In the kitchen with: Carla Logan, aka Carly
Making: olive tapenade
It's a sweltering July afternoon, but inside Carly's Bistro it's dim and cool, with blinds drawn to filter out the light. And although we came during the lull between lunch and dinner, the owner's life is plenty busy. With a husband (John Logan of The MadCaPs, aka Phoenix New Times' Best Band On the Run), 3 year old daughter, Veronica (who prefers sushi over mac & cheese), and another child on the way, it's a wonder Carla Logan is as calm as she is.
Six months pregnant and glowing, Logan, or "Carly" as she's better known anywhere near her namesake Roosevelt Row bar/restaurant, has her vibrant red hair up in a ponytail with short, straight bangs across her forehead. Donning a red apron over her blue-gray top and black skirt with simple lavender sandals, she really is the epitome of a rocker mom.
And although her cravings have recently drawn her to spicy foods, she chose to make olive tapenade with us today.
Get the recipe after the jump.
Carly's Bistro, located at 128 E. Roosevelt St., is, frankly, easy to miss. The exterior has a mural painted on the side, complete with skulls and a cello-playing bird, giving a chameleon effect to the establishment in the center of the Phoenix arts district.
And the decor within the place reflects the neighborhood, and Logan herself, just as much.
Sketches by local artists are sandwiched between the top of the bar and glass. A table in the dining room has authentic Iraqi money under its glass top -- sent to Logan from Iraq while her brother was stationed there.
And of course, there's the mural hanging behind the bar, done by local artist Steven Yazzie. While many patrons of Carly's believe the nude redhead in the painting to be Logan herself, she insists that the woman is actually Yazzie's wife.
In the modest-sized kitchen, Marvin Gaye is on pause, while The White Stripes continue to play out in the restaurant's dining area. Although Logan lets the staff choose the music, she smiles and admits that she does happen to be a White Stripes fan. A small sign with "smile" typed in all caps, and two dollar symbols on either side, hangs above a sky blue door.
The olive tapenade comes as an appetizer but is also serves as a spread for sandwiches at the restaurant.
"It's a really easy recipe to make and it's very versatile. You can do a lot with it," says Logan.
And the tapenade isn't something she only makes at her restaurant. She's found recipes she enjoys combining it with at home, too.
"We don't serve it in the shop, but at home I love to make the tapenade and put it over a white fish, like a tilapia, and bake it," Logan says. "It makes a beautiful complement to the white fish."
Logan begins by chopping four whole cloves of garlic and half a cup of parsley by hand. Then she pours that, along with capers, one cup of pitted medium sized Greek green olives and one cup of pitted medium sized kalamata olives into the food processor.
While in the food processor, pulse the mix to avoid the ingredients becoming too well blended. Pour half a cup of extra virgin olive oil and mix it all in a bowl.
Then pair the tapenade with pita bread, hummus or whatever else you may fancy.
Logan also wanted to make Carly's Cucumber Cooler with us. She brought this concept of a drink back with her from her sister's wedding in Mexico. This souvenir of hers is made with pureed cucumber, vodka, key lime, simple syrup or agave syrup. soda water and 7Up.
For a 14 oz. drink, take a regular cucumber and peel half the skin off. Slice and strain it for the juice. Take 1 oz. of cucumber juice, 1 oz. of lime, 1.5 oz. of simply syrup or agave syrup, 1.5 oz. of vodka and half a glass of soda water and 7Up (or half a glass of only 7Up, if you prefer it sweeter).
Logan talks about the neighborhood a lot. The art scene with its First Fridays, the local grocers, the music -- it's obvious how much she loves being a part of this community. After all, she met her husband in this very neighborhood, where the two decided to open the restaurant together a year and a half prior to getting married.
Regulars call her "Carly" (just like her dad always has) and chat with her at ease. This past May marked the restaurant's 6-year anniversary.
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