The holidays are now behind us, but my mind keeps fondly wandering back to a couple of special homemade gifts that I received. One was a jar of homemade marinated olives from a dear friend that shares a passion for healthy, local and sustainable food. Oh, how I wish I could’ve offered a few of these olives to you- they were so good! If I had to guess, they were marinated in olive oil, lemon zest, rosemary, and did I detect a hint of crushed red pepper?
When handing me the jar, my friend mentioned that the olives needed to be eaten within the next couple of weeks. Uh, that wasn’t a problem- they were devoured within a matter of days! Later that week, when she asked how I ended up using the olives I had to fess up- many of them were spooned right into my mouth!
I figured I’d make better use of the remaining olives by creating something that the family could also enjoy. I made a chicken ciabatta sandwich with goat cheese, roasted red pepper and olive tapenade. I cooked the chicken breasts in some of the oil from the olive jar, which added a ton of flavor to the cooked chicken. A layer of fresh local goat cheese (chevre) was slathered on the multigrain ciabatta bun adding just the right amount of tanginess. A handful of organic spring lettuce mix, a slice of jarred roasted red pepper, topped with the crown jewels- the marinated olives, rough chopped. I smile just thinking of how good that sandwich was! Of course if you do not happen to have a jar of homemade marinated olives on hand, using jarred olive tapenade would work great.
The other gift that keeps bringing a smile to my face is a set of cloth napkins with a printed “wordle”, a word cloud in the shape of an apple, created using words from my blog! Wordles can be created using any words and can be formed into any shape. Once the wordle is created, it can be produced onto just about anything you can think of including mugs, t-shirts, canvases, etc. Check out Tagxedo.com if you are interested in creating your own wordle.
Question: what gift did you receive that keeps bringing a smile to your face?
Chicken Ciabatta Sandwich with Goat Cheese, Roasted Red Pepper and Olive Tapenade
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 chicken breasts, halved
- 2 ounces fresh goat cheese - I used Heartland Creamery Chevre, Newark, MO
- 2 jarred roasted red peppers
- 1 cup spring lettuce mix, preferably organic and local when available
- about 1/2 cup chopped mixed olives or jarred olive tapenade
- 4 whole grain ciabatta buns
- Heat olive oil in skillet on medium heat. Add chicken breasts; cook about 5 minutes on each side until fully cooked.
- For each sandwich: spread about 1/2 ounce goat cheese on one bun; add 1/2 red pepper, 1/2 chicken breast, top with about 1/4 cup lettuce and 1/8 cup of olives or tapenade. Add top bun and enjoy!