How does one go about starting a blog?  A quick google search assures me that everyone and their best friend, their sixth grade teacher and their uncle’s cat are blogging and everyone has some sort of advice about where to begin.  That’s the thing about the internet isn’t it?  You give someone a keyboard and hide their face behind a computer screen and suddenly even the quietest, most reserved homebody can’t be shut up!

So what is my Macedonian Kitchen?  Essentially, it’s a food blog—(you like food right?) with a little or maybe a lot of Macedonia thrown in.  If you are still curious about why I would write a blog about Macedonia (and especially about food in Macedonia), check out the about me section.

First post, first post.  Well, I thought a lot about my first recipe—should it be a Macedonian recipe?  After all, this blog is called My Macedonian Kitchen.  Or should it be a typical American recipe?  Let’s face it, the blog is called My Macedonian Kitchen and I’m American—so regardless of where I am living there is a fair bit of American cooking cookin’ (or baking…or grilling…or finding its way into the suitcases of anyone who comes to visit…)  One thing’s for sure, this post shouldn’t be about my new rainboots, or how I got to wear them almost every day this week because of the rainy weather.  This post needs to be about something that comes from the kitchen!

So, I decided on one of my favorite recipes.  It isn’t exactly Macedonian, but it includes a lot of yummy ingredients that are abundant in this region, like olives and figs and garlic!  Actually, I first found the inspiration for this recipe on David Lebovitz’s blog.  If you don’t know who David Lebovitz is, then you must be my mom.  (Or someone else who is here just because they know me in real life…)  So, Mom, David Lebovitz is one of my favorite food bloggers—a pastry chef, who writes amazing cookbooks and hilarious blog posts about food/life in Paris.  The recipe itself is actually from The Jimtown Store Cookbook, by Carrie Brown (owner of the Jimtown Store).  I’ve never been to the Jimtown Store, but the cookbook has many delicious recipes!  Besides the olive fig tapanade, I would also try the Pumpkin Chipotle Soup-delicious!

David suggests serving the tapenade with ‘slices of baguette that have been lightly brushed with olive oil’ if you are in a rush, or headed to a potluck, it also tastes great along side some feta on ‘Bake Rolls’ or some crusty bread.  We also love to use this on pizza with a little mozzarella and some goat cheese.

Fig and Black Olive Tapenade

Adapted from The Jimtown Store Cookbook

About 1 cup

1/2 cup (about 3 ounces) stemmed & quartered, dried Black Mission figs

1 cup black olives; Nicoise, Lyon, or Greek, rinsed and pitted

juice of ½ of a lemon

2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard

2 small garlic cloves, peeled

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary (if you don’t have fresh rosemary, I find it is better to add a little dried rosemary than to leave it out entirely)

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

black pepper

1. In a small pan (or a medium gjezve), simmer the figs in the water for about 10-15 minutes, until tender.

2a. The original recipe gives instructions for using a food processor, but since I am food processor-less, I have never tried it.  Basically, if you pulse together everything except the olive oil and add the olive oil at the end you should get a tapenade with a ‘chunky-smooth’ texture

If like me you find yourself without a food processor, or if you simply keep your food processor on a hard to reach shelf and only dig it out for ‘serious’ work, you can easily make this with just a knife or with a mortar and pestle.

2b. Chop or mash the olives together with the garlic and the rosemary.  Add the figs and keep mashing (or alternatively, you may chop the figs very fine and stir them into the olive/garlic mixture).  Once everything is thoroughly chopped or mashed, add the olive oil, lemon and a little black pepper.