Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My Own Olive Oil

Last Christmas my friend gave me perhaps the coolest gift I have ever received: a first edition copy of one of my three favorite books of all time, Dylan Thomas's A Child's Christmas in Wales. I gave her a guide book about Pasadena. (I am not the greatest gift-giver.) I doubted I would ever get a better present than that.
Well, I did. The same friend adopted an Italian olive tree for me for the length of one year. In the spring I received an adoption certificate telling me the location of my tree, and several containers of first-pressed olive oil, at least some of which came from my tree. (They can't guarantee that all of it will come from your tree, because usually they can't get that much oil out of a single tree, but they do say that at least some of it comes from your tree.) Not surprisingly, it is the best olive oil I have ever tasted. My friend Tracie, who lived in Italy for years and is my guru on all things Italian, concurs with me.
In the fall - two days ago to be exact, although this 90 degree weather doesn't exactly feel autumnal - I received my second shipment: three flavored oils. They are lemon, mandarin, and Sicilian chili. They are all exceptional. Sometimes when you purchase a flavored oil, it has an almost chemical taste to it, and you can imagine some scientist in a lab mixing up a recipe to make the oil taste like something else. (Trader Joe's garlic oil, for example, tastes to me like many things, but garlic is not one of them.) This oil tastes like the fruits were picked just a few minutes earlier and mixed with the oil. The chili oil, shown in the last picture, is perfect with some bread and cheese.
Tomorrow I will be going to the South Pasadena farmers market and making a dinner that features these three oils. I'm sure there will be pictures....

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