Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Cooking with Flavored Olive Oils and Balsamic Vinegars

Flavored olive oils are becoming increasingly popular – showing up in tasting shops, boutiques and specialty grocery stores. That’s good news for home cooks as well as the health conscious. “Olive oil is good for you, and it is extremely versatile in cooking,” said Ashleigh Tresso, owner of Bumble Olive Oil Company.

“Olive oil is rich in polyphenols, a class of antioxidants, which are good for the joints and can help with arthritis and inflammation. They can also help lower blood pressure, boost good cholesterol, and enhance cancer medications,” explained Tresso.

In addition to olive oil, Bumble offers a large selection of flavored balsamic vinegars such as Blackberry Ginger, Neapolitan Herb and Cinnamon Pear.

When it comes to flavored oils and vinegars, Tresso pointed out, “You can’t be afraid to experiment with flavors. Some of my best dishes have happened by accident. There’s no limit with what you can do.” 

Pesto with Mozzarella and Roasted Tomatoes
For a beautiful presentation, spoon the pesto onto a serving plate, top with slices of fresh mozzarella, add a bit more pesto and roasted tomatoes. Basil pesto is also delicious mixed with pasta or as a sauce for pizza.

1 cup basil leaves
1 cup flat-leaf parsley
¾ teaspoon garlic sea salt
¼ cup pine nuts
¾ cup Parmesan cheese
¾ cup basil-infused olive oil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 fresh mozzarella balls

To prepare the pesto, pulse first five ingredients in a blender or food processor. Slowly add basil olive oil. Set aside.

Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a pan and sauté tomatoes over medium heat for approximately eight minutes. Or roast them at 425 F for approximately 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Bumble Appetizing Bread
Garlic lovers will swoon over this cheesy and spicy appetizer. Just be sure to save room for dinner.

1-pound loaf white bread, unsliced
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup grated Romano cheese
6 cloves garlic, crushed
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons dried red chili pepper flakes

Heat oven to 300 F. On a large, oven-safe serving dish, place bread loaf. Cutting only half way down the loaf, make eight slices. Sprinkle cheeses, garlic, parsley, and half of the oil over loaf.

Spread peppers around base of bread. Bake approximately 15 minutes or until cheese has melted, but not browned. Remove from oven and cover with remaining olive oil.


Balsamic Vinegar Cocktails
Be bold and experiment with flavored vinegars to create your own signature cocktails. Here are two of Tresso’s favorite combinations.

Apple Vodka
2 ounces vodka
2 ounces apple vinegar
Sparkling water or soda water
Apple slices

To a glass, add vodka, vinegar and crushed ice. Fill with sparkling or soda water. Garnish with apple slices.

Cranberry Pear and Champagne
2 ounces cranberry-pear vinegar
Dry champagne
Pear slices

To a glass, add vinegar. Fill with champagne and garnish with pear slices. 

Bumble Classic Hummus Dip
To serve this classic dip, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle on a bit more paprika and chopped parsley.

2 cups canned chickpeas, drained, reserve liquid 
½ cup tahini (sesame paste), optional, with some of its oil 
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus oil for drizzling
2 cloves garlic, peeled
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ tablespoon ground paprika, plus a sprinkling for garnish
Juice from 1 lemon
Chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish

In a food processor, combine all ingredients, except parsley, and begin to process. Add the chickpea liquid or water as needed to allow the machine to produce a smooth puree. Taste and adjust the seasonings. 

To read the full article in the Sylvania AdVantage, visit Sizzle Simmer Sauté Sylvania 02.07.17 « Sylvania AdVantage