olive - The
Olive was a native to Asia Minor and spread from Iran, Syria, and Palestine
to the rest of the Mediterranean basin 5,000 years ago. It is among the
oldest known cultivated trees in the world - being grown before the written
language was invented. They are now grown in many parts of the world, among
them the Middle East, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, the south of France, Spain,
Portugal, Algeria, Morocco, and California.
History: Olives appear in one of the first cookbooks ever discovered -
the 2000 year old Roman De re coquinaria in which Apicius writes of mixing
roots, leaves, and salt into Spanish oil to fake the higher quality
Liburnian oil from the South of Istria. Olives are considered one of our
original foods dating back as least as far as 17th century B.C.
Olives formed a significant part of the way
of life of the Ancient Greeks. Legend has it that Athena (the goddess of
wisdom and the arts) was in competition with Poseidon (the sea god). Each
was charged with presenting humankind with the most valued gift. Poseidon
donated the horse. Athena caused an olive tree to grow at the gates of the
Acropolis. It was Athena's gift the people deemed most valuable. In return
for her favors, Athens, the most powerful city in Greece, was named in her
honor. Greek gods were also believed to be born under the branches of the
olive tree. Aristotle pondered the olive tree at great length and eventually
elevated its cultivation to a science. Solon enacted the first laws to
protect it. Homer deemed olive oil the "liquid gold." And Hippocrates
prescribed it as the "great therapeutic."
olive oil - The oil extracted
from tree-ripened olives.
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- Any olive oil that is less than 1% acidity and produced by the first
pressing of the olive fruit through the cold pressing process. Most olive
oils today are extra virgin in name only, meeting only the minimum
Virgin Olive Oil - It is made from olives that are slightly riper than
those used for extra-virgin oil and is produced in exactly the same manner.
This oil has a slightly higher level of acidity (1 1/2%).
Pure Olive Oil - Also called commercial grade oil. It is
solvent-extracted from olive pulp, skins, and pits; then refined. It is
lighter in color and blander than virgin olive oil. It is more
general-purpose olive oil. Pure refers to the fact that no non-olive oils
are mixed in.
History: Olive oil is one of the
oldest culinary oils. In ancient Athens, the olive was a symbol of the
city's prosperity. Olive oil was used both in cooking and as fuel for
oil-burning lamps. Olive oil was not only part of their daily diet, its
properties were greatly revered; it was used to cure a myriad ailments, both
internally and externally, religious leaders and kings were ceremonially
anointed with, as Homer often referred to, "Liquid Gold."
Olive oil has been the cornerstone of the
Mediterranean diet for thousands of years. Legend has it that the first
olive tree grew on Adam's tomb. Olive trees have a life span of 300 to 400
years. Some grow to be 700 years and older. Cooking with olive oil is like
cooking with wine. Never use a wine or olive oil that does not taste good to
you. An inferior one will leave an aftertaste.
learn more about Olive Oil, check out Linda Stradley's web page on
omelet or omellette (AHM-leht) - A beaten egg
mixture that is cooked without stirring until set and then served folded in
half. Often served with various fillings, such as cheese, onion, herbs, and
History: According to legend, when Napoleon and his army were traveling through
the south of France they decided to rest for the night near the town of
Bessieres. Napoleon feasted on an omelet prepared by a local innkeeper that
was such a culinary delight that Napoleon ordered the townspeople to gather
all the eggs in the village and to prepare a huge omelet for his army the
osso buco (AW-soh BOO-koh) - An
Italian dish comprised of crosscut slices veal shanks braised with
vegetables, aromatics, and stock. Osso Buco means literally "bone with a
hole." Milanese style is served with saffron risotto and gremolata.
ostrich (AWS-trich) - Ostrich is
a red meat that has a mild, beef-like flavor. It is very low in fat and
cholesterol (about the same as skinless turkey). It can be used as a steak,
ground for burgers, or made into sausages. It barely shrinks while cooking.
oyster - Oysters have been
cultivated for at least 2,000 years and have long been a favorite of
Americans. Oysters in the shell must be alive to be good to eat. If an
oyster is open, even slightly, and it doesn't close tightly when handled,
discard it. Dead oysters are unfit to eat. Always scrub oyster shells
thoroughly before opening. There are four main varieties of oysters in the
Eastern Oysters - Known by many local names, depending on their origin.
Olympia Oysters - Very small oysters from the Pacific coast.
Belon Oysters - European oysters now grown in North America.
Japanese Oysters - Very large oysters from the Pacific coast.
Oysters Bienville - An oyster
dish consisting of baked oysters on the half shell topped with a
sherry-flavored béchamel sauce mixed with sautéed chopped shrimp, shallots,
History: The dish was named for Jean-Baptiste
Le Moyne, sieur de Bienville, the second colonial governor of Louisiana. It
was created by a Frenchman named "Count" Arnaud Cazeneuve in the late 1930s
at his restaurant called Arnaud's Restaurant in the French Quarter of New
ysters Casino - A oyster dish
were the oysters on the half shell are covered with a blended mixture of
butter, finely chopped shallots, green peppers, and parsley plus a seasoning
of salt, lemon juice, and pepper. It is then topped with strips of
half-cooked bacon and broiled until the bacon turn brown and crisp.
History: The dish was originally
prepared at a casino located in the Hamptons on Long Island, New York.
Oysters Rockefeller - A dish of
oysters that are cooked with watercress, scallions, celery, anise, and other
seasonings. It is usually served in the oyster shells.
out the history of
oyster sauce - It is a Cantonese
seasoning that is a staple condiment of Chinese cooking, This rich brown
sauce is made with boiled oysters and seasonings (soy sauce, salt, and
spices). The ingredients are cooked until thick and concentrated. A good
brand is never fishy. Be aware that cheaper brands may have MSG and other