Beyond the Olive

Introduced to me by my mom, this quaint little shop exists in busy Old Town Pasadena.  What you don’t realize from the outside of the store is how delectable the fresh ingredients are on the inside.  Specializing in California extra virgin olive oil, California wine vinegars and balsamic vinegars that are primarily from Italy you can sample any bottle in the store.  Customers can walk to the back by the two rows of spouts where you can pour a taste of the featured oils and vinegars into little plastic tasting cups paired with bits of fresh bread to soak the flavors.  They ‘ll even allow you to return with your empty Beyond the Olive bottles for refills.  And as my husband will agree, you must try the Blue Cheese Stuffed Olives as they are fantastic (especially in martinis)!



Buffalo Chicken Chili

Incredibly homey and delicious on a cold night.  Easy to prep as well!


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2 pounds ground chicken
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 ribs celery with leafy tops, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
  • 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce
  • 1 can tomato sauce (15 ounces)
  • 1 can stewed, fire-roasted or crushed tomatoes (15 ounces)
  • 1 sack whole grain tortilla chips, lightly crushed
  • 3/4 pound Maytag Blue cheese, crumbled
  • A handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
Serves 6, or 4 with some leftovers


Place a large pot over medium-high heat with the EVOO, 2 turns of the pan. Add the ground chicken and break it up, lightly browning it for 5 minutes.

Add the carrots, onion, celery, garlic, paprika and bay leaf and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 7-8 minutes. Add the chicken stock and scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pot.

Add the hot sauce, tomato sauce and the stewed, fire-roasted or crushed tomatoes to the chili and bring up to a bubble. Simmer for 8-10 minutes more to let the flavors come together.

While the chili is simmering, pre-heat the broiler.

Spread the chips out on a cookie sheet. Top with the crumbled blue cheese and transfer to the oven to melt the cheese, 2-3 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the chopped parsley.

Top each serving of Buffalo Chicken Chili with a few blue cheese chips.


Our vacation in Colorado has allowed me some time to pick up the lost art of reading.  Lost for me that is, since prior to our trip I was too consumed with work to even check my personal email account.

Millenium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson

One of the best trilogies I  have had the pleasure of reading is the Millenium trilogy by Stieg Larsson: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.  In the crime/thriller series, the ups and downs of the engaging conspiracy-laden plot hold you in suspense and keep you captivated as you find yourself empathizing with the main characters as they dodge and weave through their trials and tribulations.  Sadly, Larsson died before the first book was published which many claim is part of the conspiracies dripping from his books so he was not able to witness the wild success and attention his stories received. However, the Swedes have already made the first book into a film and a US remake is already in the works. A must read…click here for more info: http://amzn.to/ruxWPF


Love this rendition!