Quintessenza honeys: Single origin honeys, man and bees working
together; Mieli Thun’s top production.
This product is a culinary dinosaur. Some 100 years ago, there was an Americanization of Mexican cooking that took place. What were dishes from our neighbor to the south, were Americanized and there was born the notion that they should be fancied up and called “Spanish.” Hence, we have “Spanish” rice and “Spanish” sauces neither of which have anything to do with peninsular Spain, but everything to do with Mexico.
Typical Mexican dishes were transformed into new creations such as tamale “pie.” A problem for the average American household was how to spice these dishes. Spice blends such as L&d Spanish Style Seasoning were created. They simplified cooking and made dishes taste authentic (almost.)
But “tamale pie” for those of us of a certain age, was a special treat. Almost exotica. While nothing like traditional tamales, tamale pie was not wrapped in corn husks and steamed, but is a baked casserole dish.
However, on page 263 in El Cocinero Español, California’s earliest foreign language cookbook, published in San Francisco in 1898 by Encarnación Pinedo, she writes about “Tamales al vapor” as “Última novedad,” the latest fashion. In the recipe a pan is lined with “masa,” prepared cornmeal, filled with chicken or other meat and covered with masa and steamed in a pan of water for several hours.
It seems obvious that the fiddly part of tamale production, wrapping with the “hojas” or dried corn husks, is avoided. I do not know if this “latest fashion” was created from the American tamale pie or gave rise to it. However it is, the recipe for tamale pie on the little jar of L&D Spanish Style Seasoning makes a delicious dish and even if you use this seasoning only for it, L&D Seasoning is well worth its cost.
L&D Spanish Style Seasoning, born in 1920, has had three owners; the original founders, the first purchaser and now the Patterson family. L&D Seasoning has been sold at Corti Brothers ever since we started in business. We can send you a copy of some of the original recipes using L&D. Just ask for them.
In September of 2000, Corti Brothers imported a wonderful Cretan olive oil from a noted producer. Then called Biojoy, now called Cretalife, we have it again. I first tasted this olive oil in early December 1999, on an oil trip to Greece. The Psillakis family, Nicola and his son Manolis, produce this olive oil on their groves at Zymbragos, in the Kissamos district in the Kolymvari Protected Denomination of Origin, near Chania, the island capital.
Produced from Koroneiki, the most important olive cultivar in Greece, Cretalife olive oil is organically farmed and is extracted using the selective filtration “Sinolea” system where steel blades penetrate the olive paste and the oil drips off the blades. With this system, oil is literally extracted without pressure merely using the attraction of oil to metal.
Nicola Psillakis is the founder of the Subtropical Plant and Olive Tree Institute of Crete and is the former Secretary for Agriculture of the Greek nation. His estate produces one of Greece’s finest olive oils. Cretalife olive oil is greenish in color, with the delicate, cut grass aroma and flavor of Koroneiki with medium fruity intensity. It has the pepperiness of a green olive oil, but low bitterness. From one of the best estates in one of Greece’s finest producing regions, Cretalife is a tribute to one of the oldest olive oil producing regions of the world.
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