Tag Archives: Holidays

The Lost Month

1 Nov

Last we spoke, it was early October. Gourds and mums filled the markets. Discount stores began lining their flimsy, 1960s-era shelves with last year’s leftover candies and decades-old Thanksgiving and Christmas paper decorations. Think enormous turkey and Old Saint Nick.

Well, here we are. On the precipice of a new season. A new season for which I am not ready. How can I be? I’ve barely made it through October with my eyes open. In fact, I believe I’ve missed just about the entire month. And, not only in this blogosphere.

No.  Most everything in my October life was lost. The culprit, you wonder? Violin girl. More specifically…college applications. There’s good reason why they use the word “process.” It’s code for time.  As in time consuming. I must admit, I had been warned. Countless times. Countless years. I’m pretty sure I had heard the stories far too many times that I had come to believe they were nothing more than urban/rural legend concocted by highly-involved parents (mothers, in particular) entrusting their whole vicarious lives to the college gods–the elusive college application board.

I’m afraid that I, Kaukab’s daughter, have drunk the application Kool-Aid and fears there is no going back. Only thing to do is to press on to a  new month and hope most of it doesn’t pass me by.

I must say, though…two things Kaukab’s daughter did manage to yield from October:

1. A lovely anniversary dinner out at one of our favorite spots–salmon with herb and cucumber coulis, followed by a lovely cup of caramel-sea salt espresso and chocolate-covered macaroons at our new favorite cafe, just blocks from our home.

2. A rather large sack of Halloween candy (the good stuff, minus the candy corn) dropped off by driver boy, courtesy of neighbor-friends who live to lavish on him.

Not a bad month, afterall.


Tampenade For (Almost) Everyone!

11 Dec

My Olive Tampenade


In Kaukab’s home, olives were served in their original shapes. Whole. With pita.

But, we’re cooking in my kitchen, so we’re going to let loose and pulverize them into a wonderful pesto to appetize on to our heart’s content. Oh, Kaukab’s gonna be real mad.

Don’t you worry, though. It’ll be a while before she finds out. Long enough for you to make this delicious recipe for your holiday party guests.

Let’s get started.

You’ll need these fine ingredients:

12 oz. kalamata olives, pitted (or any other flavorful type you prefer; in fact, a mixture of green and black would be great, too)

1 lemon, used for both lemon zest and flavoring

1/4 to 1/2 C. pine nuts, lightly toasted

3 – 4 med. sized garlic cloves, cut in half lengthwise and again crosswise.

1 small bunch parsley, tops only

3 – 4 sundried tomatoes in oil, coarsely chopped

You can throw in a few capers, if you like. I didn’t, but that’s just me. Hubby likes capers, though.

4 oz. parmesean cheese (from wedge), cut into 5 – 6 pieces

sea salt (very little, just for added taste, since you’ve got the salt from the olives)

cracked black pepper

The Ingredients


Firstly, place your pine nuts in a small saute pan and on the lowest heat, possible, toast until lightly brown (about 5 – 7 min.), stirring every so often. Set aside to cool.

In food processer, dump in: olives, tomatoes, cheese, parsley tops, pine nuts, and zest of 1 lemon, and juice of 1/8 – 1/4 lemon, salt, and pepper to taste. Pulse until ingredients become a light paste, like pesto. Taste and adjust, if needed.

Hangin' Out In The Processer


And, that’s it! Simple.

Serve with a crostini or good crusty bread.

Don’t be concerned with that voice coming all the way from Cleveland. It’s just Kaukab wondering: “Why you make like dat?”

Unlike her daughter, who made two bowls-worth of the olive spread–one for violin girl’s college English class party (watch me brag); one for us–you don’t have to answer.

Double Trouble

Just enjoy your tampenade.
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