Monday, June 23, 2008

Small Miracles

Sunday was a day of extraordinary events. The whole thing actually started on Thursday when I was informed that Spain's soccer team would be playing Italy's in the Euro Cup quarter finals. This was big news since the two teams hadn't faced each other this deep in a competition since the 1994 World Cup. I still remember sitting on the floor at home, dangerously close to the TV screen as these two soccer giants faced off, the winner moving on to the final game, the loser eliminated and ashamed. The World Cup was played in the United States that year and my father managed to go to every game that Spain played in. The Spain-Italy match up took place in Boston, and my parents were right there in the front row. I watched excitedly, knowing that although separated, my parents and I were possibly watching history unfold.

Anyone who follows soccer knows that the game ended in Spain's defeat, a totally unpunished elbow to the nose, and my family in a crumpled, depressed heap for the next two weeks. So to mark the monumental rematch of my people and their nemesis, I invited a few friends over for soccer, snack and drinks. The first of the day's extraordinary events took place when it began to rain cats and dogs through what appeared to be full blown sunshine. This wasn't really a problem since we were all cozy and air conditioned and gorging on chicken wings, empanadas, tapenade and white bean dip. As we drank our way through a few bottles of Spanish wine, some beers and a couple of ciders, the game stood still at 0-0. This was to be expected with two teams of such a high caliber, so it was no surprise when after two overtime periods, the game was decided by a nerve racking round of penalty kicks.

A few minutes later, Spain emerged victorious with a final score of 4-2, I broke a glass out of sheer excitement, and much to the dismay of every sports commentator calling the game, Spain was moving on to the last round of play before the championship game. As extraordinary as this win seemed to everyone else, I wasn't surprised, having always felt like the soccer equivalent of a Red Sox fan, knowing that someday our day would come even if no one else believed it. I spent the rest of the evening gleefully polishing off what was left of the snacks I'd prepared and napping away my excitement. As a tribute to the team and to Spain, here's a recipe for the olive tapenade that I serve with cheese and poppy crackers. Enjoy, and viva EspaƱa!


1/2 lb mixed olives, pitted
2 anchovy fillets, rinsed
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp capers
juice of half a lemon
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp dry rosemary, ground
1/2 tsp dry thyme, ground
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and slowly stream in olive oil until desired consistency is reached. Enjoy!


1 comment:

Gloria said...

This tapenade is fantastic. Good times had by all on Sunday.