By Karin Calloway

Karin Calloway is a working mom living in Augusta, Ga., with multiple freelance jobs and a ton of dirty dishes.

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Marinated Olives and Cheese

Garlicky, tangy and frankly addictive, my recipe for Marinated Olives and Cheese is a flavorful way to welcome unexpected guests. Served in small bowls with toothpicks, the bites of olive and cheese are a terrific accompaniment to cocktails and pair especially well with a dry red wine.

The olives and cheese keep for a week or two when stored in the refrigerator and are best served at room temperature. They also make a wonderful addition to a big tossed salad. Packaged in pint-sized canning jars, they’re a welcome hostess or holiday gift.

  •  2 teaspoons minced garlic, about 2 large cloves
  •  1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  •  1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  •  1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  •  1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  •  Zest of 1 lemon (about 2 teaspoons)
  •  1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  •  1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  •  2 cups stuffed olives (pimento, jalapeno, garlic or almond)
  •  1 pound mozzarella or sharp cheddar cheese.

Combine all ingredients except cheese in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Cook until the mixture is warm (120 degrees F), remove from heat and set aside to cool. When cool, stir in the cheese. Cover and chill 8 hours or longer. (Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.)

Makes 4 cups.