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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Saturday, February 24

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Store Tue Feb 23 2010

Fantastic Find at Middle East Bakery & Grocery

My husband and I have been semi-systematically going through the myriad of dips that fill the refrigerated cases at the Middle East Bakery & Grocery. From creamy garlic hummus to smokey babaghanuge, everything has been fantastic, as light dinner with warm pita and a glass of dry white wine, or as condiments to elevate an otherwise unremarkable sandwich a notch. As an added bonus, the dips are very clean--no unpronounceable chemicals here.

Green Olive Tapenade

Last week, our pick was a tub of green olive tapenade. And although I love virtually everything I've tried so far, this tapenade possibly tramples them all. Made with green olives, capers, extra virgin olive oil, basil, oregano and salt, it might sound simple, but its flavor is rich and complex. The beauty of this tapenade is that its complex flavors are perfectly balanced. The floral note of the capers, the garlicky kick, and just the right amount of saltiness all blossom on the robust, green, earthy background of the olives. I've had it smeared on my morning toasts (mmmm, heaven) and topped sunny-side-ups with it, but the best use so far is in a warm potato salad. The addition of tapenade made this otherwise simple salad into something special and satisfying. (Dare I say "gourmet?")

Green Olive Potato SaladThe warmth seems to bring out the rich, floral note of this tapenade to the foreground. When I added the hot potatoes to the tapenade, the aroma hit me with a surprising--and delightful--force. Until then, I didn't even realize how much of this tapenade's charm was staying dormant when well-chilled. It's perfectly tasty chilled, but you should at least try this tapenade slightly warmed. Using it on a warm pita bread might be just enough to bring out the full character, but in case anyone is interested, here is a recipe for the green olive tapenade potato salad.

GREEN OLIVE TAPENADE POTATO SALAD (serves 3-4 as a side dish)
2-3 potatoes
2 scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon green olive tapenade
splash of sherry or champaign vinegar
freshly ground black pepper

Boil the potatoes whole. When cooked through, drain and pull off the skin. Cut into bite-sized chunks.
In a large bowl, mix the scallions, green olive tapenade and sherry vinegar. Toss the potato chunks, when still hot, with the dressing. Grind some black pepper over it.
The salad can be served warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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