2 days ago
Thursday, December 31, 2009
I am on page 148 of Mort Rosenblum's Olives and loving every page. I realize it is all very subjective but I hope to make some sense of his history of olives and determine the current leader of olive production as far as a great mix of quality and passion for the fruit. Mort has a great way of bringing the passion to life.
This Christmas as brought me closer to olives with a number of thoughtful gifts. I received a bottle of California Marsala EVOO which I have already used half a bottle of to make Eggplant Tonnato from Peggy Knickerbocker's cookbook, Olive Oil From Table To Tree. Nice recipe albeit on the very salty side. I need to rinse the anchovies next time! Kirsten made Peggy's Orange Ginger Cake, which was an instant family hit.
I also received a few olive oil bath products from The Body Shop via Santa: Olive Shower Gel, Olive Body Butter, Olive Body Scrub and Olive Glossing Shampoo. So far I have used a few drops of the shower gel in the tub for a nice foaming experience leaving my skin moist in this New York winter dryness.
Finally, I got a gift of an Italian olive tree adoption from Nudo in Le Marche. My tree lives in the Rosalio grove and is 38 years old. The variety is Leccino. This spring I will recieve a few litres of oil followed by infused oil in autumn. To make this gift complete, I would love to go to the fall harvest and meet my tree, water it, and give it a hug! It's great to get a living, breathing gift.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
My friend Kenn lent me the Mort Rosenblum book Olives, The Life and Lore of a Noble Fruit at our holiday party last night. I'm only on page 6 but already in love with it. I am about to get even more connected to olives.
Monday, December 21, 2009
PS - Olive oil is a natural juice that preserves the taste, aroma, vitamins and other properties of the olive fruit.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Life was in shambles during the first Hanukkah. But then by miracle, olive oil meant to last one day, burned for eight days, the length of time it took to press, prepare and consecrate more fresh olive oil. A process of renewing faith in the aftermath of oppression, and rebuild the ruins of the Temple, restoring oil to their lamps and faith to their hearts. The Bible contains 140 references to Olive Oil and the Koran and Hadith mention the value of Olive Oil several times. The first mention of the olive in the Bible is the olive leaf that the dove returned to Noah, signifying peace and restoration from the devastating flood. Olive oil was used in the holy anointing oil to consecrate priests, and instruments of the sanctuary, and the sick. Olive trees and vineyards are part of the blessings God gave to Israel. Very holy stuff indeed. Some call it liquid gold.
The value of olives have been sacred for some 6000 years. Something that is just pure, simple, communal, and healthy - an elixir of the Gods. Personally, I would like to extend an olive branch to everyone in this season of peace and merriment!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
PS - olive harvests appear to be high around the world this fall. I think its a good omen.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
My lovely Kirsten is a marvel with cooking and with most everything else she creates. Per my birthday request she baked me a lovely olive oil cake. This means replacing butter for olive oil. Not only is this a more nutritious cake, but it also has a unique flavor that compliments coffee. That's right, similar to the synergy between wine and cheese, olive oil cake and coffee gives you that X factor. Coffee cake has always been a direct compliment to coffee, but if you have not had the olive oil combination, do it now. The first sip of coffee with a mouth full of the cake will knock your socks off. Some birthday wishes do come true. Cheers! Please ignore the face on that plate, it is super delish!
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Today I tasted a teaspoon on it's own and I really liked the flavor. Lush, silky, with an avocado finish. I am no pro, so I wonder what could be better? Then I looked at the large bottle for the expiration date or vintage date and I found neither. Nor is there any mention of the farm or estate, but only that it is organic, EVOO and from Chile. Chile has an ideal climate for growing olives and wine, but the label information can only mean that this oil is not from a single farm. Also, most likely not from carefully handpicked ripe olives. What is the cure?
My next bottle needs to have a vintage date and a name of farm. Unlike wine, olive oil needs to be fresh to be wonderful, similar to a great Champagne. I need to dig deeper!
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Everyone runs out and buys a pine tree to celebrate Christmas. The reason? Maybe it's tradition, maybe it's because they smell so good. It doesn't hurt that they match the holiday fun that is meant to be winter wonderland. I personally love them.
But what of other trees? An olive branch is a symbol of peace. That alone should give it some cache during the season ear-marked for peace, love, and happiness. Then there is the rich deep green fruit that looks just like a perfect little ornament. An ornament created by nature. In all their splendor, a noble olive tree is rooted deep in the soil.
Enjoy the pines at home and let the olive trees lay in the grove. Keep tradition alive. I'm getting my pine on Saturday. Happy yule y'all!
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
A proper dirty martini does not need top shelf gin or a fancy mixologist. What it needs is some simple olives and a bit of olive juice to give the herbal gin a salty bite. The martini pictured was ordered by my friend Kenn at Le Poisson Rouge while listening to some amazing jazz by John Hollenbeck. It was jumbo sized and very potent. I think the olives made the evening extra magical, good to the last bite. Spread the holiday cheer!
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Otherwise, we are faced with two options before receiving our first course. Generally it is bread accompanied with either butter or olive oil. Italians well know that olive oil is great for digestion. Even taking a spoonful a day will keep your tummy happy.
Sitting down at Tarallucci E Vino and starting my dinner with soft focaccia and olive oil just tastes great. Never mind that it is vegetarian and healthy. Just enjoy and your belly will thank you!
Friday, December 4, 2009
Diane Savino, our New York State Senator, has passed legislation with the Olive Oil Labeling Bill to keep additives out of our virgin olive oil. Olive oil production in this country is about to explode with more plantings than ever before. Diane has done her part to keep the oil pure. Thank you! Olive oil can continue to prevent high blood pressure without the questionable effects of additives. American can show face with top producing countries of Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Syria and Tunisia.
Also, kudos in her defense of gay marriage&rights with her rousing speech in the House ending with "We have nothing to fear from love and commitment." Well done! More advocates needed.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
It is possible to purchase a nice black Spanish olive tree in the city for around $425. Head over to the 20s on the Westside and marvel at the Mediterranean perfection made for Manhattan. The only issue is that you can't plant an olive tree outdoors as it will freeze and die. So what you need is indoor space with high ceilings and direct natural sunlight. Make sure the soil is kept moist at all times as the roots cannot grow long like in the chalky soil of native lands. Also, this tree is bulky so it will make an ideal window shade to give you privacy. Will one tree bear fruit?