It is spring, that time of year when the weather really can’t make up its mind. Even though the mountains are still blanketed in snow and the temperatures aren’t quite balmy, the valleys are melted out and the birds are back in town. Signs of warmth and newness are everywhere.
I recently ventured out for a spring picnic and brought along a can of Cole’s sardines in olive oil. Cole’s is a company that specializes in seafood: responsibly sourced, gourmet, and convenient, a delicacy meant to be enjoyed in a variety of ways and a variety of places. From sardines, to rainbow trout, to pate, Cole’s strives to balance sustainability and nutrition. See the instructions below for a simple way to savor seafood and spring, even if the weather is still a little tempestuous.
COLE’S OVER COALS:
INSTRUCTIONS FOR A SPRING PICNIC
- Stop by Genesis Kitchen for a can or two of Cole’s specialty seafood (or check out our selection online).
- Head to your favorite outdoor spot, preferably near a river or lake.
- Gather driftwood and branches.
- Light a campfire, using the cardboard box from your can of Cole’s seafood as fire starter.
- Vent your can of seafood by pulling up on the corner tab.
- Sit cross-legged right next to the fire to stay warm, it’s still a bit chilly out there!
- Nestle your can into the hot coals.
- While waiting for the fish to warm, look up at the geese flying low overhead. Watch as they land on the water, with lots of honking and splashing.
- Once the oil starts to bubble, carefully remove the can from the coals.
- Set on a nearby rock to cool for a minute.
- Peel the lid back completely.
- Eat the warmed fish with crackers, or just your fingers.
- Let the oil dribble down your chin and smear all over your hands. Be messy, that’s why you’re outside.
Maple Balsamic and Teff Pancakes
1 cup teff flour
1 cup oat flour
1.5 cup milk of choice (I used oat)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon molasses
2 teaspoon Vermont Maple balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoon Butter olive oil
Do you ever feel that traveling and eating well are hard to do at the same time? While traveling, it can be stressful to maintain a healthy diet of well sourced food. It takes a little extra planning and preparation but nourishing your body with good meals shouldn’t fall by the wayside just because you’re not at home.
Before heading out on a recent winter car-camping trip, I swung by Genesis Kitchen looking for some good on-the-go groceries. I found the new selection of Rancho Gordo dried beans. Rancho Gordo is a company from Napa, California that works with growers to source and sell heirloom beans. These heirloom beans are open-pollinated and viable seeds. Although they are intended to be cooked in your kitchen, they can also be planted in your garden. Rancho Gordo values food that is indigenous to the Americas and is enjoyed as fresh as possible.
I took home a bag of Alubia Blanca and used them in the following Tuscan Baked Beans recipe. This simple recipe requires the beans to bake for 2 hours which, while they were in the oven, gave me time to pack gear for my upcoming adventure. These Alubia Blanca beans hold their shape well through-out cooking and made for a delicious, easy travel meal. I put them in durable to-go containers and kept them cool on the drive. The next morning I simply warmed these beans up for a hearty camp breakfast. Creamy and aromatic, they were a wonderful way to start the day.
Do you have any favorite recipes for food on the go?
TUSCAN BAKED BEANS
2 cups dried Rancho Gordo Alubia Blanca beans, pre-soaked
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 large sage leaves
2 large cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Lemon wedges (for serving)
Extra virgin olive oil (for serving)
Pre-heat the oven to 375. Place the pre-soaked beans in a casserole dish and cover 1/4 inch with hot water.
Stir in oil, sage, and garlic. Cover the dish tightly with foil and use the tip of a sharp knife to puncture the foil in six places.
Bake for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until the beans are tender and creamy.
Season the beans with salt and pepper, and serve with a lemon wedge and drizzle of oil.
These beans also make a terrific dip or bean topping for bread, perfect for quick and simple snacks and meals.
Did you know Genesis Kitchen carries more than excellent olive oil and balsamic vinegars? Our store is stocked with an array of well sourced foods, from granola bars and tapenades to chia and seasonings. Many of our treasured spices come from a small family company in Virginia called Teeny Tiny Spice Co.
We carry sixteen different blends in our store, with flavors from all over the world. Are you looking to warm up some of your favorite winter comfort foods? Try the Hot Italian on pasta or pizza. Getting ready for Mardi Gras? Experience a little New Orleans with Cajun Spice. Dreaming of an escape to warmer weather? Take a trip to the Caribbean with Jamaican Jerk.
Teeny Tiny Spice Co.’s products are organic and kosher, and all their ingredients are listed on each tin, so you do not have to worry about fillers, preservatives, or hidden allergens. Each tin comes with a recipe on the lid.
In addition to the mixes from Teeny Tiny Spice Co., we are adding ten new spice varieties to the store. We are bottling now and they will be on the shelf before Valentine’s Day. Spice up your winter with Teeny Tiny Spice Co. and Genesis Kitchen!
What is “Mother”?
“Mother” of vinegar will naturally occur in vinegar products as the result of the vinegar bacteria itself. Mother is actually cellulose (a natural carbohydrate which is the fiber in foods like celery and lettuce) produced by the harmless vinegar bacteria. Today, most manufacturers pasteurize their product before bottling to prevent these bacteria from forming “mother” while sitting on the retail shelf.
After opening, you may notice “mother” beginning to form. Vinegar containing “mother” is not harmful or spoiled. Just remove the substance by filtering and continue to enjoy the product.
How Long Does Vinegar Last?
The Vinegar Institute conducted studies to find out and confirmed that vinegar’s shelf life is almost indefinite. Because of its acid nature, vinegar is self-preserving and does not need refrigeration. White distilled vinegar will remain virtually unchanged over an extended period of time. And, while some changes can be observed in other types of vinegars, such as color changes or the development of a haze or sediment, this is only an aesthetic change. The product can still be used and enjoyed with confidence.
CLICK HERE FOR: VINEGAR HEALTH STUDIES
CLICK HERE FOR GENERAL INFORMATION FROM: THE VINEGAR INSTITUTE
BAKLOUTI GREEN CHILI Fused Olive Oil
FROM THE BARBARY COAST OF NORTH AFRICA, AND MADE IN OUR OWN MILL, THE TUNISIAN BAKLOUTI PEPPER IS RARE AND UNIQUE TO THIS REGION. THIS IS THE ONLY EXAMPLE OF THIS FRUITY & MILDLY SPICY GREEN CHILI OLIVE OIL IN THE WORLD. AS THE INVENTOR, VERONICA FOODS IS THE ONLY COMPANY IN THE WORLD TO CURRENTLY CARRY AND SELL THIS FUSED ARTISAN OIL.
Baklouti chili olive oil is made by combining one pound of organic extra virgin olive oil with 1.6 pounds of fresh whole green Baklouti chilies. The two, and only two, ingredients are then crushed, mixed, in the malaxer fusing the fresh green pepper with the organic olive oil. Baklouti adds a new and surprising dimension to salsas’ of all stripes.
CAUTION VERY HOT!!!
This is truly a unique artisan product that has hundreds of applications.
“The extra-virgin-olive-oil group also consumed more than four tablespoons of the oil a day, replacing regular olive oil with the extra-virgin variety, which contains more potentially heart-healthy compounds like polyphenols and vitamin-E tocopherols — which can lower levels of inflammatory factors that contribute to heart disease — in addition to oleic acids, which are lower in the saturated fat that can build up in blood vessels.”
“To ensure that other factors that could affect heart-disease rates were not playing a role, the researchers also adjusted for the total amount of calories the groups were eating, since obesity can be a major contributor to heart attack and stroke. Even after making these adjustments, however, the olive-oil groupshowed statistically significant drops in heart-disease risk”
As it gets colder, you may find sludge, gel, particulate, “creamy stuff”, coagulation, etc. in our olive oil. Our suppliers tell us that after 80 years of receiving concerned calls beginning in the colder months of fall and winter, this is a topic worth discussing.
However, we would like to take some time to talk about how extra virgin olive oil behaves when exposed to cold. When extra virgin olive oil reaches 55 degrees, it will typically begin to cloud. At 50 degrees most olive oils really begin to set up, at 45 degrees it can become a gel, and any colder, it can look like a solid block. This doesn’t just happen in one fell swoop, however. There is a evolution from liquid to solid beginning at the bottom of the container and working upwards. In many cases, it will look like two separate substances in the same container where the solidifying olive oil meets the still liquid olive oil with floating pieces of solidified olive oil in the liquid olive oil. This process is due to the naturally occurring waxes inside the olive and its pit becoming solid. Different olives have different amounts of these waxes which dictate how readily they will turn from liquid to solid, and at what temperature. In other words, no two olive oils set up exactly the same when exposed to cold.
Behold brand new oil being crushed in Spain by one of the most celebrated and decorated mills in the world, Oro Bailen. This picture was taken yesterday on location by our producers/suppliers Mike & Veronica Bradley of Veronica Foods.
Mike and Veronica are traveling around the Mediterranean as their many partner mills crush Ultra Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil exclusively for Veronica Foods based on their exacting Ultra Premium specifications. This is such an exciting time for us and for those who adore superlatively fresh extra virgin olive oil. The extra virgin olive oil pictured will arrive within 45 days!
Those with a limited scope of experience and or access to quality extra virgin olive oil typically make broad and therefore ignorant statements. Often, these statements can come from individuals who maintain high visibility and are ” industry professionals”, cookbook authors, or chefs. These are often the same folk who champion the tired mantra that extra virgin olive oil can never be heated or cooked with.
The fact remains that delicate, or what we refer to as “sweet” extra virgin olive oil can and should be used in dessert recipes designed to contain olive oil and in some cases can even replace other types of fats. There are even some instances where a throaty, robust extra virgin olive oil might be selected for a particular dessert recipe to great effect. Choosing the right extra virgin olive oil for any given olive oil-based dessert is made easier when there is a broad selection of premium quality extra virgin olive oil to choose from. The flavor and intensity range offered by such selection will help identify the right EVOO for a particular application. Those without access to such a selection, or who are faced with an overabundance of poor quality extra virgin may choose or default to using flavorless, odorless refined olive oil as a stand in. After all, the typical defects of rancidity and fustiness found in most supermarket and retail products labeled as extra virgin olive oil tend to be more pronounced when used in delicate desserts.
However, if a flavorless, odorless refined fat such as “pure” or refined olive oil is called for in any culinary application, it begs the pragmatic question, why not just opt for a much less costly refined oil that is similarly flavorless and odorless? In fact, I challenge the reasoning behind using pure olive oil in any culinary capacity, as I can list several other refined vegetable/seed oils that outperform it where health benefit, cost, and functionality are concerned. It is common knowledge that in the refining process, olive oil is stripped of the basic characteristics (flavor, aroma, and nutrients) which are precisely what are extolled in good quality extra virgin olive oil. And in a side by side blind taste test between refined olive oil, corn, soy, or canola oil, it would be hard to differentiate the “pure” refined olive oil from the others.
Furthermore, refined olive oil contributes the same amount of calories tablespoon by tablespoon as canola, peanut, safflower, or soybean oil etc. without contributing precious antioxidants. So, to summarize, if we are looking to cook or bake, be it a sweet or savory application, and want no flavor or antioxidants to be imparted from the oil we’re using, then we should look to lower cost safflower, sunflower, rice bran, or grape seed oil – not costly refined olive oil. If we are looking for flavor and health benefit, then extra virgin olive oil should be used exclusively.