Category Archives: Recipes

“You learn what to cook so you don’t have to be a slave to recipes. You get what’s in season and you know what to do with it.” – Julia Child

Tomatoes

 

cherry tommies

 

It is tomato time, as all you gardeners well know. The gardens are overflowing with beautiful fruit.
There are tomato festivals everywhere, and so many different kinds of tomatoes to eat.
Red, green, striped, cherry, pear, yellow and even a purple one.

The bigger question is, what to do with this bounty? Here are some of our suggestions:

 

  • Sun-dried tomatoes to freeze and use all winter, in soups, stews, polenta and on pizzas. We have a small dehydrator and it only takes about 24 hours on low temperature to have a finished product. We will be serving dried tomatoes with goat cheese as snacks.
  • Yellow tomato gazpacho for a cooling refreshment. We will be serving this at our Suisun Valley Harvest festival August 28. The finishing touch will be avocado crema and a hint of something hot for the adventurous taster.
  • Red gazpacho for the more traditional look and taste, combined with cucumbers, peppers and lots of salt and olive oil this is a classic Spanish dish. Serve with toasted bread for the perfect evening meal. This is a make ahead and let it sit overnight to make the flavors better. Serve with sliced avocado as a topping.
  • A simple composed salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, mozzarella cheese and olives.
  • Tomato sauce cooked down to a beautiful thick paste and then frozen for use the entire year.
  • Tomato tart, a luscious tart with a pastry crust, fresh ricotta, and layers of lovely tomatoes. Baked early in the morning and served at dinner tonight.
  • Pure delicious tomatoes with salt just warm from the garden. Better yet take the salt and a knife and go to the garden and eat a tomato while you admire your bounty.
  • Sandwiches of thick tomato slices, garlic, cucumbers homemade bread and homemade mayonnaise.

 

Here is my recipe for homemade mayonnaise. Easy as pie to make and very delicious. Only 5-10 minutes to make this silky and luscious mayo. Leccino adds a lovely fragrance, and Mission will make it quite bold.
If at the end you add two stalks of cooked asparagus, it makes the mayo brilliant green.
Kids and adults will love the color. Fun with food is our motto!

 

HOMEMADE MAYONNAISE

INGREDIENTS:

1 large egg yolk, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon mustard Dijon is good but you can use any favorite mustard

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, Leccino or Mission Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice or more to taste

1/4 teaspoon white pepper, finely ground

 

METHOD:

  • Whisk together the room temperature egg yolk, the mustard, and the 1/4 teaspoon salt, and combine well
  • Add about 1/4 cup oil very slowly, whisking constantly until mixture begins to thicken.
  • Whisk in the vinegar and the lemon juice
  • Add the remaining 1/2 cup oil in a very slow, thin stream, whisking constantly until well blended
  • Continue vigorously whisking until smooth, and all the oil is incorporated
  • Whisk in salt and white pepper to taste.

This makes about a cup. This can also be made in a blender, but it is more fun to whisk this in a bowl.
The vinegar and the lemon juice add the balance and the acidity to the finished mayo. Eat tomatoes fresh from the garden. Healthy, delicious with super good olive oil- it is a perfect treat!

 

composed photo

 

 

Spring Food- Radishes 2016

 

Right out of the garden, nothing is better than a fresh radish.

radishes in the garden 2016 2

My Great Aunt, A Francophile and French teacher, taught me an old French method to serve beautiful fresh radishes. Slice the radish and serve with bread, the best butter and salt. Add a little olive oil of course, and you have the perfect afternoon snack. Try this as a first course or a simple hors d’oeuvre, appetizer in French.

Radish Insta

Simply delicious.

When you have too many radishes, as we do (10 different kinds!), we pickle them. A quick pickle and you have a marvelous snack to use right away! Great on salads, hamburgers, or just plain right out the jar. Here is how to make them:

Harvest and slice about 4 cups of fresh radishes.

radishing

Standard Pickling Liquid
2 cups White Wine Vinegar
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Water
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
10 Whole Black Peppercorns
Dill to taste
Combine all ingredients in a noncorrosive saucepan
Bring the liquid to a rolling boil
Stir to just dissolve the sugar and salt
Remove from heat, add radishes and allow mixture to cool
Cool & refrigerate
Use tonight or this weekend
If covered and refrigerated, will keep for 6-8 weeks

The vinegar will be red because of the radishes beautiful color. Delicious, tangy, with a little heat & lots of flavor. Enjoy Spring!

 

Ciao-
Ann

Pickled Insta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FROM OUR HEART TO YOUR HEART

Health benefits of good food, good wine, and olive oil are being touted in the news. Of course this is true; add exercise and you have the perfect 4. What better grouping? Science is continuously looking closely at how complex human nutrition really is and what we can do to help ourselves. Sorry, there is no magic bullet. One glass of wine, or 2 tablespoons of olive oil (real olive oil) will not a healthy person make. But it is a start.

Some studies attribute better health to red wine, others to white, the more cautious to both. Most probably the interaction of both with a great diet, including olive oil, is the answer. As the lead investigator, Iris Shai, from Ben-Gurion University in Israel, states, “each individual could respond differently and should consult his practitioner first”. Sensible response, I have said that myself to lots of people. We all need a touchstone.

So here is a suggestion for helping your heart from our heart at IL Fiorello. Be kind to your friends for Valentine’s Day. Give them a bottle of really good tasting olive oil and cook a wonderful dinner of real food. Heed the Oldways Common Ground Consensus Statement: Food should be good for human health, good for the planet, and just plain good – unapologetically delicious.

Walk to the store and purchase these ingredients for dinner. Then walk home and prepare a lovely meal.

 

Mushroom and Cheese Bruschetta

6 tablespoons Organic IL Fiorello Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Frantoio

6 more tablespoons oil for drizzling on the bread

4-5 cups fresh mushrooms

Mycopia from Petaluma is a wonderful source (if you are not into your own foraging)

1-2 tsp oregano (chopped)

1-2 tsp thyme (chopped)

2-3 shallots or equivalent amount of finely chopped white onions

Mozzarella (sliced) or buratta (spooned) cheese

Baguette, sliced on the diagonal. Toast each slice and drizzle with olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Sautée the onions and mushrooms in the olive oil about 5-6 minutes

Add the herbal seasonings to taste

Toast the bread and top with olive oil

Place the cheese on the bread

Add the mushroom and herb mixture on top

Drizzle with more oil

Garnish with chopped parsley or chives for taste and beauty

Arrange the finished bruschetta on a platter

Serve with a green salad of arugula and lettuce lightly seasoned with oil.

Accompany with a glass of red or white wine of your choice

Wine Suggestions:

Farmstrong Field White from Suisun Valley

Winemaker Faith Armstrong-Foster

Or try her Sparkling wine from their Onward label

A beautiful Petillant Naturel of Malvasia Bianca

Verduno Pelaverga from Piedmonte Italy

Turkovich Roussane from nearby Yolo County CA

Ciao.

 

Pasta

PASTA! PASTA ! PASTA!

We just had a wonderful class on pasta, led by our Chef Marvin Martin. It was so popular we may do another! Everyone ate well, laughed well, and went home with the recipes to try their hand at making homemade pasta. I grew up making pasta by hand, in class we made pasta with an electric pasta roller. The small Atlas hand cranked pasta makers are just fine to use to make dinner at home. For ease of making lasagna, we recommend Barilla or De Cecco pre made pasta. The Barilla oven ready pasta sheets are fabulous for making lots of lasagna for your party.
pasta blogWhen you make dough, feel free to add spices to the dough itself to add layers of flavor. In class the pasta dough was flavored with finely diced green olives, Castelvetrano, Nocellara del Belice olives, from Sicily. You can purchase these olives locally in Northern California, at Nugget Market, Whole Foods, and Costco. If you cannot find this product in your local store, ask your grocer to purchase some for you to try.
In Italy, each town, each Grandmother, has their own pasta recipe and their own sauce. Books have been written about how to pair just the right sauce with just the right type and shape of pasta. Different shapes are usually indicative of regional preferences and how to pair their local sauces. Here is a beautiful example of corzetti or coins, the wood hand press cuts the dough and the engraved characters on the disc are pressed into the pasta coins. The designs helps hold more sauce. In Liguria, where Taggiasca olive oil is plentiful, I have had corzetti served with oil, toasted pine nuts, herbs, salt and pepper, and sprinkled with parmesan cheese. It is common in Liguria to add a little wine to the pasta dough.

pasta blog 2
Speaking of pasta, yesterday our staff attended Tri Biccheri in San Francisco, we tasted our way through over 100 premium Italian wines. This was a wonderful experience to talk to the wine makers and distributors from Italy. So many amazing wines. Beautiful Amarone from Nagar near Verona. Fresh sparkling white wines from the Veneto region, and gorgeous dessert wines from Sicily and Sardinia. Of course all the Chianti was so drinkable. Great fun to discuss wines with your friends and plan meals around the best wines from Italy. After the tasting we went to La Ciccia, “the best Italian restaurant in San Francisco” according to the food critics in the city. Their pasta dishes are spectacular. The sauces are really out of this world. Olive oil, lemon, and dried tuna over fresh pasta over spaghetti. A ragu with lamb, tomatoes and herbs served over tiny gnocchi. Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. I would love to go back there tonight. The owners, Massimiliano Conti and Lorella Degan are so friendly and gracious to every single person who comes in the door.

In preparing for the class, I did some research on pasta and would like to share the list of dried and fresh pasta names with you. Pasta the noble Maccherone
From The Silver Spoon Pasta
There is no more natural and simple food than pasta, which is made from tow ingredients only – flour and water. Simply drying the product makes it last for much longer, while its natural coloring is already full of the sun’s brightness, absorbed by the wheat grains as they grow in the fields. The Queen of fresh pasta is egg pasta. Pasta is one of the most balanced foods in terms of human nutrition. Every city, town, region and village in Italy has its own method of making pasta: the shape, sauce, filling, and even the dough varies. Pastario, the atlas of Italian pasta, says that pasta is music to your mouth.
The oldest evidence dates back to 3,000 years BC. The ancient Greeks and Etruscans produced and ate the first types of pasta. The oldest documentary evidence for the use of dried pasta dates to 1316 and was found in Genoa, naming the first pasta make in history, Maria Borgogno, owner of a house in which lasagna was made.
For Italians the only way pasta can be cooked is “al dente” or “vierde vierde”, as they say in Naples, and overcooked pasta is considered uneatable. “Al dente” literally means “to the tooth”, while “vierde vierde” means “very green” or “unripened”, both describing pasta that is tender but still firm to the bite. Here is a compilation of some of the names of pastas from the Silver Spoon pasta book and Pastario.
THE SILVER SPOON PASTA BOOK, PHAIDON PRESS
Pastario, Atlante Delle Paste Alimentari Italiane, Eugenio Medagliani e Alessi, Crusinallo 1985

pasta chart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here for recipe: Fresh Egg Pasta Dough a la Chef Marvin Martin at IL Fiorello

CONCLUSION
Making pasta is fun. Eating pasta is even more fun. Experiment with types of pasta and types of sauces. Go to La Ciccia and learn how the real experts make spectacular pasta. Then go home and use the recipes and make your own.
Mangia Mangia.

Fruit Pizza from Our Pizza Oven

Cooking again on the pizza oven at IL Fiorello.  We hosted 12 guests for a corporate luncheon and served our homemade pizzas on the back patio. The day was sunny, warm, beautiful, and it is November by the way. I love being in California. I spoke to my friend in Boston this morning and it was snowing! Yikes!  pizza

Anyway, I digress, this pizza oven is marvelous. Cooks pizza in 2 to 3 minutes! Gets up to 450° to 500° C. (842°F to 932°F) in less than an hour. Thank you to our Chef Marvin Martin who found this wonderful oven for us to use here. Amazing. It is a wood burning oven with convection. Very efficient to use.

While we waited for the guests to have lunch, Lani, our support Chef, and I were bored. So out to the garden, harvested eggplants and zucchini, roasted them in the oven and made roasted soup for service in the tasting room. Pretty cool.

Although you may not have a pizza oven with this capability, pizzas can be made
on the backyard grill or in a regular oven.

PEACH AND SWEET RICOTTA PIZZA
WITH PEACH BALSAMIC VINEGAR REDUCTION

INGREDIENTS

PIZZA DOUGH

2 cups “00” flour
2 cups AP “all purpose” flour
2 packages instant rise yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil mild
Warm water at 160° F about a cup (more if needed to make the dough)

RICOTTA CHEESE

1 quart ricotta cheese
4 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup heavy cream (optional)

FRUIT
Fresh peaches, pears, or apples. The fruit should be soft to melt into the pizza.

WHITE PEACH BALSAMIC VINEGAR REDUCTION, IL FIORELLO OLIVE OIL CO

PROCESS

For the dough

Place the flour, yeast, salt, sugar, and olive oil into the bowl of a mixer.
Add the warm water slowly until the dough comes together and is just slightly firm
Roll into a ball and place in a stainless steel bowl cover with a light coating of oil and then clear kitchen wrap.
Put in a warm draft free place to rise for about 1-2 hours until at least doubled.
Punch down measure out each individual pizza amounts and let rise again.

For the Ricotta Cheese

Place the quart of ricotta cheese, the powdered sugar and vanilla extract into a mixing bowl and whip until almost doubled in size. Sometimes adding ½ cup heavy cream makes it whip more easily. Do this at the last minute to maintain the fluffiness of the cheese.

For the fruit

Halve the peaches, remove the stone and slice the peaches into eights

ASSEMBLY

Roll out the pizza dough into a personal size dessert pizza or larger if you are inclined to share.
Spread the fluffy ricotta over the pizza
Carefully place the sliced peaches in concentric circles to almost cover the ricotta

COOK

Place the pizza into the pizza oven for about 2 minutes, more or less depending on the heat of the over. Ours cooks well at 450° to 500° C. (842°F to 932°F).
Drizzle on the White Peach Balsamic Vinegar Reduction after cooking.

Serves about 10 large slices.

 ©IL Fiorello Olive Oil Company

IMG_3765 smaller

What’s Cooking at Il Fiorello: Calabrian Beans

At the Green Valley Farmers Market and at IL Fiorello we presented a beautiful dish of Cici Beans, or chick peas, cooked with a soffrito and olive oil. This recipe was presented to a group of Chefs from the Michael Mina Group restaurant RN74 during a comparative oil tasting. We paired the dish with a very robust Mission Olive Oil and it was very well received.

We wanted you to have the recipe. Feel free to change up the ingredients to suit your taste profile.

Begin with soaking dry cici beans in lots of fresh water over night, at least 12 hours.

In the morning rinse the beans thoroughly with fresh water.

Next chop a white onion, a red onion, celery, garlic, and gently sauté in olive oil until the vegetables are translucent. Add salt and pepper to taste. This is called a soffrito in Italian and a mirpoix in French. The amounts are about a cup of each of the onions and celery and 2-4 heads of garlic or more to taste.

The next step is to combine the soaked cici beans with the soffrito, add more olive oil to cover and let cook in a crock pot for at least 10 hours or until tender but not soft. Serve in bowls with a sprinkling of herbs or cheese or cut fresh tomatoes. This dish gets even better the next day as the herbs have time to soak into the dish.

 

Enjoy!

What Do You Eat When You’re Alone!

I collect cookbooks and one of my favorite books is What We Eat When We Eat Alone, Stories and 100 Recipes by Deborah Madison and Patrick McFarlin. Deborah Madison is the author of many cookbooks; all are very good. Deborah is the former owner of Greens Restaurant in San Francisco and a Chef who, when we were talking about cooking, described herself to me as a vegophile.

This book was published in 2009 and the forward reads “This book is dedicated to all who find themselves alone at the table. May your solitary meals be delicious and the company just as good.” What a wonderful statement! Madison goes on to say, ”Our relationship with food is one of the defining and intimate relationships of our lives; it says a lot about who we are and how we live.” This book is a sneak preview into the private lives of people, all kinds, some who cook and some who don’t, but the book is more of a thoughtful, funny, presentation of human behavior surrounding food. The illustrations are wonderful and done by her husband Patrick McFarlin. This is a really good read, not unlike another favorite author MFK Fisher. But I will write more about MFK Fisher and her tangerine segments on the radiator in another blog.

So why am I eating alone?

Last week Mark went to a private financial meeting in San Francisco and I got to eat alone. Rather, sort of alone, but for the company of 8 cats and one dog, all of whom follow me everywhere. But the crew aside, I do love a solitary evening just to relax and think and cook. Just follow the pictures and you will have a nourishing dinner. So away you go into my solitary meal. Enjoy.

Take Three ingredients out of the pantry.

Take three ingredients out of the pantry.

And a very good olive oil!

And a very good olive oil!

Don't forget the good wine to also keep good company while boiling the water and cooking the pasta

Don’t forget the good wine to also keep good company while boiling the water and cooking the pasta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While the pasta is cooking make a salad or just have perfect tomatoes for a snack.

Delicious speckled trout lettuce gift from a friend

Delicious speckled trout lettuce gift from a friend

Fresh tomatoes

Fresh tomatoes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now back to the pasta

Open the cans and get the bowl ready

Open the cans and get the bowl ready

Drain the pasta and add the two cans, have a sip of wine

Drain the pasta and add the two cans, have a sip of wine

Add the seasoning, salt pepper, basil, parsley and red pepper flakes OR NOT!

Add the seasoning, salt pepper, basil, parsley and red pepper flakes OR NOT!

 

 

 

 

 

Toss together add cheese if you so desire

Toss together add cheese if you so desire

Sit down enjoy dinner in silence or dance to the music of good food and good company

Sit down enjoy dinner in silence or dance to the music of good food and good company

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Cooking at Il Fiorello

The garden is in full gear and we need to use some of the Bright Lights Chard and fresh sweet tomatoes: add goat cheese and life is good.

IL Fiorello hosted Keith and Kathy, Kathy’s Mom, and Brandon for a visit and tour on Sunday. Keith and Kathy are friends of IL Fiorello and we have been San Francisco Symphony partners since 1981. A long time. They live and practice ENT in the peninsula area where they grew up. We first met at UC Davis when Keith was in the ENT residency program and we worked very closely together. They have heard all the stories about the olives and the mill, so an actual visit to our Olive Farm was long overdue.

Sunday brunch is such a fun meal where everyone is relaxed, happy, and can drive home early to watch baseball, play golf in the afternoon, or in teen age Brandon’s case play computer games. After a walking tour of the hospitality center, the groves, the culinary gardens, and our new olive mill, everyone needed food. As Kathy says exercise is for people who want to chow. Yes! Yes! Yes! We agree.

We began brunch with Girl on the Hill Malbec Rose’ perfectly chilled light and fresh. This wine is my definition of a classic summer Sunday Brunch wine. We served puff pastry tarts, with goat cheese. One tart had chard and leeks and the other fresh very sweet tomatoes from our culinary garden. The chard and leek tart was finished with our International award winning Frantoio oil to balance the tartness of the chard. The tomato tart was finished with our other award winning Leccino oil. Not a crumb was left and everyone was satisfied.

Dessert was vanilla ice cream with strawberry-rhubarb compote finished with our Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar Reduction. This is an easy sweet and tart combination that works with any fruit and our balsamic vinegar reductions.

 

Bright Lights Chard and Leek Tart

Pre boil the sliced leeks until tender, about 6 minutes.

Sauté the Chard in the olive oil until tender.

Prepare the goat cheese the same way as for the tomato tart

Spread it on the pre- baked puff pastry

Add the leeks and the chard and bake at 425 F for 22 minutes or until leeks and chard are tender.

 

As I was making quite a few tarts and the oven was hot, I just added all the extra left over ingredients into a tart for my dinner. After a long day at the Olive Farm coming home to a lovely dinner and a glass of crisp white wine is the prefect ending to a perfect day.

Beyond Bread and Salad

More innovative uses of IL Fiorello Extra Virgin Olive Oil

 

We all love dipping fresh bread in olive oil with a little vinegar. We all love olive oil and balsamic vinegar as a fresh salad dressing. But think beyond bread and salad and expand the uses of bread, olive oil and vinegars.

Try toasting slices of bread in the broiler or outside over the hot grill, rub with a raw garlic clove and sprinkle with olive oil. When we are milling olives, we always have a fire in the outdoor grill and dinner is toasted bread and fresh oil. If we are lucky Joe from across the street joins us with his wine and roasted chestnuts. Other options are a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil Italian variety on red or white gazpacho or Tuscan bean soup. Or just bake or sauté beans and drizzle with oil at table.

We all love extra virgin olive oil on salads but let us think beyond salad greens. Try sprinkling olive oil on freshly grilled zucchini or tomatoes. Drizzle olive oil over a fresh avocado, sprinkle with salt and a drizzle of mission lemon oil and a sprig of fresh thyme.

Sauté spinach or collard greens with lemon and garlic and drizzle with Mission variety oil at the table. See the recipe section for how to do this dish in ten minutes.

At the end of a long day just cook spaghetti, drizzle with olive oil and the zest and juice of one lemon. Open a bottle of Girl on the Hill Red Wine blend and enjoy life. Simple, easy, healthy and delightful.

Saving the best for last is olive oil ice cream made for us by Executive Chef Marvin Martin. We especially like his vanilla bean made with Leccino variety oil and chocolate with tangelo. Just melt in your mouth wonderful.

Think beyond just dipping bread in oil and expand your horizons to further enjoy the many uses of extra virgin olive oil. Look ahead in the next blog for expanded uses of balsamic vinegars beyond just salad greens.

Irish Soda Bread for the Irish in All of Us

Il Fiorello took a walk through history on Sunday (which also just happened to be St. Patrick’s Day) when Ann gave cooking demonstrations on Irish soda bread. Guests had a treat as they tasted the different breads Ann made.

She made raisin with Irish whiskey, walnut, dried cherry and oat bran. Later in the day, cranberry soda bread came out of the ovens of Il Fiorello’s Kitchen in the Grove.

It was a fun way to celebrate an Irish tradition that actually didn’t begin with the Irish, according to historical documents.

“Just like the bagpipes weren’t invented by the Scots, the chemical reaction that makes Soda Bread what it is wasn’t invented by the Irish. The earliest reference to using soda ash in baking bread seems to be credited to American Indians using it to leaven their bread. Pearl Ash was used prior to 1800 to make cakes by combining it with an acidic ingredient in the dough. However, as the Scots have made the bagpipe their instrument, the Irish have made Soda Bread theirs. Not by choice, but by a state of poverty that made it the easiest bread to put on the table,” according to the Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread.

No matter the history, we enjoy the wonderful texture and flavor of Irish Soda Bread. In case you want to give it a try, we are giving you our recipe. Enjoy!

 

IRISH SODA BREAD WITH AN ITALIAN TWIST

Ingredients

4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (half all purpose and half whole wheat is also good)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 ½ teaspoons salt

2 cups buttermilk

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

 

Directions

Pre-heat over to 375F

Grease a 12” by 18”baking sheet

Put flour, baking soda, salt in a medium bowl and mix with a whisk or fork to blend

Add the buttermilk and stir until the dough comes together.

Turn out the dough on to a floured work surface e and kneed gently until the dough comes together.

Pat the dough into a round about 6 inches across and slash the top in an X or Cross

Place the dough onto the greased pan

Bake for about 50 minutes.

Wrap into a moist towel until ready to serve.

Serve with fresh Irish butter

OPTIONS: Add Currants, dried cherries, or raisins

IL Fiorello Olive Oil Co. 2013