Thank you for all of the concern and well wishes last week! I’m on the other side of the flu! (cough cough.)
I feel like the universe is trying to tell me something …through olive oil. I’m being totally serious. A year ago I introduced my friend Amalia and her family's olive oil from Greece to All Good Things. Shortly after, I had a list of readers who had pre-ordered bottles of the vibrant green oil. Sadly, Amalia’s family olive groves caught a virus and their olive oil production has suffered. Sorry I dropped the ball on getting oil to those that were interested. But read on, I have a special new oil source!
A few months ago I was given the opportunity to assist the chef Ellie Krieger on a project for the North American Olive Oil Association. I learned so much from Ellie and the olive oil association. Cooking with olive oil was something I took for granted and gave very little thought to before we worked together. Now I mindfully pour my oil when preparing food. I store my oils away from heat and in glass bottles. I pay attention to the temperature of my flame when cooking.
When I was in India earlier this year, I met an Israeli Krishna devotee whose family is responsible for the bulk of olive oil bought and sold on the shelves in America. He was interested in my thoughts on oil as a chef, and I became interested in commercial oil and what we think we’re buying versus what actually pours out of the bottle. Now, I honestly stand in the olive oil aisle at my grocery store just staring at colors, reading labels, holding glass and plastic bottles up to the light looking for imperfections and wondering about the origin of the olive fruit used to press the oil.
I somehow felt like I was calling olive oil into my life so it was no surprise when I was contacted by Pomora Olive Oil to talk about a partnership. They came across my blog and liked the way I tell stories around food. They were looking for other ways to get their own food story out into the world and All Good Things was on their list as a potential new voice! Hooray! They sent me some oils and I’ve been cooking with them regularly now for a few months. I can honestly say they are positively changing the way my food tastes!
Pomora olive oil isn’t just some ‘healthy fat’, and it’s not just some lubrication in my pan so my food won’t stick. It is an actual ingredient that enhances what I’m already cooking and provides its own special flavor. In fact, it dances with the flavors of the other ingredients in my recipes. Pomora oils have an opinion. They are not something in the background of a dish, they really are so special that they support recipes all the while standing in a spotlight of their own.
What makes this oil so special? What makes anything special? I think about this a lot as I work with clients bringing food into their homes each week. What makes what I do more special than another food provider? Why choose me? I call myself a personal chef because I’m a person - not a store, not a commercial kitchen full of prep cooks, chefs, and sous chefs. I make food that is specific to your needs and just for you. God bless the prepared food sections of Whole Foods and the frozen sections of Trader Joe’s that provide easy and tasty food, but you’re never going to know the person making your dinner. You’re going to hopefully enjoy your purchase, but it won’t be specific to your taste, it will be made to serve the masses, prepared in large quantity with bulk pantry items and produce sourced from commercial walk-in freezers. That’s not very personal at all, and it’s really not very special.
When I started to learn more about Pomora, I quickly realized what makes them special. Their oil is made in small batches. There are only two olive growers in the whole operation and you get to actually choose whose oil you’d like, Antonio’s or Carmelo’s. Think about other artisanal things you love: bread, coffee, bourbon, chocolate…when they are at their best, their flavor is so distinct because they are made in small amounts. There is control over the finished product. You can taste the time and care put into each crusty loaf or roasted bean. You can taste the dedication and family tradition in every drop of Carmelo and Antonio’s oils.
The really REALLY special thing about Pomora is how you actually get the oil. (It’s delivered in beautiful tins that protect the oil from light preserving the high quality of the olives, but that’s not what I’m talking about.) It’s a really personal process. So personal that you actually adopt an olive tree and make an investment in your future. You’re investing in the future of your olive oil consumption most definitely, but you’re investing in the future of the earth, the land, and the trees that populate our planet. This is such a huge opportunity to make an impact on nature and your kitchen and taste buds will reap the benefits of your investment too.
There are all sorts of culinary food subscriptions out there - cheese, bacon, wine. Every few months a package of kitchen goodness is delivered to your door for you to enjoy with family and friends. I love those ideas and have been known to gift them as well. Pomora isn’t just a fun food delivery service. Four times a year you’ll get a package of olive oil delivered to you with updates on your tree and how the rest of the grove is doing. You’ll have access to year round superior olive oil from your very own tree in Italy! That’s pretty special. And what a unique gift idea! I am an affiliate, so if you are interested in adopting a tree and receiving your very own oil, click here (or any of the times Pomora is hyperlinked in this post.)
It’s summertime in New York City and one of my go to recipes is gazpacho. No oven, no stove. No cook time! With the help of a food processor or a well-sharpened knife, you’ve got a raw and vibrant bowl of vegetable soup in literal minutes. Many times I’ll garnish my cold soup with avocado chunks or a handful of herbs. This time I drizzled my gazpacho with Pomora olive oil and my soup was transported to a new level of flavor; fruity, spicy, grassy rich olive flavor that clings to each spoonful of summery vegetable goodness.
And while you’re chopping your vegetables, take some time to think about what you do and what makes it special. Think about what sets you apart from your peers or competitors. How can you improve? What is working? What seems stale in your offerings? I always say it takes very little effort to be extraordinary. Just go one extra step, do one more thing, take one more minute because it makes a difference. And that difference is what makes something special.
- 2 cups finely chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup finely chopped cucumber
- 2 bell peppers finely chopped
- 1 handful finely chopped cilantro
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 cup finely diced red onion
- 2 quarts tomato based vegetable juice
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- Drizzle generously with Pomora Olive Oil
If you are using a food processor, pulse the vegetables separately to control texture. I start with tomatoes, dump them into a large bowl, then cucumbers, then the peppers. I process the garlic, jalapeño, and cilantro all together. I hand dice the onion so it won't make the soup too bitter by the blades releasing all the juices. Once the vegetables are prepped, I pour in the tomato juice, lime juice, and vinegar. Lastly, I add the seasonings, tasting to see if the gazpacho needs more salt or pepper or vinegar. Drizzle with olive oil. Serve cold.