0 Comments | Mar 03, 2011

Feeling compelled

My parents aren’t big drinkers.  Thus it was surprising when my father suggested a brilliant solution to a wine dilemma I was discussing with him over the phone. You see,  I have a compulsion to share things (goods, not personal information), especially when I’m playing hostess.   When I have friends over for dinner,  I sometimes get overly excited about sharing wine and I open a bottle I’d meant to save.  Or, I’ve failed to properly hide a bottle and a friend has unwittingly opened a special bottle I was saving.    This always happens when multiple bottles have already been consumed, so no one really appreciates that last nice bottle. My dad’s  solution: colored rubber bands.  Each color denotes a dollar range.  Thus, when you are in the mood to share, you know not to open something with a blue band on the top, or you can tell your helpful guest they have permission to open any bottle with a pink or yellow rubber band.  Genius.

Olives curing in a traditional greek method.

In the spirit of sharing, I will also tell you that at these parties that involve accidentally opening rather nice bottles of wine, I am also compelled to try new recipes that pop into my head.  Last time, I made meringues with rose petal sugar and also spicy Italian sausage with brie  in a crispy chard leaf. While I was in the garden gathering the chard (by flashlight) I realized that my olive tree was dripping with black olives.  I felt compelled to not let these olives go to waste.  So, they became my Sunday morning project.

I spent a lot of time researching olive harvesting and preserving, because olives really are astringent when fresh. I learned that for every culture there are multiple ways of curing olives.   I’m attempting a Greek dry curing method involving pounds of salt.  Since we have two cruises going to Greece, it did make me regret that I’m not going to Greece myself.  Sondra Bernstein of the girl & the fig heads there in May and Chef Celestino Drago of Los Angeles heads there in  July.

I can’t truly regret not getting to Greece this year because I have my trip to Vietnam and Thailand coming up this month followed by a trip to Tahiti for 7 days with my little sister on June 4.  You are welcome to join us, call for more details! ~ Candace