Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Come to the table

"Oil is my life! Without oil I droop, and am out of life; with oil, I raise my head and am a man, and my family (wife) feels I am a man. Oil is my rum—oil is better than meat." 
--Travels in the Great Desert of Sahara, 1845-1846

Caught up in labels, I moved on from those zessssty pickles and read, I mean really read the olive oil label. Imagine my shock, my dismay, when I realized I'd been duped. "Packed in Italy." Wait! Packed in Italy? Who wouldn't want to be packed in Italy, but where did the olives come from? Where were they pressed?  

I live for olive oil. I use it in everything from popping corn to chocolate chip cookies. I soften my lips and my face with it, massage my lover with it, mix it with sugar & salt for a nice body scrub. I blend it with butter and whir it with basil and parsley and lemon. The sacred emulsion created by blending olive oil and herbs.....pure gold. Olive oil surely is better than meat, with its plethora of sweet, sensual properties.

It turns out, however, that while it is heavily regulated in Italy, the FDA does not regulate it here or watch over the term "Extra Virgin." Thus, if you are a bottle of oil on a shelf in the U.S., you can shout extra virgin and be a total slut! The world is all mixed up, isn't it?

Here's a great article: "How to Speak Olive Oil" that explains all about finding the perfect oil and steering clear of those dirty rotten scoundrels trying to trick us into thinking that packing is to picking and pressing as slapping is to slipping and sliding.

Come to the Table!

Thick, aromatic olive oil, salts of the earth, shiny red apples, flame roasted desire, desert sand dunes, pleasures of the flesh, an exercise in dreaming, and a sensual performance you won't soon forget will figure prominently in my offering for the upcoming sensual feast. Please, please come to the table! 

Join Us for a Sensual and Provocative Progressive Dinner ala Blog
Come join us for a sensual feast to celebrate the new year of hope, promise, and delicious pleasures of every flavor. Each day a new erotica-writing blogger will be your host for one sumptuous course, providing recipes, entertainment and scintillating discussion topics. Best of all, dinners ala blog are known to expand your mind, but not your waistline. The festivities begin on Sunday, January 25. Come to one, come to all—you deserve a little indulgence!

Sunday January 25—Amuse-bouche
Craig Sorensen

Monday January 26—Appetizer
 Shanna Germain

Wednesday January 28—Soup
Helia Brookes and Jeremy Edwards

Thursday January 29—Fish
Neve Black

Friday January 30—Meat Entrée
Kirsten Monroe

Saturday, January 31—Vegetarian Entrée
Donna George Storey

Monday, February 2—Salad

Tuesday, February 3—Dessert
Sommer Marsden

Wednesday, February 4—Petit Fours and Truffles
Nikki Magennis

PS-- Happy Obama Day all!! Susie Bright is just as thrilled as I am. She's dancing in her "Vagina is for Lovers" t-shirt and so am I, especially since my shed name....ooops. Can't go there.

Ciao bellas!


Donna said...

Whoah, there's no one who can get my mouths watering quicker than though, KM! Okay, so what are olive oil chocolate chip cookies like? I may have to beg that recipe from you. Right after the wresting....

Emerald said...

I am right there with you on the olive oil. If I had to pick the top five ingredients indispensable to my kitchen, olive oil would be on the list. I use it seriously in/for almost everything that calls for anything remotely close to it. :)

For instance, I also use it in baking things such as chocolate chip cookies, muffins, pancakes...I've often used it in place of butter, shortening, cooking oil, etc.

(Admittedly that has often been more because of an anal-retentive desire to use the ingredients understood to be most healthful for the body than anything to do with taste.... :) )

Erobintica said...

Wow - that's one succulent oyster - gorgeous.

I have to say - I am soooooo looking forward to this feast that I keep seeing mentioned everywhere - delectable and virtually calorie-free.

Olive oil is wonderful - I can whip up an endless variety of homemade salad dressings in no time at all. I've used it in baking too (when I did more baking) - it lends a very interesting undertone to some recipes ("what is in these muffins?").

BadAssKona said...

Olive oil is my tanning lotion, during the summer. I figure Italians have that nice, deep, skin color for a good reason... Besides, it's edible.

Kirsten Monroe said...

This is so cool! Who knew there was an olive oil orgy out there just waiting to happen!

Donna -- we have this "I like them soft" "I want them crunchy" debate. There's a nuts in cookies debate too, but that's a different topic. Anyway, in order to make the cookies lighter and crunchier I substitute 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil for 1/2 stick of the 2 sticks of butter and use a natural sugar like sugar in the raw instead of brown sugar. The olive oil helps with the crunchiness and gives them a nice flavor, but it's not overwhelming. I started using 60% cacao instead of semi-sweet also.

If the oil is good and not slutty, it never seems to do anything but add to the flavor!

Robin, I'm laughing because I realize that oyster is ginormous, but I really liked THAT oyster and I couldn't get it to load smaller.....so there you go!

Hey BAK -- I'll be sure to take some to the Mojave with me! I've heard that Italian women steam their faces in the pasta water too, but have never found too much documentation on that one :)

BadAssKona said...

Actually, I think Italian women steam their faces, then have their men lick the steam off with olive oil-coated tongues....

BadAssKona said...

And, while the clams may not be steeped in oil, they will be dipped in garlic butter....

Craig Sorensen said...

Yes, the joys of true Extra Virgin Olive oil are too numerous to count!

How about a simple bowl of good pasta, some steamed shrimp and a drizzling of that fine oil. Just like anything in life, the really good stuff is at it's best when it's allowed to stand out.

PS, It's true that Italian women (my wife is Italian American) steam their faces with the essence from pasta water, but I don't think that's with any specific intent. It's just what happens when you cook pasta. ;-)

Kirsten Monroe said...

Mmmmm Craig!....pasta with shrimp and extra virgin....and maybe some of those Oysterville oysters!

I saw an article about Sophia Loren -- she credits her beauty to "her love of life and spaghetti and 'the odd bath in virgin olive oil'"

Doesn't sound odd to me!


Donna said...

What a delightfully unctuous discussion! Okay, I'm going to have to try this--any particular brand or type of oil that you turn to for cookies and baking versus drizzling on pasta or wresting?

Kirsten Monroe said...

Unctuous! Love that word!

Hi Donna,

I pretty much use extra virgin for everything and I like Columela, though Cook's Illustrated recommends regular, not extra virgin for cooking for a more "blendable" flavor. I'm not opposed to strong flavor of extra virgin, but that's just not me.

Oh, and here is an absolutely delightful Olive Oil Cookies recipe from the NY Times with oil, pepper, rosemary and red wine!


Donna said...

Wow, those sound intriguing. Perfect to nibble with some red wine, I'd think. And Saveur says Trader Joe's Robert Shaw red is the perfect cooking wine at $2.99. I have a bottle waiting to be tried!

I saw that recommendation in Cook's for Columela but there are so many more interesting boutique-y oils for sale around here. But I guess for baking, that would be perfect.

Kirsten Monroe said...

Olive oil is like wine.....it's always fun to try new vintages and flavors. I can't usually afford the really crazy ones that are like ancient bottles of gold. I saw some citrus olive oil that was recommended for a zesty salad but haven't tried it yet. Yum! Makes me all quivery.