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Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Tag Archives: Mediterranean

Key ingredients of the Mediterranean cuisine include olive oil, fresh fruits, vegetables, protein-rich legumes, fish and whole grains with moderate amounts of wine and red meat. The flavors are rich and the health benefits for people choosing a Mediterranean diet — one of the world’s healthiest — are hard to ignore. These people are less likely to develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol or become obese.

Numerous research studies suggest that the benefits of following a Mediterranean-style eating pattern may be many: improved weight loss, better control of blood glucose (sugar) levels and reduced risk of depression, to name a few. Eating like a Mediterranean has also been associated with reduced levels of inflammation, a risk factor for heart attack, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.

If you’re trying to eat foods that are better for your heart, start with the principles of Mediterranean cooking.

Stock your pantry and cook at home.

Use whole, unprocessed ingredients and control portion sizes, salt and calories.

Make sure your pantry and freezer are stocked with Mediterranean-inspired staples like canned tomatoes, olives, whole-wheat pasta and frozen vegetables.

Love Italian food, then a bowl of pasta for dinner is a no-brainer. Typical standbys are Penne with Vodka Sauce or Pasta with Broccoli Rabe.

Experiment with “real” whole grains that are still in their “whole” form and haven’t been refined. Quinoa, a grain that was a staple in the ancient Incas’ diet, cooks up in just 20 minutes, making it a great side dish for weeknight meals. Barley is full of fiber and it’s filling. Pair it with mushrooms for a steamy, satisfying soup. A hot bowl of oatmeal with some fresh summer berries is perfect for breakfast. Even popcorn is a whole grain—just keep it healthy by eating air-popped corn and forgo the butter (try a drizzle of olive oil instead).

Supplement your intake with other whole-grain products, like whole-wheat bread and pasta. Look for the term “whole” or “whole grain” on the food package and in the ingredient list—it should be listed as the first ingredient. But if you still find it too hard to make the switch from your old refined favorites, phase in a whole grain by using whole-grain blends of pastas and rice or mixing whole grains half-and-half with a refined one (like half whole-wheat pasta and half white).

By displacing meat at some meals, you can lower your saturated-fat intake while adding healthful nutrients, like fiber and antioxidant-rich flavonoids. If you eat meat every day right now, try making a vegetarian dinner, like Multi-Bean Chili, once a week. Swap out most of your red meat and replace it with skinless chicken and turkey, fish, beans, nuts and other plants. Start by making a few small changes.

Aim to eat fish of any kind—except for fried, of course—twice a week. Fatty fish, such as salmon or tuna are especially good choices: they are rich in omega-3s, a type of polyunsaturated fat, linked with improved heart health. Make the focus of the meal whole grains and vegetables and think of meat as a flavoring; for example, use a little diced pancetta in a tomato sauce for pasta. If you do have a hankering for a steak, it’s OK to indulge, just do so occasionally and choose a lean cut, like top loin, sirloin, flank steak or strip steak and limit your portion size to 4 ounces.

Use heart-healthy olive oil as well as other plant-based oils like canola and walnut oil instead of saturated-fat-laden butter, lard or shortening—even in baking. There are many dessert recipes now that use olive oil instead of butter. Olive oil is a good source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. A high-quality extra-virgin olive oil seasoned with balsamic vinegar is delicious for dipping bread and is a healthier alternative to butter. Other plant-based oils, such as canola or walnut oil, are also rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated and beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.

Aim for 4 to 8 servings of vegetables a day. A serving size is 1/2 to 2 cups depending on the vegetable. Pick vegetables in a variety of colors to get a range of antioxidants and vitamins. Start your day out with a spinach and Cheddar omelet, have a bowl of vegetable soup for lunch and have roasted carrots and a green salad for dinner. Big green salads are a great way to include several vegetable servings at once.

Snack on a handful of almonds, walnuts or sunflower seeds in place of chips, cookies or other processed snack foods, which are often loaded with sugars, saturated fat and trans fats. Calcium-rich low-fat cheese or low-fat and nonfat plain yogurt with fresh fruit are other healthy and portable snacks.

Generally a good source of fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants, fresh fruit is a healthy way to indulge your sweet tooth. If it helps you to eat more, drizzle slices of pear with honey or sprinkle a little brown sugar on grapefruit. Keep fresh fruit visible at home and keep a piece or two at work so you have a healthful snack when your stomach starts growling. Lots of grocery stores stock exotic fruit—pick a new one to try each week and expand your fruit horizons.

Research indicates that people who drink moderately are less likely to have heart disease than those who abstain. Alcohol appears to raise “good” HDL cholesterol. Wine, in particular, “thins” the blood (making it less prone to clotting) and also contains antioxidants that prevent your arteries from taking up LDL cholesterol, a process that can lead to plaque buildup. Remember, “1 drink” equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1 1/2 ounces of liquor.

Eating like a Mediterranean is as much lifestyle as it is diet. Instead of gobbling your meal in front of the TV, slow down and sit down at the table with your family and friends to savor what you’re eating. Not only will you enjoy your company and your food, eating slowly allows you to tune in to your body’s hunger and fullness signals. You’re more apt to eat just until you’re satisfied then until you’re busting-at-the-seams full. This is the perfect time of year to make some changes to your diet. Fresh fruits and vegetables are plentiful and local fresh caught fish is more available. These delicious dinners can all be enjoyed during a leisurely, relaxing dinner on the patio on a warm summer evening.

Fusilli with Green Beans, Pancetta and Parmigiano

Serves three.

Ingredients:

  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 lb. whole grain fusilli or other twisted pasta
  • 4 oz. pancetta, sliced 1/4 inch thick and cut into 1/2 -inch squares (3/4 cup)
  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled but kept whole
  • 1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths (2 cups)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 oz. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1 cup)

Directions:

Bring a medium pot of well-salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until just barely al dente, about 1 minute less than package timing. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta.

While the pasta cooks, put the pancetta in a cold 10-inch skillet and set over medium-high heat. When the pancetta starts sizzling, add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until starting to brown, 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook the pancetta until golden, an additional 2 to 3 minutes. If the pancetta has rendered a lot of its fat, spoon off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat from the pan.

Add the beans to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until they’re crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the garlic and season the beans with salt and pepper. With the pan still over medium heat, add the pasta, 1/2 cup of the pasta water and the olive oil. Toss to combine. Add another 1/4 cup pasta water and 3/4 cup of the Parmigiano. Stir well and season to taste with salt and pepper. If necessary, add a little more pasta water to loosen the sauce. Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl. Grind black pepper over the top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Sea Bass With Citrus-Olive-Caper Sauce

Buy Eco-friendly Mid-Atlantic Sea Bass

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 8 sea bass fillets (about 5 oz each), skin on
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 2 lemons, peeled and thinly sliced, segments halved
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
  • 3/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, roughly chopped

Directions:

Place broiler pan as close to heating element as possible and heat 5 minutes. On a plate, coat fillets on both sides with 1 tablespoons oil. Carefully remove pan from broiler and place on the stovetop.

Arrange fillets on pan, skin side down; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Broil fish 6 minutes.

In a bowl, mix together lemon slices, juice, oregano, capers, olives, remaining 2 tablespoons oil and remaining 3/4 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoons pepper.

Place fish on platter; top with citrus-olive-caper sauce.

Grilled Chicken with Feta and Red Pepper Sauce

4 servings

Ingredients:

Grilled chicken:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Red pepper sauce:

  • 2 pounds grilled red bell peppers
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces sliced feta cheese (4 slices)

Spinach leaves for serving plate

Directions:

To prepare chicken: place chicken, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a zip-top plastic bag; place in refrigerator and marinate 2 to 24 hours.

To grill the peppers: preheat grill. Place peppers on the grill and cook, turning until charred all over. Place peppers in a paper or plastic bag to let steam for 10 minutes. Peel and seed peppers.

To prepare sauce: place grilled peppers, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender; puree until smooth.

Preheat grill to medium and oil grill grates. Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade. Grill chicken 7 minutes, turn, place feta cheese slices on top of the chicken and cook 7 more minutes or until cooked through.

Arrange spinach on serving plate, top with chicken and serve with red pepper sauce.

Orange and Olive Salad

Serve with flatbread or pita.

Ingredients:

  • Two heads romaine lettuce
  • 1 bunch arugula
  • 1/2 cup black oil-cured olives, pitted, sliced in half
  • 1/2 red onion, diced small
  • 2 oranges, peeled and chopped
  • Orange slices and orange zest for garnish

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup orange juice

Directions:

Wash and dry the romaine and arugula. Toss in a large bowl with the olives, onion and oranges.

Add freshly ground black pepper to taste (the olives may be salty, so don’t add any salt at this point).

Whisk the dressing ingredients, seasoning it to taste. Slowly pour some of the dressing over the salad while tossing well to coat all.

Be careful not to use too much dressing for the amount of greens. Garnish with very thin slices of orange and orange zest.

Spaghettini with Tomatoes, Anchovies and Almonds

6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds beefsteak tomatoes, cored and finely diced
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded basil leaves
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Large pinch of crushed red pepper
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup roasted almonds
  • 3 large oil-packed anchovies
  • 1 large garlic clove, smashed
  • 1/2 cup grated fresh Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1 pound swhole grain paghettini (thin spaghetti)

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine the diced tomatoes with the shredded basil, scallions, olive oil and crushed red pepper. Season lightly with salt and black pepper and let the tomatoes stand for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a mini food processor, pulse the almonds with the anchovies and garlic until finely chopped. Add the 1/2 cup of pecorino cheese and the capers and pulse to combine.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Reserve a little pasta water in case the sauce needs thinning. Drain pasta and add the pasta to the tomatoes along with the chopped almond mixture and toss well. Serve the pasta, passing extra cheese at the table.

Vegetarian Stuffed Cabbage

For stuffing:

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup toasted almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large green or red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large cabbage

Cooking sauce for cabbage rolls

  • 3 containers (26-28 oz. size) tomatoes
  • 4 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Bring 2 cups of water to boil, adding the rice and turmeric. Return to a boil, cover and simmer for 25 minutes.

Cook the lentils in 3 cups of boiling water until soft.

Saute the onion, pepper and garlic in olive oil in a skillet.

Mix the cooking sauce ingredients together in a bowl.

For the filling: in a large bowl, combine the sauteed vegetables, rice, lentils, almonds and raisins.

Fill each cabbage leaf with about 1/2 to 3/4 cup filling, beginning at the thick end of the leaf. Fold this end over the filling, folding the edges in as you go to make a neat roll.

Place the rolls in one or two casseroles, covering with the sauce.

Bake the cabbage rolls covered at 350 degrees F, 45-60 minutes until cabbage is tender. Cool slightly and serve from the dish they were baked in.

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Making_Olive_Oil_HeaderImage

The pressing of olives to make olive oil dates back to about 3000 B.C.. Historians generally believe that the olive tree originated in Ancient Greece and spread throughout the Mediterranean region as the Greeks and Phoenicians explored the territory. Cato, a Roman author, described the agricultural techniques for growing olives in his writings about the second century B.C.
The olive tree is a unique type of evergreen that grows in subtropical climates in both the northern and southern hemispheres. It grows between 10 and 40 feet tall and produces small clusters of white flowers in late spring which eventually grow into olives. Similar to grape vines, olive trees do not start producing olives until the age of eight; however, even then these olives cannot be used. The olive tree must mature until the age of at least fifteen for it to produce a worthwhile crop, but once this stage is hit, the olive tree will produce olives for the next 65 years and continue to live for long after that, even for several hundred years. There are hundreds of varieties of olive trees, each excelling in the production of different products. Italy is the second leading producer of olives following Spain.A Man Harvesting an Olive Tree

Olive harvesting takes place at different times depending on the area. In most of the Mediterranean olive harvesting occurs in the months of November, December, and January; however, in the more Northern areas such as Tuscany, olive harvesting must be carried out earlier due to early frosts.  The different times in which olives are harvested results in the different tastes of each region’s olive oil. The younger olives of Tuscany result in a peppery taste. Similarly their young age produces less oil making their olive oil a premium commodity. Since each olive contains about 20 percent oil it takes an average of around 200 olives to produce one liter of olive oil.


Unlike most products these days, olives are one of the few industries in which mechanization is not usually present. This is due to the fact that olives are easily damaged resulting in a lower quality of oil. It is believed that the quality of oil decreases with the increase of mechanization. Since olives must be treated gently, better olive oils are more expensive because they must be hand picked. There are two different ways to hand pick olives. The first way is considered to be the best method because it will result in the less damage to the olives which will produce the best quality of olive oil; however this also means that it is the most expensive. This method involves hand picking the olives and placing them directly into a basket. The second method involves handing picking the olives but letting them drop to the ground onto a net.Farm worker with fresh olives

Immediately after the harvesting is completed the olives are taken to a frantoio, which is a communal mill. Since the frantoio is  communal, each farmer must make an appointment for his pressing. It is important that the olives do not stay in the baskets for too long, since the risk of spoiling is very high.  Olives are usually stored in their baskets, for no longer, than a day. Each farmer has great pride for his olives and his olive oil, therefore, it is very common for the farmer to accompany his own olives throughout the production process to ensure that only his olives go into his pressing.  A farmer’s main concern when going to the frantoio is the yield of oil obtained per olive and the percent of acidity.

Before any processing can occur, the olives must first be washed to remove extra leaves and stems. The next step is the grinding of the olives. This grinding process involves the crushing of the entire olive including the skin and the pit by a large granite wheel. This process results in a sort of olive paste which is then put through the mixing stage. This stage is most important, since it has the most effect on the outcome of the olive oil. This process is done very slowly to ensure the consistency of the oil. Next the liquid must be extracted from the remaining paste through the process of pressing. Pressing results in a liquid that must be separated into water and oil. Once this process is completed, the olive oil will be stored in steel tanks and stored in a cool place before bottling.

Olive oil is graded according to factors in the pressing process and the quality of the oil. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the finest grade, and this grade is given to oil that comes from the first pressing. In Italy, the method used, is cold pressing (in which no heat is used above about 60 degrees Fahrenheit). Heat destroys antioxidants, so cold pressed oils are the healthiest.

Today, olive oil has gained importance for the health benefits it provides, but to the people of the Mediterranean, olive oil has always played a leading role in their diet and way of life. The Mediterranean Diet is based on the use of olive oil, which is believed to be the reason for their lower rate of heart disease. It is considered a healthy oil because it is a mono-unsaturated fat with high amounts of antioxidants and low amounts of cholesterol.  However, this is not the reason that olive oil plays such a large role in the Mediterranean regions.  Olive oil is what gives such a distinct taste to the Italian cuisine. While the recent popularity of olive oil is based on the newly discovered health benefits, olive oil is valued in Italy for its taste above everything else. The Italian diet is heavily based on the use of olive oil and would not be the same without it.Milling_Yield

Olive oil lasts about 18-24 months. If stored in a sunny spot, expect less than 12 months. If stored in a dark spot and cooler than room temperature, the oil will last a long time. For best every day storage, find a spot in your kitchen close at hand, but away from heat and light. For longer storage, refrigeration is best.  Exposure to light and heat can turn olive oil rancid. This destroys the healthy, antioxidant properties of the oil. Most oils are sold in darkly tinted bottles.

‘Olive Oil History’ The Global Gourmet ®. Web. 2 Dec. 2010.    

How to Use Olive Oil in Your Cooking

When you are using less fat in your cooking, you want the fat, you do use to be flavorful and add taste to your food. This can be accomplished with a fruity, extra-virgin olive oil, especially if the oil will be used in salad dressings or drizzled on a dish just before serving or on grilled bread for bruschetta.  When using olive oil for sauteing ingredients as the foundation of a dish, I generally use a lighter, less expensive oil.

Flavored  and infused oil can be expensive but they have great flavor.  You can make such specialty flavored oils at home and save money. Homemade infused oils will not keep as long as processed ones. Use your herb-infused olive oil within two months.

To begin, you need to first determine what type of mixtures you would like. Try to think of what herbs usually work well together.  A blend of savory herbs such as thyme and rosemary can also benefit from some peppercorns and a bay leaf or two, resulting in a savory blend for roasting meats. You will also need to determine whether you will be using fresh herbs or dry herbs. You’ll receive a better flavor from fresh herbs, but the potential for spoilage is greater after a few months time; while oils mixed with dry herbs can last far longer, but the flavor will not be as strong.  For storage, you will want to find jars that can be sealed completely. I have found that jars with rubber stoppers are better than metal lids and stoppers, as the metal can corrode over time or affect the taste of the oil.

Herb-infused Olive Oil

  • Choose your herbs and spices.  Some suggestions for herbs and spices are rosemary, garlic, basil, bay, chives, dill, mint, marjoram, tarragon and thyme.  Try a few different combinations and make a few different bottles. Gather together the herbs you will be using. You should have enough to fill 1/4 of the jar or bottle.
  • Wash and dry your herbs. After washing, leave your herbs out to dry. Pat; soaking up as much moisture as you can. Leave the herbs to continue to dry in the sun or overnigh on your counter, if you can. Bacteria cannot grow in the olive oil, but it can grow on any water left on the herbs over time, therefore, the problem of spoilage and foodborne illnesses when using fresh herbs, can develop. As long as you allow time for your herbs to have completely dried, your mixture will be fine.
  • Slightly tear or chop the herbs so that they begin to release their aroma and flavors.
  • Heat the extra-virgin olive oil over a low flame until it is warm. Not hot, simply warm. This can best be done in a small stock pot or saucepan.
  • Stuff the herbs into a sterilized bottle or bottles. A little goes a very long way, so there’s no need to overly stuff each bottle.
  • Pour the warm oil into the bottles over the herbs and spices. Let the bottles sit for a while until cool. If you use garlic, be sure to refrigerate the oil, rather than store it in a cool dark place, to avoid botulism.
  • Place a cork or rubber stopper into the bottle. Then set the bottle in a cool dark place for about a week.
  • After a week, strain out the herbs and spices.  Pour through a fine wire-mesh strainer, discarding solids. This oil should continue to be stored out of direct sunlight and in a cool dark place.
  • Don’t use infused oils for frying. If heated, the flavor compounds can break down and become bitter. Instead, add them at the end of cooking or to cold dishes.
How to use infused oils
  • As a dip for bread.
  • Drizzle over tomatoes.
  • Toss cooked pasta or rice.
  • Brush fish or chicken with infused oil before grilling.
  • Drizzle over popcorn for snack

Italian Herb Flavored Oil      

2 cups extra virgin olive oil, warmed on the stove
4 sprigs fresh oregano
4 sprigs fresh basil
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
2 tablespoons crushed dried red pepper
Follow directions above.


Some sample recipes for infusing oil:

Basil Oil: Use 1 cup chopped fresh basil.
Mint Oil: Use 1 cup chopped fresh mint
Dill Oil: Use 1 cup chopped fresh dill.
Oregano Oil: Use 1 cup chopped fresh oregano.
Thyme Oil: Use 1 cup chopped fresh thyme leaves.
Chive Oil: Use 1 cup chopped fresh chives; reduce oil to 3/4 cup
Sage Oil: Use 1/2 cup chopped fresh sage.
Rosemary Oil: Use 1/2 cup chopped fresh rosemary.
Black Pepper Oil: Use 1/2 cup coarsely ground black pepper.
Ginger Oil: Place 1/3 cup chopped fresh ginger in a heatproof container. Heat oil, and
pour over ginger.
Chile Pepper Oil: Crumble 2 dried red chile peppers, and place in a heatproof container.
Heat oil, and pour over chiles.

Lemon Infused Olive Oil

This is excellent drizzled over cooked vegetables

  • 1 large lemon
  • 1 cup olive oil

Preparation:

  1. Scrub lemon clean and dry thoroughly. Use a very sharp paring knife or peeler to remove the zest – just the bright yellow part of the peel, avoiding the bitter white pith immediately below – from the lemon.
  2. Put lemon zest and olive oil in a small saucepan and warm over medium heat. Do not allow oil to simmer. Keep the oil just below a simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove oil from heat and let cool.
  3. Strain lemon zest out of the oil and put the now lemon-infused oil in a clean jar. Store in a cool, dark place.

Roasted Carrots with Lemon Infused Olive Oil

Yield: 2

1 bunch fresh whole carrots
1 tablespoon Lemon Infused Olive Oil
Couple pinches of Kosher salt
Couple turns of freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Trim and scrub the carrots with a vegetable brush. Dry them and them place on a baking sheet.
Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and black pepper. Toss with your hands to coat the carrots with the oil.
Roast at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. you will want to check the carrots after 10 minutes and turn them over to ensure that they brown evenly. Remove when they are nicely caramelized.

Lemon Olive Oil Cake                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

2 small lemons
1 cup sugar
Scant 1/2 cup plain lowfat yogurt
3 large eggs
2/3 cup Lemon Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with olive oil cooking spray.. Grate zest from 2 lemons and place in a bowl with sugar. Using your fingers, rub ingredients together until lemon zest is evenly distributed in sugar.

Cut lemons in half and squeeze juice into a measuring cup; you will need 1/4 cup. Add yogurt to juice until you have 2/3 cup liquid altogether. Pour mixture into bowl with sugar and whisk well. Whisk in eggs and olive oil.

In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gently stir dry ingredients into wet ones. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake cake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until it is golden and a cake tester inserted into center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 5 minutes, then unmold and cool to room temperature right-side up.
Good with sliced strawberries.

Quinoa, Corn, and Tomato Salad with Chive-Infused Oil

Flavored oil coats the quinoa grains and lends the salad a fresh chive flavor. Refrigerate leftover oil to use as a dressing or to drizzle over grilled fish or summer vegetables. Garnish with whole fresh chives, if desired.
6 servings (serving size: 2/3 cup)

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa ( or any grain of your choice)
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons Chive-Infused Oil, see below
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced


Combine 1 1/2 cups water and quinoa in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
Combine quinoa, corn, tomatoes, and parsley in a medium bowl. Combine Chive-Infused Oil and remaining ingredients, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle over salad; toss well to coat. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Chive-infused Oil

or you can use the chive infused oil made according to the directions above

3/4 cup (serving size: 1 1/2 teaspoons)

  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (1-inch) slices fresh chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Place all ingredients in a blender; pulse 6 times or until chives are very finely minced. Strain mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl and discard solids. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.




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