olives that are pre pitted and sliced. This olive is a real fraud. It is an unripe green olive that has been soaked in lye and then pumped with oygen which turns it black.

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I too am on the side of the olives.

1. On the initial piccadillo (what is relation to peccadillo) I was reminded of tagines where olives are a frequent friend to fruitier tastes.

2. Olives de Nyons probably fave - so unctuous & tiny

3. Best dish with olives - chop black olives and stuff under skin of a duck breast before cooking. (This nicked from Pierre Koffmann). Cuts the richness and points up the meatiness.

Wilma squawks no more

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I grew up with my Greek grandfather encouraging me to eat kalamatas and calling them "Greek chocolates"! I'm a Greek choco-holic to this day--not only Kalamatas, but any olives. My favorite for munching straight are the mixed olives marinated in herbs and/or spices. There is a lebanese shop in my area that sells spicy cumin marinated olives, they are addictive.

One of my favorite winter dishes to make is a cuban pork, string bean and olive stew with nicoise or picholines...deelish.

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This morning at La Bottega I carefully scooped what I thought to be green olives stuffed with garlic into a container. Certainly easier than stuffing them myself, which I often do. The tips of the garlic cloves looked appealingly firm. When I bit into one, I was amazed to find that it was not garlic at all but a blanched almond.  :unsure:

Not that flavourful really, but interesting texturally.

The very same thing happened to me today! I was on my way home from work and stopped in this store on 9th Avenue and saw these beautiful big green olives stuffed with a clove of garlic. So I filled a small container (because I knew that whatever size container I filled, it wasn't going to last beyond one sitting) and brought them home and started nibbling and -- hey! -- that's not garlic! You're right, taste-wise it didn't do all that much, but it provided a wonderful crunch to those very good olives. But they're all gone now. :sad:

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Research~

if I didnt pick up on it before...sorry my brainsa bit leaky lately...OPA DAMN IT!!! My late mum was halg Greek (her pop was from Sardis Limnos...)

so lets pull up some avgolimono and chew the fat off some leg of lamb...kourabiedes and Greek coffee for dessert!

WOOHOOO!

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Count me in as a bit of an olive-phobe. I certainly enjoy olive oil, but not olives themselves.

However...I recently was served a basket of delicious rolls at one of those tiny restaurants that changes menus nightly. I would have sworn that I was eating sun-dried tomato pieces, so I asked what spices were used in it. To my suprise I was told they were olive rolls, and upon closer inspection I confirmed it.

Does anyone have a recipe for olive rolls?

Nifty News & Decent Deals - where I'm always listing more kitchen stuff than average people want to see...
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I personally love olives. This might have to do with my middle eastern heritage. As I was growing up Olives were ALWAYS on the dinner/lunch

table as an accompaniment to anything. My grandma still preps her own olives. She buys them fresh, salts them, brines them and packs them in jars-- delicious.

I too have never tasted an olive I did not like with the exception of those rubbery, seedless, black ones that come in a jar or on a pizza hut pizza-- very tasteless. However I have to say that Kalamata's and those smaller green mediterranean olives (sorry I do not know their name)

are my favorites. Needless to say I add them on anything whenever I can especially if my wife is not going to eat it (she hates olive!!!!!).

I usually buy about 2 lbs of kalamata's at a time. I put them in an air-tight Jar with some chilies, coriander seeds, oregano and cover them up with olive oil.

One of my simple and delicious recipes is tagliatelle with tuna and kalamata. Please use a good quality packaged albacore tuna, the other stuff is just mush.

just boil the pasta and toss it (while still hot) with the tuna, LOTS of pitted Kalamatas, extra virgin olive oil and herbs of your choice (I love dried oregano, crushed

dried chillies and black pepper). Enjoy

FM

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Interestingly, he also doesn't like lime pickle, which I've come to love. Could it be that olives are representative of a particular strong salty-bitter flavour combo that people either love or hate? By identifying the olive-lovers, can you also generally pick out the people who like blue cheeses, lime pickle and preserved lemon?

Miss J

I believe this is true. I love olives, blue cheese, and any kind of pickle. My wife hates olives and anything that is pickled or has a briny "pickly" taste (even the tang of artichockes bug her)!!!

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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I remember in high school (an American high school in Vienna, Austria), I had this classmate from Turkey who always packed his own lunch. He very often brought a pita/flatbread sandwich with a filling I couldn't recognize till I asked him- they were black olives!

I was grossed out then, but in retrospect, I think he ate better than we all did! Anyone know if this is a common Turkish sandwich? Just curious.

I grew to love olives, especially Kalamata (Vienna was luckily a crossroads of culinary cultures: German/Turkish/Slavic and markets abundant). However, they are better eaten simply pickled than in a cooked dish as they seem to turn bitter so quickly and thereafter, are to me, unpalatable.

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I'm on the other side of the coin - I love 'em. I'm thrilled that our local supermarket chain (Stop 'n' Shop) has a set of trays, usually near the cheese section, containing both adulterated (spiced, herbed, etc.) olives and unadulterated, both in brine and oil..... I usually grab 1/4 pound for munching, but they have a pretty good selection, even for recipes...

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Count me among the olive-phobic. Over the past 10 years I have at least got myself to accept a dish with olives in it and just picked them out. If they are chopped up in a dish or a tapenade, I can stand it. But I still don't eat them if they are identifiable. I've determined to try some new things I don't like whenever they are offered to see if I can get over some of my dislikes (sweetbreads, blue cheese, olives). Hey, I like olive oil now and I used to not.

Can you all recommend some good "beginner" olives?

Here's a formula for an Olive Beginner

1 - Cup - Pitted Greek Kalamata oilves in Olive oil - mild in flavor and texture

1 - Crusty Baguette

1 - 8oz block of Aged Provolone or Greek Feta

1 - cup Sundried tomato pesto

You will need a standard dinner plate 10" or 12" in diameter before you start.

Apply pesto to bite sized portion of baguette. Prepare 1 oz piece of desired cheese. You should place Olive at 4:00 position, Cheese at 8:00 position, and Baguette at 12:00.

Proceed by placing the cheese in your mouth to prepare pallet. Before you finish - insert Olive. Insert baguette at a time deemed appropriate by you.

Repeat if necessary.

For meat lovers version - fill center of dinner plate with Prosciutto de Parma or Capicola

For Vegan version - eliminate cheese portion and wear comfortable shoes

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I too have been olive phobic for some time. I hated them as a kid along with mushrooms, pickles, and raw tomato. I think alot of it is a textural thing. Most times when you eat all of the above they are kinda slimy or floppy, which I hated. Most times I think this is because they are poorly prepared or of low quality. All of these items could be found on various fast food or pizza and I can see how they would be poorly represented.

I have been trying to give these ingredients a chance lately with fairly good results.

Olives- Ate at well... Olives... where they brought out two tapenades: black and green. I really liked the saltiness of the black, but still shyed away from the green. The only other place I eat them is at my favorite restuaruant in Seattle, where I know that all the ingredients will be accurately represented.

Mushrooms- I have been opening up to them, I never disliked the flavor but the texture is still a bit odd. I have only been eating them at said restuaruant above.

Tomatoes- I have been trying to start eating them in raw form more and more, I am starting to like them too.

Pickles- Still hate pickles. :wacko:

An odd note though- I really love blue cheese! :laugh:

Gimme what cha got for a pork chop!

-Freakmaster

I have two words for America... Meat Crust.

-Mario

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I have met an olive that is to be avoided at all cost!! Those canned black olives that are pre pitted and sliced. This olive is a real fraud. It is an unripe green olive that has been soaked in lye and then pumped with oygen which turns it black.
Alas, all uniformly black olives have been dyed. Genuinely ripe olives are varying shades of black/brown.

Toby, you say that the Chinese eat olives "fresh". Do you mean, as they come off the tree, untreated in any way? That is truly awesome! A favorite trick with a neophyte in an olive orchard is to pick a couple off the tree, pretend to eat one, give your guest the other and watch his face. :laugh:

John Whiting, London

Whitings Writings

Top Google/MSN hit for Paris Bistros

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John, further research has confused the issue for me. In The Vermillion Bird, Edward Schafer describes a small fruit, comparable to the jujube in size, as the "so-called Chinese olive (Canarium album)." Apparently, they were sour when eaten fresh, but became very sweet when steeped in honey. So maybe these were native fruits, not related to the Mediterranean olive???

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I love olives. The very best ones I've ever had were smallish, and green, and pointy, and were sold from a big barrel at a little open-front store in Avignon. A flavor, I suppose due to extreme freshness, not yet duplicated by any other olive anywhere else. There were darker ones, brownish, in another barrel, and they were good as well, but the greens!

Best. Olive. Ever.

We were rushing to catch a train, and had bought a loaf of bread and a VERY strong delicious cheese, goat's milk, I think, which was shaped to look like a pear, even down to a little stick for a stem, and, from the same shop as the olives, one of those roundish coarse pates wrapped in caul and loaded with herbs. Tangerines. What a meal.

Priscilla

Writer, cook, & c. ● #TacoFriday observant ●  Twitter    Instagram

 

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I adore the beloved olive...all makes and models, including those from the can. As children my brothers, sisters and I ate black pitted ones off our fingertips.

When in high school, my father and I concocted a really nice flavor combination...black olives/cream cheese/jalapenos or mild chilis. We made a spread with a little added mayo and then ate it on toasted sandwiches. Bacon strips were a delicious afterthought.

Today I love checking out the olive bins at Whole Foods and now Central Market and trying different varieties each trip to the store. I haven't found an olive yet that offended me, but some of my favorites so far include haberno stuffed green ones and a country spice version(I think that's the name) from Whole Foods that combines greens and blacks in the same bin.

Celine

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  • 5 weeks later...

Some time ago Mark Bittman had a recipe for marinated olives in the New York Times. It may have with the article about simplifying restaurant food to serve at home. He said that by marinating any kind of olive with herbs and--olive oil?--you could make them taste amazing with no effort.

Not long after that a friend served me olives prepared according to that recipe, and they were great. She used cerignola olives, as described by Blue Heron. (She is traveling right now, or I would ask her for the recipe.)

Does anyone have the Bittman recipe, or suggestions for marinating/flavoring olives?

Hungry Monkey May 2009
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