Antipasto platter

By Madiha Hamid – Published: January 15, 2015

37Method

For the dressing:

•  Mix all the ingredients and whisk them lightly.
•  Keep tasting the mixture every few minutes to check for sourness or sweetness. The dressing should be tangy in taste.
•  Adjust the mixture by adding sugar or honey.

For the vegetables:

•  Marinate the sliced vegetables in the dressing for about an hour or so. Allow them to sit in the refrigerator for the juice to sink in.
•  Sprinkle the veggies with oregano and fresh parsley for added taste.

On the side

•  Cut some pita bread into small, triangular pieces and toast it.
•  Add a small bowl of hummus or salsa sauce to dip the vegetables in.

The concept of antipasti

Antipasto (plural: antipasti) is the Italian name given to the foods offered before a main meal — an appetiser, if you will. This is a delightful way to set the stage for the coming feast and invite family and friends to the dinner table. The presentation of antipasti — the different colours, artful composition, varied tastes and the care taken in its presentation  — serve as reminders for guests that it is time for relaxation, pleasure and indulgence.
According to Italian tradition, the ingredients of antipasti are selected on the basis of colour, flavour and how well they complement one another and the main course. A typical antipasti platter includes olives, pepperoni, anchovies, mushrooms, artichokes, cured meats, pickles, different cheeses and vegetable slices dipped in oil or vinegar. It can be served hot or cold, in bite-size plates or as elegant centrepieces from which everyone is served. In Italy, the most common antipasto dish includes a simple display of cured meats like salami or mortadella slices along with hard cheeses garnished with olives, onions, peppers or sun-dried tomatoes.
The Italians generally save antipasti for special occasions and big parties and celebrations. In Milan, enjoying an aperitif (alcoholic drinks served before a meal) has become a sort of institution. The Milanese consider drinking wine while nibbling on some potato chips, olives and peanuts an hour before the main course an essential for the good life. In fact, it would be unthinkable for the Milanese to start a dinner without an aperitif!.

Winter vegetables for antipasti?

Indulge in your favourite cured meats and cheeses, served with a mix of the best vegetables and fruits the winter season has to offer. These include:

(Source: http://tribune.com.pk/story/818737/antipasto-platter/)

Recipe for cream cheese and olive log

DECEMBER 23, 2014

Boghosian_24platesrec5_LIFE

Serves 8

USE: 1 large package (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature | 1 cup Spanish salad olives, drained (chopped green olives with pimento) | Salt, to taste | ¾ cup walnuts, chopped | 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

METHOD:
1. In a food processor, work the cream cheese until it is soft and light. Add the olives and work in on-off motions until the olives are blended with the cream cheese.

2. Break off a large sheet of plastic wrap. Transfer the mixture to the middle of the plastic wrap and use the paper to shape the mixture into a log that is 9 inches long and 2 inches wide. Secure the ends. Refrigerate for at least 1 day or for as long as 3 days.

3. Meanwhile, in a skillet, toast the nuts, shaking the pan constantly, for 4 minutes or until browned; cool.

4. Unwrap the log and roll it in the chopped nuts. Carefully transfer to a plate and sprinkle with parsley. Serve with crackers.

Sheryl Julian

(Source: http://www.bostonglobe.com)

Quick Pasta with Shrimp, Green Olive, Orange and Baby Arugula

Ingredients:
IMG_41642-560x840For the Vinaigrette:
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 cup orange juice (about the juice of 1 orange)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

For the Pasta:
1 pound pasta of choice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 shallot, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 pound pasta of choice

For Assembly:
7 ounces pitted green olives, drained
4 ounces baby arugula
2 oranges, segmented

Directions:
Tip to allow this meal to come together quickly and seamlessly: Prep everything in advance/while water is coming to a boil (garlic minced, shallots chopped, vinaigrette made, and pasta ingredients in large bowl – arugula, segmented oranges, and olives). Once the water is boiling, add your pasta and then immediately begin cooking the shrimp portion. The shrimp cooks quickly so everything should finish up right around the same time so you can just toss and serve!

IMG_42002-560x761
For the Vinaigrette:
Add all ingredients to a glass measuring cup (or other container) and whisk until well combined. Set aside until ready to use.

For the Pasta:
In a large pot, bring salted (always add a teaspoon or 2 of salt to your pasta water!) water to a boil over high heat. Cook pasta according to package instructions, stirring occasionally, drain when cooked to tender but firm.

While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the chopped shallots and garlic and sauté until soft, about 2 minutes. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and add to the pan and stir until mixed in with the shallots and garlic. Add white wine to the pan and saute for 2 to 3 minutes (until the shrimp are pink and cooked through).

To Assemble:
Add cooked pasta & shrimp to a large bowl and add the baby arugula, orange segments, olives, and vinaigrette. Gently toss to combine and allow arugula to start to wilt. Portion into pasta bowls and serve with a tiny pinch of sea salt on top. Serve immediately.

(Source: http://www.mylifeasamrs.com/)

White Cheddar Olive Poppers | Friday Night Bites

Are you looking for a proven crowd pleaser appetizer recipe?  Look no further.  These little bites of divine goodness are your ticket to elevating your entertaining status to a high level.  They are simple, tasty and addictive.  They combine the “carb” component we all crave, along with the saltiness of the olive which makes for an unbelievable combination.  Trust me, the only problem you will have is that you and your guests will devour them and will want you to make more.DSC02069

We are having a bit of a heat wave in the Bay Area this week.  It is actually sort of refreshing after a winter of chill yet little rain.  The sprinkling of heat signals that summer is around the corner and our Friday Night Bites can now move from indoors to outdoors.  Got to get hubby to refresh the fountains and get them running again.  I love sitting outside with the sound of trickling water along with a light breeze and a glass of wine in hand with some scrumptious appetizers an arms length away. Continue reading

Warm Citrus Olives with Rosemary and Garlic

Don’t weekends go way too fast? After a long week at work, I completely look forward to Friday night. It is the beginning of the weekend. In addition we have our Friday night tradition of wine and appetizers. Our Friday night this week was filled with friends and great cheeses. DSC01532
Our dear friend brought a very special bottle of wine to celebrate Friday night. It was a bottle I have never had before and now has become a new favorite. Seven Stones Winery sits east of St. Helena. Ronald and Anita Wornick didn’t take long after they purchased 45 acres for their family estate, to take on the exceptional task of creating some of the best wine. They only produce 400 cases, and dedicate to a single varietal –Cabernet Sauvignon.DSC01512

As quoted on their website – “Seven Stones is comprised of just under three acres of vines and a winery on the Wornick family estate in St. Helena. From small, meticulously cultivated vineyard parcels, we produce a limited amount of some of Napa Valley’s most sought after Cabernet Sauvignon.”DSC01507 Continue reading

Roast Tomato, Onion, Feta, Olive And Basil Salad

When I made the zucchini, haloumi and feta fritters recently I wanted a delicious salad to go with it.  I love roast tomatoes and often make a risotto with roasted cherry tomatoes, so I decided to try roast tomatoes (this time Roma tomatoes) in a salad.  The results were delicious.

I love how roasted tomatoes take on a juicy, sweet flavour that is so much more intense than an unroasted tomato.  The roasted onion takes on a sweetness too, and coupled with the fresh creamy danish feta and basil it’s a flavour extravaganza.

gosalad1Ingredients

  • roma tomatoes (large, quartered)
  • purple onion (peeled and quartered)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • pepper, salt
  • 30 grams Chalkidiki olives (green)
  • 50 grams feta (I prefer Danish Feta)
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsps white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 clove garlic (grated)

Continue reading

Table Olive Processing (Method 1)

fermentationThis method is similar to the natural fermentation process we use. It allows the sugars in the olives to ferment and form lactic acid. The end result will be well worth the effort and the wait. All the wonderful flavours are preserved and this gives the olives its delicious taste.

 Green Olives:

  • Green olives are soaked in a caustic soda solution of between 1,3 and 2,6% for ±15 hours. The time may vary according to the size and ripeness of the fruit. After a few hours, take out an olive and make a cut through the flesh. When the lye has penetrated two thirds of the distance between the surface of the fruit and the pit, it is ready to be washed.
  • Also try to prevent the olives from coming into contact with air, as this can cause the colour to go dark or an unattractive khaki green. Keep in an airtight container (stainless steel, glass or high grade plastic will not affect the taste) through the entire process.
  • In the mean time prepare the brine by dissolving 1 kilogram of salt in 10 litres of clean water.
  • Now rinse the olives many times with clean, cold water to remove soapiness and caustic residue. This step is very important, because you don’t want your olives to taste of caustic soda or “soapy”.
  • Place the olives into a suitable container and cover completely with the brine. Make sure the container has a tight fitting lid.
  • Leave to ferment ±12 months. Taste them from time to time and decide for yourself when they are to your taste.

Bottling: Remove from the brine, rinse with clean water and place into glass jars and cover with hot brine. To make the brine solution: 20g Salt mixed into 1 liter boiling water. Cover immediately and leave to cool. Store in a cool place and refrigerate after opening.  Wine vinegar may be added to taste. You may even add sprigs of fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme or a few cloves of garlic or lemon slices.

Continue reading

11 Reasons You Should Be Eating Olives Daily

Are you looking for healthy snack ideas? Have you ever thought about adding olives to your diet? The truth is olives make a great healthy snack.  Olives contain a lot of vitamins and macro/micro elements which do wonders to our body. Additionally, olives contain a large amount of fatty acids and antioxidants, including lutein, a potent antioxidant that neutralizes the action of free radicals and protects our body from aging.

  • PicMonkey-Collage2Olives contribute to the prevention of diseases of the heart and vessels, as well as oncological diseases.
  • Maslinic Acid in Olive Skin helps prevent against colon cancer.
  • Olives  have a therapeutic effect in arthritis, podagra, osteochondrosis – diseases of the musculoskeletal system.
  • The calcium contained in olives is important in the strengthening of bone tissue, which takes part in the formation of the joints.

Continue reading

BBQ Recipes: Tapenade-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Tapenade-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Prep/Total Time: 30 min.

Ingredients:

  • 15063757-mmmain4 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 4 pitted Greek olives
  • 4 pitted Spanish olives
  • 4 pitted ripe olives
  • 1/4 cup roasted sweet red peppers, drained
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 ounces each)
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Place the first eight ingredients in a food processor; pulse until tomatoes and olives are coarsely chopped. Cut a pocket horizontally in the thickest part of each chicken breast. Fill with olive mixture; secure with toothpicks.

Continue reading

Miranda Kerr’s beauty secret: Super food salads … feta cheese and olives included!

miranda_storysize_650_052314030436Supermodel Miranda Kerr gives credit to super food salads for her slender figure and radiant complexion.

 The 31-year-old said that she survives on a diet of healthy green smoothies and grilled lean meats, as well as a daily dose of leafy goodness packed with essential vitamins and nutrients, reports femalefirst.co.uk.

Every day I eat a big salad with finely chopped spinach and kale, fennel and macadamia nut oil. (Also) fresh lemon squeezed on that with apple cider vinegar. And feta cheese, olives and cucumber,” she said.

Kerr also said she consumes noni juice, goji berries, chia seeds or maca powder.

 

Juicy Chicken Paillard Recipe by Eric Ripert


Chicken Paillard with Tomatoes, Fennel, and Olives

Serves 4

Ingredients:
bernardin-w7244 skinless boneless chicken breasts, butterflied and lightly pounded flat
1/2 cup shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
3/4 cup thinly sliced fennel
1/2 cup green olives, pitted and sliced
1/4 cup raisins, soaked in white wine
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons capers
4 sprigs thyme, leaves removed
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons basil julienne
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
fine sea salt and freshly
ground pepper

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss the tomatoes, fennel, green olives, shallots, pine nuts, raisins, caper, thyme leaves, and garlic in a mixing bowl. Drizzle most of the olive oil over the vegetables and season to taste with salt and pepper.

2. Season the chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. Place the chicken in a single layer on a large baking dish. Cover the chicken with the tomato mixture and drizzle the remaining olive oil over and around the chicken.

3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Sprinkle the parsley over the chicken and serve immediately.

(source: http://www.glamour.com)

A taste of the Mediterranean: Olives — their oil and our health

Olives in bowls in a shop. Black and green olivesContinuing with the Mediterranean eating theme practically requires that we cover olives and olive oil at some point in the discussion, since they are so widely consumed by Mediterranean cultures. Traditionally, a Mediterranean diet calls for eating several olives (maybe up to 10) or consuming 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil each day. Let’s take a look at what the benefits of this practice may be.

Are there health benefits from olives that are separate from their oil?

This is the first question I had when starting this post. After all, most dietitians can rattle off several benefits of consuming olive oil without much trouble at all, but olives themselves? I tend to think of olives as mostly a garnish of sorts, not really a food, but in the Mediterranean diet they are indeed a food. Olives are rich in phytonutrients that exhibit anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. A recent study even shows that compounds in olive leaves may help increase insulin sensitivity (though the study used capsules and not olives themselves). In fact, one company is seeking a patent for the olive leaf extract, which is a more potent source of the two phytonutrients of interest—oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol—for its effects in the blood sugar control/metabolic syndrome area. These phytonutrients may also play a role in cancer prevention, and are known to have some blood thinning properties. It’s a bit early to jump on the olive leaf extract bandwagon, but it certainly presents some rationale for including more olives in your diet. Olives are also a good source of fiber, iron, copper and vitamin E.

Now to rattle off the olive oil health benefits

Marinated green and black olivesMost of the health chatter around olive oil relates to the fact that it is mainly made up of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). These are considered healthy dietary fats, and when you decrease your consumption of less healthy fats (such as saturated and trans fats) with MUFAs, you can help lower your risk of heart disease by lowering total cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels. There is also some evidence that suggests that MUFAs may benefit blood sugar control as well—great for those with metabolic syndrome or Type 2 diabetes. In fact, studies like this recent one have shown that a Mediterranean diet that includes olive oil and nuts—without energy (calorie) restriction—reduced diabetes risk in a group of adult men and women who were already at risk of cardiovascular disease. Some types of MUFAs appear to have a use in fighting breast cancer, though more studies need to be done before conclusive benefits are demonstrated.

Bringing it to the table

Healthy golden olive oilOlives or olive oil for you? Both have benefits, and many of them are the same. So it may come down to sodium. Olives are usually high in sodium, though the level varies by type and processing technique. Most olives are brined and cured for several months to offset their naturally bitter taste. This means, of course, that they are salty—and rinsing them does little good. If you’re one of those folks who needs to watch sodium, you may want to go the olive oil route instead of the olive route when following a Mediterranean eating plan.

When choosing olive oil, keep these things in mind:

  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) has the highest concentration of health-promoting phytonutrients. It’s made by crushing/pressing the olives, and is the first extraction of the oil from high quality olives. Choose EVOO for drizzling, dipping or dressings.
  • Light olive oil, though not worthy of the extra virgin quality label, is still olive oil (albeit likely a mixture of different olive oils) and has comparable health benefits. It is further refined than EVOO, resulting in a more colorless, more mild-tasting oil. It’s better suited to cooking with high heat as its smoke-point is higher than that of EVOO. It’s also a good choice for baking.

(source: http://catchinghealth.bangordailynews.com/)

Marinated Cheese and Olives

“So, I chopped up some of the Creamy Havarti (to die for), Aged Wisconsin Cheddar (so smooth and creamy), and Parmentino (a harder, stronger flavored cheese that is a mix of Parmesan and cheddar) with some green and black olives. I think next time I’ll swap the Parmentino for the New Zealander cheese. Anyway, I  tossed ’em all in some oil, vinegar, and Italian herbs and then I grabbed a fancy glass of wine and some fancy crackers and I had a very fancy wine and cheese tasting in my bed while watching Veronice Mars.  I’m so classy, you can’t even deal. “

INGREDIENTS:marinated-cheese-and-olives

3 ounces cheddar cheese, cubed
3 ounces Havarti, cubed
3 ounces New Zealander or Parmentino, cubed
1/4 cup green olives
1/4 cup black olives
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herbs

DIRECTIONS:

Add the cheeses and olives to a medium bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, and seasoning. Pour over the cheese.
Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

Read more at http://www.bunsinmyoven.com/2014/05/06/marinated-cheese-and-olives/#KCs6lL5pUMpQ2zkI.99

Olives & Olive-oil – Cell Aging Delayed

20140104_121122Protection against cellular aging in a natural way: Austrian researchers biotechnologically produce a valuable antioxidant from olives that is more effective than Vitamin C. It can prevent cancer and has many positive effects on human health.

GRAZ, AUSTRIA, March 24, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ — Whether in salads, for frying fish or meat or just as a snack on white bread – for millennia olive oil has been one of the tastiest natural products. And it is one of the healthiest be-cause of the high content of unsaturated fatty acids and additional substances, which are present in minute amounts in olives (and in virgin olive oil “extra virgine”). A particularly valuable one is 3-hydroxytyrosol. “The substance is said to protect the cells and thus delays aging and prevents various diseases,” says Margit Winkler, researcher at the Austrian
Centre of Industrial Biotechnology (acib). This is due to the antioxidant effect, which is even stronger than that of ascorbic acid, the well-known antioxidant Vitamin C from citrus fruits.

No wonder that the substance is always in demand as a natural food supplement or as a component for cosmetics. The crux of the matter is the availability of 3-hydroxytyrosol: olive trees grow in limited geographic areas and olives should remain a valuable and tasty food and not become the raw material for a substance that is present only in minimal amounts. The separation is difficult and expensive, says Margit Winkler.

_MG_8895A research group of acib and the Swiss industrial partner Lonza has found a way to produce the valuable substance biotechnologically. A patent has been filed and it will be scientifically published shortly. The biotechnological route uses bacteria (Escherichia coli) as a cell factory. The researchers have integrated a new enzyme from another microorganism (called Nocardia), which is able to convert a cheap, low-carbon acid (3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetic acid, DOPAC) into the valuable 3-hydroxytyrosol. The entire reaction was improved so that the otherwise for this complicated conversion necessary cofactors are no longer needed – the high art of biotechnology.

“Fed with DOPAC, at laboratory scale there is a turnover of 100 percent using our modified Escherichia coli cell factories,” explains acib-scientist Winkler. The next step is transferring the process to an industrial scale.

Antioxidants and Cancer

20140104_121133Oxidative stress damages living cells: They form very active “radicals”, which react with everything that comes their way. This causes cancer or an even faster cell death. For example, skin cells exposed to UV light show such oxidative stress. The skin ages faster, dries out, becomes wrinkled. In the worst case, skin cancer is the long-term consequence. Antioxidants neutralize the free radicals and decrease the risk of damages dramatically. 3-hydroxytyrosol has already been tested in many studies and showed “cytoprotective effect”: Protection of cells was shown with intestinal and brain cells, cells of the cardiovascular system, liver and various other cell types. For the authors of the studies, 3-hydroxytyrosol can prevent cancer, is anti-inflammatory and has a positive effect on the cardiovascular system.

Reference: “ChemCatChem: Whole cell carboxylate reduction for the synthesis of 3-hydroxytyrosol,” Kamila Napora-Wijata, Karen Robins, Antonio Osorio-Lozada and Margit Winkler; http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cctc.201300913/abstract

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/1806361#ixzz2x3oqQ6g6

Meatless Monday: Marinated chickpeas with olives, roasted red peppers and raisins over mixed greens

This is a nice sweet, salty salad with a bit of a nutty undertone, thanks to the walnut oil. No dressing required. Just spoon the chickpea mixture over top of fresh, bright baby greens, and enjoy!

by Caitlin Sanigameatlessmonday

  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced roasted red pepper
  • 6 pitted kalamata olives or chalkidiki (Inolivia), sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons walnut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 6 cups mixed baby greens (I used spinach, frisee and arugula.)

In a medium bowl, combine the chickpeas, raisins, red pepper, olives, parsley and scallions. Pour the olive oil over top and season with the salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Divide the greens among 4 bowls. Top with the chickpea salad.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe adapted from: so hungry I could blog

 

5 great foods to eat for gorgeous hair – olives among them

hairLooking for that one secret for obtaining luscious locks? We all know that your hair is supposed to be your crowning glory! But we often find ourselves asking what we can do for healthier, stronger, and shinier strands. The answer – your diet! Consuming nutrient-rich foods stimulates the hair’s proteins, nourishes and protects its fibers, and increases circulation to its follicles. So to rock beautiful hair every day, here are a few best foods you can incorporate into your food regime:

Olives – Olives are rich in vitamin E, which increases blood flow to the hair follicles and stimulates growth and vitality. The oil in them also keeps hair soft and flexible. Eating olives can also decrease split ends and reconstruct the hair fiber to prevent dryness and breakages. Try Inolivia Olives.

Chia Seeds – These seeds contain omega-3 fats, which improve the integrity of elastin and keratin, creating thick, voluminous tresses. The fats also nourish the scalp helping to boost shine. 

Rice – Rice is highly concentrated in biotin, a B vitamin that helps improve the elasticity of hair and reduces brittleness. Eating rice can also nourish the hair follicle and stimulate hair cell renewal, which can help lead to thicker strands.

Black Beans – Black beans contain iron, zinc, biotin and protein – all important building blocks for the hair that strengthen and prevent chronic breakage.

Green Tea – We can’t tout the power of tea enough. Drinking anti-oxidant polyphenol-rich green tea will improve your skin and boost your beauty. You can also apply it topically. Washing your hair with green tea or applying it directly to the scalp could help fix troublesome dandruff and add shine. 

(Source: http://www.beautyworldnews.com/)