I've been a fan of Pasolivo olive oils since I visited the farm and tasting room in Paso Robles nearly 10 years ago.I was charmed by the owner's wife Joeli Yaguda, the setting on a 130 acre ranch was bucolic and the product was packaged beautifully. And the oils tasted spectacular and bright. The family-owned business was also at the forefront of the California Olive Oil revolution having received accolades from among others, the New York Times, Bon Appetit, Saveur and winning tasting competitions including a top ten ranking by Der Feinschemker, who hosts one of the world's largest international olive oil tastings.
So when I recently ran out of Pasolivo's Kitchen Blend - my go to favorite - rather than ordering one bottle, I decided to join their olive oil club.But I opened the box today and discovered the company had been sold. My heart sank a little and I immediately consulted the google machine.It turns out not only did the family have to sell Pasolivo, Joshua Yaguda and his mother Karen Guth are in jail for perpetrating a Ponzi scheme through their company Estate Financial. According to The Tribune in San Luis Obispo, the mother and son bilked tens of millions of dollars from more than 1,000 people including parents who have lost college funds, elderly or disabled people and even a community church which can no longer pay their pastor.
That's the bad news.
The good news is that the company has been purchased by the Dirk Family of Newport Beach. Even though the Dirks are in the toner and specialty ink business, they apparently have a passion for the central coast and plan to expand the tasting room and enhance the surrounding property.They will continue to produce premium extra virgin olive oils from 11 sustainably grown varietals that are hand-picked, milled and master-blended on site.They've also brought in General Manager Cheryl Wieczorek, who is well known in the community for her work at Justin Winery - one of the area's leading wine producers.
Now I can toss my raw shredded beet and carrot salad with Pasolivo's Tangerine special blend, add a splash of sherry vinegar, salt, pepper and know that in this case, change is good.
I went to Las Vegas recently to attend Cosmoprof North America, which is pretty much ground zero for the beauty industry.With nearly 900 exhibitors from all over the world, it's heaven for product junkies like myself.While I ogled countless nail polish lines, sniffed all kinds of organic hair and skincare products, what made me smile was Besame Cosmetics.I'm late to this party but in this case I say, better late than never.
Besame co-founders Gabriela Hernandez and her husband Fergus are charming brand ambassadors. They truly are cosmetic diplomats since their Los Angeles-based company exports the line to over 10 countries (Dubai included).It's easy to see why Besame has universal appeal.
The 1930s inspired packaging is not only attractive but compliments the classic ideal of beauty it represents.My favorite product is the Crimson Cream Rouge for both cheeks and lips.Its moist texture makes for easy application without streaking.It's the perfect shade of red for a saucy pout and just a dab on the cheeks will have you blushing with delight.This is low-maintenance beauty at its best.
I saw a screening of the documentary Hit So Hard and boy, it was so juicy I pitched a Q&A with Hole drummer Patty Schemel for the new web magazine The Fix. I wanted to hear what she had to say about addiction and recovery since the film profiles Schemel as she grapples with drugs, coming out and her trajectory from rock goddess to street crack whore.
The film showcases her close relationship with Kurt Cobain and the footage of Cobain and Courtney Love is beyond intimate as we see jolting images of the couple sprawled in the play pen with their daughter Frances Bean.Then there's the can't-take-your-eyes off of Love interview where she ravenously eats cookies in her suite at the Mercer Hotel with self-applied make-up that makes her look into a technicolor punk-gone-awry clown.
Like many bands, Hole's dysfunctional family dynamic causes pain and chaos but Schemel's biting humor and her raw revelations make her a sympathetic talent you won't forget. I will say it's hard to reconcile the behind-the-scenes dread and the drug-addled lifestyle with a musical genre that was seminal for so many.Maybe Eddie Vedder was right when he said, "Any generation that would pick Kurt or me as its spokesman, that generation must be really fucked up."
It's Camellia season in my garden and this pure white, silky Camellia of the Japonica Alba Plena variety was a favorite of Coco Chanel.It has no fragrance but such frivolities matter not when so much beauty abounds.Of course the Camellia is an icon in Chanel's designs and she was also influenced by Alexander Dumas' 1848 novel The Lady of The Camellias.In fact, I've been reading Dumas' tale of a "kept" woman in the glamourous Paris of the late 19th century which features courtesanes galor and consumption too.I downloaded it on my iPad via the Free Books app which is a treasure trove of the literary classics you've always wanted to read but that's another blog post....More soon.
In spite of a rough start, the winter vegetable bed is finally ripe for harvest. The whole post-planting period seemed so innocent until I realized that those captivating and beautiful white butterflies with just two black polka-dots were really nasty, ominous warnings. They signified CABBAGE WORMS. Such an ugly name for such a pretty face...isn't she stunning?
How could her spawn cause so much damage? But they did, with abandon. Cabbage worms love to munch anything green and leafy so my dinosaur kale and my pak choi suffered and became hole-ridden, sad and droopy. After consulting various websites I learned that an organic gardening-approved microbial insecticide called Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) would stop the cycle. And, thankfully, it has. Now on to the snails...
butterfly image courtesy of University of Maryland College of Agriculture
Recipe Courtesy of Judy Kameon, who makes Crispy Kale for her son Ian and friends too.
One bunch of Kale, cleaned and deveined.
Preheat Oven to 350 degrees
Lay Kale leaves on cookie sheet, they can overlap a bit but don't layer.
Drizzle evenly with olive oil
Season with Salt and Pepper
Bake 15-20 minutes until crispy (times may vary in different ovens).
Leaves are ready when they are dark green, verging on brown.
Then eat, crunch and enjoy as a side dish or a snack.