Thursday, January 29, 2015

Author is a Real Fan of Olive Oil, Nature's Liquid Gold

 By Cal Orey
Stories packed with old world charm, past and present
are found in each chapter

of the new 2nd edition

My mother's trip to Europe
inspired my love for
Mediterranean cuisine
I was born and raised in Umbria, Italy on my family’s ancient olive plantation. My father was half Irish, a fair skinned, red-headed stocky and sturdy hardworking olive grove farmer. My mother, an Italian petite, dark-haired woman with piercing blue eyes ran a charming bed and breakfast cottage. She served and sold homemade bread, cheese, vegetables, fruit and olive oil. The days were long but our fruits of labor were worth the efforts for the well-being of our family, the community, and tourists who liked our cozy, rustic lifestyle in the Mediterranean.
One November overcast cool morning in the kitchen with my mom I learned the art of baking drop scones. I forgot to include the pale yellow liquid gold.  My detail-oriented mother, a seasoned baker, mumbled “tsk-tsk” as she poured the “liquid gold” into the thick batter. When the scones were baked, and fruity scent filled the air of the kitchen she dipped a warm scone full of olives and nuts into a beautifully decorated olive oil dish.  She smiled and handed me the treat as a truce. 

In the real world, this rural picturesque scene is a dream of mine.  Sure, I would love to be 

The suburbs, my link to trees and fruit orchards
an olive farmer’s daughter, living in Europe. The truth of the matter it’s not the real story of my roots. I grew up in the suburbs of San Jose, California, a place once touted for its plentiful fruit orchards. But that doesn't mean I'm not down to earth and a devout proponent of nature's liquid gold...

Mediterranean Shrimp Kabobs

* * *


¼ cup olive oil                                                        2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

¼ cup fresh lemon juice                                        1 teaspoon Greek seasoning

½ teaspoon oregano                                              ½ teaspoon salt


¾ lb. large raw shrimp, shelled and                    12 canned extra small artichoke heart          

deveined*                                                              quarters

12 large pitted kalamata olives                            2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese, 

Combine olive oil, lemon peel, lemon juice, Greek seasoning, oregano and salt in large plastic food storage bag; flex to mix well. Add shrimp and seal; toss to coat. Marinate in refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight, turning occasionally.

Heat grill to medium direct heat. Meanwhile, add artichoke pieces and olives to marinade; toss to coat. Thread shrimp, artichokes and olives on 4 12-inch to 14-inch skewers (or place in grill basket). Grill covered 5 to 8 minutes or until shrimp are opaque, turning once or twice. Remove to serving platter; sprinkle with feta cheese, if desired. Variation: If desired, substitute 3 boneless skinless chicken breast halves for shrimp. Cut chicken into 1 ½ inch pieces. Marinate and grill as directed for shrimp. Serves 4.
 (Courtesy: North American Olive Oil Association.)

Excerpt from The Healing Powers of Olive Oil, Revised and Updated (Kensington)

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