Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Black Olive and Tomato Toasts

snacks made!

The Story About The Rice

I alluded to this story in my last post. It has nothing to do with this post, but what's there to say about these excellent little snacks other than holy, go make them they are delicious and will help you remain rational when you are almost too hungry to make smart decisions about what to cook for dinner. There we go. Now, on with the rice story.

Many, many years ago, I had a boyfriend named Murray. He was my first serious boyfriend and, as boyfriends go, was fairly benign. We met in our first year of university and broke up in our third year which seemed to me like an eternity. There are many excellent stories about Murray, but the one involving rice happened in our second year of university. Murray and I had moved into an off campus townhouse with three other friends and I quickly realized that I didn't know how to cook. At the time, I was working towards veganism, so cooking was somewhat mandatory. The first thing I learned how to make was a vegetable stir fry. This dish is probably single handedly responsible for me not starving to death or getting scurvy while I wrote essays about what birds symbolized in the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Murray, who knew even less about cooking than I did, asked me to teach him how to make a stir fry. He claimed his family had made a similar dish at home and he was excited to replicate it in our kitchen. On the appointed evening we met in the kitchen after class and chopped vegetables together. Then it was time to make the rice.

"Okay, put on some water to boil," I said.

"What for?" he asked.

"For the rice." I answered. He looked at me like I was bonkers.

"You don't boil rice!"

I looked at him and blinked a few times, unsure of how to proceed.

"Well," I said carefully, knowing this wouldn't end well. "How does your family cook rice?"

He guffawed. "Well we sure as hell don't BOIL it!"

I went upstairs and listened to two Lemonheads albums. Murray spent an hour pushing dry rice around in a frying pan while adding more and more soy sauce to it, hoping it would turn into cooked rice. I feel the need to add here, that Murray was a science major. When the soy sauce failed to magically rehydrate the rice, he called his mother.

"What did she say?" I asked, when he appeared in my bedroom doorway looking sheepish.

"She said to apologize to you and get you to show me how to boil rice."

Score one for the English Literature Major.

Now you know the story, so you can go make some delicious toasts. Just be sure to follow my directions carefully. Don't be a Murray.

snacks in the making!

Black Olive and Tomato Toasts

four slices of bread cut into quarters and spread with butter or margarine
2 cups black eyed peas
1/2 cup black olives, pitted
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 cup parsley
1 tsp fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
salt and pepper to taste
sliced tomatoes
rosemary sprigs for garnish

Butter up your bread and put it on a cookie sheet under the broiler until it is toasty and brown, but not crouton-hard.

Combine all other ingredients (except for the tomatoes and garnish) in your food processor or blender until everything is smooth.

Spread a knifeful of the olive/black eyed pea business on one of your pieces of toast and top with a slice of tomato and sprig of rosemary. Repeat as necessary.

Some Notes:

-Also, once, Murray tied a travel mug of milk to his shoe. He did this because he wanted to keep the travel mug of milk on his window sill all night so he could have cereal with milk for breakfast in his dorm room. So, to keep the mug from falling off the window sill, he tied it to his shoe to anchor it. It worked, but then he forgot that his shoe was tied to a glass of milk and picked up his shoe to put it on, thereby launching the still-half-full glass of milk into his lap.

-And also, Murray kept an Oh Henry bar is his dorm room for an entire year of school. My friend Dan, who was always hungry, would beg and beg Murray to give him the Oh Henry bar, but Murray insisted that he was "saving it".

-Perhaps in retaliation for the Oh Henry bar incident, Dan spent our entire second year of university hiding in places from which he could leap out and frighten Murray. Favourites included: my closet, the laundry room, and behind the shower curtain.



HayMarket8 said...

This looks like a light and fun snack! Cool idea.

T said...

These stories cracked me up and reminded me of my impractical college boyfriend, who lived in a warehouse with a bunch of runaways and refused to go anywhere he couldn't bike to... ah, college.

The toasts look delish! Easy and flavorful is what I need!

Anonymous said...

You're such a great storyteller! I laughed my ass off while reading this. And then got hungry for the toasts.

A said...

Ha!!!!! Poor Murray..... Sounds like a real character!

Juliana said...

i must tell you that i came here on your blog only because of the name!!! i love Bob Dylan and vegan cooking, so…
i had the idea to create one with that name and went to search if already existed... and find yours :)
congratulations, your blog is very beautiful and the recipes are very nice.
(sorry for my bad english, i'm a Brazilian gal w/ no experience in writing in your language).
i'm now will try to visit you sometimes to steal a recipe, w/ your permission.
juliana - brazil - rio de janeiro

Cyn said...

Your Murray stories are great. And you are right on about snacking when you get into "too hungry to be sensible" mode - one of my friends and I came up with the word "hangry" for hungry-angry to describe the way we get when we don't eat and end up all "But I don't know what to eat! AHHHH!"

sweetkaroline said...

lol at the murray stories...i love posts that start a fantastic recipe with a good story...and end with one too


The Voracious Vegan said...

HAHAHA! Poor Murray and his rice cooking challenged ways. Love the story!

Thanks for the recipe, I adore olives so I will be making this soon.

J. said...

I'm so glad everyone was entertained! Every time a new comment showed up I had a flash of panic that it was Murray himself telling me to cut it out! :)

T: Have you ever heard the "Cringe" episode of This American Life? It contains an excellent story about a girl who dated a similar-sounding warehouse guy who eventually became a Krishna. It's the perfect embarrassing college boyfriend story.

Cyn: Hangry! Genius! Once, during a rambling, directionless search for breakfast in Florida, I almost threw an apple at my friend Mike. It was a Hangry moment if ever there was one.

'col said...

I was reading the rice story and planning to leave a comment which said TELL THE ONE ABOUT THE MILK!

Oh, university--so many things I do not miss about it. Except you. I miss you.

Pomegranate said...

I'm an Ottawa woman and a fan of your blog, and from your personal blog I just realised that I know who you are- that Ottawa woman who was in a band (lead singer, if I recall?) and who wrote that book that I read!! And enjoyed!! Cool. We've never met, though. But yeah.

J. said...


Ha ha! That's great. I'm glad you liked the book. If you ever see me out in the world, come and introduce yourself. I'm nerdy and I talk too much, though, so beware! :)

Cassandra said...

Those Murray stories were really funny. Sometimes looking back on old boyfriend antics yields the funniest stories...

These toasts would be so good at a party! I'm moving soon, so I will keep this on the list for the apartment warming party menu.

Anonymous said...

Man, really want to know how can you be that smart, lol...great read, thanks.