Oct 302011

Every day I read lots of material about the olive, some from books and others from the internet. Each week I share with you the articles, recipes, research documents, and other information I find on the internet. Most of it is very interesting and some of it inspires me to write an article or two of my own. None of these links are in any way my opinion or are endorsed by me. I am sharing.

Olive Links of the Week

Savoring Tuscany
EVOO Cannon Beach
A segment from Oregon’s EVOO Cannon Beach Cooking School’s blog by Bob Neroni. Bob and partner, Lenore Emery, have an interesting website and I enjoy Bob’s blog.

Olive Oil Industry Groups Reject Proposals for CAP Reform
The Olive Oil Times
Out of this article the following statement is what interested me most, maybe it’s because I’m a lobbyist. “Andalusia’s Minister for Agriculture and Fishing, Clara Aguilera, announced last week she hoped to form a lobby group of the main EU olive oil producers – France, Italy, Portugal, Greece and Spain – to jointly defend the sector’s interests.”

Israel gifts pope with olive tree
JTA news service
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is giving a 200 year old olive tree to Pope Benedict XVI. I wonder where he will plant it.

My Three Favorite Appetizers, I Think
6th Floor Blogs from the NY Times
All good things go with olive oil.

California Olive Oil: The New Gold Rush?
Neon Tommy
Another spin on California olive oils vs. European.

Farm-fresh chicken without the hassle, mess of DIY (Chili Rubbed Chicken Recipe)
This recipe has a delicious south-west flavor.

Grapevine: More than just an olive branch
The Jerusalem Post
This article has the answer to where the Pope is going to put his new old olive tree.

Olive industry attacks Coles and Woolworths over labelling
ABC Rural News (Australia)
Naughty – naughty, Coles and Woolworths aren’t following new Australian olive oil labelling rules.

U.S. Customs finds olive fruit flies in San Diego
North County Times
California olive crop is again battling olive fruit fly. A Lebanese traveller was caught by US Customs with olives infested with the fly.

Test kitchen bonus: A trio of flavorful stone crab recipes
The Orlando Sentinel
Some great crab recipes from the Sentinel’s Test Kitchen.

Cookbook: Olive Oil for Life
Santa Barbara Independent
Global Gardens Owner, Theo Stephan, Releases New Cookbook.

End of the road for Colavita/Forno D’Asolo
Pro Cycling News
Colavita has pulled it’s support for the US International Cycling Union (UCI) Colavita/Forno D’Asolo Women’s Professional Cycling Team. Why the women’s team? Colavita allegedly lost supplier support for the venture. The rest of the “why” I don’t know.

Egg for beauty
Arab Times
An easy and great feeling egg and olive oil facial treatment. It really does work.

Sweet on olive oil? Bake cakes with this healthy ingredient
Four delicious recipes are in this article: Chocolate olive cupcakes, berry compote, lemon olive oil cake, and orange olive oil cake.

Oliana Premium Olive Oils and Vinegars
A website from a store in West Hollywood, California that I thought might be interesting to peruse.

Flos Olei Guide Awards Sicily’s Titone Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil of the Year
The Olive Oil Times
Azienda Agricola Biologica Titone was awarded Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil of the Year. Founded in 1936, the Titone family’s farm in Sicily grows Cerasuola, Nocellara del Belice and Biancolilla cultivars on 4,900 trees to produce about 4,000 liters of organic extra virgin.

Restaurant review: Al Cavaliere in Clifton, New Jersey
North Jersey.com
Hot bread and extra virgin olive oil for starters – yum.

The Sydney Morning Herald Traveller section
Descriptions of some really nice places to get away.

Gino Venitucci knows how to make money in growing olive trees
Dayton section of Your Houston News
Mr. Venitucci is an optimist despite the plight of the farmer.

The Chef’s Olive Mix will bring quality olive oil to Sacramento, owner says
Sacramento Press
Fresh olive oils are coming for you to taste and buy in old Sacramento.

May the sun shine through your branches.


Sep 112011

Every day I read lots of material about the olive, some from books and others from the internet. Each week I share with you the articles, recipes, research documents, and other information I find on the internet. Most of it is very interesting and some of it inspires me to write an article or two of my own. None of these links are in any way my opinion or are endorsed by me. I am sharing.

Olive Links of the Week

Here is another viewpoint on US immigration reform from Deseret News in Salt Lake City, UT “Immigration reform is imperative to a vibrant economic future“. The article specifically discusses the agriculture industry.

Nothing like a pie contest, to make a mouth water. Here is an article from Maryland’s Gazette. net entitled “Competitors taste sweet – and savory – victory at Bethesda pie contest“. One of the savory pies was olive, tomato and goat cheese.

Health myths and fallacies” by Dr. Philip S. Chua in the Philippines Inquirer News. True and false questions answered. Are all fats bad? Should babies wear sunglasses? Interesting.

Another “nut” story – “Cobnuts enjoying revival as new vitamin-packed health food“. The article is complete with more oil smoke-point discussion. I’ve stopped paying attention to “lay person” or chef comments on smoke point. They are usually way off base. Check with a scientist or just experiment yourself.

From Lawrence, Kansas 6 News “Recipe: Pasta with Broccoli and Grilled Chicken with Tomato Cream Sauce”. The picture made even my eyes hungry.

Case of the missing article about the return of the olive fruit fly to California. Here is the information I got from Google Alerts with a link to UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor, Bill Krueger’s, comments about the olive fruit fly. It is incomplete but I can’t find any other information about an increase in olive fruit flies this year in California – curious. Here is the blurb I copied from Google: “Olive fruit fly back, threatens crops“, Orland Press Register. There are considerably more olive fruit flies this year than at this time last year, said Bill Krueger, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor for Tehama and Glenn counties. “When it comes to the olive fruit fly we really don’t understand everything we …

Martha Stewart sets her sights on Israel” article from USA Today. That crazy gal is always up to somethin’.

Chicago Sun Times recipe for “Crab and Heirloom Tomato Salad“. Yummy.

Here is an article I find ironic considering Israel is always having a go at Palestinian olive groves, “Belgium PM Plants Tree in Grove of the Nations” (yes this tree was planted in Israel).

From Media Club South Africa “SA olive oil is the best, study shows“. The study was an International Olive Council study.

Aioli easy, so spread word” from the Orange County Register. I love aioli. This recipe makes it in the blender.

From The Huffington Post “The Healing Power Of Olive Oil“. Lots of great ideas.

May the sun shine through your branches.


Jul 112011

Way back in April, when I was attending the Georgia Olive Grower’s Association Spring Seminar, my friend and sometime Olive Crazy contributor, Steve Henley, presented me with a jar of his, Henley Natural Shea Butter Hand and Body Cream. I tried it right away and noticed it made my hands wonderfully silky. Steve seemed really pleased that I noticed and said that the Cream was also a quarter extra virgin olive oil. He also let me know that regular olive oil can often be greasy, but not extra virgin olive oil.

I then put the jar in my car console and used it whenever I was driving, then, sorry Steve, I forgot about it altogether. Until … I reached California.

Being from the southeastern United States, I am used to a certain amount of moisture in the air, even a lot of humidity. What I didn’t realize is how that atmospheric moisture kept this middle-aged woman, aka Olive Crazy, from entering mummification while still alive.

When I got to California I didn’t notice what was going on right away. I intermittently complained to Mr. Olive Crazy that my skin hurt and wasn’t looking too good. He is the one that told me that there was less moisture in the air than I was used to. Since I was “on the road” I didn’t have my full complement of potions and lotions and used the brand X stuff I found among the family toiletries. It just didn’t do the job.

One night I decided to clean out the mess that accumulated in the car from our cross-country trip. As I went through each compartment removing crushed cans and crumbled papers I re-found the jar of Henley Natural Shea Butter Cream. Hallelujah I thought. I went staight upstairs took a shower and joyfully rubbed in the wonderful Shea Butter elixir. I was saved.

I have a few more weeks before I reach home, and my Shea Butter Cream is growing smaller and smaller. I hope I make it home in time to order some more before I run out.

May the sun shine through your branches.


Apr 082011

My Olive Crazy friend, Terry, told me she’s made soap at home, so let’s do it. Here is an easy olive oil soap recipe. I made sure the ingredient volumes where big enough so it is worth the work. Lather up!

You will be using the caustic, lye, to make your olive oil soap. Here are the obligatory safety instructions:

  • Do this away from children, pets, and clumsy people.
  • Wear gloves specifically made for using caustics.
  • Wear some cool-looking safety glasses.
  • Wear clothes (not kidding).
  • Make sure you cover most of your skin surface area.
  • Create your soap in a well-ventilated place so you don’t pass out in your lye and melt like the Wicked Witch of the West.

Here is some vital information about lye. Lye is called a few things, sodium hydroxide, caustic soda, and NaOH. When you are selecting a brand at the store make sure it is 100% lye and not mixed with other things that you may not want in your soap.

Items you’ll need:

  • 1 – two quart size, heat-resistant glass or metal mixing bowl. Bowl has to be big enough to keep the lye from slopping over the sides while you stir.
  • 1 – spatula of wood, rubber, or silicone
  • 18 oz – lye
  • 5 c – distilled water
  • 1 – two gallon size, stainless steel cooking pot
  • 1 – thermometer for liquids.
  • 20 c – olive oil, not extra virgin or virgin (takes way too long to form) or any of the lower grade olive oils. The label should say “Olive Oil”.
  • 1 – mold, plastic container with lid or baking pan.
  • 1 – motorized stick-like, hand blender.
  • (optional) essential oils or herbs


  • Pour distilled water into mixing bowl, add lye, stir carefully with spatula until dissolved. The mix will get very hot and produce fumes. Put lye and water mixture in safe place to cool. Wait until warm to touch before next step.
  • Pour olive oil in cooking pot. Heat steadily until oil reaches 100 F/38 C. Check with thermometer. Remove from heat.
  • Pour lye and water mixture into warmed oil. Do this slowly and carefully while stirring oil with spatula. Stir for several minutes until well mixed.
  • Alternate mixing entire substance with spatula and 30 second bursts of stick-like, hand blender. You don’t want to use blender too much since it will keep  soap from reaching the consistency needed to pour into mold.
  • Stir and mix until pudding-like and drizzled soap leaves a trail on the mix.
  • Stir in optional essential oils or herbs and pour into lightly, olive-oiled mold. Cover mold with lid or, if using a baking pan, a board. Cover with blankets.
  • Set for 72 hours. Cut into bars. Place on brown papered shelves in well-ventilated area. Check back in 4 weeks.
  • Yield is about 10 lbs.

This soap can be used on face, hands, and body. Don’t expect much lather. Enjoy the fruits of your labor.

May the sun shine through your branches.



Mar 232011

This article is for men and women. I want to make sure the guys don’t get left out. Beauty treatments are for all, and olive oil makes everyone look good and feel great too.

Olive oil has been used for millennia to beautify, cleanse, and treat the human body from cradle to grave. Newborns had their first baths in olive oil; women mixed colored clays with olive oil to adorn themselves; men oiled their bodies, steamed themselves, and then scraped the impurities from their skins; and the dead were mummified with many ingredients including olive oil.

Recently we have seen an increase in olive oil as a base in health and beauty products. Today I’m going to focus not on those products but on using olive oil right out of the bottle or can. Some of the treatments use additional products like sugar and essential oils, but no fancy stuff. You should be able to get most items at your local grocery and drugstore. For each treatment I will suggest which grade of olive oil to use. Extra virgin olive oil has a stronger scent and unless you are using it in a treatment that will be removed before you venture out of your house smelling like dinner, I suggest virgin or olive oil for any application you will be “wearing” in public. Also, if you are going to make a habit of these treatments, buy separate bottles of oil for kitchen and bath, or decant some of your kitchen stash into a glass bottle to keep in the bathroom.

Olive Oil Treatments

  1. Makeup remover. Extra virgin olive oil is good for this one. Put enough oil to remove all makeup in a small glass bowl or teacup. Run hot water into the basin and set bowl or cup in hot water. Let oil warm up a bit. Don’t let it get hot though. Using clean fingers dip in oil and massage areas of face covered by foundation or blush, dip a cotton ball in oil and gently remove eye makeup, if there is still some mascara around the eye use an olive oil soaked cotton swab. Now this next part is up to you, either wipe off the rest of your face with cotton pads or skip straight to washing your face as you would normally. Repeat if there is any makeup remaining. Blot dry with clean towel.
  2. Extra dry skin treatment. Before going to bed soak affected area in warm water, lightly dry, and apply extra virgin olive oil. Cover up with non-constricting cotton clothes, gloves, and socks. In the morning cleanse using non-drying products, and apply a thin layer of virgin or olive oil. Try out different types to see which one has an odor you can make it through the day wearing (smelling).
  3. Dry and ashy skin treatment. Use virgin or olive oil on damp skin and massage well. If you prefer, select an essential oil of your choosing and add a few drops to olive oil you have decanted into a glass bottle for this purpose. You know what you like and in what scent strength. Experiment until you create your own special blend. If it’s great, find a market and sell it.
  4. Shaving lubricant. Warm any type olive oil you prefer including one that you’ve added essential oils to and massage into area you will be shaving. If you have coarse hair or are shaving your beard, use a warm, wet cloth to soften hairs before adding warm oil. Shave and rinse with warm water. There is really no need to wash off the olive oil – massage it into your skin and blot with a clean towel.
  5. Hair mask. Whether your scalp is dry, normal or oily your hair needs some love and an olive oil mask is just that. Definitely use extra virgin olive oil. Warm the oil in the sink or in the microwave. Do not let the oil get hot. Begin applying to the tips of your hair and work up to the roots. Finish by massaging oil into your scalp. Cover with a plastic shower cap to keep the warmth in and after no less than ten minutes (I prefer at least an hour so the abundant anti-oxidants in the extra virgin olive oil do their work too) shampoo, condition, and style as normal.
  6. Hair conditioner. Here is a great video on making your own conditioner. It is one of my favorites since it also makes me laugh. Follow the link to Homemade Olive Oil Conditioner.
  7. Lip scrub. In a small glass or tea cup mix 1 tsp sugar and 1/2 tsp olive oil. Apply mix to soft toothbrush, scrub lips, rinse, and blot dry. Go kiss someone.
  8. Lip conditioner. Put one drop on a clean finger. Rub on your lips. It lasts longer than lip gloss.

I must say I love these treatments. I use all of them and with great results.

May the sun shine through your branches.