Tag Archives: olive oil

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.

 

marconaalmondpesto

Spicy Cilantro Almond Pesto

olive oil, pesto uses, olive oil pesto

Pesto is a Mediterranean staple, and for good reason. If you’ve never marinated a piece of salmon or chicken or lamb with pesto before cooking, you’re truly missing out. Pesto is a great substitute for pasta sauce, a delicious salad dressing, a scrumptious addition to a sandwich, and perfect for dipping vegetables or bread as an appetizer.  Pesto is the perfect thing to always have available because it can make any good dish great.

download (1)Another great thing about pesto is that it’s completely customizable. Traditionally, pesto is made with pine nuts and unflavored olive oil. But the recipe below uses almonds instead of pine nuts and basil infused olive oil to give it a unique flavor. If you want, you can add parmesan or manchego cheese to the recipe, use cilantro instead of basil, or use red pepper infused olive oil instead of basil infused oil. There is no wrong way to make pesto. The key is to experiment and find the combination of flavors that you love.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 small stemmed and seeded jalapeño chili
  • 1/4 cup toasted almonds
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon lightly packed finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup of Mediterranean Drizzles basil infused extra-virgin olive oil

thai_basil_pesto_ingredients

Directions:

  • Using a food processor combine the first six ingredients. Use pulse a few times to make a coarse puree.
  • With the motor running, slowly pour the basil infused olive oil through the feed tube. Stop processing when the  oil is completely blended in. If you want a finer, smoother consistency, continue processing until the pesto looks good to you.
  • Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to use it.

dreamstime_1291381

Storage

This sauce is best if served within the hour, but it can be refrigerated in an airtight container with plastic wrap pressed directly onto its surface for up to 3 days. Or, freeze in one or more ziplock freezer bags for up to 3 months.

Send us your photos when you give this recipe a try via our Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages.

 

olive oil, health

12 Amazing DIY Beauty Uses For Olive Oil

Olive oil is for more than just cooking. There are hundreds of uses for olive oil outside of the kitchen. Real, pure, extra-virgin olive oil is rich in squalene, a natural emollient that is great for your nails, lips, hair, and skin. EVOO is also packed with Vitamins A & E, and polyphenols, which you might recognize from your favorite, expensive beauty products.

Not only does olive oil work, it’s also cheaper than what the big brands are selling you and it’s also free of potentially harmful chemicals. Why would you want to use a product with ingredients you can’t pronounce when you have a natural alternative that works just as well?

  1. Pre-shampoo Hair TreatmentOlive oil is full of the vitamins and minerals that your hair needs to be shiny and smooth. For the full effect, warm up the oil ahead of time to where it’s warm to the touch, but not hot. Then, apply it generously to your hair and scalp, leaving it in for 10-20 minutes. If you want to increase the effect, cover your head in a plastic bag and a towel to keep the moisture in while you wait. After that, shampoo it out and you’ll be left with shinier hair and fewer split ends.

  2. Remove Paint From Hair: If you’ve ever painted a room in your house, you know that the paint is just as likely to get in your hair as on the walls. But, instead of cutting out the paint or washing your hair for hours, just use olive oil. Take a cotton ball, dip it in olive oil, and gently rub it into your hair. Slowly, the paint will come off naturally, no scrubbing or scissors required.

  3. Makeup Remover: Olive oil can remove your makeup and moisturize your skin at the same time. Take a regular cotton pad and dab it in some olive oil. Then, just wipe the makeup off your face like you’d normally do. If you are wearing heavy amounts of makeup, olive oil is there for you too. Just massage the oil into your face, then wipe it off with a washcloth saturated with warm water. Repeat a couple of times if necessary and remember to be gentle, never treat your skin harshly. You can also use olive oil as a gentle eye makeup remover; it will easily remove even the waterproof makeup.

  4. Makeup Brush Cleaner: Women should clean their makeup brushes monthly. This helps get rid of leftover, dried product and is also sanitary. Mix together two parts antibacterial soap with one part olive oil, then use the mixture like regular soap. The added olive oil will keep your brushes from drying out, extending their life and saving you money.

  5. olive oil, beauty, DIY

    Acne Medication: Keep an open mind with this one. Normally, to clear up acne you’re trying to wash oil from your face, not put oil on your face. But, trust us, this works. Make a paste by mixing four tablespoons salt with three tablespoons olive oil. Pour the mixture onto your hands and fingers and scrub it on your face. Leave it on for a minute or two, then rinse it off with warm, soapy water. Do this daily for one week, then cut back to two or three times weekly. You should see a noticeable improvement in your acne.

  6. Lip Scrub: This one is perfect for those who suffer from dry and cracked lips. Mix together coarse sugar with a teaspoon of olive oil and apply it to your lips. You can also add a splash of lemon juice for added flavor and acidic exfoliating properties. The sugar will do the scrubbing while the olive oil will add vitamin A & D and moisturize.

  7. Nail Strengthener: Vitamins A & D are good for your nails. Soak your fingers or toes in a  warm olive oil bath for just five or 10 minutes to make your nails stronger. Do this treatment once or twice a week and enjoy strong, shiny and healthy nails!

  8. Shaving CreamThis happens more often than you might think. If you, or your husband/wife, runs out of shaving cream, no need to run to Walgreens with wet hair, just take a walk to the kitchen. Slather legs with olive oil before applying the blade and you’ll ward off razor burn and bumps with the help of this natural lubricant.

  9. Ear Wax Remedy: No need to stab yourself with cue tips every morning. If you have ear wax keeping you from hearing or just annoying you, the answer is actually really simple and easy. Putting a few drops in your ears before you go to bed for three or four consecutive nights will loosen up the wax, helping it come out on its own.

  10. Dry Skin Repair: Olive oil has everything you need to fix that dry, cracked, painful skin. For cracked heels, apply the olive oil after you exfoliate with a pumice stone. Remember to put on a pair of socks afterward to lock in the hydration. Olive oil won’t just fix your feet, it can also help heal eczema. Just apply the olive oil regularly to slowly stop your dry skin in its tracks.

  11. Diaper Rash: Your little one is going to live this. Because olive oil is completely natural, with no additives or chemicals, it’s perfectly safe to use on babies. Just apply it to the sensitive skin on a baby’s bottom and as a moisturizing remedy for cradle cap too.

  12. Antibacterial Balm: Before Neosporin and other antibiotics, there was olive oil. This all-natural remedy is as simple as mixing antibacterial olive oil along with lavender, calendula, and tea tree oil to ward off germs and scarring.

There are dozens more possible uses for olive oil in your daily beauty routine. How do you use olive oil outside of the kitchen? Let us know via our Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages.