Marinated Olives and Tomatoes and a Charcuterie Board for a Curmudgeon


noun  cur·mud·geon  \ (ˌ)kər-ˈmə-jən \

 1: a crusty, ill-tempered, and usually old man

2:  archaic : miser

3:  Ove

Welcome to the November Food ‘n Flix feature, A Man Called Ove, hosted by Wendy at  A Day in the Life on the Farm.  (You can read her announcement post here.)

I initially thought this was an odd film choice for the month of November, a film about someone so disgruntled with what his life has dealt him that he wants to end it.   Then I watched the film.  I think it’s the perfect movie to celebrate the essence of Thanksgiving:  community, friends, and family.  (For a full synopsis of the film, click here.)

There is a lot of food in the film and most of it either marks some telling quotes from Ove or causes him to remember.  For instance, there’s the meals that come from his new neighbors, rich Persian food that is delicious and comforting.   Ove’s response?  “Rice cooked with saffron…Well, what’s wrong with meat and potatoes?”

As the relationship between Ove and his young neighbors (especially Parveneh) grows, we find out that Sonja’s favorite dessert was Napoleon Cake. There’s also the first date meal where Ove only eats soup to be economical.

As the couple travels to Spain for perhaps their only vacation, there’s the breakfast buffet at the resort. I also loved the al fresco meal that they shared by the pool for a romantic picnic (using leftovers from the lunch buffet).

The scene speaks to Ove’s frugality coupled with Sonja’s sense of fun.   It becomes even more poignant when you understand what comes next.

I wanted to put together my own romantic supper, a meal that celebrates a time when Ove was the happiest.  We love a good appetizer plate, whether we’re dining out or noshing on the patio.  I created an array of charcuterie and cheeses inspired by their frugal vacation dinner.

Here’s the homemade portion of our board:  Marinated Cherry Tomatoes with Berbere, Marinated Olives, and Sourdough Cheese Crackers.

Marinated Cherry Tomatoes with Berbere

Debra (based on a recipe found here.)

The East African berbere spice gives an unusual “pow” to a typical cherry tomato salad. 


  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (about 1 T.)
  • 1/4 c. grape seed oil (or other mild oil)
  • 3 T. Champagne vinegar
  • 2 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 t. berbere spice


  1. Place tomatoes and jalapeno in a large bowl.
  2. In a separate small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the grape seed oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic and spice.
  3. Pour dressing over vegetables and toss to combine.
  4. Cover and place in refrigerator to let marinate for at least thirty minutes before serving.

Yield: 4 servings

We love a good dish of olives so I experimented with another recipe.

Marinated Olives with Herbs & Spices



  • 1 (6 oz. DR Wt) can green olives, drained
  • 1 teaspoon juniper berries
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 4 (2)-inch strips lemon zest
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 c. extra virgin olive oil


  1. Drain olives and set aside.
  2. Place juniper, coriander, smashed garlic, lemon zest, bay leaves, and red pepper flakes in a small sauce pan.  Add oil.
  3. Cook over low, swirling pan occasionally, until garlic is golden, 15–20 minutes. (You are basically poaching the garlic.  Do this low and slow so you do not burn the garlic and the spices.)
  4. Pour the mixture over the olives and let set at room temperature for a few hours.   May refrigerate leftovers.

I used a mixture of both black and green olives.   Use whatever you like.  I have another herbed olive recipe but this one may be our new favorite.

My intent was to have some homemade sourdough bread with this array but, alas, my sourdough was finicky and took longer than five hours to rise.   Instead, in record time, I whipped up these sourdough crackers (courtesy of Simona at briciole).

All of these recipes are great to have around for the upcoming holidays.

To round out, we had some hard gouda cheese, some soft herbed goat cheese, some mortadella, some sopressata, and a perfectly ripe pear.  We paired this with a Beaujolais.

I love this little curmudgeonful film.   I came to love Ove.   I hated how I was thinking, but I looked forward to each attempt to end his life because of the flashbacks.  I wanted to know more about what made Ove tick.   Thank goodness for Parveneh and her family for bringing him back to the living.

“One thing is certain, though, whatever we do in this life, no one gets out alive.”—Ove

And, no one goes through it alone.

Thank you, Wendy, for hosting this month!

Please join Food ‘n Flix in December as I host Love Actually.   

Look for an announcement post here soon.


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My Favorite Reads

Eat, Pray, Love
Running with Scissors
SantaLand Diaries
Me Talk Pretty One Day
Angela's Ashes
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
My Life in France
Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen: How One Girl Risked Her Marriage, Her Job, and Her Sanity to Master the Art of Living
Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise
A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table
Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table
The Liars' Club
Code Name Verity
The Paris Wife
The Shoemaker's Wife
The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo: A Novel
Brother of the More Famous Jack
Burying the Honeysuckle Girls

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