Better Without Butter? We Say Yes!

by admin on 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 Virgin Olive Oil.

2. Walnut Oil with Honey ( We used our Wildflower Honey) and Pink Himalayan Salt. Warm the honey up a little and it will be easier to drizzle over your popcorn.

3. Equal parts Jalapeno and Lime Extra Virgin Olive Oil with Fleur De Sel

4. Twin Sisters Extra Virgin Olive Oil with Truffle Salt.

Just drizzle your oil of choice over the popcorn after it’s popped, and then add your salt/seasoning to taste. You can even put it in a big ziplock, add your ingredients, and shake it up…healthy (and delicious) snack on the go!

We know there are endless combinations that have yet to be explored, so if you have a favorite please share. We’d love to hear about it!


What’s Cooking in St. Helena

by Marc Golick on 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 dish of strawberries macerated in honey and our popular aged balsamic vinegar. These are quick, easy recipes that showcase not only our favorite products, but also the best seasonal ingredients.

Last week, our customers were treated to this “salad topper,” a refreshing mix of segmented oranges, our Napa Valley Sparkling Wine Vinegar and orange olive oil, and some fresh herbs.

Perfect tossed with a fresh green salad, a little goat cheese and candied walnuts. It’s also sweet enough to be spooned over lemon sorbet.

Over the weekend, Marc went with this salad, combining the sweet root vegetable jicama with strawberries, our Napa Valley Sparkling Wine Vinegar (you can tell it’s one of our favorites), a little lime olive oil and some fresh mint.

This one is best served with a glass of rosé or Riesling on a warm afternoon. You can dress the salad up a bit by serving it in butter lettuce cups.

For recipes, read on. And be sure to stop by and see us soon in St. Helena for more culinary inspiration.

Sparkling-Orange Salad Topper

Yield: 1 cup

¾  cup orange segments with juice
1 Tbs. Sparkling Wine Vinegar
1 tsp. Citrus Blossom Honey
1 tsp. Orange Olive Oil
2 tsps. fresh organic cilantro, torn into small pieces
2 tsps. fresh organic mint leaves, torn into small pieces
Pinch Organic Grey Sea Salt
Pinch fresh-cracked Black Peppercorns

Cut the bottom and top off of an orange. Slice down the sides following the contour of the orange removing all skin and pith. Holding the orange in one hand slice in between the membranes in a “V” shape over a bowl to remove the orange segment only. Repeat the process until all orange segments are removed then squeeze the remaining juice over the segments. Combine all of the other ingredients with the orange segments and let sit in the refrigerator for at least ten minutes before serving.

Strawberry & Jicama Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

Yield: 1 ½  cup

½ cup organic strawberries
½ cup organic jicama
¼ cup Sparking Wine Vinegar
¼ cup Lime Olive Oil
Pinch Pink Himalayan Salt
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 Tbs. fresh organic mint leaves, torn into small pieces

Remove the tops and cut the strawberries into quarters lengthwise. Peel the jicama and cut into ½ cubes. Combine all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

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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.


Quinta do Tedo

by Peggy OKelly on 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 Douro river in Portugal but it was only after sharing many glasses at their table in Chianti that I realized how special it was. It was around that same table that we discussed the possibility of bringing the port and wine into the United States…and in particular, into our Rutherford store. It seemed like a dream at the time but Kay and Vincent are active dreamers….it wasn’t long after I arrived home that our first shipment was on its way.

Fast forward to our third shipment of Quinta Do Tedo…larger every time but never large enough to introduce it to our online audience….until now. It is still extremely limited…the largest amount we have is 120 bottles of the Tawny Port…the favorite…and that is before I take my share. :)

There are so many wonderful stories about Kay and Vincent that I could share but find out for yourself and visit their website and follow Kay’s blog. You will get lost in Kay’s posts and perhaps wake up someday in the Douro Valley…..tell them we sent you.


In the spirit of our life in Italy, I decided to offer complimentary glasses of Quinta do Tedo wines and port in our Rutherford store. We set up the back bar for people to help themselves to a glass. They can walk the store or sit in the theatre seats and catch a bit of Food Inc. I hoped to sell enough to break even on what we served as I do have two hungry teenagers to feed but again, I was open to whatever it was to bring…as the spirit was in sharing. The CPA in me watched the numbers carefully and they jumped out at me the first day…people were buying the port in multiples…and raving. I was not surprised at the reactions but did not expect to start a cult following…ha…be careful what you wish for, right? We sold out quickly and it took months to get it back in…and then we did it again…before i could even get it on the website.

We ordered as much as our cash flow would allow this time but still very limited…we have the most stock of the Tawny Port (120 bottles) as it is the favorite.

Needless to say, I’m excited to share Quinta Do Tedo port and wines with all of you but even more pleased to share in the connection to the beauty of the product, the producer and the planet. Come share a glass with us in Rutherford or buy a bottle of your own and lift your glass to Kay, Vincent, and all others who follow their dreams.


Click here to purchase Quinta do Tedo Port and Wine

A Recipe from Kay: Olive Oil Cake with Balsamic Fruit Sauce

Makes 6 Servings

2 Eggs
1 1/4 Cups Sugar
1/2 Cup Orange Extra Virgin Olive Oil (You can also use any of our plainExtra Virgin Olive Oils for less citrus flavor)
3/4 Cup Milk
Grated zest of 2 oranges, plus 1 sliced orange for garnish
1 Cup Flour
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
Big Pinch Fleur De Sel

Whisk eggs and sugar together until blended, add olive oil, milk, orange zest; mix well. In another bowl mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to egg mixture and stir until just blended, do not overmix. Pour into buttered and floured loaf pan, bake a 350º F until set, 35-40 minutes.

Balsamic Fruit Sauce:
3 Cups plums, cherries or berries; or 2 cups dried prunes, apricots, or pears.
1/2 Cup sugar
2-4 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar Methode Tradizionale
Cook fruit, sugar and water until fruit softens, remove fruit and reduce syrup if very liquid. Stir in balsamic vinegar. Serve with cake, a dallop of whipped cream, and a glass of Quinta do Tedo Fine Tawny Port!


A Simple Summer Salad

by admin on July 27, 2011

Who can resist a tempting bowl of perfectly cooked pasta? Not us! The summer heat has pushed us to deviate from our normal hot pasta routine, and instead create a delicious pasta salad that can be served cold. It’s great as a light dinner or lunch, or as a side.

The success of this recipe is dependent on one of our favorite ingredients: Cask 85 Red Wine Vinegar.  It is a wonderfully intense vinegar so you don’t need to use very much.

A Simple Summer Salad

1 Bag Pasta Trottoloni

1/2 TBS Cask 85 Red Wine Vinegar

3 TBS Rosemary Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 tsp Fleur De Sel

1/2 tsp Coarsely Ground Black Pepper Corns

4 Roasted Artichoke Hearts

2 oz Feta Cheese

20 Multi Colored Cherry Tomatoes

1/2 Small Red Onion

Cook pasta al denté according to package directions. After it’s finished cooking drizzle about a tablespoon of the Rosemary Extra Virgin Olive Oil over it, and mix a couple times. This is to keep it from sticking together. Allow to cool.

Mix together the rest of the Rosemary Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Cask 85 Vinegar, Salt and Pepper in a small bowl. Pour it over the pasta and gently mix to distribute evenly.

Cut the cherry tomatoes in half,  chop the artichoke hearts, thinly slice the red onion,  and add them to the pasta along with the crumbled feta cheese. Toss lightly a couple times to distribute. Taste to make sure seasonings are to your liking. Adjust as necessary. Garnish with fresh rosemary.

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In his 30 years as a chef and restaurateur, Rob Larman has worked in some of the Bay Area’s highest profile kitchens. The original Scott’s Seafood Restaurant in San Francisco, Casa Madrona in Sausalito and the wildly popular Kuleto’s in San Francisco are just a few. He was also chef and proprietor of the acclaimed Magnolia Place in Larkspur.

In 1994, realizing the need in Sonoma for a fun, casual, family-friendly restaurant, he opened Rob’s Rib Shack, featuring authentic slow-cooked barbecue and moderately priced specials.

After eight successful years at the Rib Shack, Larman Returned to his roots: the flavorful, unpretentious, richly satisfying fare of the French bistro, prepared with the Sonoma wine country’s unparalleled bounty of fresh, artisinal ingredients.

“Sonoma County is heaven for a chef,” Larman says. “The quality of ingredients is among the best in the world, allowing a chef to cook simply and with the seasons, applying his creativity to highlight foods’ fresh, natural flavors. My goal at La Poste was to cook a few things perfectly for a few people, every time they visit.”

Rob Larman now offers his impeccably crafted cuisine as a Private Chef…

Grilled or BBQ’d Oysters

12 Medium to large oysters in the shell
4 tbl unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic chopped fine
Juice of one lemon
6 tbl Cochon Volant BBQ Sonoma BBQ Sauce

Wash and scrub the oysters. Heat your grill (either gas or charcoal).In a small sauce pan heat butter, lemon juice, and garlic. Determine which shell of the oyster is the top shell (the top shell is flat the bottom more bowl shape).Place the oysters on the hot grill, top side down, for 3 -5 minutes. The trick is to take them off before thetop shell opens. Use a towel to hold the hot oyster while removing the top shell with an oyster knife. Place the bottom oyster shell back on the grill, and spoon a little of the butter mixture onto each oyster, follow with a touch of the bbq sauce. Remove the oysters when they are bubbling but not overcooked.


The Well-Stocked Larder, Part III — Roasted Artichokes

January 22, 2011

Okay, I’ll admit it. As much as I advocate shopping locally and seasonally there are times when I crave ingredients that are simply not in season. That said, I’m not going to purchase hothouse tomatoes or Peruvian asparagus in the dead of winter (or anytime of the year, for that matter). And though I’ve canned [...]

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Pan Seared Scallops

December 29, 2010

The holidays are over—bummer, or a godsend, depending on your point of view—and life is slowly returning to normal. Time to slow down, but also time to eat simply, if very well after the Thanksgiving-to-New Year’s feast-a-thon. Shellfish is especially good this time of year, when the waters run cold and there is no risk [...]

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Recession-era Truffle Solution

November 26, 2010

Good—really good—truffles are one of the great joys of the winter table. Only problem is, they cost a small fortune. Even “truffle shavings” can command nearly $100 per jar. So unless you’re among the lucky few not affected by our ongoing recession, enjoying these funky looking, ultra-fragrant tubers may be a forgotten luxury this year. [...]

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Riffing on Organic Spicy Heirloom Pasta Sauce

November 20, 2010

Fight it as much as we might, this year’s tomato season is kaput. To be sure, supermarkets and even local farmers’ markets still have tomatoes to sell, but even the best examples from mid-November pale in aroma and flavor compared to those from the peak of the season. If you canned your own it’s time [...]

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