Tuesday, March 8, 2011

How to Pick the Perfect Olive Oil



Yummy terms you need to know



Browse your favorite grocery store or gourmet shop and you're likely to see dozens of shelves devoted to olive oil. It's the number one health food these days and is said to cure or prevent everything from dry skin to heart attacks.
Extra Virgin olive oil
makes home made pasta sing

Like all foods, the label is your key to what's inside the bottle.  Here's the terms you need to know:


Oil Quality

First Press
The oil came from the first squeeze of the olives.  It's the highest quality and most olive tasting.

Cold Press
The oil was pressed mechanically and not heat or chemically extracted. Used for better quality olives and helps retain the healthful properties.

Heat or chemical methods are used for lesser quality olives and for extracting remaining oil from olives that have already been cold pressed.

Toss root vegetables
with your favorite olive
oil and roast till they glisten

If a label does not say "cold press" or "cold pressed", the oil has been heat or chemically extracted.

First press and cold press are two separate indicators of quality. The best quality oil is a combination of both terms. Look for "first cold press" on the label.


Oil Taste

Extra Virgin
Means the oil has a very pronounced olive taste. Use it when you want a distinctive olive flavor like for salad dressings, bread dips, as a finishing oil, for roasting vegetables, and sauté-ing. Extra Virgin is dark green in color.

Pure Olive Oil
This refers to the taste not the purity of the oil.  Mild and much less olive tasting than Extra Virgin.  Use "Pure Olive Oil" when you want a muted olive taste so other flavors (like herbs and spices) will stand out.  Olive Oil is usually pale green to golden yellow in color.

Pan roasted veggies kissed with
heart healthy- yummy tasting of olive oil

Light or Extra Light
Means the oil has no olive taste.  Use whenever you don't want any olive flavor - like for heart healthy baked goods.  Don't be fooled into thinking this is a diet food.  It has the same fat and calories as other olive oils.


Recipe
Easy Olive and White Wine Focaccia
Divine with drinks. Scrumptious with pasta.

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Makes 1 (8 inch) square pan
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1 1/2 cups biscuit mix (like Bisquick - spoon to measure then level without shaking, do not pack)
1/2 cup orange cheddar cheese (American, Velveeta or white cheddar not recommended)
1/2 cup pimento stuffed, green salad olives (drained and coarsely chopped)
1/3 cup dry white wine (like Chardonnay, vermouth or table white)
1 large or extra large egg (1/4 cup)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Position oven rack so Focaccia will bake in center.  Preheat to 400 degrees.  Grease an 8 inch square pan or mist with baking spray.

By hand, stir together baking mix, cheese and olives.  In another bowl, whisk together wine, egg and oil.  Mix both bowls together stirring until just combined.  Do not over mix.

Spread dough evenly into prepared pan.  Bake till lightly browned and a cake tester comes out clean - 20 to 25 minutes.  Cool in pan before cutting.

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