Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tapenade Stuffed Kielbassa and My trip to the Queen Creek Olive Mill

OK, first night home, after the trauma of leaving my Mom, a day at the airport (always special), we returned to an empty refrigerator and bare pantry. Even the next day, I was still to wiped to head to the store, but I came up with something interesting from the freezer...

Stay tuned for TWO recipes, and a bit of a travelogue...

Good morning all... It was such a horrible day, the day we got back from our trip to Mom's that I have been talking about for the last few days. Rainy, cold and just... Blustery. Quite a contrast to the wonderful weather of Arizona, and a nasty slap in the face. But what was worse, I had no desire to shop, and needed to come up with some idea for dinner. But I had to do it with just a few items, as our fridge was empty of fresh stuff. I assume, like us, when you are leaving, you use up the perishables, planning to replace when you get back. Well, I planned, but I was too lazy. But before I get to the recipe, here's a little background story...

Mom wanted to show off her home town a bit. She scheduled us for a tour of QUEEN CREEK OLIVE MILL, located just a bit (15 miles maybe) south and east of Phoenix. If you are ever in Phoenix, ever get a chance, plan to visit, it is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. QUEEN CREEK OLIVE MILL does all the right things... Sustainable farming, with a heavy emphasis on "buying local". We were in luck, as it is harvest time, and that means the oil is pressed fresh during this time. We got the grand tour of the entire process...

And what tour would be complete without tastings! Queen Creek produces several varieties of oil. We learned the difference between infused oils and a simultaneous pressed combination. We got to watch the olives being sorted and dumped into the oil presses. And then, fresh from the spout, about as fresh a taste of EVOO as you can imagine. We all lined up to taste the different pressed flavors, as well as several different stuffed olives. They offer a JALAPENO MEXICAN LIME stuffed olive that my wife LOVED, but I was taken by their MAYTAG BLUE CHEESE Stuffed Olives! OMG, I about ate myself sick eating these gems.

And the end of the tour is the convenient gift shop. You all knew that was gonna happen, but no one complained a bit. The shop was very well stocked and organized. If you look closely, there are little baskets hanging in front of some of the shelves. These have some wonderful recipes. Imagine blood orange pressed oil brownies. Those recipe cards sold quite a bit of oil as far as I could tell. It really was a nice touch. I was especially impressed with the educated staff that appeared to have tried, and made everything on the recipe cards.

But for me... I could not resist a jar of those MAYTAG BLUE CHEESE Stuffed Olives! I had big plans for these. And not just as a snack.

One of the items Queen Creek sells was their MANY varieties of Tapenades. Very basically, a tapenade is just an olive spread. You can use it to top a cracker (you know, everything tastes better on a Ritz). In their gift shop, they sold Asiago Parmesan, Spanish Olive, sweet red pepper, caramelized red onion and fig... and more. I spent a while studying the ingredient list, and recalled the one time this summer I made a Tapenade (click HERE). So, as sad is it was to leave mom... I was very excited to come home and make my own Tapanade...

Here's what I did...

As always, assemble your ingredients...

12 MAYTAG BLUE CHEESE Stuffed Olives
6 garlic cloves
1/2 a red pepper (all I had was a jar of marinated sweet peppers, worked great)
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 polish Kielbasa
1/4 cup BBQ sauce (I used BBQ Stu's Pennsylvania Gold, a sweet Carolina mustard style sauce)

Between the fresh olives that were packed in oil and the peppers that were packed in oil, there was plenty of oil in the recipe. If I were not using these ingredients, I would have added a couple teaspoons Olive Oil.

Combine everything (except the sausage) in the food processor, pulse a few times to get a rough cut mix.

Sorry about the poor quality picture above, but I wanted to show chunks, not a pureed mix.

Next, I hollowed out a wedge from the top of the sausage.

And I stuffed that wedge with the Tapinade.

I would have grilled this, indirect heat, instead, I wimped out and didn't cook in the rain. I put this on the bottom rack in the oven, and broiled it. It took about 15 minutes to get a nice crust on the Topinade and slightly char the sausage!

I served it with some corn and bread with a dipping oil and balsamic vinegar. I used some Blood Orange Simultaneously pressed Olive Oil and my my my was it GOOD! The toasted blue cheese, the olives and the little zip from the sweet sauce made an average sausage something very special.

This dish was incredibly fast to make. Honestly, from the freezer to the Microwave (for the meat), and the pulsing of the ingredients in the food processor, this took 10 minutes to prep and 15 in the oven.

And real quick, here's what i did the next night (still to lazy to get to the store)...

I opened a package of frozen stir fry vegetables with noodles, added the other half of the Kielbasa and stir fried away...

But instead of soy sauce or oil, I added some of that Pennsylvania Gold BBQ sauce. Sweet, but with just a little zip!

And this was also Really Really Really GOOD! Just cause you are cooking from the freezer doesn't mean you can't zip it up. And that's the point to this post!

And finally, Penny over at one of my favorite blogs, LAKE LURE COTTAGE KITCHEN has come up with a great idea... Tomorrow, Wednesday, Nov. 18th, she is organizing a challenge to show off your kitchen. Click HERE to see the entire details, but here is the key paragraph...

"So my challenge to you is to post a picture of your kitchen. With Thanksgiving coming up, I am sure we all are tidying up for the big cooking event. Let's make Wednesday November 18th Kitchen Reveal Day. It can become an annual event. I am sure you are just as curious as I am. You can post just a corner of your kitchen or views from many angles. You can post where you shoot most of your pictures or a special feature that makes your kitchen different."

So, come back tomorrow to see my kitchen and I hope a few more of you will play along as well...

See you tomorrow!


  1. Sounds like you had a big trip. I think the stuffed kielbasa is very creative and looks delicious.

  2. My mouth was watering as I was reading your post!

  3. Oh my gosh...I want to DEVOUR this!! Seriously looks amazing :D

  4. Both recipes look delish! I would not have thought about hollowing out the Kilbasa, good idea!

  5. Everything looks good; You did a great job with that freezer food! I'd love to go to that store and spend some time, and money! :)

  6. I love a tapenade on just about anything. Heck, I eat it by the spoonfuls all by itself.

  7. Hi Dave! That looks fantastic and really creative! And your Trip to the Olive Mill looked fun too... I happen to live 2 miles from the Queen Creek Olive Mill. Right in Queen Creek. I'm happy to hear you had a great time in my town... I too am going to do a post about the Queen Creek Olive Mill. I do a lot of my Christmas Shopping there! To heck with the Mall!
    Next time you are in Queen Creek, look me up and we can do lunch at the golf course :)


  8. I love keilbasa and love tapanade...why not combine together and grill em...GORGEOUS !!!!

  9. I can pop blue cheese stuffed olives all day too. I just love them.
    For someone who was feeling lazy and tired you sure managed to come up with yet another creative meal. Wait, not just one meal but, two meals!
    Glad to have you home and back to the blogging world.

  10. Glad you had a good trip! Some of my favorite dinners are the ones that I create from the last groceries left in my kitchen. Makes ya dig down and get creative...it looks like you were successful here. This looks yummy!

  11. Wow, that's some creativity! Both dishes look fantastic. Glad you had a great trip -- and that you managed to eat something other than boiled chicken. :)

  12. Loved the Olive Mill! It all looks fabulous! Especially the tapanade. And your Stuffed Keilbassa rocks, cher!

  13. Interesting post! Enjoyed your trip to the olive mill- I would have loved to see their store at the end.
    And I think you came up with a super stuffed kielbassa recipe!!

  14. You are so creative. This looks really really good. And again, so glad you're back in town and back in the kitchen. This olive oil tour sounds fabulous. Our son lives in Tucson, next time we're there, you know where I'll be headed.

  15. Sounds delicious, however my mind wanders when I see kielbasa.

  16. Take some of those olives(Maytag stuffed), throw them in a shaken and strained Ketel One vodka dry Martini... Perfection!

  17. You mean stuff grows in AZ, other than cacti? :) Who'd've thunk it? Seriously, though, the olive mill sounds like exactly my type of place.

  18. All I can say is "You are quite the chef!". Yummy!