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Black Bean and Corn salad

Black Bean and Corn Salad

Yum, I can eat this salad by the bowlful, it’s great over mixed greens and probably best eaten as a dip with salty tortilla chips.  It’s simple and healthy.  Try using garlic or citrus infused olive oil for more flavor.

Ingredients:

2 c frozen corn
1 can black beans – drained and rinsed
¾ c chopped red pepper
¼ c chopped red onion
1 sm chopped fine jalapeño
4 tbsp fresh lime juice
3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste
¼ c finely chopped cilantro over the top just before serving

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together and enjoy!

Black Bean and corn salad

Homemade Paella

Paella

 

Ahhh, summer always reminds me of Paella.  The quintessential Spanish dish.  Slightly crunchy rice and tangy, lemon-drenched seafood.  A dish I never thought I could make.  But turns out it’s not that difficult.

You can make Paella with whatever meat and vegetables you choose, traditionally it is a little like Jambalaya with shrimp, sausage, chicken and mussels.  However use whatever you like or whatever looks good at your local market.

At first the recipe looks overwhelming but be persistent, I believe in you.

First find a good skillet, if you have cast iron or aluminum use it, if you only have nonstick the rice might not get as crispy on the bottom but the paella will still be delicious.

A few more attempts and I'm hoping mine looks this good!

A few more attempts and I’m hoping mine looks this good!

Ingredients:

1/2 lb of shrimp

2 chicken thighs cut into bite size pieces

2 links of spicy sausage of your choice

4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil divided

2 pinches of Spanish Saffron soaked in 1/4 cup water for 15-30 minutes

4 cups of chicken broth

4 cloves of garlic finely chopped

1 medium onion medium chopped

1 green or red bell pepper finely chopped

2 tomatoes finely chopped (or one can of diced tomatoes, drained)

1 tsp Spanish Paprika

2 tsp dried oregano

1 tbsp of red pepper flakes

2 cups of short grain white rice

1 bunch of parsley, chopped

1/4 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice

lemon wedges for serving

 

Directions:

Clean, shell and devine your shrimp.  Set aside.

In your paella pan first saute chicken in 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat, about 4 minutes on each side or until browned.  Set aside.

Next in same pan saute your sausage over medium high heat, about 8 minutes or until browned.  Set aside.

Combine saffron and broth in saucepan and simmer but do not boil.

In paella pan saute 2 tbsp olive oil (you can use more if you’d like), onion, peppers and garlic over medium heat until browned about 10 minutes.  Then add paprika, oregano, red pepper and rice.  Saute for another five minutes until rice starts to brown.  Then add tomatoes, parsley, broth, chicken and sausage.  Bring to low boil and allow to simmer covered for about 10-15 minutes.  Do not stir.  Nestle shrimp and/or mussels into top of rice when liquid is almost gone and simmer for another 5 minutes.

If rice is still hard but liquid is all absorbed you can add a little hot water and allow to simmer 5 more minutes..

When liquid is all gone and rice is chewy remove from heat and sprinkle with lemon juice.  Allow to stand covered for 10 minutes (if you can wait!) and then eat.  Garnish with lemon wedges if you like.

You can also add peas, green beans or any other meats or vegetables you have on hand.  It’s great with infused olive oils as well.  This makes enough for 6-8 people.

Try it and send us your pictures on Facebook!

olive oil, health

Olive Oil vs Coconut Oil

 

Whats the difference and which one is better for you??

In the 90′s there was no question that Extra Virgin Olive Oil was the healthiest of oils.  Second best was Canola Oil which was certainly better than Coconut Oil which was the evil but delicious oil that made movie theater popcorn so yummy.

But in the last few years I started hearing about how healthy coconut oil is.  Could this be true?  It is filled with saturated fat which is the bad fat right?  I also discovered avocado oil, sunflower oil and fish oil.  Fad diets have gone from low fat to Atkins to the current Paleo trend.  With it our perception of oils and fats has changed significantly.

olive oil, health

So what’s the truth?

A quick review of nutrition and you’ll remember all foods are either carbohydrates, proteins or fats.  Fats are made from fatty acids and glycerol.  The body needs fatty acids to make hormones and other chemicals our bodies need.  The body can make some fatty acids but there are some such as Linolenic and Linoleic fatty acids that your body cannot make and you must consume in your diet.   You also need fat to digest the fat soluble vitamins.

So lets be fair, fat is not evil.  You need some fat in your diet; most nutritionists recommend that about 30% of your calories come from fat.  But there are different kinds of fat.  “Saturated” refers to the number of hydrogen atoms in a molecule of fat.  Most oils are a combination of the different types of fats.

      • Mono-unsaturated Fats could contain one more hydrogen atom.  They are liquid at room temperature and have been shown to reduce blood cholesterol.  Canola, Olive and Peanut Oils are examples of mostly monounsaturated fats.
        • Poly-unsaturated Fats could contain two or more hydrogen atoms.  They are liquid at room temperature and have been shown to reduce cholesterol.  Seafood and vegetable oils have high amounts of polyunsaturated fats.  Omega-6 and Omega-3 are the two main types of polyunsaturated fats and they are made from two main essential fatty acids Linoleic Acid and Linolenic Acid.  These we must eat, the body is unable to build these.
              • Linoleic Acid is needed to build omega-6 fatty acids.
              • Linolenic Acid is needed to build omega-3 fatty acids.
        • Saturated fat is solid at room temperature, which is why it is also known as “solid fat.” Saturated fats contain as many hydrogen atoms as they can.  It is mostly in animal foods, such as milk, cheese, and meat.  It is also in coconut and palm oil.  Saturated fat raises cholesterol in the blood which can cause cardiovascular disease.  The thicker a fat is the more likely it is to be saturated.
      • Trans fats do not occur naturally in nature but are man made by “saturating” unsaturated fats by adding hydrogen to them.  Trans fats are generally accepted to be unhealthy and in fact are being removed from many products.  The most common is partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.Many studies conducted over years have shown that mono and poly unsaturated fats lower blood cholesterol and reduce risk for cardiovascular disease while saturated fats raise cholesterol and health risks.

Types of fat in common oils

Oil Saturated
fat %
Mono- unsaturated
fatty acid %
Poly- unsaturated
fatty acid %
linolenic
fatty acid %
linoleic
fatty acid %
Almond
8.2%
69.9%
17.4%
0.0%
17.4%
Brazilnut
24.4%
34.8%
36.4%
0.0%
36.0%
Butter
51.4%
21.0%
3.0%
0.0%
0.0%
Canola
7.1%
58.9%
29.6%
9.3%
20.3%
Cashew
19.8%
58.9%
16.9%
0.0%
16.5%
Cocoa Butter
59.7%
32.9%
3.0%
0.1%
2.8%
Coconut
86.5%
5.8%
1.8%
0.0%
1.8%
Corn
12.7%
24.2%
58.7%
0.7%
58.0%
Hazelnut
7.4%
78.0%
10.2%
0.0%
10.1%
Macadamia
15.0%
78.9%
1.7%
0.0%
1.7%
Olive
13.5%
73.7%
8.4%
0.6%
7.9%
Peanut
16.9%
46.2%
32.0%
0.0%
32.0%
Pecan
8.0%
62.3%
24.8%
1.0%
23.6%
Safflower
9.6%
12.6%
73.4%
0.2%
73.0%
Sesame
14.2%
39.7%
41.7%
0.3%
41.3%
Soybean
14.4%
23.3%
57.9%
6.8%
51.0%
Walnut
9.1%
22.8%
63.3%
10.4%
52.9%

*Data taken from  USDA Nutrient Database

So it seems pretty clear that Olive Oil is much heart healthier than Coconut Oil which is mostly saturated.  So why have I been hearing that coconut oil is healthy?  Even butter has less saturated fat than coconut oil. (Go Julia Child!)

It turns out that saturated fats can be divided into long chain fats and medium chain fats. Coconut oil is made mostly of a medium chain fatty acids called Lauric Acid.  There are early studies which show that although Lauric acid raises your bad cholesterol it also raises good cholesterol.  There are also small studies that concluded coconut oil aids in weight loss and helps memory in alzheimer patients.  The studies to date have not been rigorous and are not convincing.

olives, olive oil

Olive Oil on the other hand has had many large and long studies concluding that Olive Oil is good for longevity, fights against cancer, prevents heart disease, slows down Alzheimers, protects bones and aids in weight loss.  And it’s delicious!

I believe moderation and balance is the key to a healthy life.  A variety of different oils and unprocessed foods should be eaten to provide the body with the wide range of nutrients and fuel it needs.  Years of evidence points to high quality, fresh Extra Virgin Olive Oil having lots of health benefits.  So while coconut oil is occasionally delicious, you’ll still find Olive Oil on our table as our staple oil.

 

Orange Infused Olive Oil Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Family recipes are our favorite. Not only have they been proven to be winners at the dinner table, but because they’re handed down from generation to generation, with each generation adding a special twist, they’re unique to that family. We believe that just because the recipe is decades old and is delicious, it doesn’t mean it can’t be improved.

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Take my grandmother’s carrot cake recipe, for instance. I have loved this dessert since I was a kid and I still make it today. My grandmother always used vegetable oil, but I’ve found through trial and error that substituting orange infused extra virgin olive oil gave this classic dessert a richer, deeper flavor. If you want to be really fancy and impress your friends and family, add a thick layer of homemade cream cheese to the top when it’s done baking.

So, without further ado, here’s my grandmother’s carrot cake recipe with the Mediterranean Drizzles twist.

Ingredients

Carrot Cake    

  • 1.5 Cups of Orange Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 Cups Sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 Tsp. Vanilla
  • 1 Cup Crushed Pineapple
  • 2 Cups Finely Grated Carrots
  • 2.5 Cups Flour
  • 1 Tsp. Baking Soda
  • ½ Tsp. Salt
  • 1 Tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 Cups Nuts (Baker’s Choice)
  • 1 Cup Raisins (Optional)
Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 ½ – 2 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Softened Butter
  • 6 oz. of Cream Cheese
  • 1 Tsp. Vanilla
  • 1-3 Tbsps. Milk (If Necessary for Consistency)
IMG_1852

 

Carrot Cake Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  2. Prepare 9×13 inch baking pan with nonstick spray or grease and flour

  3. Cream together the olive oil, sugar, vanilla and eggs

  4. Integrate pineapple and carrot to mixture

  5. Mix in flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon

  6. Put mixture into baking pan

  7. Bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean

 

Frosting Instructions

  1. Mix together powdered sugar, butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until smooth

  2. Add milk 1 Tbsp. at a time until the frosting is of the desired consistency

IMG_1451

I hope you love this recipe as much as my family and I love it. Be creative and try out the recipe with any of our other infused olive oils. Send us your photos when you give this recipe a try via our Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages.

 

 

Don’t Risk Counterfeit Olive Oil – Buy 100% Single Source

 

The olive oil in your kitchen right now is most likely a scam.

In fact, fraudulent olive oil is something that has been a problem for a long time. A 2010 study by UC Davis researchers found that 69 percent of the imported olive oils they sampled are not the top-grade “extra virgin” oils that their labels claim they are. Simply put, they failed the test. And the counterfeit olive oil troubles are still happening.

EVOO test results

What this means for you is that the “extra virgin” olive oil in your cabinet right now might be mixed with lower-grade olive oil, or diluted with different oils such as vegetable or sunflower. Additionally, the olives might not have even been grown or processed in the country listed on the label. Many “Italian” olive oils are actually made from olives grown and processed in Tunisia, then shipped to Italy for dilution with lower quality oils and bottling.

The entire counterfeit process that has lead you to unknowingly buy substandard olive oil was beautifully broken down by the New York Times.

EVOO NYT

The fact is that pure extra virgin olive oil tastes better. Real, honest extra virgin olive oil is better in any kitchen because of how it cooks, how it finishes dishes, and how its smoking point is more reliable. While there is progress in using technology to find out exactly which brands of olive oil are pure, the reality is that few people are going to read the reports of each individual brand before making a purchase. The solution is to find an olive oil brand that you can trust to sell you real, single source, pure, extra virgin olive oil.

At Mediterranean Drizzles, we’re proud to say that we import ONLY 100% single source Tunisian extra virgin olive oil. We import our oil directly from Tunisia, allowing us to know where the olives were grown, how they were processed, and to rule out the possibility that it was tampered with.

Each shipment we get comes directly from Tunisia, anything less wouldn’t be acceptable. We know that quality is paramount in the minds of our customers. With that in mind, we wanted to remind everyone that we’re dedicated to providing real, honest, single source, 100% extra virgin olive oil to you. At Mediterranean Drizzles, we’re willing to put our olive oil up to any test, be it in the lab or on your tongue, to prove the quality of what we put in every bottle.

lamb ragout

Quince and Lamb Ragout or Marqat al-Sfarjel

 

The name of this recipe directly translates from Arabic into “broth of quince”. While many translations will tell you that marqa means broth or sauce, in practice it means a slow-cooked stew that has very little fat or liquid. Most Americans don’t know the word marqa, but they will recognize words that mean almost the same thing, such as tajin and ragout.

Stews like Marqat al-Sfarjel have a long history in northern Africa. Almost every region and culture in northern Africa has their own variations of stews based on local ingredients, cookware and spices. This recipe uses quince, an apple-like fruit that is commonly found in northern Africa and southern Europe.  While there is a sweet variety in North Africa, the quince available in the U.S. are inedible in their raw state. Also, cooks shouldn’t cut them up until needed because they discolor quickly. Quinces are available throughout the United States, but are at their best in the winter months, especially in November and December. Because quinces are a specialty item, your best chance to find them is at a speciality store. Of course, like most foods, they are also available year-round online.

 

(Image Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quince)

You can personalize this recipe by choosing one of our speciality infused Tunisian olive oils, which can be found here. We’d love to see your finished Marqat al-Sfarjel plates! Send us your photos when you give this recipe a try via our Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages.

 

(Image Source: http://www.dartagnan.com)

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Mediterranean Drizzles garlic infused extra virgin olive oil

  • 1-1/4 pounds boneless leg of lamb, trimmed of all fat and cubed

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon rose water

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1-1/2 pounds quince cored, peeled and cut into eighths

  • 3 to 4 cups water

  • 1-1/3 cups sugar

  • Salt to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, toss raw lamb together with the cinnamon, rose petals or rose water, and salt.

  2. Heat olive oil in a medium-sized casserole pan on stove

  3. Add lamb mixture, browning the lamb, about two minutes

  4. Add quince, cover with water and bring to a boil

  5. Reduce heat to medium-low, allowing the lamb and quince to cook uncovered for 1 hour

  6. Add sugar and stir

  7. Cover and cook until the lamb is very tender and the quince soft, about another hour.

  8. Remove to a serving platter with a slotted spoon and serve over rice.

(recipe source: http://recipes.wikia.com/wiki/Maraqat_al-Safarjal)

Why Olive Oil is the Perfect Valentine’s Day Gift

Valentine’s day is the time for couples to show their affection and love for each other. While mainstays like chocolates and flowers will undoubtedly be on the top of gift giving lists once again this year, the real maestros of love, and the ones willing to step outside of the box and deliver a unique gift from the heart, will be looking at olive oil.

Valentine1.jpg

Olive oil’s reputation as an aphrodisiac started way back in ancient Greece. There are folklore stories about how newlyweds in Crete would eat olive oil soaked bread on the first of every year to increase fertility. Specifically, the fresh oil from olives harvested from wild trees was considered especially potent. Since then scientists have found that the abundance of vitamin E and healthy fats naturally found in olive oil are what boosts the libido.

The Perfect Appetizer for Valentine’s Day Love

Olive oil’s connection to love and Valentine’s Day is so historic that The Doctors, one of the highest rated daytime TV shows, specifically included it when talking about how to spice up your love life with food.  Here is their recipe for their Hallelujah Hummus which they claim will help you spice up your Valentine’s Day night, with some Mediterranean Drizzles flair.

Hallelujah Hummus

  • Mash 2 cups of chickpeas into a fine paste

  • Add 1 tbsp of garlic or lemon infused Mediterranean Drizzles olive oil, 1 tbsp of lemon juice, 1 clove of crushed garlic, ½ tsp of salt

  • Mix well

  • Dip carrots or other delicious veggies, and enjoy!

IMG_1618_2.jpeg

Health Benefits:

  • Chickpeas: The main ingredient in hummus, chickpeas, are packed with arginine, an amino acid that increases circulation and boosts internal lubrication.

  • Olive Oil: A good alternative to saturated fat, olive oil helps generate hormones, which are essential to your sex drive. It also further promotes internal lubrication.

Olive Oil: Not Just For Food

Food isn’t the only way to incorporate Tunisian olive oil into your Valentine’s Day plans. This year you can show your love how much you care by making and using your own homemade moisturizing lotion and massage oil. Not only will your significant other love the hands-on touch, but who doesn’t love a relaxing rub-down after a long week of work?

 

To make the moisturizing lotion, all you you’ll need is:

Instructions:

  1. Melt the wax in a double boiler. If you don’t have one, it’s really easy to make on your own. Fill a small pot with water and put it on the stove. Put the beeswax into a small metal bowl, and put it on top of the pot. The steam from the boiling water will heat the metal bowl, melting the wax.

  2. While the wax is melting, put the olive oil and water into blender. You can either use a stick blender with a bowl or a desktop blender, both will work. Add any essential oils such as lavender or coconut, depending on your personal taste. These aren’t necessary but make for a unique lotion.

  3. Once the wax is melted, put it into the container with the olive oil, water and essential pol and start blending.

After only a few seconds, you have your very own moisturizing massage lotion made out of olive oil, a perfect Valentine’s Day present. Don’t forget to personalize the label for your special someone this year. It is a sure fire way to make your Tunisian olive oil gift stand out, showing that you put thought into the gift and who you’re giving it to instead of just picking something up from the store. Mediterranean Drizzles allows you to customize your label with the style that will make your loved one’s eyes light up with joy

A thoughtful Birthday Gift

A birthday is a special moment in someone’s life so for this reason, you definitely want to get them something that that is not only useful but also thoughtful.

That is why we came up with the idea of personalized Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil bottles and gift sets. It is healthy, classy and above all, unique.

How to make your own? Follow the steps under the picture below to get started:

Birthday Gift Bottle

Go to the PRODUCTS page

Choose a product that fits your budget

Pick your flavor(s)

Scroll down to the labels section

Expand the birthday section

Pick your label

Personalize it!

Ramadan Iftar Dinner Gifts


DSC01870

DSC01864

It’s Ramadan again and in addition to it’s spiritual meaning it also means fantastic dinners! What better gift to bring than a bottle of gourmet Olive Oil? A personalized bottle of gourmet Olive Oil!

Ramadan is a month long holiday which is celebrated by Muslims. It’s purpose is to remind Muslims of what it feels like to be poor and hungry and therefore encourage charitable giving. During Ramadan Muslims are only allowed to eat and drink from sunset to sunrise. During the daylight hours nothing must pass their lips. You can imagine how challenging that would be, especially during the long summer months.

At sunset the fast is broken with a large, long, celebratory meal called Iftar which literally means breakfast. Depending on local traditions Iftar starts with juice, soup or dates and usually continues with dish after dish of delicious home prepared foods. Middle Eastern cuisine uses a lot of Olive Oil and people pour it generously over their plates.

If you are invited to an Iftar dinner consider yourself lucky! First of all, be sure to arrive hungry because you will want to eat as if you have been fasting all day. Secondly, bring a thoughtful gift! Our Extra Virgin Olive Oil is fresh and delicious and 100% Tunisian. You can use our Sidi Bou Label or design your own personalized label that will express your appreciation and will really wow your hosts. Take a look at our Ramadan and Eid label templates!

Lablabi, tunisian stew, chickpeas, olive oil, recipe

Lablabi

 

 

Tunisian chick pea stew

Where to start?  I was introduced to lablabi late one night after clubbing.  For young people in Tunisia it is the equivalent of fourth meal at Taco Bell.  Best eaten after exiting Calypso or another open air club around 3am still sweaty and filled with adrenaline. More traditionally it’s a breakfast food, a street food best eaten in small local restaurants.  The more “chaabi” or local, the better.

The basic Lablabi is a tasty chick pea stew served with chunks of day old French bread.  Of course there are multiple add-in’s available.  Most Tunisians add harissa, egg and tuna which I highly recommend.  The more adventurous ask for some lamb head or knee bones!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb dried chickpeas, sorted and soaked overnight or at least 3 hrs (you can substitute 3 cans of prepared chickpeas as well)
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoons Tunisian harissa (a spicy paste which hopefully we will carry soon!)
  • Juice of 1  lemon
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of Tunisian Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Very good with our Garlic Infused)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

For Serving:

  • Day old French Bread broken into 1-2 inch chunks
  • Egg which can be poached directly in the pot of lablabi then ladled out
  • More harissa – lots more!
  • Tuna
  • More cumin
  • More Olive Oil
lablabi, olive oil, tunisian food, recipe

Lablabi with coddled egg

Directions:

Soak chickpeas and when ready to make Lablabi rinse well and add to about 8 cups cold water.  You may also substitute broth for the water.  Bring to boil.  Add garlic, cumin and harissa.  Let simmer for about 1-2 hrs until chickpeas are soft.  Add salt to taste ( you won’t need any if you use broth).  Add more water as needed.

If you use prepared chick peas you only need to cook for 30 minutes or so.

When chick peas are soft you can use an immersion blender or smash some of the soft chickpeas if you want a thicker broth.  If you like a thin broth just leave as is.

When ready to eat stir in the Olive Oil, lemon juice and parsley.  If you want to eat with eggs you can poach the eggs directly in the stew.  Crack an egg in each corner of the pot and let cook for 1-5 minutes depending on how runny you like it.  Ladle the stew over a bowl filled with chunks of bread or just eat with bread.

Spoon extra harissa and Olive Oil on top.  You can also add a spoon full of tuna on top if you’d like.