I had my annual Christmas Open House last Saturday evening and it was just beautiful. Just like last year, I decorated my house, cleared out the furniture on my first floor and invited artist friends to set up tables brimming with their handmades. Then I open the doors to guests who shop and sip wine and mulled cider. When the candles are lit and the house is full of that electric holiday feeling, I sigh and think, “This rocks.”
Every year, despite all the hours of preparation I put into the Open House, I am shown up by my husband. All he does is don an apron and serve wine to my guests. And every year people gush that he just “makes” the whole night. Ladies swoon, “and your husband is serving drinks like a waiter!”
This year I was also shown up by the food in the kitchen. I asked my friend Christy, a Pampered Chef lady, to make appetizers to serve to all our guests. Little mini quiches and bite-size chocolate mousse puffs and kalamata tapenade on rustic crackers. The spread was amazing. And her mad cooking skills were wonderful. Thank you, thank you, Christy, I love you.
Of all the God-blessed food that she made, I think the kalamata tapenade was my favorite. (I’m including a Pampered Chef recipe for the tapenade below. You’re welcome.) She served it on crackers with a spread of goat cheese. The recipe was perfectly balanced with the tang of the goat cheese working beautifully with the salty savoriness of the tapenade – so addictive!
Goat cheese and I have had the longest, strangest relationship. For years I tried to like goat cheese, periodically tasting it, hoping my taste buds had grown up enough for this acquired taste. But no such luck. I didn’t like goat cheese: I just didn’t “get” it. But then
last Saturday I finally understood what others had seen all this time. Maybe it was the olive tapenade or the way the moonlight shone on its fluffy curdiness, but I fell in love with goat cheese. Hard. (I had a few junior high crushes where I couldn’t stand a boy and then I just totally loved him. My new crush on goat cheese reminds me of those.) It’s tangy bite is like a strange sense of humor that I finally understand. Oh! O-K!!
So goat cheese, finally, I’m yours.
Kalamata Olive Tapenade
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup pitted kalamata olives
2 tablespoons capers
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Place the garlic cloves into a blender or food processor; pulse to mince. Add the olives, capers, parsley, lemon juice, and olive oil Blend until everything is finely chopped. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with a light spread of goat cheese on water crackers or mini toasts.