Olives & Hospitality!

A crock of olives always sat on our family kitchen counter when we were growing up in Brooklyn. Part of our identity as a Lebanese family was that hospitality is paramount -- and food is the Sahadi way of making you feel welcome. Often the way you greet someone in our culture is “hello, have you eaten?”, while we are putting out “just a few snacks." To me, this olive medley epitomizes this culture of hospitality. Marinated olives with good bread is often the first thing offered in a Lebanese household. Even if I'm just having someone over for a quick drink, I always offer olives and nuts. This olive medley is a wonderful blend of tastes, textures and colors. It's a healthy, beautiful and delicious way of eating.

1 quart mixed olives with pits such as Kalamata, Cerignola, Castelvetrano, French Provencal, Nicoise, Lebanese or Moroccan

1 c. extra virgin olive oil

3 fresh red chili peppers

Zest from 1 lemon, cut into thin strips

3 sprigs fresh thyme

6 cloves garlic peeled and sliced

6 black peppercorns

Mix olives in a bowl. Heat all remaining ingredients until garlic sizzles and lemon peel curls slightly. Remove from heat. Add olives and mix well. Let cool and serve slightly warm or at room temperature. May be cooled and stored at room temperature until serving up to one week.