Community Journal

A Wicked Good Roux

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Aside from freshly caught shellfish, the other thing required for a killer gumbo is a serious roux (pictured above).
Authentic Cajun roux takes more time to cook (5-6 hours) and must be done in small batches but it is the secret to a rich, layered flavor that make or gumbo truly great.

The Oceanic Dinners (June 11- June 14) are still a week away, but Chef Jonah has already gone into roux production, making a batch or two each day so he’ll have enough for four nights of gumbo & maybe if we’re lucky, he’ll have enough for gumbo in the Cafe.
By |June 5th, 2014|2014, Events, Kitchen Notes|0 Comments

Wowza Sea Scallops

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Seriously. These are down-right beautiful. And just in this morning. If there was a magazine called Sea Scallop Fancy these would be on the cover.
At the time of this posting, Chef Rhodehamel would not commit to a menu preparation (although there were hints at a possible crudo, or perhaps grilled), but would say that they will be on the menu for two nights only starting this evening.

By |June 4th, 2014|This Just In|0 Comments

Purple Artichokes

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This beauties are going to go fast, but they’re on the menu tonight & maybe tomorrow:

Salad of shaved purple artichokes with anchovy, lemon, pine nuts, and Fiore Sardo Pecorino cheese

By |June 4th, 2014|This Just In|0 Comments

Gooseneck Barnacles

Barnacles will be on the upcoming Oceanic Dinners menu, but we’re getting a bit of a teaser this week in a spectacular fritto misto on the current menu through the weekend:

Fritto of Monterey Bay squid, local anchovies, and gooseneck barnacles with saffron aïoli, asparagus, and lemon

The term “barnacle” originally referred only to this species of goose:

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Barnacle Goose

Back in the day, before anyone knew that birds migrated it was believed that these geese developed from the crustacean, since there was no evidence of nests. Because barnacles were often found attached to driftwood it was thought that there was in fact a “barnacle tree” from which geese hatched! It’s actually not that hard to see why the connection was made when you compare the two:
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Although this article claims that they taste like “Poseidon’s armpit, but heavenly, like a mermaid’s burp” (huh? what?) Chef Jonah, never one to mince words, had a less Tolkienesque analogy: geoduck.

In taste? In texture?

Chef Jonah: Both. They taste a lot like small geoduck.

These delicious poppers are a rare occurrence in these parts, so now’s the time to taste for yourself.

By |June 4th, 2014|Kitchen Notes, This Just In|0 Comments

2014 Oceanic Dinners: Early Disclosures

Exceedingly homely, exceptionally delicious!

Exceedingly homely, exceptionally delicious!

We’re only three weeks away from this year’s Oceanic dinners and plans are under way.

We’re extending our long-term focus on fisheries success stories* like this fellow above. Chef Jonah’s treatment should amuse and delight:

Monkfish two ways: pain de mie and scallop mousseline-crusted filet, and torchon of monkfish liver

Other early disclosures:

Cioppino of local fish

Crostino of rouget with bone marrow and soft herbs

Much more to come.

*Once classified as overfished, the monkfish is now rebounding thanks to improved fisheries management.

By |May 19th, 2014|2014, Already happened..., Events|0 Comments

2014 Oceanic Dinners: June 11 – June 14

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We’re only three weeks away from this year’s Oceanic dinners and plans are under way.

We’re extending our long-term focus on fisheries success stories* like this fellow above. Chef Jonah’s treatment should amuse and delight:

Monkfish two ways: pain de mie and scallop mousseline-crusted filet, and torchon of monkfish liver

Other early disclosures:

Cioppino of local fish

Crostino of rouget with bone marrow and soft herbs

Much more to come.

*Once classified as overfished, the monkfish is now rebounding thanks to improved fisheries management.

By |May 16th, 2014|2014, Already happened..., Events|Comments Off

Tajarin with Ragù of Porcini

Thanks to that late burst of rain, Chef Rhodehamel has had a deliciously rich Tajarin with ragù of Porcini mushrooms on the menu for the past few weeks. Because of the recent abundandance, he took the time to tell us what to look for when shopping for porcini & how they can be best used. Hint: those larger ones are GREAT for sauces and stocks.

By |May 13th, 2014|This Just In|0 Comments

Sunday Farmhouse Supper for May 4, 2014

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Sunday Farmhouse Supper menu for April 6, 2014

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Antipasto
Rustic mortadella carpaccio with a caper and lemon vinaigrette and frilly mustard

Primo
Linguine with anchovies, garlic, chili and walnuts

Secondo
Heritage pork shoulder braised in a tomato sauce with potatoes and basil

Dolce
Ricotta and semolina stuffed baked pastry with candied orange

Prix fixe $40.

Served family-style. For groups of one to twelve. Whole table must order prix fixe menu.

(Please note that wine and gratuity are not included.)

call 510-547-5356 or reserve online

Larger parties: please let us know at the time of your reservation if your table will be ordering the Sunday Supper menu so that we can plan accordingly. Thanks!

By |April 4th, 2014|2014, Events, Sunday Suppers 2014|0 Comments

The Challenges of Spring

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As we’re starting to learn, our upcoming Dinners from the Field are providing the Oliveto kitchen with quite a challenge. Much like the Truffle Dinners in autumn and Tomato Dinners in summer, timing is EVERYTHING. We’ve gone ahead and announced the dates (Tuesday, April 8th through Friday, April 11th) now all we can do is cross our fingers and hope some of the showstoppers (MORELS!!!) make it to the show.

That is why this morning’s email from Connie Green was particularly welcome. According to our favorite mushroom whisperer, the first wave of morels should start showing up in approximately two weeks BUT she makes a point of clarifying that the beginning of morel season arrives in fits and starts as the soil begins to warm up from low to high altitudes. So while these recent rains should definitely help the situation, the cooler turn in temperature: not so much. As mentioned prior, fingers crossed.

Ramps should become available around mid-April as well, which is later than usual due to the crazy winter weather throughout the mid-west. Ms. Green also dropped this particularly interesting nugget of forager’s knowledge: beware of “baby ramps”. Apparently ramp bulbs take a number of years to form. So these “baby ramps” are the product of irresponsible picking, a practice that has led some places to ban ramp harvesting. Who knew? Stay tuned for more updates to the Dinners from the Field menu…

By |March 31st, 2014|2014, Dinners from the Field, Events|0 Comments