June 8th, 2010


One Righteous Dude

Backlit with Sun; the Single-Malt of Cooking
I used to hate whole wheat pasta. It was difficult to cook, hard to tell when it was done, and required a ludicrous amount of masticatory effort. I missed the light, melty strands of "real" white-flour, processed noodles...until I went back to them one day - I was shocked at how bland and flaccid they now seemed compared to the full-bodied roughage of the whole wheat. Good and good for you. Problem is, most people won't give it a chance. In this disposable world if it doesn't make an immediate impact its dismissed forever. Taste is a delicate thing, and you don't want to miss out on new found opportunities by being hasty.

I was that way about my oil, too. Corn oil for that light crispiness with down home cooking, peanut oil for the turkey, vegetable oil for the cakes. I saved olive oil for stir-fry. It was thick, and dark. I didn't trust olive oil. Something about its viscosity unnerved me and it took me a long time to adopt it as a valid foodstuffs.

But when I did, just like the whole wheat pasta, I found that I enjoyed its heavy-handed approach to things. Olive oil announces, "I AM HERE, AND THIS IS FLAVOR" to each bite of food - and yes, experts agree olive oil is actually *good* for you. Doctors don't suggest you take daily sips of canola oil from your pantry, but they encourage you to do so from your bottle of olive oil. How cool is that? Problem was, I was ignorant in its selection.

Little Girl at the Farmer's Market
One bottle of olive oil was just like another to me. Some had pretty bottles, others were on sale. Sometimes I'd buy in bulk. Honestly? I couldn't tell the difference in any of them - didn't know there was such a thing as a difference. Until I discovered the Texas Olive Ranch. This past weekend, I met the owner, Jim Henry, and he's one righteous dude. Remember that mesquite-smoked oil at the office pizza party? My eyes have since been opened and I now use it in everything. And not just for things you'd normally use oil for. Let me explain:

This stuff is so freaking good, I now use it as a butter replacement, a cheese replacement, a mayonnaise replacement, and a flavor enhancer - that is to say, if I'm eating something - no matter what it is, I often put a shot of mesquite-smoked olive oil in just to add flavor. So far, I haven't much I *won't* put it in. I even put the orange olive oil in my pancake batter in place of the vegetable oil. IF YOU'RE GOING TO USE OIL, WHY NOT ADD FLAVOR? Its like...bottled spice. It absolutely, positively, must flow.

Here's a citizen response to my previous cross-post on the Anna Texas Forum:
"...give me a straw and a bottle of the mesquite and I will talk to you later. much later. I now consider 'drinkability' to be a realistic olive oil characteristic to be measured."
As do I, sir. As do I. Moral of my story?

If you don't want to drink the oil you're cooking with, you're using the wrong oil!

The Man in the Hat: Mr. Jim Henry
Owner of Texas Olive Ranch
Righteous Dude

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