Rutherford’s Round Pond Olive Oils

Wednesday, 28. May 2014 5:26 | Author:

Mini bottles of the 2014 Round Pond olive oil releases.

Mini bottles of the 2014 Round Pond olive oil releases.

 

We’re spoiled in Northern California and we know it.

We often take for granted the abundance at our finger tips, from glorious produce year-round to stellar wines to luscious olive oils.

Rutherford’s Round Pond Estate in the Napa Valley makes the most of all of that, crafting wines from 357 acres of vineyards, vinegars from Cabernet and Merlot grapes, syrups from its orchards of citrus, and oils from imported Mediterranean olive trees.

Recently, I had a chance to try its 2014 estate olive oils pressed in a state-of-the-art mill, one of only two olive oil mills in the Napa Valley.

The Italian Varietal Extra Virgin Olive Oil is made from such varieties as Leccino, Pendolino, Maurino, Frantoio and Coratina. It’s a quite full-bodied oil that really announces itself with abundant richness. It would be wonderful drizzled over a pasta dish to finish it or to give oomph to any green salad.

The Blood Orange Olive Oil, made with organic citrus, is sweetly fragrant. The orange taste is smooth and delicate. I envision baking with it or pouring it over soft-serve.

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Luscious Leg of Lamb and a Food Gal Giveaway

Monday, 26. May 2014 5:26 | Author:

Rosy slices of lamb topped with a vibrant salsa verde.

Rosy slices of lamb topped with a vibrant salsa verde.

 

Let’s face it — bones can be a bit of a pain to deal with.

Just try eating chicken wings gracefully.

Or de-boning a whole fish in front of guests without mangling it.

But bones serve a purpose in cooking. They add more flavor to the flesh as it cooks. They also conduct heat, allowing the meat to cook more evenly with less shrinkage.

So when Superior Farms, one of the largest distributors of lamb in the country, offered to let me try any cut on the house, I went for one with a bone. A big bone.

I chose a bone-in leg of American lamb because it’s not a cut you find all that easily in markets these days. Sure, you can get a boneless leg of lamb with little effort, but one that still has a bone in it often requires a real search. That’s because it’s a lot heftier to handle. It’s also more challenging to carve. But what a dramatic presentation it makes for at the table.

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Green Beans with Japanese Flair

Friday, 23. May 2014 5:26 | Author:

Green beans you won't be able to stop eating.

Green beans you won’t be able to stop eating.

 

Planning a picnic this Memorial Day? Or a backyard barbecue this long weekend?

Then, you’ve got to make these green beans.

I guarantee they will be the talk of the table.

I first made “Green Beans with Miso and Almonds” last Thanksgiving as a novel alternative to the usual green bean casserole. My in-laws couldn’t stop eating it. Each of them kept reaching for seconds, even thirds. Now, whenever my husband sees me trimming fresh green beans from the farmers markets, he secretly hopes they’re destined for this dish.

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A Glutton for Butter Mochi

Wednesday, 21. May 2014 5:25 | Author:

Butter mochi -- my downfall.

Butter mochi — my downfall.

 

Last week, I gorged myself.

And I blame Chef Jeffrey Stout for it.

You see, after a recent trip to Hawaii, I happened to post a photo on Facebook of a unique sweet treat that I enjoyed there that was quite new to me: butter mochi.

Stout, former chef of Alexander’s Steakhouse in Cupertino who’s now building his own restaurant, Orchard City Kitchen in Campbell, did what any self-respecting chef would do when he spied the photo and sensed my longing — he emailed me a recipe for it.

Curses!

It was far easier to make than I thought it would be. When I tried a piece, I immediately ate a second, then had to restrain myself from reaching for a third.

Chef, what have you done!

The recipe comes from Stout’s neighbor, Taryn Esperas, who has been known to make this for neighborhood block parties, where it’s always one of the first things to be gobbled up.

It’s cake. But not. It’s custard. But not really. It’s sort of its own delightful hybrid.

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There’s WHAT in These Cookies?

Monday, 19. May 2014 5:25 | Author:

A cookie that's flavored with something rather unusual.

A cookie that’s flavored with something rather unusual.

 

White chocolate. And, uh, wasabi.

Say what?

Yes, together in a cookie.

Leave it to Jen Laska and her husband Joe, founders of the Los Angeles-based Jen & Joe’s Cookie Dough to sneak the fiery green Japanese sushi condiment into a cookie.

Their cookie dough comes frozen in boxes that contain 12 portioned balls that need only to be baked off in an oven for about 11 minutes.

Recently, I had a chance to try this rather unusual sounding cookie made by Laska, who’s always loved to bake and even attended pastry school.

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