Tag Archive | "Celebrate the Harvest"

Frogmore Stew: A Seafood ‘Caldo’ to Warm Your Heart

ELMENDORF — On a cool morning in November, with a light haze of rain in the air, Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard set the stage for its first-ever Celebrate the Harvest, Share the Bounty.

It was not the best weather one might have asked for such a festive event. Nevertheless, many braved the elements, headed down to the olive ranch and enjoyed its first — of which should be many to come — harvest celebration.

Sandy Oaks Frogmore Stew croppedPeople crowded into the olive oil seminars, went on tours, sampled a lunch buffet at the Kitchen at Sandy Oaks and tasted the high-quality olio nuovo  produced at the ranch this season. Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard is one of the pioneering olive-growing ranches in the state.

Chimeneas burned brightly against the misty green backdrop of the orchard and olive tree nursery and beckoned to passersby, tempting them to warm their hands at the fire.

But, another warming event at the celebration also lured a steady stream of customers — the Frogmore Stew station.

Here, under a canopy, Sandy Oaks cook Maria Mendoza chopped red potatoes, sliced corn into short cobs and added shrimp to a steaming, large pot of savory seafood broth. The stew was fragrant, perfectly seasoned and a new experience to most, thanks to a recipe from Sandy Oaks’ Chef Chris Cook. Mendoza prepared several potfuls of Frogmore Stew that day.

Frogmore Stew’s origins, according to John Mariani’s “Dictionary of American Food and Drink” is Southern — and it’s “sometimes called Buford stew, possibly after Buford, Georgia.” He says the Southern dish (in some references it’s said to be Low Country) that’s similar to a New England clambake or Maryland crab boil.

There are no frogs in Frogmore Stew. But, there were plenty of pink, steamy shrimp to flavor the stew, which also contains sausage, potato and onion — and, according to the “Dictionary,” it can be served with red beans and rice.

Coming Up: Visit Sandy Oaks’ website here. There’s a Champagne Tasting this Saturday, Dec. 6; an 11 a.m. tour every Saturday and a Garden Brunch in the Kitchen at Sandy Oaks every Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Sandy Oaks Chimanea croppedFrogmore Stew

1 yellow onion
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
2 large ribs celery
2 large cloves garlic
1 bulb fennel, trimmed and chopped, along with some of the leaves
4 tomatoes, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 bunch fresh thyme (bundle, tied with string)
1 6-inch long sprig fresh rosemary
1/2 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
1 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning
6 black peppercorns, roughly chopped
4 quarts chicken stock
4 quarts seafood stock (or, use more chicken broth but add a couple of bottles of clam juice, if desired)
Sea salt, to taste
2 pounds new potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces
6-8 cobs corn, cut into 2-inch pieces cobbettes.
2 pounds gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 pounds andouille sausage, sliced
1 pound chorizo sausage, sliced

Sweat onions, carrots, celery, garlic, fennel, tomatoes until softened. Deglaze with white wine and reduce (let most of the wine cook off.)  Add stocks, bay leaves, herbs, Old Bay Seasoning and simmer for 30 minutes. Season stock with sea salt. Add the potatoes and sausage and cook until the potatoes are almost tender. Put in shrimp and let cook a few minutes until pink and firm, before serving.  Take out the bay leaf, sprig of rosemary and bunch of thyme stems before serving. Taste for salt and, if you like, add more Old Bay Seasoning.

Serves a crowd.

From Chris Cook, executive chef at Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard


Sandy Oaks 2014 Olio Nuovo cropped   Photographs by Bonnie Walker

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Olive Fest! Celebrate the Harvest, Share the Bounty

In August and September, Texas olive growers are full of expectation as they harvest their crops.

In October and November, it’s time to relax and share some of the treasures the harvest brought.

This year, the harvest at Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard, just south of San Antonio, has been nothing less than amazing — the ranch’s best year ever, according to founder and proprietor Saundra Winokur.

Sandy Oaks 2014 Harvest Olives on TarpSo, the team at Sandy Oaks is putting together a day-long, walkaround event that will allow guests to eat, taste, have a glass of wine and educate themselves while enjoying the bounty of local Texas olives.

Celebrate the Harvest, Share the Bounty will be Nov. 15 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

At that time, the public has its first chance to taste Sandy Oaks  oil, or the olio nuovo, that has been milled and is now being stored and allowed to settle for a time. (Read about not just the quantity of oil from this year’s harvest but also its remarkable qualitative aspects by clicking here.)

Celebrate the Harvest, Share the Bounty will include a special menu using local ingredients — many of which will come from the orchard’s garden — and locally crafted beer and wine in Sandy Oaks’ brand new wine tasting room.

How can you say no to cage-free smoked whole chicken with truffle risotto and preserved lemon and wines from local vineyards?

There will also be opportunities to take a step back from the food and drink and really educate yourself on the olive growing and harvesting process. Education stations will be set up with actives centering around planting and cultivation techniques, tutorials and cooking demonstrations.

Live jazz provided by the Sandy Oaks Jazztet will be floating along the air as you wander around the nursery and find a tree to take home and plant —  and all the information you need to pick a delicious variety that will grow well.

Jazz on Sandy Oaks patio part of the serene, country atmosphere.

Jazz on Sandy Oaks patio part of the serene, country atmosphere.

Activities and games for the kids are planned, making this an extremely family-friendly event in the cool fall weather on the beautiful, well-tended grounds of this working ranch.

This year’s harvest has produced what the experts are saying will be the most flavorful and complex olive oil ever produced at Sandy Oaks — the public will be able to appreciate not only the culinary value of Texas olive oil, but also stock up on products such as olive jelly, olive butter, olive leaf tea, olivewood dishes and servingware and a full line of skin care, soaps and beauty products made from the olives and oil at the ranch.

PRICE: $30 per adult;  $15 for children 12 and under

WHERE: Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard, 25195 Mathis Road, Elmendorf, Texas 78112

Find out more by clicking here.


Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard is located on 40 acres in Elmendorf, TX just 20 minutes south of San Antonio. Sandy Oaks is best known for its olive trees, olive oil, and olive leaf based skin and beauty products.  With over 40 acres of olive trees and a nursery that can contain up to 10,000 or more olive seedlings at any given time, Sandy Oaks offers exceptional hospitality and educational services based around the various uses of olive oil.



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