Out of the Oven… Granny Lála’s Rice Pudding

meCall me Manuel.

Hey guys, remember me? Its your Rare Lynx man in Portugal!

So…I hope you have had a nice week. Mine has been kind of hectic, but anyway I’ve manage to get some time to spend here with you all to show you one more great Portuguese  recipe. You’re special and you deserve the best!

Today I thought about something sweet and immediately this image came into my mind: Avó Lála (Granny Lála). Oh, you should have met Granny Lála because she is the most wonderful person and she puts so much love into her cooking.

$(KGrHqJ,!lgE-9KRpROuBP2PN2r0)g~~60_35Avó Lála is one of my best friends’ granny. Some years ago my friend invited me to spend a week at his parents house, in the extreme north region of Portugal called Minho, right next to Galicia, Spain, a six hour drive from my hometown of Évora. So, I went there and I spent a wonderful time with his family and, of course, Granny Lála. In her 80’s, there she was cooking everyday for everybody. Her sweets were unique! Once I asked her why her food in general and her sweets in particular were so special and taste like heaven and she answered me: “When you are cooking you never think bad thoughts and you always smile”. Well, how about that? Smile and Sugar….”it’s a kind of magic!”


Well, she used to make this rice pudding that would blow everybody’s minds out! The taste and texture were just devine. It was sweet and creamy, there was some saltiness in it and you just wanted to eat more and more of this amazing dessert.

I’m sure you are all curious now about this recipe, huh? It is in fact the most wonderful dessert ever. Anyway, I’m sure some of you are thinking: “Yeah, rice pudding. Who doesn’t know what rice pudding tastes like? How can you surprise me with rice pudding?”.

Alright! Stop saying “rice pudding” so many times! I’m accepting the challenge! I’m going to explain the recipe exactly as Granny Lála taught me, step by step. If you follow my instructions you will blow your family’s and friends minds!!!

Lets go, then…

Saffron Flor de SalIngredients:

  • ¾ cup arborio rice
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. Rare Lynx Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 4 cups whole milk plus 6 Tbsps.
  • 1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon Rare Lynx  Saffron Flor de Sal
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 strip of fresh lemon zest 6 inches long by ½ inch wide
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 egg yolks, we used Liberty Farm free range eggs (these have beautiful deep rich yokes)
  • Ground cinnamon

Place 2 sauce pans on the stove top, 1 large and 1 medium. In the medium pan melt the butter, then add the olive oil. Sauté the rice in the butter and olive oil at medium heat until the rice turns transparent, about 2 minutes. Add the Saffron Flor de Sal. Do not brown the butter! Add the water to the rice and bring to a boil.

Beat the five egg yolks and add to it 4 tablespoons of cold whole milk just to make it more liquified. Mix it well. Let it sit, because we’re going to use it later in the end.

Meanwhile, place the 4 cups of milk, cinnamon stick, vanilla (see here how to use a vanilla bean), sugar and lemon zest in the large saucepan and bring to a slow boil.

Cook the rice for 20 minutes until mostly done – usually it is good when you see no more water and there are some bubbles coming out from holes in the rice. Keep stirring the milk mixture slowly.

Now that the rice is done add it to the slowly boiling milk and stir constantly for another 20 minutes, on low flame. Pay attention here to this step! Granny Lála never, ever stopped stirring, no matter what. The phone could ring, the house could be on fire, a tsunami could be near, but she kept stirring for 20 minutes non stop.

Its time to turn off the heat and cool to 175 degrees. Very slowly add the egg yolks mixed with the cold milk to the rice and milk mixture. Put it back on the very low flame. It’s very important to stir slowly and continually – stir to thicken the mixture but DO NOT OVER COOK the eggs into hard threads – so do not boil! When the mixture is the consistency of thick cream pour onto a serving platter and let cool for 5 minutes . Sprinkle the ground cinnamon to taste on top and refrigerate.

Please….just go to the kitchen now and try it! And don’t forget to smile!

I’ll be back soon with one more of my Rare Lynx recipes.

Greetings from the Rare Lynx man in Portugal! Bye!

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Posted in Out of the Oven, Recipes

Out of the oven…Blend of Seasons

meCall me Manuel.

Hey guys, here I am again, your Rare Lynx man in Portugal!

So…I woke up with this idea (I usually wake up with a bunch of ideas which I forget immediately, but this one got stuck in my mind). What if I put together two flavors: nutty  and savory, using the exquisite Rare Lynx products? I also felt I could bring together cold and warm, since summer is ending, as a blend of seasons. Well, sounded interesting to me. I could create an harmony in a dish! What about that, huh?

Near Seville, right here in Spain, there is a city called Córdoba. Besides being known for its beauty, Córdoba is also known for this fresh, fragrant dish called Salmorejo. Its similar to a gazpacho, but denser, more nutritive and people eat it cold, to cool down from the 118F on the streets. Shepherds and farmers used to make it for lunch., now it is served in restaurants as a traditional delicacy. You can see where I’m going, right? Rare Lynx Wild Red Spread Rice and Samorejo Cordobés! I just can’t tell you how well these two came together. It was like “Wow, this is awesome!”

Ok, then, basically I’ve put together a vegetarian recipe, and I’ve called it


This means you will actually have to make two recipes….lets go for the SALMOREJO. You will need:

The first thing you want to do is to cut the tomatoes in cubes and pop them into the blender and hit the button. Then you strain it, so you get this soft creamy tomato juice. Now we put the juice back into the blender along with all the other ingredients. Click the button and go Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! Some blenders sound like this, others go Vrrrrooooooooommmmm! Careful: don’t ever put it on a blender that goes Rrrratatatatata., cause those are called….tractors.

Open the blender and taste it for salt and acidity. You don’t want it too acid since this is not a gazpacho, this is milder.

You like it huh? Its fragrant, fresh, has a soft tomato and  garlic flavor and the saffron is there too, right? Besides, the silkiness of the olive oil takes it to another level.

Now its time for the WILD RED SPREAD RICE. Ready?

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 cups of brown rice. (whole grain rice is hard to cook, right? Here’s a secret: wash it and soak it in water overnight. The next day just cook it as any other rice. No pressure cooker needed).
  • 3 cups of water to cook the rice
  • 1/4 cup sweet corn
  • 1/4 cup chopped green beans
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms (Our favorite here in Virginia are North Cove Mushrooms)
  • 1/2 cup of peas
  • 1/2 cup of chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup of pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup of minced black olives
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. of Wild Red Spread
  • tsp. of thyme
  • 2 Tbs. of Rare Lynx Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Rare Lynx Flor de Sal
  • mint leaves

First thing you want to do is boil the vegetables and let them sit aside (corn, green beans and peas). Now lets cook the rice. Pop the Rare Lynx Extra Virgin Olive Oil into a deep pan and let it heat a little bit. If you have left the rice soak overnight as I told you before, strain it and throw it on top of the olive oil to give it a fry. Pour the water in and let it cook. Taste it. You will want it “al dente” like the Italian pasta. Take the rice out of the pan and put it in a strainer.

Now comes the fun part! Yay!

Use the same pan where you cooked the rice. Pop in the Wild Red Spread, and a splash of Rare Lynx Extra Virgin Olive Oil along with the thyme, cause we’re going to sauté everything in it. Put the mushrooms in and then the nuts. Let these slightly toast. Add the cooked rice, the olives, and in the end the vegetables. Sauté everything for 1 minute and you will be amazed by the nutty smell released from the pan! Take it out of the oven and sprinkle some mint leaves over.

You gotta pay attention, cause now comes the DIFFICULT PART!!!!!!!!!!!

(drum roll…….)

YOU FRY TWO EGGS!   (or more, depending on how many people you have to feed)

Some of our favorite producers of free range eggs here in Charlottesville are Free Union Grass Farm or Liberty Farm.

wredspreadriceAll you have to do now is just presentation, presentation, presentation. Put the rice on a dish along with the salmorejo and the eggs. As you can see in the picture, I’ve put a layer of rice on the dish, then dug a hole in the middle and poured the salmorejo in (thats the orange/pink cream you see under the eggs).

You can also divide the dish in 3 areas: one for the rice, another for the eggs and the remaining one for the salmorejo. Now its up to you…just be creative!

Finally, drizzle a little bit of Rare Lynx Extra Virgin Olive Oil on it and….. JÁ ESTÁ! (thats Portuguese for “Its done!”).

This is just the most delicious combination of nutty, savory, fresh, and warm sensation in your mouth. Its like tasting the four seasons in a bite, believe me!

I hope you try it…I know you will love it!

I’ll be back soon with one more of my Rare Lynx recipes.

Greetings from the Rare Lynx man in Portugal! Bye!


Posted in Out of the Oven, Recipes

Out of the Oven…Rare Lynx Pork Ribs!

meCall me Manuel…

I’m Portuguese and right now I’m writing  from my home town in Évora, Portugal to tell you about one of my delicious Rare Lynx recipes.

Its around 95 F outside, 1 pm, lunch time and I feel like a good piece of pork meat, a nice salad, and some lemonade…or a good Portuguese red wine, I’m thinking Reguengos – just look it up.

So, I’ve decided to go for it, and bought me a good rack of pork ribs at the local farmers market – we have great pork meat, you guys should try it. And to give it that special taste…well, nothing better than the good and exquisite Rare Lynx Wild Red Spread.

I wanted to add a sweet smokey flavor also, so I opened the door of my fridge and look what I’ve found!  Wildwood’s Hickory Syrup! I needed just a splash of it…

Yeah! These Virginia products are finally being used in Europe, and Portugal is playing a big roll in it.

Ok, are you ready?  By now you guys must be starving!

This is a very easy pork ribs recipe. Basically what you have to bear in mind is the quality of the ingredients you use to season the meat.


To guarantee that quality I’ve used a combination of Rare Lynx products and organic Wildwood’s Hickory syrup. The best products from Virginia…to the World!

Now, here’s what you’re going to need:

All you have to do is give your meat some slight cuts so it absorbs the ingredients. Now its time for the marinade.

Get a bowl and pop  all the ingredients in. Mix them all up and use your hands to give the meat a good rub with this marinade. Let it sit for 3 hours or more. After that, just put it in the oven 428F or 220ºC for an hour or a bit less if you like medium rare. You can grill it instead if you want.

fotografia3Simple as that!


Wow, you have no idea of how delicious this meat is! Tender, spicy, sweet…a mouth full of flavors!

By the way, the pot is traditional portuguese. We use these a lot to go in the oven.

I’ll be writing you some more recipes soon!

Hope you enjoy.

Greetings from the Rare Lynx man in Portugal! Bye!

Posted in Out of the Oven, Recipes

Monticello Heritage Harvest Festival

DSC04494What a perfect day we had at the Heritage Harvest Festival last weekend. Not only did we enjoy the exquisite weather, but the view, the folks, and our fellow vendors! We were so busy, we weren’t able to get out much, but we especially want to mention some of our wonderful neighbors at the event, who have been a great  inspiration to us. We love the pioneering spirit, of each and everyone of them!

DSC04496Let’s start with our next door neighbors Wildwood’s Hickory Syrup, soon to be Falling Bark Farm Syrup. Joyce and Travis have discovered a  truly lost treasure, hickory syrup, made from the bark of hickory trees, and are working around the clock to bring this beautiful syrup to all! Who could have imagined? Christopher has been experimenting with blending hickory syrup with our Wild Red Spread to make amazing marinades.

Then there is Rachel Williamson’sFair Weather Farm beautiful home grown herbs, flowers, teas, and bark baskets, all produced on her little farmstead in Nelson. You go girl!

Relay Foods the most awesome online farmers market anywhere! These guys are brilliant. If you can’t make it to City Market this is the answer for you! Including ordering your Rare Lynx products!

Best of What’s Around with their highest quality grass fed beef, it is the best of what’s around! Tracey Love seems to be wonder woman between selling beef and organizing fund raising events for worthy local food initiatives through Hill and Holler.

Blue Ridge Pizza take after our own heart with their portable wood fired pizza oven, they are making the best pizza we have tasted this side of the Atlantic!

Then of course, last but not least, our favorite vinegar makers Virginia Vinegar Works, who make the best artisanal vinegars we’ve ever tasted, and the perfect companions for our olive oil! Steph and Jay, are another awesome couple who are producing vinegar drawing from Virginia vineyards and breweries, using a 17th century French technique.

DSC04489DSC04487We were also very pleased to have Rare Lynx Flor de Sal featured at the Grand Preview dinner Friday evening catered by the inimitable A Pimento.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by our table! We are already looking forward to next year. Please join us on Saturday September 28th for more tastings, at the Monticello Shop too!

Posted in Friends of Rare Lynx

Thomas Jefferson’s Olive Passion

“The olive tree is surely the richest gift of Heaven.”

                                                                                                                     Thomas Jefferson

Olive Branch on Great Seal

Olive Branch on Great Seal

 What do Thomas Jefferson and Rare Lynx have in common? Most people know of Thomas Jefferson’s passion for botany, but did you know that the olive tree was at the top of Jefferson’s lists of most valuable plants? Long before his presidency and after, Jefferson was enamored of the olive tree and the nourishing oil produced from its fruit. His admiration for the olive tree is reflected in his effusive writings, when he says it is “…the most interesting plant in existence.”, “…one of the most precious productions of nature”, and “…contributes most to the happiness of mankind.” 

Gardens at Monticello

Gardens at Monticello

It was during Jefferson’s three month  journey of 1787 through the Mediterranean and Alpine regions of Europe that his passionate inspiration to develop an olive colony in the United States was born. In his list of most significant contributions to the nation in 1800, his introduction of the olive tree to the United States came just under his sweeping revision of Virginia laws. In fact he had such regard for the olive tree that he insisted that the olive branch be included on the Great Seal.

Here are some interesting facts about the inclusion of the olive branch on the Great Seal. First of all notice that the olive branch is in the right talon of the eagle representing peace, which counterbalances the arrows indicating might in the left. The eagle always faces towards the olive branch. Jefferson being the great mediator that he was, wanted this to show that the United States was willing to offer the hand of peace first, and force when needed.  It is also worth noting that there are 13 leaves and 13 olives, representing the 13 original colonies in the Union.



Though his extensive efforts over 30 years failed, due to the inhospitable climate of the south, primarily due to humidity, he elevated olive oil to the exclusive company of wine and books as a “necessary of life.” We could not agree with him more! Until his death he imported olive oil from France, Italy, and according to Dr. Walter Willett of Harvard University, barrels of it from Portugal.

And there you have it!


1. www.monticello.org/site/research-and-collections/mediterranean-journey-1787

2. http://stevegarfield.blogs.com/videoblog/2007/08/olive-oil-and-t.html

Posted in Friends of Rare Lynx

Meet Manuel Dias: Our Man in Portugal!

Manuel joining us at the City Market!

Manuel joining us at the City Market!

Some of you might have met our good friend Manuel Dias at the City Market or at the Edible Food Fest in Orange in the past few weeks!

Manuel who has been our teacher, tutor, guide, translator, assistant in navigating the ins and outs of Portuguese red tape, and good friend, has been visiting us from Portugal for the past month, his first visit ever to the United States!

He is a professor of Portuguese literature; is fluent in 3 languages (Portuguese, Spanish, and English); has a masters of jazz from the renowned Hot Club of Lisbon, as a fabulous vocalist singer; is a bonsai hobbyist; and has been collaborating with the University of Évora  in computational thinking studies, especially as is related to the learning of languages. Oh and did I mention, a great cook to boot!

In 2008, not long after arriving in Évora  Portugal, I contacted Manuel who had been recommended to us as a tutor of Portuguese. We met with him for several months 2 to 3 times a week in an attempt to learn Portuguese which we supposed would not be such a great leap from learning Italian, as Christopher already spoke some Italian and I had been studying while in Sicily. Well, despite Manuel’s good efforts and ours, Portuguese proved to be extremely challenging, and we found ourselves far more engaged in developing a long standing friendship.

grandmother olive treeHow wonderful it has been to have him here and to give him a taste of American culture, and cuisine. We just want to offer our great thanks and appreciation for this great friendship and partnership, in making Rare Lynx possible. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Posted in Friends of Rare Lynx, Out of the Oven

A Real Deal!

5 liter jugGet REAL! No, we are not joking!

Listen up, restaurateurs, caterers, food cooperatives, families, and neighborhoods: Think about grabbing a case of our 5 liter jugs at unreal prices for REAL olive oil!

Rare Lynx has been doing so well since our launch we are gearing up for our return to Portugal to participate in the 2013 harvest this Fall, observe the pressing, and arrange our next shipment of the freshest extra virgin olive oil around. This means we have to clear inventory space to make room for the 2013 products. The situation means big savings for those interested in bulk purchases.

DSC03562This is a rare opportunity to nab some of our 2012 Gold Medal Award Winning Extra Virgin Olive Oil at a rock bottom price when buying in bulk quantities. These jugs were filled at the mill and have been stored in the dark at 68 degrees. We do not want one drop of this special olive oil to be lost!

Each case has four of our 5 liter jugs.

  •  Now only $280 for 20 liters. That’s only $14 a liter! (Original price $700 a case.)
  • For bulk quantities of 4 cases or more we are offer $240 per case, only $12.00 a liter!
  • or just buy an awesome 5 liter jug, now only $137 from $175

At these prices we are practically selling at cost!

So, spread the word to anyone, especially to those in the food industry or food buying clubs and co-ops who share an appreciation for the finest extra virgin olive oil, derived from ancient olive trees in Portugal. If you want the health benefits promised from using extra virgin olive oil—to say nothing about the difference that bonafide extra virgin olive oil imparts to your recipes—you have to eat REAL!

We will keep this deal running while quantities last.

So, Get REAL, Get Rare!

Posted in Special Deals

A small plug for Cork

Old Cork Oak Tree - Aqueduct Evora

Ancient Cork Oak Tree – Aqueduct Evora

Many people do not know that cork comes from the bark of a cork oak tree. These extraordinary trees with their broad reaching arms, can grow to be 150 to 200 years old, are evergreen, and have the very unique characteristic of growing a renewable bark, which is the cork. This extremely thick durable bark layer can be harvested approximately every 9 years. Cork is completely hand harvested, requires no chemicals or artificial means to produce, is completely recyclable making it one of the most ecologically, sustainable products on the planet! Cork oak forests are integrally significant to the planet’s biosphere second only to the Amazonian rain forests in highest levels of forest biodiversity, providing habitat to numerous endangered plant and animal species such as the Iberian Lynx, Iberian Imperial Eagle, and the Barbary Deer. Portugal produces 50% of the world’s cork supply, making it the biggest producer of cork in the world! Portugal has implemented the most stringent conservation practices of the few regions where cork oak forests can grow, and provides economic sustenance to thousands of family farmers who have been harvesting cork for generations. Our bottles are capped with authentic corks from Portugal!

So put a cork in it!

Cork Oak Forest

Posted in Miscellaneous

Judy’s Wild Red Spice Tomato Soup

Judy’s Wild Red Spice Tomato Soup

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Cookie sheet of tomatoes, cut
  • 1 small onion, slivered
  • 1 garlic glove, cut in half
  • 2 – 3 T Rare Lynx Wild Spiced EVOO
  • 1 – 2 T Wild Red Spread
  • salt and pepper
  1. Toss to coat tomatoes
  2. Roast 30 minutes, stirring once…roast until soft…taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.
  3. Cool slightly
  4. Put into blender. Do not puree.
  5. Put into a good saucepan, add milk (about 1½ cups) and cook until simmering, stir occasionally.

Try it with basil and parsley!
More recipes…

Posted in Recipes

Food, Fun, and Fests!

Reston Great Grapes Wine and Food Festival!

Front Royal Wine and Craft Festival!

Rare Lynx has been incredibly busy since our launch at the beginning of the year!  We had our debut  at the Charlottesville City Market Art Show in February, followed by the Virginia Spring Market 3 day fair in Doswell, The Reston Wine and Food Festival, and the Front Royal Wine and Craft Festival, as well as participating in the awesome Tom Yum Food Festival where we got to present a talk telling about our olive oil ventures! We also have a booth at the Charlottesville City Market every other Saturday. It has been a whirl wind of activity and we have loved meeting all of the people who have visited our tables, other vendors, and sharing about our passion and our products! It has been inspiring to see peoples true desire to seek out quality food, which to us means quality of life!

Posted in Rare Lynx On the Road

Welcome to Rare Lynx!

Denise Hyland under an old olive treeRare Lynx has had a life of its own in many ways. It has been a true Odyssey, a personal journey of discovery full of lessons and hidden treasures, with food at its center. We are frequently asked questions regarding our story, our experiences, and inspirations. We hope to answer some of them here and share in our quest to bring you the very best for your table. Welcome! Thanks for joining us! Denise

Thanks to our lovely customers, WE ARE ALL SOLD OUT! Please use the contact page to reach us. Dismiss