January 25, 2014 |
ARTOIS, Calif. - Nestled in a corner of the Sacramento Valley known for its rice, almonds and walnuts, densely packed rows of manicured olive trees stretch toward the horizon. This 1,700-acre spread is the domain of California Olive Ranch, an upstart company with big ambitions. The U.S. is the world's No. 3 consumer of olive oil, drizzling 293,000 metric tons of the stuff over salads and pizzas last year. Yet almost every drop was produced overseas in countries including Spain, Italy and Greece.
January 10, 2014 |
Forget about all the butter we Americans are supposed to be consuming, I'm deep into olive oil practically every meal, lavishing a slab of grilled country bread with the intensely fruity Tuscan oil and sopping up every bit of the remains on my plate. This is from my annual shipment of olio nuovo (new oil) from the Rare Wine Co. in Sonoma. The color is an iridescent jade-chartreuse, gorgeous to behold. This is olive oil more as food than condiment. I float a thread on winter minestrone or pasta fagioli, eat halved avocados with a drizzle of the oil, dip artichoke leaves in a little dish of olio nuovo . I get my fix every year from the Rare Wine Co., which has been bringing in a selection of new oils from Tuscany for almost 20 years now. This year, after tasting the new oils in November, Rare Wine founder Mannie Berk chose oils from half a dozen wine estates in Tuscany.
October 11, 2013
Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes Servings: 6 Note: Adapted from "The Book of New Israeli Food" by Janna Gur. Pomegranate concentrate or molasses is available at select Jons markets, cooking supply stores and Middle Eastern markets. 3 to 4 medium beets 2 tablespoons pomegranate concentrate or molasses 2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice 2 to 3 small, dried red chile peppers, crushed Coarse sea salt 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves 1 cup pomegranate seeds 1/4 cup lightly flavored olive oil 1. Cook the beets in a covered medium saucepan of boiling water until tender, 45 to 50 minutes.
August 30, 2013
Total time: 1 hour Servings: 4 Note: Donna Deane was inspired by specialties of France, Spain and Denmark while developing ideas for an article on open-faced sandwiches. Here she combines Manchego, the Spanish cheese, now widely available, with our local Mission figs for a summery treat. 1/4 cup sweet white wine such as Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise 6 black Mission figs, cut in half 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided 6 cups sliced onions, 1/4 -inch thick 1 teaspoon sugar 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves 1 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 4 slices organic multi-grain bread, toasted 3 ounces shaved Manchego cheese Fleur de sel 1. In a small saucepan, heat the Muscat to warm and pour it over the fig halves in a bowl.
August 16, 2013
Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes Servings: 4 to 6 1 red bell pepper 1 yellow bell pepper 1/2 cup olive oil plus 1/2 teaspoon, divided 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic 1 tablespoon minced shallot Kosher salt, coarse black pepper 1 large globe eggplant, about 1 1/2 pounds 10 fresh basil leaves, torn Fleur de sel 1. Coat the peppers with one-half teaspoon of olive oil....
June 14, 2013 |
We've all been to catered events where the main finger food is a big bowl of chilled broccoli and cauliflower florets meant to dip in a bowl of ranch dressing or cheesy dip. It's not all that wine-friendly, really. That dressing can kill the wine, not to mention the vegetal taste of the raw broccoli especially. If you love good olive oil, pinzimonio is the way to go. It's an Italian antipasti of raw vegetables to dip in peppery extra-virgin olive oil, preferably Tuscan. Sometimes, it's just raw carrots and celery stuck in a jar. More often, it's those gorgeous baby purple artichokes so tender they can be eaten raw. And when you get lucky, it can be a beautifully assembled platter of all sorts of vegetables.