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Savory Snacking With a Pantry Staple

MISSION, KS -- (Marketwired) -- 05/30/14 -- (Family Features) From everyday snacking to entertaining at parties, Americans adore their snacks. So, it's no surprise that nearly 100 percent of Americans snack at least once every day, according to a recent survey conducted by the California Olive Committee.

Interestingly, the survey found that consumers, who snack most frequently at home on weekends, overwhelmingly prefer easy-to-prepare homemade snacks over prepared store-bought varieties.

One versatile and affordable ingredient that pumps up the flavor of a wide array of snack recipes is the ripe olive. Olives are a double-duty pantry staple -- ideal for snacking right out of the can and perfect to have on hand for preparing simple, mouth-watering snack recipes at home.

From pickling with spices and vegetables, to adding a pop of color and texture to hummus or cream cheese-stuffed celery, California Ripe Olives are a flavorful addition to crowd-pleasing snacks.

Here are some simple, scrumptious recipes that are sure to cure any snack attack.

For more tasty snacking recipes, visit www.CalOlive.org.

Olive Hummus
Servings: 2 cups
Prep time: 10 minutes
1       (6-ounce) can California Ripe Olives
1       (15-ounce) can rinsed and drained garbanzo beans
2 1/2   tablespoons sesame tahini
2 1/2   tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2   tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for drizzling
1/2     teaspoon ground cumin
1/4     teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2       cloves garlic
2       tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
        Chopped fresh parsley (optional)
        Pita bread wedges, pita chips or cut raw vegetables

Open olive can and strain, reserving 2 tablespoons of brine; set aside.

Puree beans, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, salt, cayenne pepper and garlic in food processor until very smooth. Add yogurt and olive brine and mix again. Add two-thirds of olives and pulse until coarsely chopped. Transfer to bowl.

Coarsely chop remaining olives and sprinkle over top. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with parsley, if desired. Serve with pita bread wedges, pita chips or raw vegetables.

Pickled Olives and Vegetables
Servings: 6
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Chill time: Overnight
2     (6-ounce) cans California Ripe Olives
1     teaspoon whole coriander seeds
1     teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/4   teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4   teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4   teaspoon mustard seeds
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
1     tablespoon sugar
3/4   teaspoon salt
2     bay leaves
1     medium carrot, peeled, halved and cut into strips
12    small green beans, ends trimmed
2     sprigs fresh dill
1     small yellow squash, halved and cut into strips
1     clove garlic, thinly sliced

Open olive cans and strain, reserving 3/4 cup of brine; set aside.

Place coriander, peppercorns, crushed red pepper and seeds in medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook for two minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant. Add vinegar, water, olive brine, sugar, salt and bay leaves, and bring to boil. Add carrots and cook five minutes.

Remove from heat and let cool slightly, then stir in remaining ingredients, including olives.

Let cool then transfer to jars. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. For best flavor, chill overnight before serving.

Bahian-Spiced Olives
Servings: 6
Prep time: 5 minutes
2       (6-ounce) cans California Ripe Olives
2       tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2       teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2   teaspoons ground cumin (preferably toasted)
1       teaspoon ground turmeric
1       teaspoon white pepper
1       teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/8-1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)
1       tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
        Sea salt to taste

Open olive cans and strain, reserving 2 tablespoons of brine.

Stir together all ingredients (including brine) in medium bowl.

May be served immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. If refrigerated, warm slightly before serving.

Olive, Sun-Dried Tomato and Cream Cheese Stuffed Celery
Servings: 8
Prep time: 20 minutes
1    (8-ounce) package 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
1    (2.2-ounce) can sliced California Ripe Olives, drained
2    tablespoons minced sun-dried tomatoes
1    tablespoon minced fresh basil
1/4  teaspoon sea salt
2    finely chopped small green onions
2    minced garlic cloves
8    large ribs celery
2    tablespoons chopped pistachios (optional)

Place cream cheese in medium bowl. Chop three-quarters of the olives and stir into cream cheese with tomatoes, basil, salt, green onions and garlic. Cut each celery rib in half and fill with cheese mixture. Sprinkle with pistachios and garnish with remaining olives.

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