Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Green Olives with Coriander Seeds

Our hot blooded summer has definitely arrived. As I sit here and type, the morning sunlight streaming through my window has that fierce quality only summer sunlight here has. I squint even if I’m not looking directly at it. And the heat…oh boy. We have gone from slow roast to flash sear; the temperature shooting upwards with no thought for the poor creatures (like me!) it singes and melts along the way.

Summer is here. I can almost hear the sizzle as my flip-flops hit the pavement.

Time to escape the city!

Summer is the time for fresh mango juices dribbling down your chin, for digging your toes into the sand, for the sting of salt water or the blessed coolness of the pool. It’s the time to find a way out of the concrete jungle and into a place where you can still hear the birds as you nap. And, although I am all grown up and no longer have the luxury of a summer vacation, it is the time to find ways to slow down (because god knows you can’t go any faster in this heat!) over an ice cold rum+coke, if only for the weekends or the warm summer nights.

Luckily, the long Easter weekend is almost upon us and we will be out of the stifling city heat for a while! We are not dashing off to the beach; more’s the pity, but just to my mum-in-law’s farm outside the city. While it doesn’t have the sea nor the sand, it does have a pool, cool nights, a house with gorgeous wooden floors that never get hot (and are heaven to walk on barefoot), and a lovely kitchen for me to play in! Plus a white canopy bed where, I swear to you, I have the best naps of my life.

So right now, I am trying to get all my work done, at the same time making sure all the supplies for our farm visit are sorted. I’m also in a tizzy preparing as much do-ahead dishes as I can so I can relax and enjoy the nice kitchen with just a dish or two or three :)

This is one such do-ahead thing. I love marinated olives and think they are perfect cocktail food. Over here though, good-quality pre-marinated olives are a tad expensive, and really, make no sense when you can easily be marinating your own for a fraction of the cost. This recipe is one of the several I like (although it’s just as easy to wing it in the marinated olives department).

Green Olives with Coriander Seeds
From Tessa Kiros’ Falling Cloudberries, page 154)

  • 500 grams green olives in brine
  • 1 1/2 lemons
  • 3 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 125 ml olive oil

- Pit the olives by placing them on a chopping board then pressing down on them with the flat blade of a large knife. You don’t want to crush them to bits, just crack them open so you can remove the pits. Place olives in a bowl and discard pits.
- Cut four or five thin slices from the lemon half (discarding any pips) and add to the olives.
- Roughly crush the coriander seeds in a spice grinder or coffee grinder, or using a mortar and pestle. Do not grind them to a powder; you just want the seeds cracked so they release their aroma. Add this to the olives.
- Juice the other lemon and add to the olives, along with the garlic and the olive oil. Season with pepper. Taste first before adding any salt as the olives are probably salty enough.
- Mix everything well and leave to marinate for at least an hour before serving. This will keep for a week in the fridge (covered).

I like this recipe because I love the aroma and flavor of coriander seeds. Tessa says this is a typical Cypriot preparation. If you are too lazy to pit the olives, then leave them unpitted, or, like I did here, only pit some of them. This is great for a cocktail party because you can make it ahead (it will actually get better and more infused if you let it sit overnight) and have it on the table when your guests arrive – distracting them and giving you time to finish up the more a la minute stuff.

This is going with us to the farm, along with other goodies, as part of a Greek dinner we are preparing. We are in charge of Friday lunch and dinner – dinner will be Greek-themed and lunch will be Mexican. All seafood! I hope to have some photos to show when I get back :)

Meanwhile, if you’re over here, keep cool! If you’re in some other hemisphere or across the ocean…send a little breeze my way? :)


MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Your farm get away sound divine! as do these olives - the coriander should be great with them.
That cookbook, yes, I've been meaning to check that one out.
Know what you mean about the heat coming. Sounds like you a little ahead of us but I've planted my basil in the backyard.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Joey, I love olives but have never tried them this way. What a delicious dish to nibble!
I have a friend who told me wonders about that book.

Marvin said...

Yikes, Philippine summers are the only season I've experienced there. Some day, I'll plan a trip for when it's cooler.

Annemarie said...

I am *very* impressed you're marinating your own olives. I adore olives though once tried to eat one in its natural state - huuuuuge mistake, unless you like the taste of bitter wax. Blech, my tongue still tastes awful remembering it! Hope you have a good, relaxing (and cool) easter weekend.

Suzana said...

What a beautiful cookbook! Joey, loved the olive/coriander combo. I usually make mine with fresh oregano but I'll have to try it this way.

Have a nice getaway!

LyB said...

I'm not a big olive fan, but a friend of mine makes some marinated olives I just can't pass up: loads of garlic, olive oil and herbes de provence, so good! Yours look delicious as well, and I'm very jealous of your Easter weekend getaway, looks like we're getting more snow for Easter!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Tanna! I can't wait...we leave tonight :) I love Tessa Kiros' books...her writing really transports and inspires me!

Hi Patricia! I love the book because aside from Tessa's enchanting "voice" it features dishes from some of my favorite places (which have all played a part in her life) - Greece and Finland - along with delicious things from Cyprus, Italy, Africa, and others :)

Hi Marvin! You should try coming when it's cooler...although cooler here and cooler when you are, is very different :)

Hi Annemarie! Thanks! :) Have never tried olives in their natural state but consider me duly warned!

Thanks Suzana! I will try some with oregano next time! I also like it with minced garlic, lemon zest, and thyme :)

Hi Lyb! Your friend's mix sounds delicious and I'm taking note! :) I'm looking forward to just relaxing this weekend...a nap and some breeze is desperately needed!

White On Rice Couple said...

Marinating your own olives with coriander sounds finger licking good!
I always love picking them out of the bowl with my fingers (bad?) then popping them in my mouth and licking of fingers of the oil marinade.
I recently found obregon olives marinated in herbs at a local cheese store and am addicted to them!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

During the hot summer days, I love to eat olives on the balcony while sipping on a glass of good wine... A great idea!



Kelly-Jane said...

Your olives sound and look great, I must go and look up Falling Cloudberries - that recipe must have escaped me =)

Irene said...

Oh, my husband LOVES green olives! I'll have to try marinading them myself, just to see what happens... I hear you about the heat, although we haven't quite gotten there yet in Southern California. I love the smell of suntan lotion and the sound of flip flops on the pavement.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

I love any kind of olive appetizer, and I'd happily eat this in hot or cold weather. I love the photo too, Joey. The colors and lighting work so well.

christine said...

Ooohh is this the one we tried a few weeks ago at your place? If so, it was yummy!! Have a great time at the farm! :)

Stella (Sweet Temptations) said...

Ohh... that sounds fantastic! It's all packed with flavour:)

katiez said...

There is nothing quite as nice as a nap on a hot afternoon... and on a canopied bed? sigh....
Love the olives.
Enjoy your weekend!

creampuff said...


I so wish I could come along with you and and enjoy these olives over the holiday weekend! Have a wonderful time and all my best!

Peabody said...

I do love me some olives to nibble on....though it is still cold here...the fireplace is on.

aria said...

oh these green olives look wonderfu; and mmm with coriander - devine!

give me that bread and cheese for dinner and i'm good!

Junglefrog said...

Maybe you can send some sunshine over here! At the moment I am writing this it is actually snowing here which is weird even for us! (I'm in Holland)
I can't wait for summer to arrive!!
Happy Easter!

Manggy said...

Agh! You're absolutely right! I'm dying here!!!
Have a great weekend (actually ending already)! Those olives are certainly an indicator of good things in store for the vacation :)

katrina said...

As I was reading this post, I heard thunder outside. Isn't it STRANGE how we had super hot, super sunny (and not humid) days the whole of last week, then suddenly lots of rain tonight?

These olives sound so intriguing! I don't think I've had them with coriander seeds before. But if the olives you served at your place are any indication, then I'm sure these are just as addictive. :-)

Helen said...

We have the opposite problem in London at the moment. It's supposed to be the 3rd day of spring and it's icy cold, freezing winds and rain. I will send you cooling thoughts if you send me some of that summer. I can always make room for delicious marinated olives though.

Bordeaux said...

Between Hanoi, BKK and jetting of to Krabi tomorrow I scarcely get time to read my blogs. Just popped in and enjoyed your summer entry a lot. Hope the Easter weekend was as pleasing as it sounded to be and that you cooled off and took lots of naps. The olives are lovely!

Tartelette said...

Hope you are enjoying the farm. The heat is here too for spring and that makes me worried of summer where we are usually already very hot. Crazy world! My grandmother used to prepare mushroom this way with coriander seeds that she called "greek mushrooms". Now I know why! The olives look delicious!

ChichaJo said...

Hi there White on Rice Couple! Eating olives with my fingers are the only way to enjoy them ;) And licking the bowl clean just adds to the delicious-ness!

Hi Rosa! That sounds like the perfect thing to do on a hot summer day :)

Hi Kelly-jane! Thanks! I love that book :)

Hi Irene! Marinating the olives is easy and open to endless variation! The smell of suntan lotion and the sound of flip-flops are close to my heart too :)

Hi Susan! Thanks :) The only lighting I have to rely on is what comes through our window!

Hi Nens! Yes, this is the one! Made another batch for the farm…it was such a relaxing weekend for me…loved it! :)

Hi Stella! Thank you :)

Hi Ivonne! I wish you were there too…you make such yummy things! We had a great time and I hope you enjoyed your weekend too!

Hi Peabody! Fireplace:Peabody as A/C:Joey :)

Hi Aria! We have leftovers so that may just be my dinner tonight! :)

Hello Junglefrog! I would love to in exchange for some of that snow! Happy Easter to you too!

Hey Manggy! Haha…I’m meeeelting! We had a great time with everyone bringing a little something :)

Hi Katrina! Very strange! Yesterday we were already back in the city and the sky got mysteriously overcast and gloomy in the evening, and then the rain! But it was still so muggy :( These are the same kind as the ones I served that night! :)

Hi Helen! I’ll definitely send you some summer in exchange for those cooling thoughts! :)

Hi Bordeaux! You jet-setter! :) Thank you for stopping by and for the Easter greeting :) Looking forward to reading about your travels!

Hi Helene! The farm was a wonderful weekend getaway :) Now I am back in the city and hothothot once again! Those Greek mushrooms sound delicious…maybe I’ll prepare them that way next time :)

ChichaJo said...

Hi KatieZ! The naps and the olives and the canopied bed kept me smiling this weekend! Hope you had a wonderful weekend too! :)

Eileen said...

I love mixing up olives this way. I also roast them a lot with different herbs and seasonings, orange zest. Great with a chilled glass of white wine!!


White On Rice Couple said...

I just thought I'd drop another line and let you know that I was thinking about you today because I ate another batch of my favorite Obregon olives!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Eileen! I also have a recipe with orange zest...so good! I have never roasted them before though...must try! :)

Hi White on Rice Couple! Thanks for the thoughts :) Wish I could have a taste :)

Allen said...

Thank you for sharing this recipe -- it sounds like such a wonderful way to prepare olives for nibbling :-)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Allen! You're welcome :) It's always nice to have something like this lying around in case of unexpected guests :)