I like swearing. Shocked? If so, then you don’t know me very well. Those who do know my penchant for potty mouth and that I could likely keep up with longshoremen if need be. I’m a very well spoken gal…And though I enjoy the zeal of those who use curses as noun, verb, adjective, and adverb all in one sentence (think Pauly Walnuts in any given episode of the Sopranos), I prefer a more precise placement when I swear. It’s far more effective that way. Which is why I don’t like cursing via initials. I’m a firm believer that these pearls of vulgarity only reach their full sheen when said outright without anything clouding the sentiment. ‘WTF’ and the like may be more suitable for electronic transmission (and the FCC) but they just have no pizzazz. Allow me to illustrate: Say you are making a big pitcher of ice tea, teabags at the ready, kettle whistle just post-blow, and scalding hot water making its way into pitcher. It’s at that precise moment the pitcher remembers it’s for COLD liquids, and wants this boiling hot stuff out of it NOW, creating many more exits and pouring hot tea all over counter, floor, rug, stove, and of course, you. ‘WTF’ just seems so unsatisfying. ‘DAMN’ could work, but it’s hard to pull off without sounding like Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady. No, nothing else will do but a swift, succinct ‘F –K!’ I suppose you could go with ‘S—T’, but I prefer its use it in situations where it can be drawn out, ‘IIIIIIIIIIIIIT’ hanging in the air as though you were going over a waterfall in a canoe or something large or pointy was hurtling toward you at great speed. Before you get the wrong idea about me, I’m not in need of a soap sandwich ALL the time. I can be more lady-like if decorum dictates it. Of course, you really don’t want to read the thought balloons over my head at those times. If I just can’t hold it in I have been known to use stand-ins as substitute, sort of like seat fillers at the Oscars. ‘BITE ME’ can be inserted and have similar effect, although the luster is dulled a bit and delivery not nearly as satisfying. ‘BLOODY HELL’ is always fun, but hard to pull off with the proper panache when you’re a Yank and best saved for use when her Majesty’s subjects are present. And flipping the bird can be quite a handy gesture when someone is out of earshot but you still want to commemorate his or her actions in some way. Yet when it comes to a situation that just screams for the real deal, I’m sticking with the classics. And if you have a problem with that, well you can just go…

Betcha think I can’t come up with a recipe for this post, huh? Yes I FIGGING can! (I can hear you groaning out there….oh throw me an f-ing bone, you think this stuff is easy?!)

The first time I made a fig tapanade I used a recipe that called for dried figs, but I really like it better when fresh figs are in season. This recipe’s origins came from, with substitutions I made based on ingredients I had on hand and the mix of olives I preferred. The result is lovely on crostini by itself or with goat cheese, aside roast chicken or lamb, and really great on a sandwich with just about any meat you like. It freezes pretty well too, so if you are lucky enough to have a fig tree nearby – make a sh**load!

Fresh fig tapanade

Makes about 1 ¾ cups

  • 8 ripe figs, stemmed and halved
  • 1 ½ TBSP olive oil
  • ¼ cup kalamata olives – pitted
  • ¼ cup oil cured olives – pitted
  • 1 TBSP drained capers
  • 2 TBSP balsamic crema (this is a reduced balsamic syrup that many markets now carry. If you can’t find it, you can make it by reducing ½ cup balsamic vinegar with ½ cup sugar until it forms a syrup. Keep it on hand in the fridge – it’s wonderful on a lot of things.)
  • 2 tsp fresh chopped rosemary
  • ½ tsp good aged balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat broiler. Line small baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray. Lightly brush figs with ½ TBSP olive oil. Arrange figs cut side up on sheet. Broil until figs are lightly browned at edges, about 3 minutes. Cool on baking sheet.

Combine figs, olives, capers, balsamic crema, rosemary and vinegar in food processor. Pulse to coarsely chop figs and olives. With motor running, add remaining 1 TBSP of oil. Add salt and pepper to taste (you may not need any salt since both the olives and capers have plenty.) Transfer to a bowl and stir in the walnuts. Let stand at room temperature for 2 hours for the flavors to blend nicely. Store in refrigerator. Calories: about 50 per tablespoon.


4 thoughts on “WTF?

  1. Just brought back a few bottles of balsamic crema from Italy – so glad to know it is available here! I do hope that it is as inexpensive here as in Italy!!!

    • Well if you can’t find it, I can get it in the Italian market in Chelsea Market for you – I don’t know how cheap it is compared to Italy but I know it’s under $10 here, probably closer to $5 or $6. It’s my FAVORITE condiment – I use it on savory and sweet (KILLER on strawberries or peaches, and over vanilla ice cream…YUM!)

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