The Provençal dish tapenade, pronounced tah-pen-ODD and derived from their word for capers, consists of puréed or finely chopped olives, capers, anchovies and olive oil. It is generally eaten as an appetizer spread on bread, but sometimes it is also used to stuff meat for a main course.

Though named for the caper, its base ingredient is olives. The ingredients are blended with olive oil added until the mixture becomes a paste. You can tell by this description that it is highly caloric.

It is often flavored differently in varying regions with other ingredients such as garlic, herbs, anchovies, lemon juice, or brandy.

My version adds a “u” into the title (guess why) and omits the olive oil. The result is a less caloric, yet highly flavorful appetizer spread.

  • 1½ cups Kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 tsp capers
  • 1 (2-oz) can flat anchovies, rinsed and patted dry
  • 8 oz fat free feta, crumbled
  • 1 (5-oz) can tuna (optional)
  • 6 basil leaves, chopped

Drain the oil from the anchovies and soak them in warm water to remove as much salt as desired. Then put all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Serve with a lower G. I. flat bread, crudités, or, as your diet permits, crusty toasted bread or your favorite cracker.

shrimp boats

This recipe is so entitled because it was concocted for the TWHC of 2011, which had a New Orleans theme. It was tested on Christmas Eve 2010, two weeks earlier. It originated as I was discarding the wrapper of a package of whole garlic cloves earlier in the week, when I noticed a recipe for a dip that mentioned the words “garlic”, and “Parmesan cheese”. By scrutiny of other recipes of this work, you know I couldn’t withstand trying it out. The ingredient list fit my guidelines to a T. It had crunch (and garlic) (and cheese)—how could I resist?

But I didn’t want a dip, so I substituted for the sour cream. And it wasn’t particularly New Orleans style or TWHC quality, so I added shrimp, red pepper, and cilantro. Finally, I wanted it to resemble a boat, so I served it in a corn tortilla scoop. Very festive! And very tasty!

  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced finely
  • ¼ cup grated Asiago cheese
  • 2 tbsp low-salt low-sodium Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup celery, chopped finely
  • ¼ cup carrots, chopped finely
  • 1 cup small cooked shrimp
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • ½ cup cream cheese
  • thin strips red bell pepper
  • cilantro leaves
  • tortilla chip scoops

Combine all but the last three ingredients in a mixing bowl in the order shown and stir to mix evenly. Place a spoonful in a tortilla chip scoop and garnish with cilantro leaves and pepper strips.

serve immediately.