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Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Kitchen Mailbox: Hummus or tapenade? Olives usually mean tapenade

Thursday, November 09, 2000

Compiled by Arlene Burnett

Stacy Port of Mars wrote Kitchen Mailbox to request a recipe for green olive hummus, but is it hummus or is it tapenade?

Hummus is a thick mixture made from mashed chickpeas, seasoned with lemon juice, garlic and olive or sesame oil. Hummus is usually served as a dip with pita bread. Tapenade is a thick paste made from capers, anchovies, ripe olives, olive oil, lemon juice and seasonings. It's usually used as a condiment or served with raw vegetables (crudites).

Given the definitions above, it seems as if the recipe requested is more like a tapenade. Deborah Freedman of Point Breeze, who replied to the request, calls her recipe "Olivada," and that name seems to fit.

Olivada combines tangy green olives with olive oil, basil, oregano and thyme. These ingredients are then pureed into flavorful dip. We followed Freedman's suggestion and served Olivada as an appetizer with slices of crusty Italian bread (or pita triangles if you prefer).

Here's her letter:

"I'm not sure if my recipe is exactly what she is looking for, but I have a recipe that I sort of developed from ingredients on a jar of a similar product. My husband and I ate this frequently as an appetizer on our honeymoon in Italy. I call it Olivada."


1 cup green olives, no pits
2 tablespoons blanched almonds
1 teaspoon basil, preferably fresh
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 cup olive oil

Drain and rinse the olives thoroughly. Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Add oil in a thin stream while continuing to process, until you have a coarse puree.

Shirley Jones of Jefferson Hills asked us if we could stand another apple cake recipe. Our answer: absolutely. This cake is both delicious and easy.

Apple Cake

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 cups diced apples
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put all ingredients in a big bowl. Mix with hand (do not use spoon or mixer). Bake in ungreased 9-by-13-inch pan for 1 hour or until tested done. Cool in pan thoroughly before cutting.


Joan Kolonay of Point Breeze writes:

"Have you ever heard of an Italian pastry called profiterole? Basically, it's mini-cream puffs mounded together in the shape of a loaf of bread. It is then covered with what looks like chocolate mousse, but not sticky or runny. It's served by breaking off 3 or 4 puffs, and it's heavenly. We've looked in all the Italian cookbooks to no avail."

We know we're a week late, but Marianne Beck of Reserve remembers her mother making puffed rice balls for Halloween, and she would appreciate someone sending the recipe.

Andrew Vasko of Library lost his recipe for Ricotta Cheesecake and hopes someone will have the recipe. The cheesecake is made with a graham cracker crust, a ricotta and egg filling with a final layer of sour cream and cherries.

Lucy Palko of Turtle Creek is looking for a fudge recipe made with cocoa (not chips or morsels), sugar, peanut butter, butter, nuts and maybe marshmallow cream.

If you want to answer a recipe request from a reader or are looking for a recipe yourself, please write to Kitchen Mailbox, c/o Arlene Burnett, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222, or e-mail to aburnett@post-gazette.com. Please include a name, neighborhood and a daytime phone number on all correspondence. All recipes are kitchen-tested by the Post-Gazette.

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