Olives and Eggs.

A Couple of Ways to Eat Better in this Age of Excess.

Unperson Pending
6 min readDec 2, 2023
Image Source: Pixabay.com/user:lisa77

We all need to eat better; it’s just a fact of life. For myself, a recent health scare put me in this very mindset. The results of my bi-annual blood tests for kidney function back in August came back with elevated liver enzymes. Kidney results were stable, in keeping with my results from previous years. Long story short, everything is fine and the temporary spike was the result of a piss poor diet during a particularly nasty depressive spell this summer, consisting almost exclusively of fried chicken, freezer pizza, ice cream and soda.

There are a lot of tips and tricks to be had in the pursuit of healthier eating, and one trick I like to use is to replace mayonnaise with low-fat yogurt whenever there is an opportunity. As you can see by this handy nutritional side-by-side, there are definite advantages to using even plain yogurt over mayo, even if the carb count is twice as high.

So let’s take a look at one way I substitute for mayo by going through how I prepare Egg Salad.

First, I hard-boil eggs by immersing them in water enough to cover them by two inches (I tend to do a dozen at a time, but scale for your own needs). I bring the water to a gentle boil, turn off the heat and let them sit, covered, for nine minutes, give or take. Afterwards, I give them an ice water bath for a minute or two to cool them down before peeling. There are few things harder to do than trying to peel just cooked eggs right off the hob.

Once the eggs are peeled and chopped, then mashed in a mixing bowl, I chop fine (ish) celery and sweet baby gherkins to add a bit of crunch to the texture. One substitution you can make here is to chop fresh bell pepper, instead of celery. Bell pepper is a good source of vitamin C, so substituting here can be a good way to get that in your diet if you have issues with citrus, as I do.

I then work on adding flavor, to compensate for the loss of ‘zip’ one finds in mayo, first by adding pepper to the mix. Use whatever you prefer, but I like using this salt-free Sonoma Pepper blend that I buy from an upscale market just off of downtown. Next, I mix a basic vinaigrette in a jar, using three parts olive oil, one part red wine vinegar, a dash of salt and a dash of pepper (use whatever oil and vinegar suits you best). I mix this into the egg mash with a portion of mustard to build a flavor profile to my liking. It’s important to do this before you add the yogurt, as too much yogurt and vinegar together will make for a mushy, runny egg salad, and I prefer mine to be somewhat firm. Lastly, add your low-fat plain yogurt to create your desired consistency, and you’re ready to eat.

There are different ways to enjoy this dish, like sandwiches or on salads. I prefer a good, toasted rye bread myself. Play with it and see what goodness you can come up with.

Now for the Olive portion of the show. It can’t be overstated — I…LOVE…OLIVES! I just do. If I don’t have them on pizza, I don’t eat the pizza. It’s as simple as that. I often lament that there aren’t more dishes available to make with olives. Thankfully, I discovered Tapenade one day when I was watching a movie and took on the challenge of making my own variety. Tapenade is a French dish from the south that uses primarily olives and anchovies. I don’t use anchovies, however, because they don’t appeal to me, so it’s safe to say that my Tapenade is very vegetarian friendly, if not vegan as well (you be the judge). It is similar to hummus, but uses olives instead of chickpeas as the base.

Olives carry the risk of excess sodium, it’s true, owing to the process of rendering them edible, but olives are a good source of vitamin E. I try to work around the problem of excess sodium by rinsing my olives before I begin, so there is that. Now let’s take a look at the recipe for my Coconut Curry Tapenade, so that you can get to the task of making it for yourself. I will say that it’s a bit of a chore, because you have to make so much up front, but it’s never a problem for me because I eat the stuff up in a few days. Experiment and scale for your own needs.

The Recipe -

Coconut Curry Tapenade

(Prep Time — 30 to 45 mins.)
Ingredients -
1. 24 oz. Olives, drained and rinsed (any combination of green, black or kalamata olives will do, but I avoid green olives stuffed with pimento)
2. Sweetened shredded coconut, half bag (3.5 oz)
3. 2 garlic cloves, chopped
4. 2 & 1/2 Tbsp. Pickled capers, drained and rinsed
5. Juice from one lemon
6. 3 Tbsp. Olive oil
7. 1 tsp. (appx) any pepper variety
8. 1 can coconut milk
9. Curry sauce (see recipe below)

Directions -
1. If not already done, drain/rinse olives and capers
2. Separate remaining ingredients into two equal batches and place in blender or food processor, one batch at a time, mixing until smooth
3. Separate olives into two equal portions and mix each portion in blender or food processor with one portion of mix from step 2, mixing until you reach desired consistency.
4. Combine both batches in one bowl and mix.
5. Serve with toast points or any other appropriate dipping medium. Chopped vegetables are an excellent choice. Refrigerate uneaten portion for later. It will thicken as it chills, so be mindful of that factor. Can be
used as a substitute for tomato-based sauce on homemade pizza.

Coconut Curry Sauce
1. 2 Tbsp. Olive oil
2. 1 tsp. Crushed red pepper flakes
3. Zest of 1 Lemon
4. 1 & 1/2 Tbsp. Minced garlic
5. 1–1 & 1/2 Tbsp. Curry powder
6. 1 & 1/4 cup light coconut milk
7. 2 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
8. 2 tsp. Turbinado/Demerara Sugar, or to taste
9. 1/2 tsp. Sea salt, or to taste
10. 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1. In sm. bowl combine coconut milk, soy sauce, sugar and salt. Set aside.
2. In second sm. bowl combine red pepper flakes, zest, garlic and curry powder.
3. Place skillet over medium to medium high heat, add olive oil and heat for 30 seconds.
4. Add mix from step 2 and stir fry until fragrant, about 15 seconds.
5. Add mix from step 1 and bring to boil. Cook until sauce thickens slightly, about 1 & 1/2 minutes.
6. Add basil then pour into bowl.

So there you have it; two very interesting ways to encourage healthier eating in your daily life. I prefer the Coconut Curry sauce in my Tapenade, but I am also considering experimenting with a mango/lime/jalapeno sauce as well. Considering the variety of sauces available, the Tapenade can be prepared to virtually any taste one desires. Give it a go and see what you come up with.