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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

COOK'S CORNER: In a Pickle




My love of pickled olives was passed down to me from my mother, who, as a little girl growing up on the harsh Saskatchewan prairies, dreamed of having a jar of green olives in the fridge one day that belonged to her and her alone. No more waiting until Sunday dinner and hoping there would be an olive hiding amongst the gherkins on the pickle dish.


That was Midale, Saskatchewan, where olives and tartar sauce were considered exotic imports at the Red & White. But lucky for us, this is Moscow where black and green olives are found at almost every produkty store and should be put to better use than as a sidekick to a sandwich.


Cooked Olive Salad is a cross between antipasto and tapenade. Serve it as an appetizer or use it as a relish with grilled chicken or fish.


Cooked Olive Salad


1 can each, pitted, brine-cured green and black olives


2 cups chopped tomatoes


1/3 cup olive oil


2 tablespoons minced garlic


1 tablespoon tomato paste


1/2 cup water


1 lemon, thickly sliced


1 teaspoon paprika


1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Cut olives in half. Bring medium pot of water to a boil and add olives. Resume the boil and drain. Combine tomatoes, oil, garlic and tomato paste in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer five minutes. Add water, lemon, paprika, cayenne and olives. Boil until reduced to a thick, sauce consistency, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and chill. Makes 3 1/2 cups.


My other pickled passion is the dill - also in plentiful supply. Go to any rynok and dip into the big barrels. If you don't serve them as a vodka chaser, use them in Solyanka (Beef Stew). This recipe comes from the Julia Child award-winning cookbook, "The Georgian Feast." Originally a Russian dish, this Georgian adaptation has more of a kick and is a robust meal to serve on a cold autumn night.


Solyanka


1 kilogram beef, cut into cubes


2 tablespoons flour


3 tablespoons butter


2 medium onions, coarsely chopped


3 cloves garlic, minced


1/2 cup tomato puree


1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce


1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (Tabasco)


1 bay leaf


1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped dill pickles


2 heaping tablespoons capers


1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar


3/4 cup water


Preheat oven to 300? F (160? C). Season meat with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with flour. Heat butter in large saucepan and saut? meat till brown. Stir in onions and garlic and cook for 10 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Transfer to casserole dish and braise in oven for two hours. Serves 4.