Making A Fresh Start
Hopefully you have recovered from the shock of Losing Your Virginity: Olive Oil, Part I and are ready to reclaim it.
You’ve tossed out any nasty store bought olive oils in your pantry and maybe even have a fresh, new bottle of real olive oil that you are ready to start using.
Haven’t bought one yet? Try this adorable little can from the Pineapple Cooperative. Click either image to jump to the site.
Pay Attention To The Flavor
Are you going to notice a difference when you start cooking with your new oil?
Not at first, but give it time. Remember to keep your saute pans to medium heat when cooking with olive oil or you’ll burn everything. This is especially true if you use non-stick or ceramic coated pans – they are manufactured to meet your needs over medium heat. Turn the stove on, wait 30 seconds, add the oil, wait 1 minute before adding food.
You DO want food to sizzle at least a little when it hits the pan. You DON’T want it to sear so fast that the outside starts to stick and burn before the food is cooked.
Once you cut vegetable and canola oils out of your life, you’ll notice it if you try to go back. You’ll be able to taste their heavier, cloying flavor.
There is so much more to olive oil than to cook with it.
You’ve invested in a slightly more expensive but high quality product. To really experience the flavor, start using it outside the saute pan.
Dress It Up – Homemade Salad Dressings
While you are going through the pantry chucking out rancid olive oil, might as well hit the refrigerator door too.
You know that row of store-bought salad dressings that takes up valuable space on your door? Toss them all! Well, maybe keep the green goddess and ranch for now but definitely get rid of any oil based bottles.
Making your own dressings is easy and quick. There are endless options, but let’s get you started with a few 5-minute basics that you can use daily.
Start With A Mason Jar
Get a small mason jar with a screw-on lid.
Pour 1/4 cup of your best quality olive oil into the jar. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Use my starter recipes below – add the other ingredients, put the lid on tight and shake it up.
Click To Drop Down Each Recipe
Simple Red Wine Vinaigrette
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Simple Champagne Vinaigrette
2 tbsp champagne or white wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Honey Mustard Dressing
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon or brown mustard
1 tsp honey
There. Your done!
You just made your own salad dressing in less than 2 minutes.
You can keep any unused dressing in the fridge. Just take it out a few minutes before you’re ready to use it again to give the oil a chance to warm up – shake well and serve! This quantity makes enough to dress one dinner salad (4 servings). Double everything if you want to – still fits in that small jar.
One of my favorite easy dressings is a Simple Lime Vinaigrette. Start with your base and add 2 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice. Done. I use this on my Kale and Avocado Salad, a super fast and easy salad that is a nice break from the normal iceberg-cucumber-and-tomato side salad.
Homemade olive oil based dressings are also super versatile on grain salads. I posted a Prosciutto and Golden Beet Farro Salad recipe earlier this week – a warm farro salad tossed with a vinaigrette (I kicked up the white wine recipe a notch by adding a half of a sliced shallot and a small splash of maple syrup).
And we can’t cover olive oil without talking about homemade pesto. Jenny’s Basil & Cashew Pesto is made with quality olive oil.
Once you have a jar of pesto in the fridge, you can whisk a little with more olive oil to make a pesto drizzle – use that on Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce & Pasta when you don’t have fresh basil leaves.
The Big Finish
The most luxurious way to honor your special olive oil is to use it to “finish” pretty much anything.
Drizzle it over cooked meat (like a roasted leg of lamb – OMG!)
Drizzle it over pasta dishes – seriously, put a little drizzle on your spaghetti and meatballs once you plate it. Trust me.
Drizzle it over an avocado half (see my Avocado and Goat Cheese Salad).
Drizzle it over soups for added richness.
Drizzle it over seared fish. Overcooked that salmon just a tad? Olive oil to the rescue.
I posted a tasty recipe for Spicy Kale, White Bean and Zucchini Stuffed Shells recently. The recipe calls for just a little tomato sauce. When the shells came out of the oven, they looked a little dry. My first instinct was to use more tomato sauce, but when I did it hid the delicious flavors of the white bean mixture. A drizzle of olive oil next time…..
Outside the Kitchen – Your New Favorite Beauty Product
One of the absolute BEST uses for good olive oil is as lip butter. Put a dab on your finger and brush it on. Nothing works better or faster for dry, cracked lips. Put THAT in your essential oil roller vials!
If you didn’t jump on the coconut oil band wagon for dry skin care, skip it and use your olive oil. It absorbs better and doesn’t leave a greasy residue.
Ran out of shaving cream? Olive oil.
Cracked cuticles and dry fingernails? Olive oil.
Olive Oil in the Medicine Cabinet?
As it turns out, the chemical structure of olive oil is almost identical to Ibuprofen. Try olive oil on painful burns.
Baby teething? Rub a little olive oil on the gums.
Olive oil also has antibacterial properties…you can throw out that nasty Neosporin now.
We won’t talk about what the ancient Greeks used olive oil for…but there is reason it was in the bedside table.
Guess what other bottle you can throw out now?
That little tip is my belated Valentine’s Day gift to you 🙂