food detective

Categories: Appetizers, Breads, Pizza, Tarts, Cocktail Party, Posted on January 20, 2013 by Sandy Bergsten - Comments (0)

Last summer a group of friends watched the documentary “Forks over Knives”. The film boldly investigated the claim that almost all degenerative diseases can be controlled and even reversed by adopting an animal-free based diet. Certainly food for thought. Recently one of those dear friends faced a huge health crisis. Thankfully she came through with flying colors. In the wake of her recovery she has adopted a vegan diet. Eliminating all animal-based foods. Kiss anything with a mother or a face good-bye.

Last weekend my husband and I were invited to an intimate dinner in her greenhouse. A real treat as six-point bucks walked past as we toasted our good fortune. The hostess, a consummate chef, prepared an exquisite vegan bill of fare. When I asked if I could bring anything and she requested an hors d’oeuvre I was faced with my own culinary challenge. A typical vegetarian canapé is a slam-dunk, but a vegan one tests the limits. My biggest pitfall was dairy. No eggs, no butter, no cheese.

Of course I could bring hummus with an array of baby organic vegetables. But I also wanted something that felt like a fancy canapé- a festive finger food. As I walked through the produce section the olive bar caught my eye. How about a tapenade atop an olive oil crostini?

olive tapenade

Combine olives, capers, garlic, mustard, thyme, parsley, crushed red pepper and lemon juice, and half of the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor.

olive tapenade

Pulse until mixture is coarsely pureed, add more olive oil as needed to obtain desired consistency.


For the crostini thinly slice a baguette on the diagonal.


Brush the slices with olive oil. Lightly season with salt and pepper.


Bake until crisp, about 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

olive tapenade

Top crostini with tapenade and serve.

With such good friends at your table one can face any challenge.

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