>Cooking For Guests- Italian Style

>

Foie Gras de Canard Crostini with Balsamic-Glazed Dried Figs
I’m putting the foie gras picture at the top because it’s the nicest picture I have from the dinner.  As for the rest, well, they suffered because I was too hungry/impatient to take my time and take a decent photo.  So, my apologies for that.  In other news, I’m just putting up the pictures because I thought it might be nice to show you what kind of things I like to make for my friends when they come over; if you want the recipes though, let me know and I’ll make posts for them.  Enjoy.
                                                                       
Shiitake and Porcini Mushroom Crostini with Creme Fraiche, Thyme, and Red Wine Vinegar
Osso Buco with Olives, Lemon Zest, Tomatoes, White Wine, and Herbs Served atop Buttery Polenta
Vanilla Panna Cotta Served with Saffron-Scented Clementines

>Black Olive Tapenade

>

This dish is for the olive lovers, and I know that’s not everyone.  Mixed with anchovies, capers, and garlic, this tapenade creates a sharp and poignant flavor which can not be mistaken for anything else  The mashed up olives create a creamy and rich paste which works very well in sandwiches with tomatoes or grilled turkey or chicken; you can just as easily serve it as a dip for guests, alongside some hummus or onion dip.

So long as you have a food processor, this tapenade is a cinch to make.  You can either buy whole olives and pit them yourself with an olive/cherry pitter, or buy pitted olives (preferably fresh ones, as you can find at Whole Foods).

Olive Tapenade – makes about 2 cups

8-10 oz. black olives
2 teaspoons capers
3 anchovy fillets
1 peeled garlic clove
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
up to 1/4-cup olive oil

1.  In a food processor, combine all the ingredients except the olive oil. 
2.  With the processor running, add the olive oil in a steady stream, until tapenade has reached desired thickness (should look pasty but not greasy).  Season with pepper.