do the things you think you cannot do – but first – a citrus, fig, & olive tapenade

“You must do the things you think you cannot do.”

That little gem from Eleanor Roosevelt is the basis for both my New Year’s resolution for 2013 and my motto going forward. I resolve to do the things I think I cannot do.

I’ve spent a lot of time doing the things that were the right things to do. The decent, proper, safe things …. being the good mother, wife, employee, daughter, and friend. Being a hard working, law-abiding, tax-paying, silver-polishing, dog-walking, book-reading, responsibility and obligation bearing, generally morally upright citizen (with occasional minor lapses and a bit of swearing).

But going forward I’m going to start doing the things I thought I could not do… and I’m not even clear what those things are yet. Perhaps they’re big, ambitious, things like walking the Camino, or going off to the Himalayas to join a clean-up mission, or travelling the world solo, or finding a publisher for my next book. Or perhaps they’re little things like not worrying about the dust on the chandelier, abandoning the Oxford comma (GASP – perhaps that’s a bit radical), throwing paint at a canvas, meditating, singing out loud, being useful while sloughing off some duties and responsibilities (and guilt), and having fun. Or maybe conquering my fear of public speaking. Or just simply following my heart.

I think I’m talking about living fully, living zestfully.

In the meantime, while I’m figuring out all the things I thought I could not do and working out how to do them… I’ll keep myself busy in the kitchen doing the stuff I really like to do – like cooking and eating.

I’m very fond of trying new things in the kitchen. Especially tasty new things.

Recently I had a citrus fig tapenade. It had a lot of figs and olives in it – two of my favourite foods. I don’t have the recipe for it, but I found a fig and olive tapenade recipe on one of my all-time favourite blogs – David Lebovitz’s – Living the Sweet Life in Paris.  I looked at a few versions and came up with the recipe below. You can follow the link to check out the original version.

There are a number of ways you could serve this – with a baguette and fresh chèvre, with some really good biscuits (like the Raincoast cranberry and hazelnut crisps in the photograph), or on a pizza base grilled with a mild cheese like brie or chèvre and perhaps some thinly sliced pear and fresh basil leaves, and an arugula salad on the side.

The flavour improves overnight – so I’ve made mine today in preparation to have with a little champagne before dinner tomorrow night – New Year’s Eve.

In 2013, I hope you do the things you think you cannot do. Bon appétit and happiest of New Year’s.

Zestful Citrus Fig and Black Olive Tapenade

1/2 cup black mission figs, stemmed and quartered

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup white wine (I used Riesling)

1 cup kalamata olives, pitted

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp capers

1 clove garlic, mashed

1/2 tsp orange zest (if you add more, do so cautiously – too much zest at once can be overpowering!)

Bring the figs, water, and wine to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until the figs are tender and the liquid is absorbed (approximately 25 minutes). Cool slightly. Drain off any excess liquid.

Combine the figs and all remaining ingredients in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Do not puree.  Bottle and refrigerate. Will keep up to a week in the fridge.

25 thoughts on “do the things you think you cannot do – but first – a citrus, fig, & olive tapenade

  1. All of those ingredients are definitely for my palette. Always love a tasty tapenade.
    Don’t quite get the Oxford comma – shall Google! I think I probably use too many comas in my posts.
    Love the idea of your New Year’s resolution, ‘Living zestfully’. Let’s hope you don’t sprain anything. I guess I’ve lived sort of like that for too long.
    Happy Hogmanany!

      1. Yes, Hebridean is good, and you are so kind, always good to know somone is appreciating a new blogger’s efforts. Thanks for you support, look forward to reading your blog in 2013, and have a great New Year! Tracey

  2. We are launching a new site dedicated entirely to dairy free cooking and was wondering if you would like to participate. The site will host a collection from food blogs from across the web from folks like you that take pride in making their meals with love and from scratch.
    Best of all, traffic will go directly back to your site; all we do is organize and link back to you.

    Check us out at
    Cheers and Healthy Eats

      1. Wonderful! Let me know which you post you would like to link first, and we will go from there. In the future, if there are others you wish to link, just shoot me an email. I look forward to staying in touch.

    1. How lovely Jeanette – the road less travelled. An ironic choice for such a global traveller – but in so many ways – you are already on the road less travelled.
      Wishing you and yours the happiest, healthiest New Year ever!

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