F. Oliver’s Oils and Vinegars

My home town of Rochester, New York, was once home to Frederick Douglass and Susan B Anthony, the Fortune 500 Hundred Super Powers Kodak and Xerox, and booming factories along the Genesee River. Now, the city is a shadow of its former self. But new life is beginning to emerge from the city tucked between the Genesee River and Lake Ontario. Rochester is home to an amazing wine, produce, and oil industry! Less than 20 miles southeast of Rochester is the city of Canandaigua.  Part of the Finger Lakes region, Canandaigua, hosts amazing winerys (http://www.canandaiguawinetrail.com/) such as my favorite, Casa Larga and unique little shops that highlight the region’s produce.

On my last trip home, I visited with my uncle and aunt, who although eat a plant-based diet, always have the latest kitchen gadgets and cooking accoutrements. I greeted them with my favorite dark chocolate caramels with sea salt, from my favorite Rochester Candy Institution, Stever’s Candy (http://www.steverscandy.com/) and they in turn introduced me to a new staple in their home- F. Oliver’s Oils and Vinegars (http://www.folivers.com/index.html)! My uncle allowed me to sample the pineapple balsamic vinegar and I was amazed! It could be drizzled on dessert, added to champagne, tossed in a salad or added to my favorite chicken recipe… simply delicious! The next day my mother and I drove to the F. Oliver’s location on Park Ave, while looking for apartments (I may be relocating back to NY while I complete my dissertation). Although it was difficult navigating how to enter the store, due to limited street parking which was exacerbated by all of the snow that had been plowed in an inconvenient way, the outside of the shop was lovely… especially because it was connected to a bakery. That was a win-win!

Upon entering the store, my mother and I noticed that the vinegars and oils were stored in beautiful  vistas of fustis, which were gleaming tanks crafted in Italy specifically for the storage and dispensing of the freshest oils and vinegars. The young lady in the shop that day was extremely friendly and allowed us the opportunity to taste every flavor of oil and vinegar that we desired, despite arriving to the store five minutes to closing.

bottle

The flavor infused Extra Virgin Olive Oils included:

Cilantro with Golden Roasted Onion

French Accent Tarragon

Fresh Bright Basil

Fresh Pressed Blood Orange

Fresh Pressed Meyer Lemon

Fresh Pressed Persian Lime

Garden Fresh Gremolata

Heady Garlic

herbes de Provance

Petit Beurre (Little Butter)

Sage with Wild Harvest Mushroom

Smoky Chipotle

Tunisian Harissa

Tuscan Garden

In addition to the flavor infused oils, the store also sells speciality oils such as: Earthy porcini, Finger Lakes Fabulous Squash Seed Oil, Finger Lakes-Good for You Grape Seed Oil, Roasted French Walnut Oil, and White Truffle Oil.

The store also sells an extensive array of aged and flavor-infused balsamic vinegars imported from Italy. Their special reserve balsamic is aged eighteen years to ensure a rich, complex, and smooth taste. Yummy!

The flavor-infused balsamic vinegars include:

12 Year Old Dark

12 Year Old White

Aromatic Oregano

Autumn Cinnamon Pear

Blushing Peach

Cafe Espresso

California Apricot

Clementine Tangerine

Creamy Coconut

Dark chocolate

Farmstand Strawberry

Felix Oliver’s Special 18 Year Old Reserve

Fragrant Vanilla Bean

Ginger Spiked Blackberry

Honeyed Ginger

Lemon Bouquet

Mango Breeze

Mediterranean Cassis

Orchard Ripe Red Apple

Raspberry Treat

Ripe Fig

Royal Pomegranate

Sunny Pineapple

Sweet Rich Cherry

Zesty Grapefruit

I’m going to begin saving my pennies! I plan on purchasing 32 bottles ASAP and using them to further develop my recipes and even plan on trying a few of their recipes (http://www.folivers.com/recipes.html#Coconut). I am excited to use both the EVOO and balsamics, as well as support a local business.

With a Servant’s heart and hands,

The Ebullient Epicurean

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My Guide to (my favorite) Cookware and Bakeware

Growing up, I was indeed spoiled. My mother’s kitchen had the top of the line cookware and utensils. My mother always illustrated that great cookware was just as important as using fresh local ingredients (shout out to the local farms in Upstate New York). There were four brands of cookware that I saw used on my mother’s stove growing up: T-FAL, IMUSA, Le Creuset and Mauviel. I enjoyed out trips to Williams and Sonoma to check out the latest merchandise (http://www.williams-sonoma.com/). Each brand was used for specific recipes, something that I would later understand the importance of as an adult. In my own kitchen I use IMUSA, Mauviel, and Le Creuset. Below I’ll introduce you to each brand and when and why I use that particular brand for certain recipes. 

IMUSA (http://www.imusausa.com/)

IMUSA has various collections, however I mainly use the calderos collection and the kitchen gadgets. The calderos collection, caldero literally means cauldron in Spanish, includes durable cooking pots, which are similar to Dutch ovens. They have a tight-fitting lid. The calderos are great for soups, stews, beans, and most importantly rice. There is no need for a rice cooker, when you have an IMUSA caldero.

caldero

IMUSA also makes great gadgets, that I remember seeing in my great grandmothers’ kitchens. From their kitchen gadget collection I use the wood mortar and pestle. It is perfect for crushing and smashing fresh herbs and spices. If you never use fresh herbs or roast your own spices, you are missing out. Such amazing flavor!

mortar

The last 2 must have gadgets from IMUSA are both associated with my favorite snack… plantains! Plantains are a staple in my cooking and can be steamed, fried, or boiled. When frying them for tostones (patacones) I use IMUSA’s   tostonera which is made from wood. It makes the plantain  just the right thickness and shape, easily flattening sliced plantains and prepares them to be fried.

tostonera

Lastly, I use IMUS’s plantain slicer. This slicer not only is great for slicing perfectly thin plantains, but can also be used to slice vegetables, fruits and cheeses.

plantainslicer

MAUVIEL COOPER COOKWARE

I was first introduced to Mauviel Cooper Cookware on one of my trips with mother to Williams and Sonoma. I was attracted to the cookware because of the color, at first. But I later found that the “color” attributed to the great results I received when sauteeing items. The Mauviel Copper Collection is a heavy gauge 2mm cooper, which ensures that the heat is quickly absorbed into the pan. The stainless steel inside of the cookware results in easy clean up, while the handles provide an elegant French look. The Mauviel sautee pan with lid is a must for your kitchen! The Mauviel collections can be rather costly, so I recommend starting with the sautee pan with lid. It costs approximately $500 for the 3 1/4 QT sautee pan, but is well worth the price. Great for breakfast items, vegetables, and sandwiches.

mauviel

LE CREUSET COOKWARE AND  BAKEWARE

I use Imusa and Mauviel when cooking atop the stove, but when utilizing my oven, Le Creuset is a must (especially when baking and roasting)! When roasting a chicken I always turn to my 3 QT rectangular dish. This dish allows for room for the juices to follow from the bird and moisten the meat, even cooking, and durability in high temperature cooking. For $50 you cannot beat this! They even sell Le Creuset at Marshall’s and TJ MAXX Homestore. Also, they come in an array of bright colors.

lecreuset

The Heritage Pie dish is another great addition to your kitchen if you enjoy baking pies. This dish will ensure that your pie  crust is perfectly browned and flaky – never burnt. The dimpled edge can also be used as a guide for an evenly fluted top crust.
piedish

 That’s a quick introduction to my favorite cook and bakeware! I’d love to hear about some of your favorite cook and bakeware, as well as general cooking utensils! I hope this inspired you to cook, bake, and entertain!

With a servant’s heart and hands,

The Ebullient Epicurean

My Childhood home and kitchen. All that I know now about cooking and baking I learned in my mother's kitchen. Although my parent's have since sold this house, my memories remain.

My Childhood home and kitchen. All that I know now about cooking and baking I learned in my mother’s kitchen. Although my parent’s have since sold this house, my memories remain.