Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Food for the Gods

The "fun group" had their Garden Club Meeting yesterday and it was fabulous!  As we approached the front door, there were emerging daffodils and tulips in painted tin pails and blooming primrose in a decorative urn. Our host is an artist by trade and her home is a testament to her talent.  I would compare it to Monet's garden with colors that make you feel alive, pinks, lime greens, yellow, deep pinks and white as the color that pops.  Her oils and other mediums were displayed throughout the home all blending with the bright backgrounds.  There were about thirty of us there today and we were invited for lunch and a program on olive oils and vinegars.

There were italian mineral waters, taglio and brie cheeses drizzled with balsamic vinegars with little crusty pieces of bread.  The smells coming from the kitchen were magnificant - I couldn't wait any longer -  I had to go in.  The cook (my artist friend) presented the menu, fresh roasted vegetables with cherry tomatoes drizzled with tuscany olive oil and three leaf balsamic vinegar, homeade pasta noodles drizzled with more olive oil, more balsamic vinegar, sea salt, Wow!  I haven't even gotten to the chicken yet.  The chicken was pounded flat, dipped in egg, rolled in japanese bread crumbs, topped with an apricot mixture and sizzled in the oven in more olive oil.

We learned that some olive trees are thought to be thousands of years old and that not all olive oil is the same.  In fact some may not even be olive oil but hazelnut oil mascrading as olive oil.  Do not keep olive oil indefinitely - it has about a two year shelf life from pressing.  Unless it says 100% olive oil on the label it probably is not.  We don't always know when this oil has been pressed unless bought at a speciality shop.

Balsamic vinegars are like wine although they are not wine vinegars. being made from grapes that have never fermented.  Balsamic spends time curing in kegs and comes in many different colors and flavors.  I had never thought of adding vinegars to fruit but it was delicious on the strawberries - three leaf balsamic.  The "leaf" notations have to do with the thickness of the vinegars, the thickest being four leaf.

I am always amazed how gardening interconnects throughout our lives.

2 comments:

Edith Hope said...

Dear Eileen, This all sounds wonderful and is definitely a fun group. I should like to join NOW!!

And as for the lunch, it sounds, and I am sure was, positively delicious. Across Europe olive oil is taken very seriously indeed; the Greeks maintaining that theirs is the best! My friend with a house in Provence has olive trees in her garden.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Obviously, the olive oil man who owns the speciality shop wants us to buy his oils.

His oils are double the price of those in the local grocery. I guess it would benefit me when making a selection if I became more educated when choosing oils and vinegars.