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Archive for Tip Of The Day

TIP OF THE DAY: How To Buy Peaches

bowl-summerset-peaches-froghollow-230

Summerset peaches. Photo courtesy Frog
Hollow Farm.

 

This tip is from Pearl Driver, the marketing director at Frog Hollow Farm in Brentwood, California (in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area) and Farmer Al Courchesne, a co-owner and farmer-in-chief.

“Before I started working with Frog Hollow Farm,” says Pearl, I would carefully inspect each individual piece of fruit and select what I believed was the sweetest and most ready-to-eat—only to go home and find out how off the mark I was!”

She now shares her “insider tips” on how to select peaches.

HOW TO BUY PEACHES

There are three main characteristics help to identify a sweet, juicy, ready-to-eat peach: color, touch and skin texture.

 
Color

The real color you want to look for is not the rosy blush but the background color of the fruit. It should be deeply golden, not pale yellow.

The rosy red color is deceptive: Our brains are genetically evolved to think that the color red implies delicious and sweet. As a result, peach growers have bred the red color into their peaches. It doesn’t ensure superior fruit.

 

Touch

You can tell if a peach is ripe by a gentle yet firm squeeze with your fingers (not hard enough to bruise it). If there’s a little bit of a give, it means that the fruit is almost ripe—but not quite.

Leave that peach on the kitchen counter for another 2 to 3 days, until it is soft to very soft.

Skin Texture

This is the most telling of all three characteristics, and the one least known.

You can tell that a peach is ready to eat by looking for signs of shriveled skin around the stem end. Those wrinkles indicate a really ripe peach.

The wrinkles develop during ripening, when water starts to evaporate from the fruit’s porous skin. As the peach starts to dry up, the flavors intensify.

Now you’re ready to head out and pick out some peaches.

 

organic_peaches_autumnFlame-froghollowfarm-230

Autumn Flame peaches. Photo courtesy Frog Hollow Farm.

 
Storage

When you get them home, here’s a grower’s tip: Always store fruit on your kitchen counter in such a way that no two pieces of fruit are in contact with each other.

In other words, it’s better to line them up on the counter than have them touching each other in a fruit bowl.

A final suggestion:

Pearl’s favorite fruits from the farm are the O’Henry peach and the Flavor King pluot. So keep checking the website and when you find them, treat yourself to a box.

  

Comments

TIP OF THE DAY: Caramelized Onion Dip

We grew up making Lipton’s California Dip: a package of Lipton Onion Soup Mix combined with a pint of sour cream. It was simple and soul-satisfying, a party standard with potato chips and pretzels (and later, crudités, pita chips and other chips).

The recipe appeared in 1954, two years after the Lipton soup mix hit the market. The recipe “spread through Los Angeles faster than a canyon fire.” (Source: American Century Cook Book, Jean Anderson [Clarkson Potter:New York] 1997,p. 24.)

Newspapers printed the recipe and onion soup mix sales soared. Beginning in 1958, Lipton printed the recipe on every box of the soup mix.

As with the creator of German Chocolate Cake, a recipe that spread like wildfire throughout Texas, the identity of the original recipe developer has never been established. So if your grandmother or great-grandmother lived in L.A. in 1954 and claimed to have invented Lipton California Dip, it could be so.

Over the years, from-scratch onion dip recipes have taken turns with chives, leeks and scallions. Caramelized onions also have their fans.

   

heluva-good-dip-beauty-kalviste-230

Chips and caramelized onion dip. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

 

In fact, this summer, you can pick up Heluva Good! Limited Edition Roasted Garlic & Caramelized Onion Dip. Caramelized onions have more sophisticated flavor than the dried onion chips in the Lipton mix, from the sweetness of the caramelized onions and the roasted garlic layered in.

Heluva Good is a specialty producer of sour cream and sour cream-based dips. Find out more, and see the other dip flavors, at HeluvaGood.com.

You also can make your own caramelized onion dip. The recipe below takes just 10 minutes, plus chilling time.

 

caramelized-onions-pompeianFB-230

Caramelized onions are delicious with any
savory foods. Photo courtesy Pompeian | FB.

 

RECIPE: CARAMELIZED ONION DIP

Ingredients For 2 Cups

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cups thinly sliced onion
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Chips, crudités, pretzels or other dippers
  •  

    Preparation

    1. HEAT oil in medium saucepan or frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and sage. Cover and cook until onions are deep golden brown, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool.

    2. WHISK together mayonnaise and sour cream in a medium bowl to blend. Stir in the cooled caramelized onions, salt, and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until flavors blend, about 2 hours.

     

    MORE WAYS TO USE CARAMELIZED ONIONS

    We consume them as quickly as we make them!

    Often, we eat them right from the pan or as they’re cooling. But check out these uses for caramelized onions.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Cheese Plate With Bacon

    cheese-carpaccio-w-bacon-castello-230

    A cheese course with bacon. Photo courtesy
    Castello.

     

    Thanks to Castello, a Danish producer of classic cheeses, for this cheese plate inspiration. The cheese is sliced into thin, carpaccio*-like slivers.

    For the cheese course, Castello used its Castello Alps Selection Classic, an Alpine-style cheese (the category of semifirm cheeses that includes Appenzeller, Gruyère, Raclette and Vacherin Mont-d’Or, among others).

    It’s easy to make.

  • Fry up the bacon, ideally a specialty brand such as Edwards, Niman Ranch or Nueske.
  • If you have a mandoline, use it to slice the cheese into carpaccio-like pieces. Otherwise, slice cold cheese as thinly as you can.
  • You can turn it into the salad course by adding some lightly dressed mesclun or frisée.
     
    *Carpaccio is a dish of raw meat or fish, thinly sliced or pounded thin and typically served mainly as a first course.

  •  
    RECIPE: CHEESE PLATE “CARPACCIO” WITH BACON

    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • 3 ounces (100 g) semihard cheese, very thinly sliced
  • 4 bacon slices, cooked and cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) capers, drained
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • Coarsely ground pepper
  • 4 lemon wedges
  •  
    Preparation

    1. ARRANGE cheese and optional salad on two plates. Add bacon.

    2. TOP with capers. Sprinkle cheese with olive oil and fresh-cracked pepper.

    3. ADD the lemon wedges and serve.

     

    WHAT IS SEMIHARD CHEESE?

    Semihard is a classification of cheese based upon the body of the cheese, based mainly on the moisture content. Most semihard (and hard) cheeses are pressed during production to remove moisture. As they age, they become firmer, more pungent and crumbly.

    What about semisoft cheeses? Semisoft cheese contains more than 45% water, while semihard cheese contains 30% to 45%. A cheese can start as semisoft, then move to semihard as it ages and moisture evaporates.

    Because semihard cheeses contain less moisture than the soft and soft-ripened types, they hold their shape much better and can be easily sliced—a requirement for the recipe above.

    The semihard category includes a broad range of textures and ages, from semifirm to very firm and from cheeses that are only weeks old to those aged for several months or more.

     

    castello_alps_classic-230

    Use Castello Classic or other Alpine-style or semihard cheese. Photo courtesy Castello.

     
    Examples include Abondance, Appenzeller, young Asiago, Beaufort, Caciotta, Caerphilly, Cantal, Cheddar, Cheshire, Colby, Comté, Danbo, Derby, Edam, Emmental, Fontina, Fontinella, Gjetost, Gloucester, aged Gouda, Gruyère, Idiazabal, Jarlsberg, Lancashire, Leicester, Leyden, Manchego, Provolone, Raclette, Saint Nectaire, Tête de Moine, Queso Blanco and Wensleydale, among others. So you’ve got lots of choices for the cheese plate “carpaccio.”

    Find more of the different types of cheese in our Cheese Glossary.

    Learn more about Castello cheeses, and check out the delicious recipes.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Homemade Flavored Seltzer

    homemade-raspberry-seltzer-oregonraspandblackcomm-230

    Homemade raspberry seltzer. Photo courtesy
    SpoonfulOfFlour.

     

    If you like flavored seltzer, here’s how to make an even more flavorful version of it, courtesy of the North American Raspberry and Blackberry Commission. The inspiration came from fruit grower Cheryl Ferguson of Plum Granny Farm in King, North Carolina.

    You can use fresh or frozen and leave the drink unsweetened, like commercial flavored seltzer. Or, add sugar to turn it into…soda pop.

    You can use different fruits; although tender berries dissolve the most easily into syrup.

    RECIPE: HOMEMADE FLAVORED SELTZER

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • Optional: 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries (or other fruit)
  • Seltzer or club soda, chilled (club soda has added salt; see glossary below)
  • Optional: squeeze of lime or lemon juice
  •  

    Preparation

    1. BOIL water. If using sweetener, add the sugar and stir to dissolve.

    2. ADD raspberries and stir. Cook 3 to 5 minutes. Strain out seeds or purée as desired. Let cool (store in the fridge in a closed container).

    3. MAKE drink: Add 2-3 tablespoons of raspberry syrup to a glass (more if desired). Add cold seltzer water and optional lemon or lime juice. Stir gently and serve straight up, or over ice.

     

    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CLUB SODA & SELTZER

    A Glossary Of Sparkling Waters

    Any effervescent water belongs to the category of carbonated water, also called soda water: water into which carbon dioxide gas under pressure has been dissolved, causing the water to become effervescent. The carbon dioxide can be natural, as in some spring waters and mineral waters, or can be added in the bottling process. (In fact, even some naturally carbonated waters are enhanced with more carbonation at the bottling plant.)

    Carbonated Water

    In the U.S., carbonated water was known as soda water until after World War II, due to the sodium salts it contained. While today we think of “soda” as a carbonated beverage, the word originally refers to a chemical salts, also called carbonate of soda (sodium carbonate, sodium hydroxide, sodium monoxide). The salts were added as flavoring and acidity regulator, to mimic the taste of a natural mineral water.

    After the war, terms such as sparkling water and seltzer water gained favor.

     

    fruit-salad-soda-polarseltzer-230

    No time to make your own flavored seltzer? Just toss in fresh fruit. It will infuse very slightly. Photo courtesy Polar Seltzer.

     
    Except for sparkling mineral water, all carbonated water/soda water is made from municipal water supplies (tap water). Carbonated water was invented in Leeds, England in 1767 by British chemist Joseph Priestley, who discovered how to infuse water with carbon dioxide by suspending a bowl of water above a beer vat at a local brewery. Carbonated water changed the way people drank liquor, which had been neat, providing a “mixer” to dilute the alcohol.

    Club Soda

    Like the original carbonated water, club soda is enhanced with some sodium salts.

    Fizzy Water

    Another term for carbonated water.

    Seltzer or Seltzer Water

    Seltzer is carbonated water with no sodium salts added. The term derives from the town of Selters in central Germany, which is renowned for its mineral springs. The naturally carbonated spring water—which contains naturally dissolved salts—has been commercially bottled and shipped around the world since at least the 18th century. When seltzer is made by carbonating tap water, some salts are added for the slightest hint of flavor. And that’s the difference between seltzer and club soda: Club soda is salt-free.

    Sparkling Water

    Another term for carbonated water/soda water. It can also refer to sparkling mineral water, which is pumped from underground aquifers. Note that not all sparkling mineral waters are naturally effervescent. Many are actually carbonated from still mineral water. Some are lightly carbonated by nature, but have extra carbonation added at bottling to meet consumer preferences.

    Two Cents Plain

    Another word for soda water, coined during the Great Depression, when plain soda water was the cheapest drink at the soda fountain.

    MORE TYPES OF WATER

    Check out our Water Glossary for the different types of water, including the difference between mineral water and spring water.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: No Bake Blueberry Cheesecake

    blueberry-cheesecake-mini-jennifer-bakeorbreak-colorfulharvestFB-230

    Way cool: a no bake blueberry cheesecake.
    Photo courtesy Bake Or Break | Colorful
    Harvest.

     

    As the heat soared yesterday, we turned to our tried-and-true summer recipes, including this No Bake Cheesecake from Jennifer of BakeOrBreak.com, (via Colorful Harvest).

    The crust is a simple combination of crushed vanilla wafers and melted butter. While baking the crust helps it to set more firmly, the purpose of this recipe is to keep the heat out of the kitchen.

    Similarly, the cheese filling isn’t baked, but sets in the refrigerator. Prep time is 30 minutes.

    RECIPE: NO BAKE BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKES

    Ingredients For One 8 Inch Or
    Two 4-1/2 Inch Cheesecakes

    For The Crust

  • 5 ounces finely crushed vanilla wafers* (about 40 cookies)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  •  
    For The Filling

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries (2 to 2-1/2 cups)†
  •  
    For The Optional Garnish

  • Whipped cream
  • Fresh blueberries
  •  
    *Jennifer prefers Trader Joe’s vanilla wafers, but you can default to the ubiquitous Nabisco Nilla Wafers.

    †Set aside the nicest blueberries for the garnish.

     

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the crust: Mix together vanilla wafer crumbs and melted butter until mixture is combined and the crumbs are moistened. Divide crust mixture evenly between two 4-1/2-inch diameter springform pans or one 8-inch pan. Press into bottom and about halfway up the sides of each pan. Set pan(s) in the freezer for 30 minutes or in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

    2. MAKE the filling: Place cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until combined. Add blueberries and pulse until thoroughly mixed. Divide filling between each prepared crust (if making two cheesecakes). Cover and refrigerate overnight.

    3. REMOVE sides of pans before serving. Garnish with a dab of whipped ream and a few fresh blueberries.

     

    the-ultimate-no-bake-dessert-cookbook-230

    An entire summer’s worth of desserts. Check out the book. Photo courtesy Grand Central Life & Style.

     

    MORE NO COOK, NO BAKE RECIPES

    Imagine quick and easy no cook, no bake savory meals plus cakes, pies, ice cream cakes, cookies and more more no-bake cheesecakes. Make tasty desserts in minutes that taste like you have worked for hours. Feed your family fast, stove- and oven-free, in the heat.

    Sound good? Then check out:

  • “The No-Cook No-Bake Cookbook: 101 Delicious Recipes for When It’s Too Hot to Cook” (more information)
  • “No Bake Cookies, Bars & Pies” (more information)
  • “No Bake Makery: More Than 80 Two-Bite Treats Made with Lovin’, Not an Oven” (more information)
  • “No Bake Cookies” (more information)
  • “32 No Bake Pie Recipes” (Kindle only—more information)
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Radish & Stone Fruit Salad

    Fruit-and-Radish-Salad-gentyHyers-chefscollectiveFB-230

    A salad can be much more than dressed
    leafy greens. Photo courtesy Gentyl & Hyers
    | Chefs Collaborative.

     

    Chef’s Collaborative is a nonprofit, national network of member chefs who work to promote clean, sustainable food. They’ve created a cookbook of recipes that are imaginative and refreshing, yet can be enjoyed every day. Sign up for the newsletter on the website for additional ideas.

    The unconventional “salad” recipe below strays from the well-worn path of green vegetables.

    There’s nothing leafy, instead presenting a mélange of peppery radishes, tangy feta cheese, sweet peaches and earthy almonds. You can substitute mangoes or strawberries when peaches are not in season.

    The recipe is the creation of member chef Michael Schwartz of Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink in Miami. You can serve it as a separate salad course or as a side dish. Prep time is 20 minutes.

     
    RECIPE: RADISH & FETA SALAD WITH STONE FRUIT SALAD

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 3 to 4 radishes
  • 2 pounds fresh peaches, strawberries, or mangoes, peeled or stemmed as needed) and cut into 1/4-inch slices or wedges
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar or other mild vinegar like white balsamic
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1 cup mild feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
  •  

    PREPARATION

    1. CUT the onions into thinly slices, using a mandoline or a very sharp knife. You should end up with about 1/4 cup.

    2. FILL a small bowl with cold water and a few ice cubes and soak the onions for 5 minutes. This mellows the sharp bite typical of raw onions and makes them crisp. Drain the onions and pat dry with paper towels. Thinly slice the radishes.

    3. COMBINE the oil and vinegar in a bowl with some salt and black pepper and whisk to combine. Add the peaches, onions, radishes, and basil, tossing gently to evenly coat the ingredients. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if desired.

    4. DIVIDE the salad equally among six plates and top with the crumbled feta and toasted almonds.

     

    The-Chefs-Collaborative-Cookbook-230

    Chefs Collaborative Cookbook: Local, Sustainable, Delicious: Recipes from America’s Great Chefs. The cookbook is a cornucopia of recipes with bright, fresh flavors. Photo courtesy Taunton Press.

     

    GET THE COOKBOOK

    We rarely thumb through a cookbook and want to make everything. Get this one as a gift for yourself or anyone who likes imaginative seasonal cuisine.

    You can purchase it on Amazon.com.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Honey & Food Pairings

    honey-colors-230-NHB

    Based on the plant from which the pollen is
    harvested, each varietal honey has a distinctive
    flavor and color. Photo courtesy National
    Honey Board.

     

    Mass produced “supermarket honey” is blended specifically to have a generic flavor. As with table sugar, it delivers a uniform, sweet, simple taste to consumers time after time.

    But raw varietal honey—varietal referring to the variety of plant from which it was derived—can be compared to wine, tea and coffee in its character and complexity. Different varietals produce different flavors (and colors, too).

    As wine aficionados pair different flavors of wines with specific foods, so do honey sophisticates. The pairings can be revelations, similar to discovering how well a fruity red wine goes with grilled salmon.

    The pairings below were developed by Zeke Freeman of Bee Raw Honey, using his American honey varietals. They just beg to be served at a honey-pairing brunch.

    You may find other pairings you like even better. Make a party of it!

    And check out the recipes at Bee Raw Honey, which recommend, among other ideas, blueberry honey for glazed carrots, buckwheat honey for salmon fillets and orange blossom honey for a chicken or turkey glaze.

    Basswood Honey

    Basswood honey is light in color, delicate and mild, with warm herbal notes and a clean finish.

  • Cheese Pairing: Fromage blanc
  • Fruit Pairing: Fresh green apples
  • Dairy Pairing: Vanilla ice cream
  • Tea Pairing: Mint and spice teas
  •  
    Black Sage Honey

    Golden in color, black sage honey is mild, with a mouth-warming hint of pepper and a smooth clean finish.

  • Cheese Pairing: Parmaggiano Reggiano
  • Fruit Pairing: Wine-poached pears
  • Dairy Pairing: Goat cheese ice cream
  • Tea Pairing: Black tea, especially Ceylon
  •  
    Blueberry Honey

    A medium amber in color, blueberry honey is strong and sweet, with earthy components.

  • Cheese Pairing: Stilton and other milder blue cheeses
  • Fruit Pairing: Lemon, melons
  • Dairy Pairing: Crème fraîche, sour cream, yogurt
  • Tea Pairing: Oolong tea
  •  
    Buckwheat Honey

    You can tell from the deep brown color that this honey is a different experience from the “simple sweetness” most people expect. Strongly-flavored like sorghum or molasses, this honey has hints of mossy earth, malty notes and less sweetness in general.

  • Cheese Pairing: Fresh goat cheeses, ricotta cheese
  • Fruit Pairing: Broiled grapefruit
  • Dairy Pairing: Greek yogurt
  • Tea Pairing: Elderflower tea
  •  

    Clover Honey

    Lighter yellow in hue, delicate, sweet and buttery, a top yellow clover honey can deliver warm undertones of cinnamon and nutmeg.

  • Cheese Pairing: Chevre
  • Fruit Pairing: Figs
  • Tea Pairing: Hot and iced chai
  •  
    Cranberry Honey

    True to its floral source, this medium amber honey has a delicate cranberry aroma and amildly tart flavor with subtle floral hints and a light, fruity finish.

  • Cheese Pairing: Gruyère
  • Fruit Pairing: Apples and tangerines
  • Tea Pairing: Chamomile tea, iced green tea
  •  

    butternut-squash-buckwheat-honey-beeraw-230

    Stout and complex buckwheat honey, with earthy notes like sorghum or molasses, pairs nicely with sweet butternut squash. Photo courtesy BeeRaw.com.

     
    Orange Blossom Honey

    The light amber color and subtle flavor notes of citrus are a hint that you’re enjoying orange blossom honey.

  • Cheese Pairing: Manchego and other aged sheep’s milk cheeses
  • Fruit Pairing: Lemon, lemonade
  • Tea Pairing: English Breakfast, Ceylon
  •  
    Raspberry Honey

    Light amber-hued raspberry honey is delicate and floral with a raspberry finish.

  • Fruit Pairing: Raspberries, peaches, pears
  • Dairy Pairing: Sour cream
  • Tea Pairing: English Breakfast, Earl Grey
  •  
    Sourwood Honey

    Sourwood honey is dark amber: highly floral, rich and buttery with a maple finish.

  • Cheese Pairing: Camembert and other bloomy rind cheeses
  • Fruit Pairing: Grilled peaches
  • Dairy Pairing: Clotted cream
  • Tea Pairing: Classic iced tea, strong green tea
  •  
    Star Thistle Honey

    One of the palest gold honeys, yet thick and creamy, star thistle honey has soft notes of cinnamon and a long, sweet finish.

  • Cheese Pairing: Fresh cheeses: chèvre, ricotta
  • Fruit Pairing: Oven-roasted apples, pears
  • Drink Pairing: Hot apple cider
  •  
    MORE ABOUT HONEY

    Honey was treated as a fine edible in ancient Egypt, with its terroir noted on each honey vessel. How did it become a product of simple, sticky sweetness?

    As with much of the food in our culture, our palates have become dulled by over-salted, over-sweetened, processed food. Since producing and harvesting honey is extremely labor intensive; one worker honey bee makes just 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime!

    So producers give most consumers what they want—an acceptable price, as opposed to superior quality. Some honey isn’t even 100% honey, but has been cut and extended with fillers to keep the price down.

    Pick up a copy of The Honey Connoisseur: Selecting, Tasting, and Pairing Honey, With a Guide to More Than 30 Varietals.

    And if you’re a honey fan, start to look at honey the way you look at wine: Spend less on the honey you use in baking or cooking, spend more on the honey you enjoy on a piece of toast.

    Each region is known for honey derived from their local crops: blueberry honey from Maine, lavender honey from Provence (France), orange blossom honey from Florida, sourwood honey from Georgia.

    Check out farmers markets and specialty food stores that let you taste different honeys. You’ll find herbal, floral, spicy, tart and other nuances that will sing to you.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Olive Oil Martini

    olive-oil-martini-foodista-230

    A slick of olive oil may seem unusual atop a
    Martini, but it adds a nifty layer of texture
    and flavor. Photo courtesy Foodista.com.

     

    Many people enjoy an olive or two in their Martinis. Whether you do or you don’t, try an Olive Oil Martini.

    It’s a relatively new concept developed by the Chile Olive Oil marketing folks, to create a new cocktail experience and showcase the high quality of olive oils from Chile.

    A drop of top-quality extra-virgin olive oil is floated atop the drink, adding a bit of fruity olive oil flavor and providing a balm-like slick to the lips.

    You can use any premium EVOO you have to mix up a special Father’s Day cocktail. Simply mix your favorite Martini recipe, and float a quarter-teaspoon of oil on top.

    Or, try this fusion of a Martini and a Margarita (via the Cointreau), a recipe from Chile Olive Oil:

     
    RECIPE: CHILEAN EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL MARTINI

    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • 1 orange segment
  • 3-5 fresh basil leaves
  • 3 ounces vodka
  • 1/2 ounce dry vermouth
  • 1/2 ounce Cointreau or other orange liqueur
  • 1/4 ounce simple syrup
  • 1/4 ounce Chilean Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MUDDLE the orange segment and basil leaves in a cocktail shaker.

    2. ADD vodka, vermouth, Cointreau, simple syrup and olive oil; then add ice and shake well.

    3. STRAIN into a martini glass and float a drop of Chilean extra virgin olive oil over the top.

     

    ABOUT OLIVE OIL FROM CHILE

    Chile’s unique geography provides valleys to successfully grow any olive cultivar under optimal growing conditions in a Mediterranean-like climate, with cold rainy winters and hot and dry summers.

    The country grows Arbequina, Arbusana, Barnea, Coratina, Empeltre, Frantoio, Koroneiqui, Leccino, Manzanilla, Picual and Racimo varieties. The summer heat lets the olives reach optimum maturity, with great fruit expression.

    Because of the quality imparted by the climate, the country produces extra virgin oil exclusively. There are no oils that have to be classified in lower rankings such as Virgin or the generic Olive Oil. (See the different types of olive oil.)

    Streamlined New World production enables the olives to go from tree to oil in less than twenty-four hours—important to preserve the qualities that enable the oils to be classified as extra-virgin. The olives are picked, cold-pressed and bottled right at the orchard, delivering great freshness.

     

    olive-and-co-chile-230

    There are scores of Chilean olive oil brands available in the U.S. Photo courtesy Olive Oil & Co. | Chile.

     

    As a result, Chilean oil has become well known around the world for its quality, racking up awards in internationally recognized olive oil competitions.
     
    EXTRA VIRGIN VS. VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

    Extra Virgins are the fruitiest, finest, most olive-y oils, and are priced at a premium. “Fruity” means that the oils have pleasant, spicy fruit flavors characteristic of fresh ripe or green olives. Ripe fruit yields oils that are milder, aromatic, buttery and floral.

    To be classified as Extra Virgin, the olive oil must have low acidity—a maximum free acidity of 0.8%. Anything higher is simply “virgin” olive oil—good enough for cooking but not for savoring.

    Chilean extra virgin olive oils have acidity levels as low as 0.2%! Discover more at ChileOliveOil.com.
     
    KNOW YOUR OLIVE OIL

    Check out these olive oil terms.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Stone Fruit Salad

    “Everybody must get stoned!” sang Bob Dylan in Rainy Day Women #12 & 35.

    Someone, whip him up a stone fruit salad!

    1. MIX together your favorite greens. We like to add something peppery as a counterpoint to the sweet fruit, such as baby arugula, daikon/radish and/or watercress. We also like to add crunch, in the form of celery, jicama or water chestnuts (the radish does double duty with pepperiness and crunch).

    2. TOSS the salad with a light vinaigrette. Try this champagne vinaigrette, or a traditional balsamic vinaigrette, both of which add a bit of sweetness. You can also add a tablespoon of orange juice to a regular vinaigrette.

    3. LAYER with sliced stone fruits—either a single fruit or an assortment. You can leave on the skin.

    4. SERVE as a side salad or as a main salad with the addition of goat cheese (or other favorite cheese), chicken breast or other protein.

    It’s stone fruit season. Dig in!

       

    stone-fruit-spring-mix-melissas-230

    A stone fruit salad with nectarines and peaches. Photo courtesy Melissas.com.

     

    WHAT ARE STONE FRUITS?

    Stone fruits are members of the Prunus genus, and include apricots, cherries, nectarines, olives, peaches, plums, and cherries and cross-breeds such as apriums, plumcots and pluots.

    A stone fruit, also called a drupe, is a fruit with a large, hard stone (pit) inside a fleshy fruit. The stone is often thought of as the the seed, but the seed is actually inside the stone.

    In fact, almonds, pecans and walnuts are examples of the seeds inside the stones. They’re also drupes, but a type in which we eat the seed inside the pit instead of the surrounding fruit.

    Drupes are members of the Rosaceae family—the rose family—which includes shrubs as well as other prominent fruits (in other genuses) such as apples, loquats, pears, quinces and strawberries.

    Not all drupes are stone fruits. The coconut is also a drupe, as are bramble fruits such as blackberries and raspberries. June through September is prime stone fruit season in the U.S.

     

    scarlet-nectarines-thefruitcompany-230

    Nectarines, bursting with flavor, ready for a
    salad. Photo courtesy The Fruit Company.

     

    HOW TO ENJOY STONE FRUITS

    Chef Johnny Gnall says:

    “I like to eat stone fruit raw whenever possible. But grilled stone fruit is also delicious; peaches and nectarines are exquisite.” His advice:

  • To grill, halve, pit and cook the fruits just long enough to mark them. The sweetness comes out with the heat and the earthy char in the markings complements them.
  • Another great way to take advantage of stone fruits is to purée them and turn them into emulsified vinaigrettes. Purée the fruit with a bit of hot water, just enough to get things spinning smoothly. Then add the acid and seasonings, and finish with oil as you would a conventional vinaigrette.
  • Bright flavors from a dressing like this work for salads and also as meat marinades: Think pork chops!
  • Here’s a stone fruit salsa recipe.
  •  

    Don’t forget a regular fruit salad, ice cream, smoothies and sorbet!

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Think Inside The Sub

    diane-goat-cheese-230

    Diane is a personal favorite, filled with
    radicchio, grilled onions, roasted tomato,
    roasted zucchini, goat cheese, balsamic
    vinegar and olive oil. Photo courtesy City
    Sandwich | NYC.

     

    We recently wandered into City Sandwich, a New York City sub shop with a different perspective: top-quality ingredients sandwiched without any mayonnaise or fatty sauces.

    Chef Michael Guerrieri, who was born in Naples, raised in New York and cooked in Lisbon, has created a menu of Italian-Portuguese fusion sandwiches. He swapped the mayo for yogurt sauces and a splash of olive oil, and traded conventional submarine rolls for those from a Portuguese bakery, working with the baker to perfect the consistency of the bread.

    His menu of sandwich is named for friends and family, suggesting an idea for a sandwich-making party at home. Lay out the ingredients, let everyone design his or her own sandwich, and email the results and ingredients to all participants.

    Here’s a sampling of the menu at City Sandwich—a long list with choices among eggs, meats, raw food, vegetarian and vegan ingredients—clearly a different mix inside the sub. But we wanted to eat everything, and even after cuts, the list is:

     

  • Adriana: sautéed eggplant, fresh ricotta, sautéed red onion, fresh basil, roasted garlic, olive oil
  • Alex: spicy sopressata, red and white sliced onions, roasted red and yellow peppers, julienned spinach, julienned Parmigiano, capers, piri piri peppers
  • Altan: fresh mozzarella, tomato, seasonal lettuce, basil-pesto-yogurt sauce
  • Antonio: roasted zucchini, roasted onions, roasted tomato, melted mozzarella, olive oil
  • Auntie: homemade pickled sardines, sautéed onions, cilantro, olive oil
  • Bench Girl: omelet, alheira* sausage, grilled onions, spinach, melted mozzarella, olive oil
  • Breakfast: linguiça sausage, egg white or regular omelet, spicky kale, sauteed onions, melted mozzarella, olive oil
  • The Buckle: an all-raw sandwich with alfalfa sprouts, cucumber, garlic, green and red shredded cabbage, green beans, kale, shaved carrot, watercress, yellow squash, zucchini and black bean lemon vinaigrette
  • The Chef: soaked codfish, tomato, seasonal lettuce, sautéed onions, capers, black olive pesto, olive oil
  • Chrissy: sliced free range chicken breast, steamed kale, pancetta, melted mozarella, sautéed onions, olive oil
  • Christina: roasted eggplant, fresh basil, roasted tomato, melted mozzarella, garlic, olive oil
  • Cornelia: roasted seasonal, vegetables, roasted tomato, fresh rosemary, olive oil
  •  

  • Diane: radicchio, grilled onions, roasted tomato, roasted zucchini, goat cheese, balsamic vinegar, olive oil
  • Dave: fresh sausage, broccoli rabe, tomato, peperoncino, melted mozzarella, garlic, olive oil
  • Fatima: octopus salad, diced onions, diced peppers, arugula, fresh parsley, mustard vinaigrette
  • Franco: prosciutto, mozzarella, roasted peppers, arugula, raw garlic, olive oil
  • Gary & Phil: ham, turkey, onions, tomato, watercress, honey-Dijon-yogurt sauce
  • Henrique: alheira sausage*, steamed collard greens, grilled onions, melted mozzarella, olive oil
  • Helena: homemade linguiça* sausage spread, fresh mozzarella, roasted peppers, sautéed onions, watercress, olive oil
  • Italian-Portuguese Steak Melt: thinly sliced beef, roasted peppers, pancetta, caramelized onions, melted fresh mozzarella, olive oil
  •  

    salvatore-230

    Photo courtesy City Sandwich | NYC.

  • James: roast beef, roasted peppers, broccoli rabe, melted mozzarella, sautéed onions, olive oil
  • Jerry: smoked salmon, tomato, chopped onions, seasonal lettuce, shallot-dill-yogurt sauce
  • Jo & Nairobi: sliced free range chicken breast, stewed zucchini, stewed tomato, stewed onions, melted mozzarella, fresh basil, olive oil
  • Ken: steamed Italian sausage (crumbled), stewed garlic and tomatoes, melted mozzarella, sautéed onions, sliced jalapeños, olive oil
  • Lenten Loaf: smoked salmon, sliced tomatoes, mesclun salad, ranch dressing
  • LGBT: linguiça* spread, goat cheese, Portuguese bacon, tomato, lettuce, sauteed onions, olive oil
  • LGBT Vegan: sautéed leeks, sautéed garlic, beets in aged balsamic and olive oil marinade, tofu in piri piri marinade, lettuce, olive oil
  • Lucy: steamed shrimp, watercress, chopped onions, tomato-honey-basil yogurt sauce
  • Maria: cooked egg whites, paio* sausage, broccoli rabe, sautéed onions, melted mozzarella, tomato, olive oil
  • Michael: crumbled sausage, home-roasted tomatoes and red and yellow peppers, melted mozzarella
  • Monica: cooked egg whites, sautéed onions, fresh oregano, melted mozzarella, olive oil
  • Nonna: omelet, sautéed onions, fresh oregano, melted mozzarella, olive oil
  • Nuno: morcela* sausage, broccoli rabe, tomato, collard greens, melted mozzarella, garlic, olive oil
  • Pavia: cooked egg whites, spinach, melted Brie, sautéed onions, tomato
  • Roberto: roast suckling pig, Portuguese bacon, caramelized onions, fresh baby spinach and optional chopped jalapeños
  • Rudy: turkey, roasted red and yellow peppers, fresh mozzarella, capers, basil pesto, fresh basil, garlic, ollive oil
  • Salvatore: chicken breast, roasted peppers, homemade prosciutto spread, watercress, sautéed onions, olive oil
  • Sofia: battered zucchini blossoms, salted zucchini, Portuguese linguiça sausage, sautéed onions, shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, olive oil
  • Todd: smoked pancetta, seasonal lettuce, tomato, honey-Dijon-yogurt sauce
  • Victoria: chicken breast, broccoli rabe, tomato, sautéed onions, melted mozzarella, olive oil
  •  
    If the choice seems overwhelming: It is!

    There are also 12 different egg sandwiches, and seasonal specialties. Check out the menu on the website.

    You need to study the menu and make choices before showing up to order.

     
    *Alheira is a Portuguese sausage made with meats other than pork (usually veal, duck, chicken, quail or rabbit) and bread; linguiça is a smoke-cured pork sausage seasoned with garlic and paprika; morcela is a traditional Portuguese and Brazilian black sausage; paio is a smoked Portuguese and Brazilian sausage made of pork loin, garlic, bell pepper and salt.

      

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