30 July 2009

The Jimtown Store Cookbook

On the Fourth of July in 1987, Carrie Brown and John Werner were returning from a barbecue at Brown’s parents in the Napa Valley. On a winding road they came upon an abandoned store with a “For Sale” sign. The Jimtown store had been on that spot for 100 years in one form or another. Brown and Werner returned to New York with the idea of opening a kind of modern country store. After several years of negotiating, they were finally able to purchase the property.

They returned to the Napa Valley and opened their store with old-fashioned candy, treats and amazing food. Their simple, tasty food made the Jimtown store a stopping place in the Napa Valley. And, in due course The Jimtown Store Cookbook came to be.

The chopped olive salad was added to baguette with ripe brie to make one of their best selling sandwiches, called appropriately, the Jimtown.

Chopped Olive Salad

12 ounces pimiento-stuffed green olives, halved if large
8 ounces pitted Kalamata olives
1/4 cup drained capers
3 tablespoons pure olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped and smashed with the blade of a knife
4 oil-packed anchovy fillets, chopped (optional)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1. In a food processor, combine the green and black olives, capers, oil, oregano, garlic, anchovies, if you are using them, lemon juice and red pepper. Process with short pulses until the mixture is evenly chopped. Do not over process –some texture should remain. Adjust the seasoning.

2. The olive salad can be used immediately, refrigerated for 10 days, or frozen for up to 2 months. Return almost to room temperature before using.

Sadly, John Werner, who was an original partner in the famous Silver Palate specialty store, died. Carrie Brown still lives behind the Jimtown Store, or so I have heard...

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