Monthly Archives: February 2009

Gal Foodie Favorite: New Organic Olive Oils

I’m a huge fan of the olive oil tasting bar at one of my favorite specialty food stores, in Seattle. I always look to them when I’m interested in how olive oils can flavor or inspire a certain dish. It’s amazing to me how very different certain oils can taste on their own, and when combined with other ingredients. (My fav combo is a nice dipping oil, crusty bread and sea salt!) I just received a few product reviews that I would like to share with you about 2 new olive oils from a California producer. (No, great olive oil doesn’t have to come from Italy!)

Knowledge is power, and olive oil can be a complicated topic! knows their olive oils, so if you are just getting educated about the different uses for olive oils, or are a seasoned professional looking for a new treat, you won’t be disappointed with either of these Gal Foodie Favorite picks!

New Organic Chef’s Pick Olive Oil

Many of you know that one of the best deals in olive oil is Organic Chef’s Pick from Albert and Kim Katz. We often speak highly of their oils and, just recently, we let you know that Katz December Oil (2008) was their very best new oil ever. Their Meyer Lemon Olive Oil is a sure-fire and always-fun winner too.

Well, it is that time of year again. The new Organic Chef’s Pick is here… the first bottling and, as such, the most robust of the year. (Each shipment is a little different as the oil is kept in an airless stainless vat until it is bottled. So, the oil will mellow a little as the year progresses.) This year’s Chef’s Pick oil is a direct reflection of the December Oil. If you were one of the lucky ones to have ordered a bottle this year, you know what we are talking about! This year’s Organic Chef’s Pick oil is full of vitality, green with a punch, has a smooth feel, and a finish that doesn’t linger too long. It explodes in the mouth – full of expression. It really is good! This Gold Medal winner, at $25 for a 750 ml bottle, is by far one of the best deals in the world for such a great olive oil. If you like Italian oils, this oil will show you why California is a great place not only for wines, but for olive oil too!

Purchase Organic Chef’s Pick Olive Oil

New Organic Rock Hill Ranch Olive Oil

It has been a rocky road for Rock Hill. For me, Rock Hill has never been my personal favorite. An oil with definite character and personality, but, like people, perhaps not your cup of tea. Its opinionated taste has brought it Gold Medal accolades for the last three years at the prestigious L.A. International Olive Oil Competition. The flavor characteristics in the past have been strong, with a sharp pronounced olive along the edge of the tongue, some bitterness, clean grass, and a strong, open flavor. Delicious, but never quite as appealing to me as the classic Chef’s Pick. But despite this oil’s bumpy start, it has an ever growing following, perhaps because of its strong personality.

New Organic Rock Hill has matured into a very special oil. With a grove of Allegra olives now producing enough olives to be the significant voice in the oil, Rock Hill seems to have found its song. I guess as a young oil that you expect to be a superstar, there comes likes and dislikes. This year it appears that all things have come together on top of Rock Hill…and here’s why. The olives that make up this year’s complex oil include Taggiasca and Casaliva olives, native to Ligurian and Lombardy regions in Italy. These two olives make up 40% of this oil and contribute a soft taste, a hint of fruit, and a rich mouth feel. The Leccino olives, which make up 10% of this blend, add the classic green grassiness and peppery finish, so typical of Tuscan oils. The Allegra olive makes up 50% of the blend. A slow growing (low-vigor) and very rare olive variety from Italy creates beautiful “clusters” of fruit, yielding full oil with wonderful round flavors. This is the “secret” ingredient! The Allegra olives (and trees) are just maturing and are making Rock Hill one of the most interesting oils of the year! If you haven’t tried it, this is the year to do so!

Purchase Rock Hill Organic Olive Oil

About the Olive Oil Producer
Albert and Kim Katz have completed their third transitional year for all of their olives using organic and sustainable farming practices. They are proud to have made this commitment, and Gal Foodie is thrilled to further her longtime support of organic farming.

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For the Love of Cheesecake

The way to Ben's heart.From the outside looking in, my Valentine’s day was nothing special. I spent it cleaning the bathrooms, doing laundry, and making a marketing plan for my client Rossi Pasta. Not exactly a whirlwind trip through the streets of Paris.

But from the inside, it was warm and fuzzy, and I found as I was pulling together some of the tasks of the day, I was touching items and doing things that had pretty significant meaning to me. I enjoyed 3 cups of my favorite coffee while Ben made me Belgian Waffles covered in fresh strawberries. After breakfast, I did dishes side by side with Ben, just as my grandparents used to do, sharing laughs and to-do lists for the remainder of the day. I took my dog, Asher, for a brisk, sun-drenched walk around Seawall, my favorite part of Mount Desert Island. I returned home to organize, clean and straighten because I love a tidy house. And I made Ben heart-shaped raspberry cheesecakes as a special surprise dessert because I loved the idea of making him something that would make his heart sing.

My KeepsakeAs I pulled together the items I would need, the memories flooded in when my hand grabbed the old aluminum cake pan – my grandmother’s pan – with her name scrawled on the side lest it be left behind at a birthday party or a church supper. The pan with the 6 ring marks on the bottom and the perfect water line made by 40 plus years of making my grandfather the custard cups he loved. The pan that made coffee cake every Sunday, and her traditional New Zealand birthday cake for the family she loved. It was now to be the vessel for my love – a water bath for the cheesecakes.

Steal My Heart Cheesecake
Makes 3 cheesecakes for 4″ x 1 3/4″ heart-shaped spring form pans by Wilton

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 cup melted butter

1. preheat oven to 350F. Mix all ingredients and press firmly into bottom of prepared pans. bake for 6 minutes then set aside to cool.

16 ounces (2 8oz pkgs) cream cheese at *room temp (*VERY important!)
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp melted butter
1/3 cup Raspberry Sauce (I used Hannaford’s Inspirations brand)

1. In a mixer, combine cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla until well blended.

2. Wrap outside of pans in 2-3 layers of foil to prevent water from leaking in.

3. Fill the pans 1/2 full with cheesecake batter. Drizzle raspberry sauce in to make a thin layer. Pour in remaining batter filling to just below top of pan, being careful not to mix it into the sauce.

4. Place smaller pans into a larger pan, and fill until water is 1/4 – 1/2 up the sides of the spring form pans. This is called a ban marîe (water bath). Bake for 45 minutes, or until the centers are not jiggly. Remove from the oven and place directly, uncovered into the fridge. Best to leave them overnight, but OK to eat in a couple of hours.

1 cup fresh raspberries
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp raspberry sauce

1. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl, mixing with a fork to break up the raspberries. Let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature to allow the sugar to work its magic on the raspberries (making a nice syrup!)

Share the love.

2. To serve, cover the top of the cakes with the raspberry mixture. I also put a touch of chocolate sauce on the plate for dipping. Best part… Share it with someone you love.

It’s a great thing to have. Especially when you know it’s true. Be it the love of a pet, a keepsake, a boy, one thing I’m sure of… When there is love in your world, it’s a wholly different place.

~ Gal Foodie

My Heart Captured

My Heart Captured

Ahhhh, but what did Ben do for you for Valentine’s Day you ask? He spent the day doing something he loves – welding a sculpture for me. And I loved it.

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Gal Foodie Recipe Contest! Enter Today!


I’m giving away a copy of the newest (most favorite!) edition to my cooking library – The Silver Palate Cookbook 25th Anniversary Edition, in exchange for your submission of the winning recipe!

Here are the Rules:
1. Send me your favorite recipe for comfort food. The term “comfort food” can mean anything, so send me something that makes you feel good when you make it. You also must tell me WHY this is comfort food to you. I prefer original recipes, however if you have one from a book or other resource YOU MUST disclose the source. Entries that appear to be plagiarized with no cited source will be tossed like a salad.

2. If I select your recipe it will be published on the Gal Foodie website along with your photo and you will also receive the cookbook Silver Palate Cookbook 25th Anniversary Edition.

3. Recipes will be judged based on taste, originality/artistic flair, ease of preparation/practicality, and appearance.

4. Deadline for submission is March 1, 2009.

Submit Your Recipe [easy-contact].

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Meatloaf. Feel The Love.

This is one of my more favorite childhood memories of my Dad, and funny enough, it involves meatloaf. I think I was around 7 or 8, and my brother was probably 4. Dad was left to his own devices when it came time to cook the 3 of us dinner one night. He decided on meatloaf, which seemed an easy crowd pleaser.

My Dad, with his beloved grandson, Drew.

My Dad, with his beloved grandson, Drew.

How hard could it be to throw some ground beef in a bread pan and bake it? But with 2 distracting, rambunctious kids in feety pajamas bouncing off the walls of our tiny kitchen, the meatloaf became more of a “work in progress” than he had bargained for.

Into the pan went the lump of meat and other ingredients he had combined and shaped into a loaf. Satisfied that he had accomplished the feat of dinner, the meatloaf went into the oven. I don’t exactly know what kick-started his memory of the meatloaf recipe after the fact, but I DO remember him suddenly exclaiming “The eggs!” as he leaped off the couch, and out came the meatloaf. It went on like this for several more attempts. “The ketchup!” “The cheese!” And each time the exclamation was followed by the meatloaf coming out of the oven, being remixed and put BACK into the oven. It was fun. And funny. And the meatloaf was pretty good, Dad. The memory, that much better.

I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve made meatloaf in my adult life. Ben made a request for it this weekend, and with winter well underway here on Mount Desert Island, it sounded like the perfect comfort food for a snowy evening. When I say this is the best meatloaf I have ever had…Heck, when BEN says it, we know we’re on to something. Juicy, savory, bacony, speechless.

Meatloaf Love.

Meatloaf Love.

Little did we know how amazing and versatile my meatloaf recipe was going to be. We squeezed a meat and potatoes dinner, 2 sandwiches, and a pasta dinner out of one loaf.

The Meatloaf of Love
Serves 8
1lb of Ground Turkey
1 lb of Ground Beef (90% lean)
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
2/3 cup Ketchup
1 tbsp Italian herb mix*
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 strips of bacon, cut in half
* I got this herb mix from Rossi Pasta, in one of their gift baskets. it’s basically a smidgen of all of the following – enough to make a tablespoon: Basil, oregano, rosemary, marjoram, and thyme. Dried or fresh – it’s up to you.

1. Mix the wet ingredients with the dry until combined.
2. Knead in the meats until blended. Over kneading, however will produce a chewy result.
3. Shape into a prepared loaf pan and put strips of bacon over the top
4. Bake at 350 for 1 hour, or until a meat thermometer reads 170 (remember you are cooking turkey which needs a higher temp to be safe.)
5. Remove from the oven and drain off excess fat. Serve with mashed potatoes and smothered in gravy.
6. Fall in love. Eat too much.

Other Fab meals from this recipe:
1. Grill a slab of meatloaf in a dab of olive oil, on both sides. Place between two slices of bread slathered with ketchup and mayo, and grill on both sides. Fall in love.

2. Grill a slab of meatloaf in a dab of olive oil, on both sides. Place atop a pile of linguine and cover with red sauce and Parmesan cheese.
Fall in love.

Feel the Love,
Gal Foodie

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