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  • Archive for October, 2010

    You’re Not A Virgin

    I can’t love you any more.
    Ok, I can, but I won’t be able to trust you as well.

    A recent UC Davis study has found that many imported “extra virgin” olive oils fail international (and US) standards. The report was conducted by Dr. Edwin N. Frankel, Dr. Rodney G. Mailer, Dr. Charles F. Shoemaker, Sr. Selina C. Wang and Dan Flynn. They tested the quality of “EVOO’s” in the shelves of California supermarkets at two different laboratories using methods approved by both the IOC and the USDA. They found that many of those so called “Extra Virgins” failed tests for standards in different areas including: Oxidation by exposure to elevated temperatures, light and/or aging, adulteration with cheaper refined olive oil, poor quality oil made from damaged or over ripe olives, processing flaws, and/or improper oil storage. The results (and I am including only USDA standards, the German standards brought in higher failure rates): 69% of imported olive oil samples labeled as EVOO failed to meet standards for EVOO. 31% failed standards for UV absorbance. The study only included 14 samples of “EVOO” found in California supermarkets. Is this an accurate count? Possibly not, but I have a feeling that if they took a greater sampling, the results would be just as shocking. Now, how do we get our hands on that list?

    UPDATE: California restaurateurs have filed suit with the Orange County Superior Court against the following brands for fraud and misrepresentation including Bertolli, Filippo Berio, Carapelli, Star, Colavita, Mezzetta, Pompeian, Rachael Ray, Mazolla and Safeway Select.


    SERVES 2

    8 oz. trimmed center-cut beef tenderloin
    3 tbsp. Giangrandi Intense extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to taste
    1 egg yolk
    3 tbsp. salt-packed capers, soaked in water, rinsed, and drained
    2 tbsp. minced flat-leaf parsley
    1 small red onion, minced
    1 red thai chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
    Fleur de sel and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    Sherry vinegar, to taste
    Dijon mustard, for serving

    1. Chill beef in freezer for 45 minutes. Transfer beef to cutting board and, using a very sharp knife, cut beef lengthwise into 1⁄8″-thick slices. Julienne each slice, and cut each julienne crosswise to finely mince beef. Transfer beef to a bowl and refrigerate.

    2. Drizzle oil into a medium bowl and stir in egg yolk. Add capers, parsley, onions, and chiles; season with salt and pepper. Fold in reserved minced beef and season to taste with more of salt, pepper, and oil, if you like, along with a few drops of vinegar. Mound tartare on 2 chilled serving plates and serve with Dijon mustard.

    * 2 tablespoons salt
    * 1/4 cup Giangrandi Delicate or Medium Blend extra-virgin olive oil
    * 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
    * 2 pints Sun Gold cherry tomatoes or other cherry tomatoes, whole
    * 1/2 bunch chives, cut into 1-inch lengths
    * 12 fresh lemon-basil leaves, thinly sliced
    * 1 pound pasta (bavette, linguine, spaghetti, just about any kind)

    1. Bring a large pot of salty water to boil. Cook the pasta until al dente, reserving some pasta water.
    2. In the meantime, heat a large skillet or sauté pan with the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until it softens and just begins to brown.
    3. Add the tomatoes, chives, and basil (reserve some for sprinkling at the end) and cook until the tomatoes just begin to burst.
    4. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and cook over high heat, stirring, for an additional minute to marry the flavors. Moisten with Giangrandi Delicate or Medium EVOO as desired; serve immediately.

    Giangrandi Pesto

    Giangrandi Medium-Intense Organic Blend Pesto
    Yields: 1 Cup

    Fresh Basil

    Fresh Basil for Giangrandi Pesto

    2 cups, fresh basil leaves
    3 Tsp, 12g pine nuts
    2 small, 6g garlic cloves
    1/4 Tsp, coarse sea salt
    2 Tbsp, 6g pecorino parmesian cheese
    1/2 cup, Giangrandi Organic Medium-Intense Blend

    Submerge basil leaves in cold water, wash and pat dry. Toast pine nuts in oven for 3 minutes until golden brown. In a mortar, crush garlic and coarse sea salt together. Add pine nuts, crush together. Add basil leaves and continue to crush ingredients together. Add olive oil and parmesian cheese. Mix until a smooth paste.

    Enjoy over a bowl of cooked gnocchi or vine ripe tomatoes.

    Giangrandi Rosemary Olive Oil Cookies

    Rosemary Olive Oil Cookies, Delicate Blend
    Yield: 6 Cookies
    Rosemary Cookies

    2.5 cups of flour
    1 cup of sugar
    2 eggs
    1/8 teaspoon of black pepper
    1 teaspoon ground rosemary
    1/2 cup Chardonnay Wine
    1/2 cup of Giangrandi Delicate Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    Preheat oven to 350o F. Mix all dry ingredients. Add eggs, wine, and olive oil. Mix until it’s an even cookie dough. Place cookie mix into a pastry bag (piping bag). Next, grease the surface of the baking tray, this prevents the cookies from sticking to the surface of the tray. Squeeze cookie mix through the pastry bag and form two inch round cookies. Leave 1/2 inch space between each cookie on the tray. Bake for 12 minutes at 350o F. Let cool and enjoy!

    Giangrandi Olive Tapenade

    Olive Oil Tapenade with the Intense Blend
    Yield: 2 cups
    Kalamata Olive

    1 kilo black kalamata olives
    400 grams of
    20 grams mustard
    10 grams of fresh squeezed lemon juice
    5 grams of balsamic vinegar 5 grams Merken* (can be substituted with Tabasco)
    15 grams thyme
    40 grams Italian parsley
    20 grams of garlic cloves
    6 grams anchovy filet
    250 mL Giangrandi Premium Intense Olive Oil

    Mix all ingredients in a food processor and blend together until a semi smooth texture is achieved. Eat and enjoy!

    Coffee, wine, chocolate, cheese…now, here come the olive oil tastings.  You may have noticed these popping up, and I don’t mean someone handing out swigs from a pill cup at a food festival.  These are sit down events, where one takes notes, and compares the fruitiness, nuttiness, or “grassiness” of different oils.  Those of you who regularly attend Fancy Food Shows may yawn, but I daresay I notice a growing trend in tastings.

    If you’re curious, today’s free event at Whole Foods Pinecrest (11701 S. Dixie Highway) is low-budget way to experiment.

    Cecilia Richter, a friend who recently attended a Miami tasting of Giangrandi Chilean olive oil, was surprised at the range of tastes: “I’ve never tasted olive oil like that. It’s almost like drinking it, but you take a really small taste. You can really sense the differences. The milder ones were fruitier.  It was like a wine tasting, except you don’t really spit it out.”

    You can even find “tasting kits” online for at-home parties, although I’m wary of some of these.  Unfortunately, marketers know that many of us crave “rustic elegance,” (that’s a term I saw on Olio & Olive) even if we’re not quite sure what we’re getting.  So, just as with many of the “fine” wine tasting kits you may see online, I’d say buyer be careful.

    Today at Whole Foods in Pinecrest, you’ll get a chance at their own tasting.   Renée Frigo and Daniel Graeff, the founders of Lucini Italia, will guide a comparative olive oil tasting from 6:30 to 7:30 pm.  The event is free, but you should reserve a spot by emailing lori.roberts@wholefoods.com, with the subject line: RSVP: LUCINI for SFM.  The organizers advise tasters not to wear perfume/cologne, drink coffee, or smoke cigarettes for at least two hours before the event.

    It’s part of a Slow Food Miami 5% Day at Whole Foods Pinecrest.  Five percent of all purchases will be donated toward the group’s Edible Film Series.

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