Our First Mention!

It’s always exciting to see milestones being hit even while you have been down sick for weeks. We had our first official mention this week through the California Olive Ranch’s e-newsletter!

They also used our photo on their site for the Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic recipe here. Exciting and kind of strange all at the same time seeing our stuff next to other awesome bloggers work.

It’s kind of strange to copy an email newsletter to a blog post so I apologize for the somewhat weird formatting.

News From The Ranch
OUR 2012 HARVEST IS NOW HISTORY
DECEMBER 2012
BACK HOME AND COOKING WITH JAMES BEARD
Corning Sunset 2011
We’re home from the harvest. We’re tired, but happy with a job well done. Our harvest team gathered truckloads of olives around the clock, so our milling team could crush them into extra virgin olive oil. We’re already bottling some of the oil: as Limited Reserve, our finest first cold pressings from the first weeks of harvest.We’re now looking ahead to the holidays, and dreaming up meals to share with family and friends. We’re looking to the recipes of James Beard for inspiration. The New York Times, in 1954, proclaimed him the “Dean of American cookery.”

Like us, Beard loved good food. “I grew up in a kitchen, and I guess the scent of food is like a perfume. It has stayed with me all my life,” he writes in a new book showcasing his recipes: The Essential James Beard Cookbook (St. Martin’s Press, 2012).

Beard was a pioneering proponent of good food made with fresh, American ingredients.

Beard’s longtime friend and editor, John Ferrone, says that “at a time when frozen foods were gaining ground, he taught us the virtues of using fresh, seasonal ingredients.”

Beard also nurtured a generation of notable American chefs and cookbook authors.

Paula Wolfert with James Beard, 1980
Paula Wolfert with James Beard, 1980. Photo courtesy of Paula Wolfert.

Award-winning food writer Paula Wolfert met him at 19. She’d been an apprentice to cooking teacher Dione Lucas, and needed a job. Beard asked her to cook for him.

“Apparently he was pleased with my cooking, for shortly thereafter he kindly recommended me as caterer for a dinner party of 150 at the Connecticut estate of producer Joshua Logan,” Paula tells us.

“I was a little scared,” she adds. “I’d never cooked for so many people before. But Beard calmed my fears: ‘Don’t worry, Paula. Call up Mrs. Logan, discuss the menu, then just follow your recipes.’”   It all worked out. Paula Wolfert became one of Beard’s apprentices – and later aJames Beard award-winningcookbook author.

“To this day I consider James as one of the two or three most important influences in my professional life,” Paula says.

Beard has found a spot in our kitchen. And below you’ll find recipes from – and inspired by - The Essential James Beard Cookbook.

As we prepare and share food this holiday season, we’ll recall Beard’s  pronouncement: ”Food is our common ground, a universal experience.”

From James Beard’s Kitchen to Your Kitchen

Lentil Salad with Bacon and Edamame
Chicken with Forty Cloves of GarlicFood writer Marie Simmons worked in the Woman’s Day magazine test kitchen. James Beard was a luncheon guest there, and Marie prepared the lunch. “I was in awe of him. But he was always gracious and friendly,” she recalls. Marie, a James Beard award winning cookbook author, adapted this lentil salad from a Beard recipe. For a “more robust olive oil tasting experience,” she suggests using our Arbosana or Miller’s Blend oils. Marie says a drizzle of our Limited Reserve oil ”on top of the salad would be fabulous.” The dish was prepared and photographed by food blogger Stephanie Hua.Click here to see the recipe

Greased Pig Salad
Chopped Italian Greased Pig SaladJames Beard called this salad “really a BLT sandwich without the benefit of the bread.” It features lettuce, ripe tomatoes, red onion, and crispy bacon. Food blogger Lisa Huff adds her own spin to this dish – substituting, for example, an Italian tomato dressing for Beard’s use of mayonnaise. She also uses homemade croutons and pancetta. Lisa suggests using our Arbequina olive oil for the dressing.Click here to see the recipe

Shrimp and Scallops Curry
Shrimp and Scallops CurryFood blogger Kathy Gori puts her own Indian riff  on James Beard’s recipe for Scallops Sauté Provençal. “Since scallops aren’t found in India but shrimp and prawns most certainly are, I decided to add them to the original  dish and surround the whole thing with a layer of spices for a South Indian style twist,” Kathy notes. She recommends our Arbequina oilfor making the vinaigrette.Click here to see the recipe

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
Chicken with Forty Cloves of GarlicForty cloves of garlic may seem like a lot. But not for this classic dish. “You will find that the garlic has been tamed in the cooking and acquired a delicious buttery quality,” Beard wrote. Food blogger Dani Meyer prepared this dish for us. As Dani notes, Beard passed away before she was born. But Dani adds she knew about Beard nonetheless from her own experience in culinary school. You could use our Everyday Fresh oil for this dish.Click here to see the recipe

Almond Tuiles with Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Arugula Salad with Watermelon and FetaDessert chef and chocolatier Alice Medrichadapts this recipe for us from a Beard recipe. Alice, a James Beard award winning cookbook author, substituts our Arbequina oil for butter. She also adds a “bit of lemon zest and extra salt for a contemporary balance of flavors.” Tuiles take their name from their similarity to the shape of terra-cotta roof files. The tuiles were prepared and photographed by food blogger Jessie Oleson Moore.Click here to see the recipe

Home From the Harvest

A Chat with Rancher Brian Mori
Artois 2011After we wrapped up our harvest at the end of November, the first thing Brian Mori did was hit the hay. Over the course of six weeks, Brian and other members of our harvest and milling teams put in long hours and weekends picking the olives and crushing them into extra virgin olive oil.Brian works with our family farmers, or contract growers, on matters like crop practices, harvest, and quality. We chatted with him about this year’s harvest – our largest ever, and the biggest of its kind in California.

When did the harvest end?

We took our last load of olives in on Friday, Nov. 30. We got our first weekend off in about 50 days. I went home and I got my first good night of sleep in a long time!

What kind of hours were you working?

(Laughs) Anywhere from 14 to 16 hours a day – at a minimum. That’s pretty typical for our field team. I would usually arrive at the ranch between 5:30 a.m. and 6 a.m., and finish up around 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. We harvested 24 hours a day on our own orchards. We mostly had 12-hour shifts on the orchards operated by our contract growers – unless there were weather concerns such as rain. In that case, we might harvest additional hours to beat the rain.

How was the weather – a bit wetter than first anticipated?

Brian Mori - correct
Brian Mori

We definitely had some late rains – more rain than we had last year. That tended to take the season out a little longer than we would have liked. The rain probably cost us five or six days additional days. On the plus side, we had almost no frost damage this year. That was one thing we were definitely able to avoid – even with the longer season.

What were the crop yields like?

We had an above average Arbequina crop, an average Arbosana crop, and an above average crop of Koroneiki. In all, we harvested more than 1,000 truckloads of olives. It was the largest harvest crop we’ve ever had at California Olive Ranch, and the largest olive oil harvest in California’s history.

We’ve begun shipping our 2012 Limited Reserve. How do you like to use it in your own kitchen?

I typically like to serve it by itself because it’s so robust and flavorful. For example, at holiday parties I like to serve it for dipping bread. I also like to drizzle it on top of green eating olives, along with a little salt and pepper. That’s always very popular with friends and family.

What’s your biggest takeaway from this year’s harvest?

The coordination between our milling and field teams was some of the best I’ve ever seen – particularly given the issues we faced.  Weather issues – as I mentioned – along with the largest olive oil crop California has ever seen.  All that requires a lot of trust and cooperation within our departments.  It was a job well done.

Copyright © 2012. All Rights Reserved.

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