In Season - TM

October 2011
In the News


 See Why The Boston Globe Likes our Extra Virgin Olive Oil  

Everyday California Fresh LR



The Food of Morocco

About Us
Store Locator


Olive Oil FAQs 

Harvard's New Healthy Eating Guidelines: Drizzle On the Olive Oil  

Does an Olive Oil's Color Tell You Quality? No. But It May Tell You Other Things 


Med. Diet, Other Good Habits May Extend Your Life Up to 15 Years - Study  

Events in Season
California Avocado Festival
Carpinteria, Calif.
Oct. 7-9

Los Banos, Calif.
Oct. 8-9

Safeway Pumpkin Weigh-Off
Half Moon Bay, Calif.
Oct. 10

Springville, Calif.
Oct. 15-16

Goleta, Calif.
Oct. 15-16 
Why We Love Mediterranean Food               
Few cuisines can claim an official shout out from the United Nations. French and Mexican cuisines, for example, are on a U.N. list of cultural treasures worth preserving. So, too, is one of our favorites, the Mediterranean diet.
Veggie market in Heraklion
Photo by Hans Hillewaert via Wikimedia Commons

Last November, a UNESCO panel put the Mediterranean diet on its list of "intangible" world treasures. Greece's agriculture minister was giddy, declaring the Mediterranean diet "has acquired the status of a philosophy and a way of life."

We won't argue. What is clear is that olive oil plays a starring role in Mediterranean cooking. Bill Briwa, a chef-instructor at the Culinary Institute of America's Greystone campus in California, calls olive oil the cuisine's "primary cooking fat."

"It really anchors the Mediterranean diet," Briwa says.

Aside from olive oil, Mediterranean cuisine is rich in vegetables, fruits, whole
Spaghetti with Clam Sauce
grains, legumes, nuts, and seafood. Think of gazpacho soup from Spain, fava bean puree from the south of Italy, and seafood dishes from Morocco and other nations that capitalize on the Mediterranean Sea's bounty of fresh fish.

The cuisine's popularity stems from its great taste. But there's a bonus: Scientific research since the mid-20th century repeatedly has suggested that eating a Mediterranean diet can be good for your heart, your brain, and your overall well being. One recent study, for example, suggests following a Mediterranean diet and other good habits may extend your life by up to 15 years - particularly if you're a woman.

Scientific research has "consistently supported the overall benefits of a Mediterranean-type diet," Walter Willett, head of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health, told us last year.

Sadly, even the Mediterraneans don't always follow their namesake diet. 
Italian, Spanish and Greek young people are ignoring the
Tuna Skewers with Chermoula
traditional Mediterranean diet in favor of fast food and soda. The result, according to experts and scientific data: They're putting on the kilos, and becoming overweight and obese. That's why the U.N. needs to preserve the diet!  

The good flavors that permeate Mediterranean cuisine, meanwhile, make it stand out from other, more contemporary eating regimens intended to promote weight loss and health. People are more likely to stick with a diet that tastes good versus one that's bland or unappealing.

"Nobody is going to eat any diet that doesn't taste good," Kathy McManus, head of the nutrition department at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital, says.

McManus is a Mediterranean diet proponent, and she points to a reason for the cuisine's appeal: "Healthy, delicious olive oil helps food taste great."

We'll second that. Moreover, we can give Mediterranean cuisine a new twist on this side of the Atlantic by using great tasting olive oil from California.   

 Our Favorite Mediterranean Recipes  
Recipes Courtesy of Paula Wolfert

Wolfert Sauteéd Shrimp Casa Pepe

Credit: The Food of Morocco (Ecco, 2011), by Paula Wolfert
Reprinted with permission from the publisher 

Potato Pancakes
Wolfert Potato Pancakes

Credit: The Food of Morocco (Ecco, 2011), by Paula Wolfert 
Reprinted with permission from the publisher

Additional Recipes

Mussel Casserole
Mussel Casserole

Recipe credit: Ciao Italia Slow and Easy (St. Martin's Press, 2007), by Mary Ann Esposito 
Reprinted with permission from St. Martin's Press


Goat Cheese with Spicy Tomato Sauce

Goldstein Goat Cheese with Spicy Tomato Sauce
















Recipe credit: Antipasti: Fabulous Appetizers and Small Plates (Chronicle Books, 2006), by Joyce Goldstein

Reprinted with permission from the publisher

Largo Trasimeno Fish Stew

Largo Trasimeno Fish Stew 















Recipe credit:Ciao Italia in Umbria (St. Martin's Press, 2002), by Mary Ann Esposito 

Reprinted with permission from St. Martin's Press

Potato and Onion Tapas Omelet
Goldstein Potato and Onion Omelet

Reprinted with permission from the publisher

 Q&A With Our Featured Culinary Professional      
Paula Wolfert
Sonoma, Calif.

Paula Wolfert's cookbooks have influenced the finest restaurants and home kitchens alike in this country. The famed culinary anthropologist's food writing, which goes back four
Paula Wolfert
Photo by Ed Anderson (
decades, helped introduce readers here to dishes like foie gras, preserved lemons, and truffles.
Wolfert, 73, has published eight cookbooks, including Couscous and Other Good Food From Morocco, The Cooking of Southwest France, and five books on Mediterranean cuisine, including the much praised Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean. She's won the Julia Child Award, the James Beard Award, and the M. F. K. Fisher Award, among other accolades. This month Wolfert released an updated version of her first Moroccan cookbook, The Food of Morocco (Ecco, 2011).

While Paula Wolfert is famous, she's truly down-to-earth. She responds promptly to emailed questions about cooking, or what southern French dish a middle schooler should prepare for her French class. She even manages to oversee a very active Facebook page devoted to Moroccan cooking. There, she regularly fields queries and comments from more than 2,000 fans.   

You once didn't know how to cook. Was there a key event that spurred your interest in food?

In the mid-fifties, young women in my group went to college not to get a degree in law or medicine, but what we humorously called an MRS. degree - in other words, to get married and get out of the house.

I met my future husband, and my mother suggested I might take some cooking lessons to be "useful." She paid for me to attend classes at Dione Lucas's Cordon Bleu cooking school, the best in New York at the time, and immediately I found my calling. I ended up leaving my studies in 20th century literature and went to work full time with Mrs. Lucas in return for free classes.

What is your first food memory?
Paula Wolfert Moroccan Fish Tagine with Tomatoes Olives Preserved Lemons   Photo © Ed Anderson
"I develop recipes by traveling, eating, experimenting and constantly asking myself: 'Do I want to eat this again?'"
Photo © Ed Anderson

I lived with my grandparents during part of World War II. They had a victory garden like everyone else. Only eggplants were the main crop, and we ate loads of them in dozens of ways!

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Brooklyn, but grew up all around the East Coast, including Miami, New York's Westchester County, and New York City.

What did your parents do, and did they like to cook?

My father owned a hotel and my mother was on a diet her entire life. She was stunning and took good care of herself. I remember we ate a lot of herring, Romaine lettuce, melon and cottage cheese.

What dishes do you like to cook at home?

I cook at home every day. I'm very interested in cooking techniques. I like long, slow cooking, because it allows the development of deep, satisfying taste. I also like steaming vegetables then maybe sautéing them for a bit of caramelization

How do you gather your recipes, and how do you decide whether a dish you've eaten is "a keeper?"
Zucchini Musakka
Photo © Ed Anderson

I develop recipes by traveling, eating, experimenting and constantly asking myself: "Do I want to eat this again?" The ultimate test: whether a dish is worth making again.

How many times do you spend testing and changing a recipe you've collected until you're satisfied that it's suitable for a cookbook?

At least three times. The first time I try it it's perfect. The second time, after changing it to see if I can improve upon it, it's dead on arrival. By the third go-round, and after some refinements, it's shined up and ready to type up.  
How do you like to use California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil in your cooking?

I use the Arbequena olive oil for dressing all my salads, frying, marinating, simmering, stewing and finishing.

 Thank You

Stay Healthy in 2011 with California Olive Ranch!

Email your comments to

We want to hear from you!

California Fresh COR