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For a long time, I was gripped by terrible appliance envy when I leafed through my cookbooks or clicked through Epicurious. I didn't have a food processor, a double boiler, or a Kitchen Aid, a Microplane zester or a candy thermometer, and I have to admit I resented those who did.

My kitchen remains remarkably low-tech, but a year and a half ago we had a windfall when good friends of ours left Berlin. We did and do miss Tabitha and Hannes, of course, but their moving sale brought us bounty in the form of a fancy WMF pan, a wok, a Zauberstab and, most important of all, a fancy Braun food processor. It gathered dust for a while; though I'd coveted one, food processors hadn't really been part of my childhood kitchen experience, and I wasn't really sure what to do with it exactly, how to learn - but then I started to.

Tapenade was one of the first things I tried, one of those foodstuffs that require an onerous amount of chopping if you do it by hand - all very authentic of course, very true, but tedious too. When I did it the food processor way, I found myself astonished at the speed with which everything came together: chucked in the food processor bowl and whizzed for a mere ten or twenty seconds, there I had it, that rich dark flavourful paste I'd so often bought and savoured.

Mind, I still chop my vegetables by hand.


1 C black olives (pitted)
1 tsp capers
1 small red chili pepper, crushed, or 1/4 tsp crushed red chili pepper
3 small cloves garlic, peeled, quartered, green sprout removed if present
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 T olive oil
A few squeezes lemon juice (about 1 T)

Put the olives, capers, chili pepper, garlic and thyme into the food processor and process until smooth (about 10 seconds in mine). Add the olive oil and lemon juice and process again (again, about 10 seconds).

Remove to an airtight container and leave at least overnight to let the flavors meld. It keeps for a few weeks, and is delicious on pizza or just on bread.



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