News From The Ranch

EVOO with Fresh Herbs
You can win a trip to our Fall Harvest and visit the Napa Valley for a VIP food and wine experience. Enter our Sweepstakes with our friends at Food52 and The Kitchn.
You can still order our Limited Reserve extra virgin olive oil. We craft it with our finest first cold pressings from the first weeks of harvest. And we use a special blend of Arbequina, Arbosana and Koroneiki olives.
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Jenn Hess January 2012 Fan Photo of the Mounth

Send Us Your Photos!

Congrats to Jenn Hess, the new winner of our Fan Photo of the Month contest. Jenn shared this photo on our Facebook page of the shrimp and spinach pasta she made using our Limited Reserve oil. Jenn has  won some olive oil for her photo. You can win this month's contest by sending us a photo showing how you use our oil. Put "Fan Photo" in the subject line and send it to the email address below, or post it on our Facebook page
Artois Olive Groves
Things are mellow at the ranch. We'll soon begin prepping our olive trees to get them ready for their spring growth spurt. But, for now, it's too cold and wet to begin tree pruning. At lunch, we'll dip crusty bread into our Limited Reserve extra virgin olive oil - which is still available - or enjoy the oil with a warm bowl of soup. Dishes like these help ward off the cold and damp weather. 

It's the kind of weather, in fact, that calls for comfort food. For some of us that may be a slice of chocolate cake. For others it may be a luscious grilled cheese sandwich, a steaming plate of pasta, or a warm bowl of bean soup. But there's no mistaking the good feeling comfort food brings.   

"Everyone knows the curative powers of hot chicken soup, the comfort found in a swirl of mashed potatoes, and the sweet bliss of a chocolate brownie," the editors of the book, From Our House to Yours: Comfort Food to Give and Share (Chronicle Books, 2002), note in the introduction.

A good California extra virgin olive oil is a great partner for comfort food. Olive oil aficionado Tom Mueller - author of Extra Virginity (W.W. Norton & Co., 2012) - likes to "reinvent American comfort foods with olive oil."

"I think a baked potato with olive oil instead of butter is incredible. Olive oil on a steak as steak sauce enhances the flavor and the texture of the meat," Mueller says. "A full-bodied olive oil over vanilla ice cream creates a counterpoint to the ice cream's sweetness."

Comfort foods made with olive oil are even that much better than, say, those using butter. Experts agree olive oil is better for your heart than butter, which is higher in saturated fat.

"Olive oil is super-flavorful and healthy to boot! And flavorful - but healthy - is my definition of the perfect comfort food," Viviane Bauquet Farre, creator of the gorgeous food e-magazine,, says.

Below you'll find comfort food recipes we've collected for you to prepare in your kitchen. All use extra virgin olive oil. Your heart - and soul - will be satisfied!
Our Favorite Comfort Food Recipes
Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce and Ricotta
Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce and Ricotta A bowl of simple tomato pasta is one of life's ultimate comfort foods. And the version here fits the bill. It's from the wonderful cookbook Canal House Cooks Every Day (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2012), by Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer. You could use our Everyday Fresh oil to prepare the sauce.      

  Click here to see the recipe
Cumin-Crusted Oven Fries
Viviane Bauquet Farre, founder of the food e-magazine, notes it's hard to resist potatoes - whether they're puréed, boiled, baked, fried, or roasted. "But bake oven fries with cumin seeds and these spuds are not just good, they're sublime," adds Viviane, who created this recipe. She recommends using our Everyday Fresh oil to make the fries.

 Click here to see the recipe
Caramelized Roasted Vegetables
Caramelized Roasted Vegetables This hearty vegetable dish could serve as a main course or a side dish. Pick and choose whatever vegetables look good at the market. If sweet peppers are out of season, omit them. Or if the peppers available at the market look especially good, use a variety of colors. The recipe appears in From Our House to Yours: Comfort Foods to Give and Share (Chronicle Books, 2002). You could use our Everyday Fresh oil to prepare the veggies - and give them a finishing drizzle of our robust Limited Reserve.
  Click here to see the recipe
White Bean Soup with Winter Greens
White Bean Soup with Winter Greens This healthful white bean soup is a meal in itself, thanks to the beans and generous dose of winter greens. You could use kale, chard, dandelion, collard or turnip greens. This soup also appears in From Our House to Yours: Comfort Foods to Give and Share (Chronicle Books, 2002). You could use our Everyday Fresh oil to prepare the soup. Give it a finishing drizzle of our peppery Miller's Blend oil to add another layer of flavor.
  Click here to see the recipe
Olive Oil Walnut Brownies
Olive Oil Walnut Brownies Blogger Deeba Rajpal, the creative force behind Passionate About Baking, whipped up these brownies after sampling them at a New Delhi hotel. She asked the chef for the recipe and promptly went home to bake them, making some changes and overcoming a power outage that knocked her oven out of commission temporarily. "The texture was fabulous," she writes. "BIG HIT with the kids too." You could use complex Arbosana oil for the brownies. It pairs well with chocolate.   

  Click here to see the recipe
Pizza Margherita
Pizza Margherita Dominic Orsini, the winery chef at California's Silver Oak Cellars, uses heirloom tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella for his colorful version of this classic Italian dish. Just before serving the pizza, Orsini recommends brushing the crust's rim with olive oil. We'd use our fruity Arbequina oil to make the dough, and we'd also brush it on afterward.

Click here to see the recipe
The Pizza Maestro
A Chat with Anthony Carron

Anthony CarronAnthony Carron oversees an acclaimed pizza restaurant in Westwood, Calif., that's dedicated to a special pizza: the Neapolitan, created in the Italian city of Naples more than 200 years ago. The pie has a thin crust. Traditionally, the sauce is simply crushed tomatoes - although Carron and his team at 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria "add a few more goodies" of their own. Each pie is topped with fresh mozzarella and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, before it's quickly baked in a wood-fired oven.

Carron, a former chef for restaurateur and chef Michael Mina, uses locally sourced ingredients - from the tomatoes to the mozzarella and the olive oil. The pizzas are baked before customers leave the counter. And you can order your own customized pie. As you'll see from the Q&A below, Carron has had cooking in his blood since he was a youngster.   

What's your earliest food memory?

I  remember as a young child, 2 or 3 years old, my mom used to put me in a high chair in the pantry. I'd pull everything off the shelf and check the jars. I'd also get a bowl and mix all kinds of spices and cocoa powders together to make different mixtures. I used everything I could find. I was already trying to cook at that age. And today I love cooking.

Did anyone in your family cook?

Not too much. That was one of the reasons I got into it. If I wanted something good, I'd have to make it myself.

How do you use California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil at 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria?

We drizzle it on every single pizza we make before it goes into the oven. The oil adds flavor as well as richness. Your oil also holds up well in the oven at 800 degrees F. Every other oil I've tried just vaporizes and has no flavor. But the California Olive Ranch retains its flavor and its freshness out of the oven. We only use extra virgin olive oil for every recipe - and we only use California Olive Ranch. Everything we cook in the oven we put in the olive oil first, like mushrooms and caramelized onions. We use it to marinate tomatoes for our pizzas. We also use the oil to make a Caesar dressing and an olive oil gelato.

How do you use California Olive Ranch oil at home when you cook?

I use it cook everything in. At home I do a lot of Italian foods. I do a lot of pasta. I also do some simple grilled meats, sautéed fish, and a lot of vegetables. I love vegetables.

What's your best advice for home cooks wanting to make pizza? 800 Degrees Pizza

Make the dough the day before so it has time to develop flavor. Let it rise overnight in the fridge. Take it out of the fridge the next day at lunchtime, if you plan to cook the pizza for dinner. You want to have the dough out four to six hours before you bake. Next, turn your oven up as high as it goes. And use a pizza stone to get the best crust.

What do you like to eat when you're too tired to cook?

Tacos! We've got great street tacos in L.A. That's always my go-to food. They're a buck apiece. They're everywhere. And they're delicious.

Do you use recipes when you cook - or wing it?

I don't rely on recipes. I just cook. If I look at a recipe, I'll read it. I'll absorb it, and then I'll go cook something similar. I'll learn the techniques and get a sense of how the ingredients go together. I'll then adapt whatever is in the fridge or what's fresh and available in the market.

What's in your home fridge?

Not much. Usually some pickles, mayonnaise, and mustard. That's about it. I tend to buy everything for a meal and cook it. That's how Europeans shop, and that's how chefs tend to shop.
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