Recipes

Holiday Goose

by admin on November 15, 2013

Although the notion of shopping with the seasons is hardly new, and many of us adhere to the practice with a near religious vigor, most people apply the philosophy to, say, spring (onions, garlic, fava beans, and peas); summer (tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers), fall (figs, pears, apples) or winter (squash and bitter greens). But wild fish (Dungeness crab, sand dab, halibut, soft shell crab) are also seasonal, and, while the thought may strike many as weird, so are meat & poultry.

I believe this thinking will soon become the norm, especially for those of us who do most of our food shopping at farmers’ markets. After all, the theory is hardly new. Europeans have traditionally eaten lamb in spring, beef in summer & fall, and pork in fall and winter. Many small poultry farms have a chicken season that runs from April to November, and move on to fattier birds such as duck, turkey, and geese during cold weather months.

Goose, of course, is a traditional treat in many parts of the world, but not so much here in the States where turkey seems to be the perennial holiday bird of choice. To my way of thinking, turkey is fine and dandy  but once you’ve roasted a goose for Christmas there’s no turning back.

Slow-Roasted Goose with Root Vegetables on a Bed of Farro
The idea for slow-roasting the goose was inspired by the Union Square Café’s Second Helpings cookbook. I’ve settled on a simplified version of the recipe, have added a twist using SHOlive Oil Company’s new Cranberry Balsamic Vinegar, and also carve the bird and serve it over a bed of mint and tarragon flecked farro, the traditional Italian grain from the Abruzzo region. The result is fantastic. The dark, slightly gamey meat, crisp golden bits of skin, toothsome farro, a rich, but not too rich sauce, and the underlying brightness provided by the herbs.

8 – 10 pound Goose (preferably fresh, not frozen)
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, pealed and chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 apple, cored and chopped
8 sage leaves
1 bay leaf
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup hard apple cider
1 tablespoon CRANBERRY BALSAMIC VINEGAR

4 tablespoons 2013 OLIO NUOVO
2 tablespoons ORGANIC GREY SEA SALT

2 cups farro
1 sprig mint leaves, chopped
1 sprig tarragon leaves, chopped

24 – 48 hours before cooking, cut off the wingtips and set aside with the giblets. Pre-salt the goose inside and out with ORGANIC GREY SEA SALT and refrigerate, loosely wrapped in plastic.

Remove goose from fridge an hour before roasting and bring to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 250°.

Stuff the goose with a mixture of the root vegetables, apple, sage, and bay leaf. In a large roasting pan, place the bird breast-side down on roasting a rack and cover the entire pan with aluminum foil. Roast for 4 hours at 250°.

Remove the roasting pan from the oven, remove the foil, and pour off and save the rendered fat for another use (such as roasting potatoes). Raise the heat to 350°, and continue cooking for another hour.

Remove the pan from the oven, pour off and save any remaining fat, flip the goose to breast-side up, scatter the wingtips and giblets around the roasting pan, and cook for one more hour at 350°.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the farro.

When it’s done, remove the goose from the pan and set aside to rest for 15 – 20 minutes. Remove the vegetable, apple, and herb mix from the cavity, add it to the giblets and wingtips along with the chicken stock, hard cider, and Cranberry BALSAMIC VINEGAR, and cook over medium heat, slowly reducing the liquids into a sauce.

Carve the goose meat completely off the bone (it will be so tender that it will essentially fall off). Slice or tear the meat into fork-sized shreds.

Layer the farro onto a serving platter, and liberally scatter the chopped mint and tarragon leaves over the top. Arrange the goose flesh and pieces of crispy skin over the farro, ladle over the sauce, and serve.

— serves 8 to 10

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2013 Olio Nuovo for the Thanksgiving Table!

by admin on November 1, 2013

With Thanksgiving practically here, and Christmas on the horizon, the season for turkey is about to rev into high gear. And we strongly recommend sourcing a fresh heritage breed over the typical supermarket variety.

The difference is not insignificant.

An example would be the birds from BN Ranch, a venture from Bill Nyman (formerly of Nyman Ranch) and his wife Nicolette. Bill and Nicolette personally drove to Kentucky to pick up their poults, which were bred naturally, not via artificial insemination. The next generation is birthed the old-fashioned way, from the eggs produced by the initial flock. The birds are raised at Nymans’ Bolinas, CA ranch, and are housed in spacious pens with indoor and outdoor access that provides ample room for exercise. Moreover, these birds are humanely raised on an all-vegetarian diet, with no beak cutting or wing clipping—they even fly.

The flavor difference is staggering. Turkeys like these are not only far tastier than the mass-produced variety—delivering authentic turkey flavor—but they are also more interesting of texture. The skin crisps properly, the breast meat is meaty and moist, and the drumsticks, ah, the drumsticks…a favorite part—especially from heritage birds that get to exercise those leg muscles—are rich, dark, slightly gamey, and very satisfying.

To Brine or Not to Brine
I think the case for heritage turkey speaks for itself. Things get somewhat trickier, however, when it comes to the question of whether or not to brine the bird. A good many prominent chefs, Chez Panisse’s Alice Waters among them, are strong advocates of brining. And there’s no doubt that brining meat in a salted water solution for a few days, before air-drying for another day or two, does result in moister meat.  You can also pre-salt the bird, and cook them with the chicken recipe given in a previous post. Cooking at higher than normal temperatures, results in a  balance of crispy skin, and moist, evenly cooked meat. (To get a scientific take on the question of brining, and his argument against the practice, check out Harold McGee’s “Curious Cook” column from New York Times.

Now for the Turkey
For this recipe, rather than just salting the bird we’re going to employ St. Helena Olive Oil Co.’s Organic Poultry Rub, which in addition to sea salt, will further enhance the flavor of your turkey with garlic; herbs, such as rosemary, oregano, sage, and thyme; a dash of cane sugar; and spices, including chili and black pepper, cayenne, paprika, cinnamon, cumin, allspice, and coriander.

1 Heritage turkey (weight will vary, but estimate 1 to 1.5 lbs. weight for each guest)
SHOliveOilCo ORGANIC POULTRY RUB (a healthy handful)
6 sage leaves
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 pats unsalted butter
2 tablespoons 2013 OLIO NUOVO

48 hours before roasting, take a nice fistful of Organic Poultry Rub and do just that—rub it into the skin as well as the cavity of the turkey. Don’t go too crazy, but don’t be too shy either. Place the bird (either uncovered or loosely wrapped in plastic) on a pan in your fridge. (This is definitely a challenge for larger birds, with which you may need to clear off an entire shelf just to fit the thing in there.)

Remove the bird from the fridge about an hour before roasting, and preheat the oven to 450°. Place a kitchen towel over the breastbone, and give it a good whack with a rolling pin. Remove the towel, and press down on the breast to flatten a bit (this helps ensure more even cooking of breast and legs). Gently lift the skin from the breastbone (see technique in the previous chicken recipe), and stuff sage and garlic under the skin. Rub the bird all over with the olive oil. Place on a rack in a roasting pan, and roast for approximately 2.5 hours for a 10-pound bird, adding 15 minutes for each additional pound. Please note that most ovens are not accurately calibrated, so these times are suggestions. Use your senses—especially the nose and eyes—to judge when your bird is finished. Let rest for 15-20 minutes, carve, and serve.

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Riffing on Organic Spicy Heirloom Pasta Sauce

by admin on October 24, 2013


Fight it as much as we might, this year’s tomato season is almost done.  Supermarkets and even local farmers’ markets still have tomatoes to sell, but even the best examples pale in aroma and flavor compared to those from the peak of the season.

If you canned your own it’s time to start using them—and popping open a jar will bring back Proustian blasts of a summer barely past. But even if you are a home-canner, there may be times when turning those preserved Early Girls or San Marzanos into a sauce is simply more than we can deal with after a long day.

St. Helena Olive Oil Company’s Organic Spicy Heirloom Pasta Sauce is another great item to add to your arsenal of options. The addition of garlic, chiles, and spices give it an extra nice kick.

For the ultimate in simplicity and time management, you may simply fold it into cooked pasta, grate some Parmesan over the top, and plop in front of a favorite movie with a nice glass of red wine—a young Barbera, say? Although the following recipes require a bit, but not too much more time, the rewards are well worth it.

CLAMS, BACON & RAPINI
This simple one-pot dish offers layers of flavors and textures, and can be made in about the same time it takes to boil a pot of pasta water.

1.5 lbs. Manila clams
4 strips bacon
1 cup packed, rapini, chopped
1/2 cup (or more to suit your taste) ORGANIC SPICY HEIRLOOM PASTA SAUCE
2 tablespoons plus a drizzle of EPSTEIN FAMILY ESTATE EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
1/4 cup water or chicken broth
ORGANIC FLEUR DE SEL

Immerse the clams in a bowl of cold water, drain and repeat a few times to rid of any residual sand. Coat the bottom of a pot with the olive oil, cut the bacon into ribbons, and cook over medium heat until just brown. Remove the bacon and let rest on paper towels to absorb excess oil. Place the Spicy Heirloom Pasta Sauce in the pot and stir into the oil, cook for a few minutes over medium heat, then fold in the clams, the rapini, and the water or stock, raise the heat to high, and cover. Cook until all the clams have opened, discarding any that remain tight lipped. Gently toss the mixture together, and spoon into bowls, being sure to get plenty of the spicy broth. Drizzle with a swirl of the oil and a twist of fleur se sel.

— serves 2 as a main course, 4 as a starter

ROASTED WINTER SQUASH
This lovely vegetable dish accented with a kick of spicy sauce and Parmesan makes a
perfect accompaniment to pork and poultry.

1 Squash (butternut or another heirloom variety, about 1 to 1.5lbs
1 small yellow or red onion, chopped
1/2 cup (or more to suit your taste) ORGANIC SPICY HEIRLOOM PASTA SAUCE
2 tablespoons plus a drizzle of TWIN SISTERS EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

1/4 cup grated Parmesan
ORGANIC GREY SEA SALT

Preheat oven to 325°
Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. Slice the squash into wedges, leaving on the skin. Place the squash skin-side down on a roasting sheet. Drizzle with the oil and salt and roast until soft enough to pierce with a fork—about 30 to 45 minutes depending on the size of the squash. About ten minutes before the squash has finished roasting, warm the sauce over low-to-medium heat. Remove the sheet from the oven, spoon the sauce over the squash, and dust with Parmesan. Return to oven, and continue roasting for approximately 10 minutes more, until it all melds together. Remove from the oven, plate, and drizzle over a bit more olive oil and Parmesan.

— serves 4 to 6 as a side dish depending on the size of the squash

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Hailing from the western hillside of the Napa Valley, our Epstein Family Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil is sourced from a small family farm inspired by Frances Mayes, “Under the Tuscan Sun”.

A rare Napa Valley single Spanish varietal—Manzanillo—this is a bolder style oil, offering aromas of black pepper and wind swept grasses, with hints of lemon and fennel. Its rich mouthfeel is pungent and peppery, and makes for a beautiful finishing oil.

As an homage to the passing of summer, we have selected two recipes this oil complements beautifully, drawing out and balancing flavors. One is a classic caprese salad; the other is a simple dish of grilled sardines that we like to serve with a salad of butter lettuce and avocado.

All recipes make 4 servings
Caprese Salad
While this classic epitomizes the Italian spirit of keeping things simple by focusing on the ingredients, it is the quality of the ingredients that spells the difference between something good…and something truly sublime.

Note: While this salad normally calls for ground black pepper, we’ve omitted it here to allow the peppery nature of the oil to shine through.

1 lb. fresh cow or buffalo mozzarella (sliced ¼-inch thick)
1 lb. mixed tomatoes (sliced ¼-inch thick, cherries left whole or sliced in half)
1 sprig basil or a drizzle of our Basil Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Epstein Family Estate extra virgin olive oil
Fleur de sel

Arrange the mozzarella and tomato slices on a plate, in an overlapping pattern: tomato, mozzarella, etc. Using kitchen scissors, cut several basil leaves in irregular sections right over the salad. Drizzle down the center with a healthy glug of the olive oil—but don’t overdo it! Finish with a sprinkle of fleur de sel.

Grilled Sardines
8 fresh sardines
1 lemon
1 teaspoon paprika
1 small sprig cilantro
1 shallot
Grey sea salt

Gut and clean the sardines, rub off any stray scales, rinse under cold water, pat dry, and place in a shallow bowl. Zest the lemon, set the zest aside, cut the lemon in half and squeeze out the juice. Drizzle the lemon juice over the sardines, sprinkle them with the paprika, and slather all together.

Chop the cilantro and place in small bowl. Mince the shallot and zest and toss with the cilantro.

Grill the sardines over hardwood, mesquite, or a gas grill, or place under the broiler, approximately three to four minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Plate the sardines, top with the cilantro gremolata, give the whole thing a healthy drizzle of Epstein Family Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and crumble on grey sea salt to finish.

Butter Lettuce and Avocado Salad
1 head of nice leafy butter lettuce
1 avocado
1 shallot
¼ cup St. Helena Olive Oil Co Sparkling Wine Vinegar
¼ cup Epstein Family Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pink Himalayan Sea Salt

Pour the vinegar in a salad bowl, add the shallots, a pinch of Pink Himalayan sea salt, and whisk in the olive oil (the above measurements are approximations, always taste and adjust to suit your personal taste).

Peel and slice the avocado into wedges. Clean and dry the lettuce, tear the leaves into strips, place in the bowl, and toss with the vinaigrette. Plate next to the sardines, and top the salad with the avocado wedges. An extra drizzle of olive oil is optional.

Note: While it may seem unusual to use shallots with both the sardines and salad, they have a lovely and subtle way of unifying the flavor elements of each dish, as does the dual use of the Epstein Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

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Simple Ideas for Methode Tradizionale

by admin on August 1, 2013

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Cucumber, Arugula, and Red Onion Salad
With Goat Cheese Toasts

Taken from: Fresh From The Farmer’s Market
By Janet Fletcher

1 Baguette
1 TBS plus 1 tsp St. Helena Olive Oil Co. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (we used our Blade Press!)
3 Ounces Fresh Goat Cheese in One Piece

For The Salad:
3/4 Pound Japanese Cucumbers, peeled if desired, and very thinly sliced
1/2 Red Onion, very thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 TBS Walnut Oil
1 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Blade Press)
2 1/2 – 3 tsp Sparkling Wine Vinegar
Grey Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1/4 Pound Young Arugula
18 Niçoise Olives

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Cut the baguette on a severe diagonal into 6 thin slices about 7-8 inches long and about 1/4 inch thick, Save leftover baguette for another use. Using 1 TBS olive oil, brush both side of the baguette slices. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. Reduce oven heat to 375 degrees F.
Put goat cheese in a small baking dish and top with remaining tsp. olive oil. Bake until it is quite warm and soft to the touch, 6-8 minutes.

While cheese bakes, make the salad: In a large bowl, combine cucumbers, onions, garlic, walnut oil, olive oil, and 2 1/2 tsp. vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper and toss well. Add arugula and toss again gently. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding another 1/2 tsp. vinegar if needed.

Arrange salad on a serving platter. Scatter olives over the top and around edge. Spread warm cheese on toasts, then place toasts around salad or pass separately.

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Better Without Butter? We Say Yes!

January 30, 2013

Our retail staff member, Armando, recently got us all hooked on popcorn drizzled with Jalapeno and Lime Extra Virgin Olive Oil then finished with fleur de sel…so good. Since we all loved that combo so much we decided to try out a few more. Here are our favorites: 1. Seafood Rub with Stone Press Extra [...]

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Three Ideas for Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce

January 15, 2013

A larder rich with choices not only makes for more creative cooking, it also comforts us with the knowledge that, should we not have the time to shop, or are rushed to prepare dinner, a deliciously satisfying meal can still be created on the spot. In this spirit, we offer a series of flavorful sauces [...]

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What’s Cooking in St. Helena

June 2, 2012

The new manager of our St. Helena store, Marc, has extensive experience working in restaurant kitchens, and he’s bringing that background to our tasting bar. If you’ve been in the shop recently, you’ve likely seen one of his delicious experiments — sometimes it’s a dressing or marinade made with our olive oils, maybe even a [...]

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Quinta do Tedo

August 16, 2011

One of the reasons I chose Florence, Italy as our home in 2009 was the knowledge that a dear friend, Kay Bouchard, lived just outside in the Chianti Region. She was a great source of information and inspiration…my security blanket. I had known that she and her husband Vincent were developing a winery on the [...]

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