Drizzle Oil and Vinegar

Drizzle Oil and Vinegar

Archive for February, 2009

Vinaigrette Dressing homestyle

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

People are becoming more and more health conscious, dressings for their salads are reflecting this. Going back only a few years, they were almost treated as a candy as they were rich and sweet. This defeated the whole purpose of eating a ‘healthy’ salad. While the obvious use of vinaigrette is as a dressing for your salad, they are also very flexible and can be used sauces for all courses, including your main entrée. Chefs are making up all sort of variations of this dressing and using it for just about everything. The beauty of vinaigrette is the fact that it can be served either at room temperature or warm. While these dressings are usually always called vinaigrette, they may not actually have vinegar as their base. Today, other acids such as lemon juice, are used as a substitute for vinegar. If you are using vinegar, you have plenty of options to explore different flavors. Using varieties such as champagne vinegar or cider vinegar will create a new twist. While the oil part of the dressing is usually a high quality olive oil, people now sometimes substitute things like herb infused oil, ginger flavored oil, sesame oil or oils that have been infused with nut flavors. While it may not seem typical, you can also make a vinaigrette using natural juices. For instance, you can use bacon fat to sauté your meat or fish and then add vinegar to the pan juices creating a vinaigrette that you would use as a sauce for the dish.

You could also sauté small pieces of bacon and then add the vinegar giving yourself a wonderful warm bacon dressing for a spinach salad. While people are making their own twist, it should only truly be called a vinaigrette if the flavors are combined equally. No one entity should dominate the dressing. The usual ratio for a proper vinaigrette 3 parts oil to 1 part acid. You will find that when using substitutes for the vinegar, such as orange juice, you can lessen the oil ratio to 2:1 to equal out the flavors. Vinaigrettes are much more than just dressing though. They are ideal for marinades for any type of meat, poultry or fish. The acid allows the flavors to penetrate leading to a wonderful flavor upon cooking. One thing you do want to remember though is that if you do choose to use your vinaigrette as a marinade, you should never remove the meat and then use it as a dressing. It will be loaded with harmful bacteria so you should just make up a fresh batch if being used as a dressing or heat it to a boil if you are going to use it as a sauce so you can kill of the raw bacteria that may have transferred from your meat dish.

Making a vinaigrette is extremely easy and modifiable. You can taste it as you go and continue to adjust the ratio’s to get the desired flavor. As you are adding components, you may find that you now have too much on your hands. Not to worry, this dressing will keep for a week or so in a sealed container. Something that frustrates a lot of people when they are making a vinaigrette for the first time is the fact that is separates so easily. To avoid this, it will have to be whisked or shaken briskly before serving. The natural components keep them separate unless this is done. Something you can do to combat this is adding a little Dijon mustard, it will act as an emulsifying agent. To add a new twist to your vinaigrette, try adding things like fresh fruit, herbs cheeses and other spices. You will be pleasantly surprised.


Adding Olive Oil To Your Diet

Thursday, February 05th, 2009

If you would like to eat and live more healthy, you can do so by cooking with olive oil, because it contains a high level of monounsaturated fatty acid. Olive oil is used to generously marinade, cook, and bake with in the Mediterranean area.

No one is sure where the use of olive oil began, but the use of cultured olives goes back more than 6,000 years. Stories were told by the ancient Romans and Greeks that the gods created olives instead of people. In Roman mythology is it said that the birth of olives originated when Hercules hit the earth causing an olive tree to grow.

The Greeks said that olives were created by the Greek goddess Athena. She was well respected and it was believed that only pure men and virgins could care for the olive groves. Olives were considered scarce and beloved food.

Some of the first documentation of olives were inventory catalogues found on old trading ships, that carried olive oil on the sea routes in the Mediterranean. When olives arrived in Greece they were adored for use as beauty treatment, oils in lamps, as well as food.

At the time of the Roman Empire civilization traveled and the growth of olive groves in southeast Europe. While olive oil was important to the Empires southeast parts, they arranged near the oil provinces. When the fall of the Roman Empire occurred olives groves would not flourish and for many years would only survive in very few places in the large hills of Tuscany.

Olive groves came back around in about 1100 AD when Tuscany became a acclaimed place of agriculture of olive trees. Some strict laws which are still followed today include regulating the cultivation of olives and the business of oil. Italy offered a great oil that appeared in renaissance restaurants in Europe, and soon became the top producer of olive oil on the continent. Because of taxation activities, the production of olive oil staggered, but still proceeded to grow as civilization increased throughout the world. During the 1700’s the first olive trees were brought to the new world by Franciscan missionaries. A century later, olive oil first appeared in North and South America when Greek and Italian immigrants started requesting it be brought over from Europe. Soon after this occurred olive oil was accepted by the American chefs.

Olive oil will continue to become more popular in the 21st century as it is a vital part of cuisine around the world. Now 800 million olive trees grow in the world today, while more will be planted daily.

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