Apr 102012
 

The Jordan Olive Products Exporters Association (JOPEA) is having its biannual JOTEX aka JOPTEX exhibition on April 25 and 26, 2012 at King Hussein Sports City in Amman, Jordan. Olive producing and exporting companies and olive technology suppliers from Jordan, Italy, Palestine, Turkey, Lebanon and Egypt will be showcasing their products.

Here are the details:

May the sun shine through your branches.

www.olivecrazy.com

Oct 282011
 

The weather is cooling here on the planetary topside. My husband’s cousin, Bill, in New Jersey slipped on a patch of ice today. And I’m thinking about Sunday Gravy.

Sunday Gravy is Italian and I am not, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to stand around in the kitchen for hours, chopping, frying, stirring, and tasting. I am powerless to the siren song of the Gravy burbling in a big pot.

I certainly did not come upon this desire to cook and eat Sunday Gravy naturally. My Mom was a 1950′s, college-degreed, home economist and health food fanatic, and my Dad, the sometimes family cook, made scary meals that usually ended up with a beer poured into them. Dad was also the family breakfast cook, but I don’t recall any beer in my grits or oatmeal. My sisters, brothers and I would surely have been sent home from whichever saint-named school we were attending at the time, or maybe not.

As far as I can recall, one day I started making what turned out to be Sunday Gravy and I was hooked. I don’t make it too often though. It takes a long time to prepare and it’s very fatty, which of course makes it taste good.

Olive Crazy’s Sunday Gravy and Meatballs

Notes: I don’t ever measure anything for the Gravy, but I do for the Meatballs. For the Gravy I switch out the meats I use, but stick to the basic meat formula of pork, beef, and Italian sausages. For the Meatballs, I always prefer a mix of ground pork and ground beef. Tomato paste is a thickener and flavor enhancer so don’t use much. I have never needed to use more than one small can. Of the herbs used in the recipes, I use both fresh and dried in the Gravy and the Meatballs.

Gravy

Olive oil
Meaty pork pieces and pork bones
Meaty beef pieces and beef bones
Italian sausages
Garlic
Red wine (one you would enjoy drinking)
Tomato paste
Peeled, seeded tomatoes
Water
Salt
Pepper
Italian parsley
Basil
Oregano

Meatballs

Olive oil
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
2 lrg eggs
1/2 c Italian bread crumbs (I buy canned at the grocery store)
2 cloves garlic
4 tbsp Italian parsley, finely chopped
1/2 c freshly grated Parmigiano or other hard cheese
Salt
Pepper

Begin with the gravy. Place a large, thick-bottomed pot over medium heat and wait until the bottom of the pot is warm. Add olive oil. Before adding the meats make sure you’ve patted them dry. Add pork pieces and bones and brown on all sides. Remove to a plate or bowl. Repeat for beef and beef bones, then for sausages. Drain fat.

Lower heat and let pot cool a little. Add olive oil and then the garlic. Move garlic around for a few seconds and add red wine and tomato paste. Increase temperature to medium high and stir continuously for a few minutes. This is where you dredge up all the caramelized, meaty goodness from the bottom of your pot and incorporate it into the sauce. Add tomatoes, stir, and break them up.

Beginning now and throughout the cooking process, if sauce gets too thick, add water, but don’t make it soupy. Add salt, pepper, parsley, basil, and oregano. Return meat and bones, but not sausages, to the pot. Decrease temperature to low, partially cover pot, and stir occasionally.

Start making meatballs. Put all meatball ingredients into a mixing bowl. Mix with clean, slightly olive-oiled hands. The olive oil on your hands keeps the meat from sticking to you. Make golf ball-sized meatballs. In a skillet, over medium to medium high heat, add olive oil and brown meatballs without cooking them all the way through.

When the meat in the pot easily falls apart, about two hours, add in sausages and meatballs, check the consistency of the liquid and add water as needed (don’t get carried away), and stir occasionally for another hour.

Remove all the bones, meats, sausages, and meatballs. Throw away the bones, and set the rest aside to serve after the pasta course or to use in another dish. As an Italian friend informed me – meat is eaten after pasta, not at the same time.

Toss pasta with the Sunday Gravy and serve.

May the sun shine through your branches.

www.olivecrazy.com

Oct 132011
 

I know you’ve always dreamed of being an olive oil taster. When you were a child and your parents’ friends asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up, you looked up at them through the bottoms of their martini glasses and past those beautiful olives into their adult eyes and lied. “I’d like to be a ballerina,” you said, keeping your dark, olive oil secret to yourself. Well my friends, toss aside the tutu, or in reality, exit your cubicle and run to the nearest coffee shop with a wifi connection and quickly …

Go to the link for the Organizzazione Nazionale Assaggiatori Olio di Oliva’s Olive Oil Tasting Course in English and sign up, send in your money, and book your flight and hotel. Make your dream come true.

The olive oil tasting course is being held in Imperia, Italy and runs from the 21st through the 25th of November 2011. That’s next month – so hurry. There are only 10 slots.

Tell me all about it when you complete your course, and make sure to tell me what you used to do for a living (ballerina? fireman? secret agent?).

May the sun shine through your branches.

www.olivecrazy.com

Oct 092011
 

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

From the Macarthur Chronicle in Australia “All about olives at Silverdale farm“.

From the Farm: Recipes for Garlic” delicious garlic recipes in the Catonsville Patch.

An article from the Tehran Times entitled “Olive oil heart health benefits“.

Know what to eat, from The Olive Press – “Olive Oil Included in Harvard’s New Healthy Eating Plate“.

From the Sacramento BeeRunning to Fair Trade: A Taste of Palestine“, an ultra-marathon event.

Make your arugula salad more tasty and healthy too. From The Coronado PatchArugula: The Versatile Green“.

How to Make Your Own Moisturizer Scrub Using EVOO” from the website At Home Cure for Acne.

From The Olive PressFour Things You Should Never Do with Your Olive Oil“. These are four big no-no’s.

Congress and President mess with the US olive industry – again! From RecorderOnline.comOlive growers decry foreign subsidies“.

Here is a useful website – National Association for the Specialty Food Trade. It is full of interesting articles and data.

From Andalusia-travel.com it’s “Olive harvest season in Spain“.

From Babble.com’s The Family Kitchen another great recipe entitled “Creamy Pumpkin Roasted Potato Salad“.

Andalusia Fines 17 Producers €2,500 for Inferior Olive Oil” from the Olive Oil Times.

From the Nashville SceneBest of Nashville 2011: Food & Beverage Writers’ Choice“.

Olive harvest” from HobbyFarms.com.

And now for another way to use an olive tree. From The Weekly CalistoganGratitude Trees give visitors a chance to speak their hearts“.

Settler clashes with Palestinians reach boiling point” from the Sydney Morning Herald.

From SecondAct.comMake Your Own Healthy Salad Dressing“.

Lablabi: A Soulful Bowlful” from the Wall Street Journal Food & Drink section.

From ReutersCalifornia tightens olive oil labeling rules“.

From the Los Angeles Times Travel section “Olive harvesting in Umbria, Italy, drips with tradition“.

From OnMilwaukee.comOro di Oliva brings “liquid gold” to professional and amateur chefs“.

May the sun shine through your branches.

www.olivecrazy.com

Sep 222011
 

This summer I gave up looking at videos to share with you. Most of them were worthless, or had music/sound quality so annoying I couldn’t view them for long. Fortunately I gave the video viewing another shot.

Here are two videos on how olive oil is made. The first is entitled, wait — wait — wait — okay — here it is, “How Olive Oil Is Made” and is from the National Geographic Society. I like this video a lot. It even covers harvesting. I particularly like watching the “tree wacker” in action. The second is called “From Olives to Oil, The Italian Way” and I’m not sure who did this one since the credits were confusing.

Enjoy.

May the sun shine through your branches.

www.olive crazy.com