In our house we’re usually running on empty and not terribly picky when we finally get to the kitchen. Also not real big on cooking by then, quick and easy is typically the order of the day.
Then there are the times, usually when I’m working the kinks out of a project, I will start preparing one thing, and several rabbit trails later, wind up with at least one something else – often a few new concoctions. Making due with what was in the ‘fridge and the pantry, Opal and I developed the Dine-N-Dash Olive Spread.
This is great to have ready, especially during the festive year-end season. Slightly tedious with the mincing (in my humble opinion machines make mushy stuff – I’m not a fan of mushy), this is one of those great foods you wish you’d thought of an hour before you can almost taste it. It’s worth waiting for when you didn’t think ahead.
Rich and nutritious when spread on celery, peeled sliced jicama, whole grain crackers or baked pita chips, it’s remarkably satisfying, so a little goes a long way. It’s also good in fingertip sandwiches, on mini-rye as appetizer, topped with salmon, shrimp, maybe a sprig of fresh dill, chive or watercress – you get the idea? I think it’s also great in won ton wrappers, steamed, baked or fried too. But then, what isn’t?
I typically make a double batch (especially when I have a lot of nervous energy or I must resist stabbing something). It disappears fast during tumultuous stretches, but during calmer times it’s kept well for as long as three days – so far ;). Really, it’s never gotten old at our house. I don’t have photos yet – it’s never around long enough, but I’m inserting some stock shots for now to help inspire you.
Like most everything else in our kitchen, the ingredients are items that are typically on hand. Except for the capers we found on clearance – and weren’t stale dated! Now we’ve developed a craving for them. Leave a comment if you do too!
Dine-N-Dash Olive Spread
8 oz softened cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese
2 tablespoons capers, smashed and minced
1 finely minced sweet cherry pepper
1 tablespoon finely minced sun dried tomato
6 oz (dry weight) pitted, minced black olives, (dried olives are great also)
1/2 teaspoon caper brine
1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sweet cherry pepper brine
1/4 teaspoon lime juice
red pepper flakes to taste (I use 1/4 teaspoon, but I like piquant)
First mince the olives, capers, cherry pepper and sun dried tomato. Set aside. In a bowl, blend softened cream cheese (about 20 seconds in the microwave at half power will do in cool months) with the liquids. Once smooth, add all remaining ingredients, mixing well with rubber spatula. Allow to sit. Best made a day ahead – but good luck with that! Don’t be afraid to play with the liquid ingredients – in a separate small dish, a little at a time :). To make a great dip for chips, thin with a splash of milk.