From my RV kitchen
I'm a long-time lover of olive oil and am always interested in trying boutique oils, meeting the makers and exploring how they can add an extra zing to my RV kitchen. As I was searching for an olive oil producer to visit with for our Food, Fun & Friends at Flying Flags series I came across Theo Stephan of Global Gardens. Theo has been loving olive oil since she was a girl in her aunt's Ohio kitchen. That love blossomed into a full-fledged gourmet food business that not only encompass' olive oil but fruit-infused balsamic vinegars (I use the Balsamic Raspberry in this episode), spreads, mustards and seasonings — including the very-addictive Calterranian Garden Blend - also used this episode's vinaigrette. Theo's tasting room in Los Olivos is inviting and the tastes are divine. If you can't make it there you might consider her Olive OIl and Gourmet Food Club...I did. She's got a new cookbook coming out soon, too - Olive OIl and Vinegar for Life - sure to put a spark in my RV pantry.
I was happy to have "discovered" Theo and headed to the Solvang Farmers Market - outstanding! — where I came across a nice fellow manning the La Nogalera Walnut Oil booth. I'd heard about walnut oil but had never tried it and this was my opportunity. In a word...sublime! Immediately I looked up Mary Jane Edalatpour - one of the three walnut farms that come together to make their walnut oil and asked if we could come over for a visit. By the way, nogal means walnut in Spanish and a nogalera is where walnuts are grown. Her nogalera is set against beautiful rolling hills, she raises chickens that roam the roost and is incredibly interesting. She has a number of mouthwatering recipes as well as interesting information about walnut oil on the La Nogalera website.
Try the two recipes in this episode — from the meal's start with a baked goat cheese salad to a sweet finish walnut honey sauced brownie. You might be surprised how the goat cheese keeps its shape while the flavor deepens and intensifies. The walnut honey sauce reminds my husband of a sticky bun and it's deliciousness was a real shocker the first time we tried it — and it's not been a stranger in my RV kitchen since.
While your table will look elegant and sophisticated you and I will know it was so simple. Cheers!
Baked Goat Cheese Salad
2 medallions of goat cheese cut 1/4 inch thick
plain bread crumbs
powdered seasoning - Garden Bend or an Italian seasoning — to taste
walnut oil to brush medallions with
3 parts extra virgin olive oil
1 part vinegar
1/4 t powdered seasoning (same as used above)
fresh salad greens — roughly chopped
dried California figs
handful of walnut pieces
Walnut Honey Sauced Fudge Brownie
fudge brownie (I used a box mix and used half walnut oil/half canola oil in the mix)
1/4-1/2 c walnut pieces
2T walnut oil
good-quality vanilla ice cream
lavender buds to garnish
Baked Goat Cheese Salad
Slice cold goat cheese into medallions and refrigerate until ready to use. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil. Season bread crumbs. Brush each goat cheese medallion with walnut oil, press into the bread crumbs to coat and place on the baking sheet. Keep the medallions 1/2 inch apart.
Bake for 7-9 minutes until golden brown and toasty. Allow to set for a few seconds before putting on salad plate.
To make the vinaigrette add the oil, vinegar and seasoning in a bowl and whisk. Taste and adjust as desired.
To make the salad place the greens on a salad plate, sprinkle with walnut pieces, add figs to the sides and dress with the vinaigrette. Add the baked goat cheese medallions to the side of the plate and enjoy!
Walnut Honey Sauced Fudge Brownies
Add walnut pieces to a small dry pan and toast over medium heat until fragrant — about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes — shaking pan frequently to discourage burning. Lower heat and add walnut oil and honey and stir. Remove from heat immediately.
Place a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of the brownie, pour hot walnut honey sauce over the ice cream, sprinkle with lavender and get ready to experience chocolate walnut bliss!
Theo gave us a great oil and vinegar rule of thumb tip: If you are making a dressing use a combination of 3:1 oil/vinegar. For a marinade it's opposite - 3:1 vinegar/oil. Nice to know!
When making the walnut honey sauce, the longer you allow the oil and honey to bubble the harder it will be. Bubble for a minute to get a brittle consistency, less for an ooey-gooey, slightly thick version.
We'll visit with Cheryl of Andre Organic Lavender Farm (just down the road from Flying Flags RV Resort) in an upcoming episode. Stay tuned...
Frankly, I don't see how you can go wrong with either of these recipes...both winner's in my book!
Direct from my RV kitchen - part cooking class on wheels, part RV travel guide - these RV videos cook! Discover more RV destinations and camping recipes on the RV Cooking Show website.
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