Olive di Casino Royale (Fried Olives – Vegan)

I know I haven’t posted in a while…I’m sorry all my faithful followers! It’s been crazy lately. I was away on a family ski trip, I was sick, and I’m moving next weekend…so needless to say I have my hands full! My kitchen has been totally packed up ready for the move, so I don’t even have a fork or knife, but thankfully I have a costco size box of cereal, almond milk and red solo cups to keep myself going at home!

Anyways, we were at Manning Park over the February long weekend with our family from Kelowna. It was an awesome trip – lots of snow, hot tubbing, good drinks, lots of laughs, and the snowboarding was BEYOND AMAZING. We had high hopes for some fun cooking that weekend, but unfortunately I came down with a pretty wicked cold the last day of the trip so I didn’t get to cook as much as I had wanted. Gord and I spent weeks prior talking about cooking together and work shopping the name for the olives (“the spy who fried me, from olives with love, olives – fried olives” to name a few), so we were making them no matter what. I have a very faded memory of being nudged on the floor “Hey you, get up, time for you to make the olives” .

The “Kitchen”

My dad set up the outdoor “kitchen” a.ka. the tailgate (pictured here)…because who wants to fry inside of their cabin and get it all smelly. I put my coat on, poured myself a glass of wine (maybe a martini would have been more appropriate), and headed outside to deep fry.

Gord used to make these olives all the time at our cabin when I was a kid. We used to just cover them in hot sauce and they were fantastic. We love olives a lot, so no surprise that we started deep frying them. These brought back a lot of really wonderful memories!

Back in the day, we weren’t concerned about making them vegan, so coating the olives was easy with the help of an egg wash. We had to get a bit creative and experiment to make these olives vegan friendly. CHIA EGG was what I came up with.

Chia Egg

Honestly, I’m not sure if chia egg was the right answer. It did work, but as the chia egg sat it just got thicker and gloopier, making it harder and harder to properly coat the olives. Not to mention it made a sticky mess in the flour and some of the coating fell off. If anyone has any better ideas for vegan egg coating (or more experience using egg alternatives) let me know – I’m open to suggestions!

Nonetheless, they were delicious and got gobbled up instantly. I wish I could of made more, but I was sick and had no energy to be standing outside in the cold any longer. I don’t really have a set-in-stone recipe for these…but I’ll put a bit of a walk-through below. We served them on skewers in martini glasses, as our ode to James Bond…(the spy who fried me) with warm vodka marinara sauce for dipping.

This was by no means a “bust”, but there is room for improvement. If you’re an olive lover though, like we are, then these are definitely worth a try!

Olive di Casino Royale

  • Queen stuffed olives
  • Chia Egg (general ratio is 1 tbsp chia seed to 3 tbsp water and let sit until gel like) (or another egg substitute of your liking)
  • Panko Bread crumbs
  • Flour
  • Salt/Pepper
  • Parmesan (if not vegan) or vegan parmesan (Optional)
  • Grapeseed oil (or vegetable oil) for frying
  • Hot sauce or marinara sauce for dipping

Again, as I don’t have exact measurements because I get dumb when I’m sick – use as much as you think you’ll need and experiment!

Drain olives.

In a large pot or pan, heat up a couple inches of grapeseed or vegetable oil. You’ll want to make sure you’re making these somewhere well ventilated.

Combine bread crumbs, salt/pepper, and vegan Parmesan (if using) in a bowl. Set up two other bowls – one with flour and one with chia egg.

Toss olives, a few a time, in flour. Transfer to chia egg and toss until coated. Lastly, transfer the olives to the breadcrumb mixture and coat.

To check if the oil is ready, take the end of a wooden spoon and dip in oil. When bubbles form around the wooden spoon, the oil is ready for frying. I don’t have a fancy thermometer, it’s not necessary.

Drop the olives, one a time, in the oil. Toss with a slotted spoon and cook for 2-4 minutes, until the breading is crispy and golden brown.

When they’re done cooking, use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain the excess oil.

Serve with hot sauce or warm marinara sauce for dipping!

Brie in Pastry (Vegetarian)

This one seems self -explanatory, right? Take a wheel of brie, add your favourite jam and goodies into it, bake…and BAM…stellar appetizer with minimal prep!

The most difficult part is remember to take out the puff pastry (best to defrost overnight in the fridge)…and waiting for it get all melty in the oven. It’s not uncommon for my BFF and I to sit down and eat an entire wheel of brie in one sitting…this recipe is definitely not an exception.

Seriously though, look at it. In the world of cheese, this thing would be a supermodel. It’s literally begging to be dug into and drank with wine.

Brie en croute

It’s really yummy served with bread or crackers (because you can never have enough carbs, obviously) but honestly, it’s amazing all on it’s own. The puff pastry is already a great vehicle for all the ooey gooey goodness hidden inside.

I love apricot jam and walnuts layered inside, but I’ve also used apple butter and pecans, strawberry jam, pine nuts and balsamic and it’s always been delicious – so there’s lots of room for experimenting here! Brie is really a blank canvas.

Brie in Pastry

  • 1 Wheel Brie
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup Apricot Jam, or your favourite jam/fruit compote
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, or your favourite nuts
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp liquid (water or milk)
  • Favourite seasoning for topping (I used a mixture of dried basil/oregano for the one pictured)

Preheat oven to 375 fht.

Lay sheet of puff pastry down, spread a couple tbsp. of jam and nuts in the middle.

Place your wheel of brie on top, and cut brie horizontally, separating the top from the bottom of the brie.

Remove top of brie, and on the bottom portion, spread the rest of your jam (amount depends on how big your brie is, plus how many preserves you like – this is all personal preference!) and nuts

Place top of brie back on top, and wrap the puff pastry over, folding the sides over as you go around. Once you’ve wrapped the puff pastry, press the edges of the pastry together to close it so it doesn’t over leak while it’s baking.

Flip brie right side up, so the edges of the puff pastry are on the bottom (or honestly, you can bake it right side up if you like and don’t mind seeing the puff pastry creases) and place on baking sheet, or pie pan.

Brush with egg wash, and top with your favourite seasoning. I like dried herbs – but everything seasoning would also be delicious!

Bake for 15-20 minutes until puff pastry is brown and crispy and cheese is melted through. Don’t be alarmed if some of the jam leaks through, it’ll get all caramely and delicious!

Serve with bread or crackers, or on it’s own!

Saluti!