In the kitchen with Olive Oil

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Usages of Olive Oil

Dipping
As done often in restaurants, Olive Oil is served in a small dish and bread is dipped to add flavor and moisture to every bite taken. This can be done in the place of butter Just make sure to catch those drips!

Dressing
Olive oil is best consumed in its raw state. Make salad dressings, drizzle it over fish, steamed or boiled veggies and pasta. One of the simplest most delicious combinations is to mix lemon juice and olive oil together.

Marinating
A marinade is a seasoned liquid mixture that both adds flavor to and tenderizes meat. Marinades are a fast, easy way to create delicious meat dishes — especially with less expensive cuts of meat. A marinade must contain an ingredient to break down the meat fibers and let the flavors penetrate. This can be an acidic substance (vinegar, wine, spirits, lemon juice, etc.) or a natural tenderizing enzyme such as those found in fresh papaya, ginger, pineapple and figs. A small amount of oil is added to the marinade mixture to help ingredients adhere better to the meat and to aid in browning during cooking. Of course marinades can also be used to flavor fish and vegetables. Lesser involved marinades are made simply, with few ingredients and are applied with a cooking brush to meat, fish or vegetable just before they are barbecued.

Cooking
How to Heat Olive Oil
Whether you are sautéing, stir-frying, pan-frying, or deep-frying, use Olive Oil and this advice to make your high-heat cooking great:

Add Olive Oil to your pan and let it heat up to just below the smoke point before adding your food. This should take about 30 seconds, depending on the heat of the burner and quality of the pan. When you place food in the pan, it should sizzle; if not, the pan and oil are not hot enough.
Always pat food dry before putting it into hot oil; otherwise, it will sputter and a layer of steam will form between the food and the oil, making it difficult to get a good, seared, crispy exterior.
When grilling or broiling, brush meats or vegetables with Olive Oil to enhance flavor, seal in juices, and make the outer surface crispy.
Use the lower-quality Olive-Oil-grade stuff for pan-frying, stir-frying, and deep-frying. Although it doesn’t have much flavor, it does hold its heat well.

The smoke point of oil is the temperature at which it smokes when heated. Any oil is ruined at its smoke point and is no longer good for you. If you heat oil to its smoke point, carefully discard it and start over. Olive Oil has a higher smoke point than most other oils (about 400° Fahrenheit, or 200° C).

In these cholesterol conscious times it can replace butter on vegetables, butter for shallow frying, and lard for basting.

Clean out the oil by pouring it through a sieve and re-use. If it was originally used to cook meat then re-use it for meat and when frying veggies you can re-use with either meat or veggies.

Preserving
In countries where Olive Oil is a staple it is also used for preserving things. Once covered in oil and safe from the air just about anything can be preserved: sardines, salt-cured sausages, cheese, herbs, mushrooms, eggplant and zucchini – these last two are normally sliced, julienne style, and pickled first.

Olive Oil also has the property of absorbing flavors, and this makes it ideal for preserving herbs. If you’ve ever grown and dried basil for later use you’ll certainly have been disappointed with the loss of flavor. A good way around this is to put fresh basil – or any other herb – into a jar and cover it with olive oil. Make sure no air bubbles get trapped between the leaves because mould will form. The basil retains more of its flavor, and as a bonus, when it’s all used up, you’ve got basil flavored oil as a treat.

Recipes

Simplest Dressing in the World

Ingredients:
1/8 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Juice of half a lemon
Salt, Pepper, and if you wish a dry herb like oregano

Pour ingredients into a small jar, seal, shake and tasteIf you have more than you wish to use keep in jar and refrigerate. (*remember to thaw out the jar before using it again- takes about 15 minutes)

Mama’s Tasty Salad Dressing

Ingredients:
1/8 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
½ tablespoon red vinegar
¼ teaspoon sugar
1 clove garlic mashed or cut finely- however you prefer it
Salt, Pepper, and if you wish a dry herb like thyme

Marinades

Although there are lots of complex marinade recipes available, you really only need 3 things to make a great marinade: a good olive oil, a good vinegar or spirit and a good blend of seasonings.

1/4 cup of oil, 1/4 cup of vinegar or spirit and 1 tbsp of seasoning will give you enough marinade for about a pound of meat. Don’t be fooled by the small amount. Put it in a heavy resealable plastic bag to make it easy to distribute the marinade over the meat.

You can marinate for as little as 20 minutes. Seafood should generally not be marinated more than an hour. Other meats can be marinated as much as 2 days in the refrigerator. An easy way to marinate is to put meats directly from the freezer into the marinade and refrigerate overnight.

REMEMBER! Feel free to divert and play around with the ingredients and proportions to suit your taste

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