When you talk about vegetarians and grilling, too often tofu dogs or packaged veggie burgers get brought into the discussion. But in reality, there are so many delicious (and unpackaged) recipes that give vegetarians a serious reason to dust off the barbeque this season.
These days it happens more often than not: you find yourself hosting a dinner party where at least one guest has a dietary restriction. I've gotten used to this. I once fed a group of ten actors for a week: one vegan, two vegetarians, one allergic to nuts, one lactose intolerant and one with a wheat allergy, so I know I can usually roll with pretty much any cooking challenge.
But sometimes I goof, and when the goof is simply forgetting about an allergy and realizing I can make up something else on the spot, I get excited. This is how unexpected ideas come to be and how some of my best recipes are born.
Recently, I found myself tending a table for four, including a newly gluten-free friend. At the end of the meal, I set out four perfect little lemony desserts containing flour. Oops.
The enemies of olive oil are air and sunlight which cause oxidation and loss of flavor. There are many ways to protect your olive oil, but the most popular is to store your oil in a tinted bottle with a spout.
I also like using an old enamel coffee pot, a trick I learned from Sam Clark, chef and owner of the Moro restaurant in London.
I keep two kinds of extra virgin olive oil in my kitchen: a small bottle of robust, peppery, somewhat expensive oil for finishing dishes and special salads, and a milder, everyday oil for when the flavor of the oil might be overwhelmed by other ingredients or isn't very important. Everyday olive oil, like everyday wine, is a kitchen staple and while I don't reach for the cheapest brand from the bottom shelf, I need to keep the price point fairly low.
Do you buy your olive oil in bulk? (It's not a bad idea; you can save a lot of money doing this.) If so, then consider investing in a stainless steel fusti, a traditional olive oil barrel designed to protect oil from heat, light, and other corrosive influences. This is one of the better deals I've found on these so far.
Includes dripless stainless steel tap, but the stand costs $20 extra.
Don't get me wrong: I love a good buttery scone or crumb-topped muffin as much as the next coffee shop addict. But as we settle back into a fall baking routine, sometimes it's nice to have the option of, well...something a bit healthier. In the most recent issue of Fine Cooking, Ellie Krieger makes the case for baking with olive oil.
A lot of olive oil passes through my kitchen. There are some phenomenal small producers putting out really beautiful, delicate oils these days and many of them land in my mailbox. One recent standout is Nudo, a smart little company making a punchy, buttery extra virgin oil using the first cold press method which yields the freshest oil possible. They have great looking packaging (makes a great gift) that also cuts down on the carbon footprint because it uses a tin instead of glass. The flavor is great and the price-tag isn't the usual break-the-bank heartbreak like many high-end olive oils.
Olive oil is best stored in an opaque bottle that can preserve it from light and heat. I also like to buy olive oil in larger, more economical quantities, and pour it into a smaller bottle as I need it. This one, shaped charmingly like the Tin Man's oil can, is perfect. A simple, classic, functional object for your countertop.
The idea of $38 olive oil may make some of you clutch your chest (or your wallet). Believe me, I feel the same whenever I look at this olive oil. But on the special occasions when I do splurge, it is so worth it. This is not the sort of olive oil you swirl into a frying pan indiscriminately. Its fresh, fruity, and spicy flavors come out in even the smallest tastes — with good bread, drizzled over a salad. A bottle of this last for months, making it not such a splurge after all.
Available from many specialty grocers and cheesemongers, as well as the source listed here.
When The Smoked Olive sent me some samples of their Sonoma smoked olive oil, I was both excited and dubious. On the one hand, it combined two of my favorite things: Olive oil and smoky flavor. On the other hand, was it just a gimmick? An odd combination of two things that didn't belong together?