A Sentiment

God knew what He was doing when He sent a gentle breeze and brought a lovely butterfly to set my heart at ease. The happiness of your friendship and the gentleness of your words have touched my life in special ways and now I feel assured. Thank you for your loyalty and for reading everyday. I only hope you find things to make a happy day.

Monday, February 7, 2011

My Experience With Olive Oil

This first part may bore you a little, but read on and I'll tell you about my cooking experiences with all things "olive"
It seems full fat salad dressing can boost the body’s ability to absorb disease-fighting compounds called carotenoids found in many dark green leafy vegetables. Carotenoids are fat-soluble; therefore eating them with some fat makes it easier for the body to absorb them.
When it comes to choosing a full fat salad dressing, you’re best bet is a vinaigrette that contains heart healthy canola or olive oil, opposed to creamy type dressings. To boost your intake of carotenoids, choose dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, Romaine lettuce and collard greens as the base of your salad.

When eaten together, lemon does more than add a burst of flavour to spinach; it also makes the iron in spinach more absorbable in the body. In fact, the vitamin C found in lemon boosts the quality of plant-based protein making more similar to the protein found in fish and red meat.
It turns out this effect isn’t just limited to lemon and spinach. Any food rich in vitamin C, such as strawberries, bell peppers, papayas and oranges can boost the iron absorption from plant-based sources of the mineral, including beans and lentils, whole grain products and dark leafy vegetables

I found the above on the internet this morning when I was searching for some healthy recipes. We have bottles of salad dressing in the fridge right now. Some are oil based and some are the creamy variety. I guess that we should just toss the unhealthy ones and go with a simple vinaigrette made with a good olive oil and a vinegar or lemon juice. I was making a pasta salad yesterday, to take to a funeral luncheon at our Church. I really didn't like the choice of salad dressings that I had on hand, so I decided to make one. Here is what I did...

2 Tablespoon Sweet hot mustard
1/4 teaspoon garlic
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

I whisked together the mustard, garlic, apple cider vinegar, and honey. Slowly drizzle olive oil into honey mustard mixture while whisking. When finished with this step the honey mixture should be creamy and well mixed.

I just experimented with this...I found that it was tasty and would be good on almost any salad or even a dipping sauce. The dressing was perfect for the pasta salad...today I have to add some shrimp and it will be ready to take over to the Church. We have two funerals this week, so I am making Chili Mac to take over too.

I wrote above...a good olive oil. What is a good olive oil? We have tried the cheaper brands and found that they either have no flavor or a harsh flavor or smell like burned food when cooking with them. One day Joe said, "What's that smell?" We both could smell the oil with almost a burned scent. I haven't used that brand since. I like the Colivita brand. Extra Virgin Olive Oil. "Extra" is the highest grade for olive oil--the best you can buy. The virgin oil produced from the mechanical pressing described above may be called "extra" if it has less than 1% free oleic acid, and if it exhibits superior taste, color and aroma. Thus, the "extra" in extra virgin olive oil means "premium," or simply, "the best."I guess with olive oil you get what you pay for. I keep canola oil in my cupboard too. I like to use it where an olive oil won't do.

I traveled to Greece years ago, and really enjoyed the Greek way of living and eating. They are so relaxed at their meal and really take time to enjoy the company and the food. We went off the beaten path to little restaurants in the countryside. All along the way there we saw people in the olive groves. Some were Gypsys and they came up to the car to try to sell us baskets of vegetables. Some of the little places we ate at were like eating in someone's home. We were invited into their kitchens and we were served the most delicious food. Everything was made with olive oil. Lemons were used in many dishes. Joe, being Sicilian, loves olives. We have olives with so many meals. They are like a staple for him. His Grandma used to make bread every week. They dipped the fresh bread in olive oil. He loves a platter with an assortment of cheeses and olives. We make a dish with just green peppers and onions, garlic and ground beef in a skillet. He always goes to the store and gets a loaf of Italian bread to eat with this dish. I'll put the recipe here later. I could go on and on about this topic. We eat so many salads and with a different vinaigrette you can change the flavor of the whole thing. I'll put Joe's recipe for fried peppers tomorrow. he doesn't measure ingredients just knows by instinct what to do, so it won't be an exact recipe, but one that I think you can follow. This isn't one of our healthier meals, however. Once in a while you just have to get off the beaten path of healthy eating and really enjoy some peasant food from a Sicilian kitchen :)


FlowerLady said...

I love cooking with Extra Virgin olive oil. The flavor is wonderful for so many dishes.

I use Canola for recipes that won't do with an olive oil flavor, and I use Sesame Oil for oriental dishes. Delicious!

I posted the steak roll recipe for you in my blog.

Happy cooking/baking/eating,


southernlady64 said...

Very interesting article. I enjoyed it and learned something, too. Your salad dressing sounds so good. I will have to try that for sure. It is snowing here again today!

One Woman's Journey said...

I cook most of the time with olive oil. Like to mix up my own dressing. Do not like those from the store.
A great post...
Stay warm..