The chef and restaurateur Thomas Keller is now in the chocolate business: a bean-to-bar partnership with Armando Manni, a Tuscan olive oil producer. The idea was born five years ago, when the men were discussing the antioxidant properties of dark chocolate and olive oil. The results, called K & M Extravirgin Chocolate (they say it “K plus M”), are made in a former warehouse in Napa, Calif., where the cacao undergoes a special, gentler process to preserve the bean’s antioxidant properties. Mr. Manni’s olive oil is used in place of cocoa butter. The 75 percent cacao bars come in three varieties, according to the source of the chocolate. The Peruvian bar has coffeelike depth, the bar from Ecuador is smooth with woodsy hints of chestnut, and the Madagascar bar is spicy with notes of pineapple and passion fruit. You do not taste the olive oil.
There are so many varieties of olives available today. It’s valuable to sample and taste them to find favorites. Certainly olives belong with cheeses and roasted vegetables as an appetizer, but they have many applications within recipes for memorable meals.
A sweeter olive, such as the Italian Cerignola olive, pairs well with tart, earthy goat cheese. Bake them into a quiche together. The nutty flavor of tiny French Niçoise olives is perfect for the renowned Niçoise salad with oily tuna and hard-cooked eggs, roasted red peppers and green beans. Fruity, salty Picholine olives from the South of France pair well with Provolone cheese. And the classic Kalamata olive from Greece is delicious with lemon and feta cheese, with sun-dried tomatoes, or even baked into bread or used as a pizza topping.
Native to the Mediterranean region, olives and their oil figure prominently in cuisines from each country where they are grown. Try the Spanish Manzanillo olives with raisins in a dish that features chicken, tomatoes and shaved Manchego cheese. Bright green Castelvetrano olives from Sicily provide a variation on the salty, sweet, bitter theme, and work well in a salad with navel or blood orange sections.
The sweet oranges, bitter greens, and salty olives make a great combination in the accompanying recipe for Orange and Olive Salad. Or try the following chicken dish, a recent favorite from cooking classes.
The incidence of osteoporosis and associated fractures is found to be lower in countries where the Mediterranean diet is predominant. These observations might be mediated by the active constituents of olive oil and especially phenolic compounds.
The intake of olive oil has been related to the prevention of osteoporosis in experimental and in in vitro models. Very few prospective studies have evaluated the effects of olive oil intake on circulating osteocalcin (OC) in humans.
The objective of the study led by Spanish researchers was to examine the longitudinal effects of a low-fat control diet (n = 34), a Mediterranean diet enriched with nuts (MedDiet+nuts, n = 51), or a Mediterranean diet enriched with virgin olive oil (MedDiet+VOO, n = 42) on circulating forms of OC and bone formation markers in elderly men at high cardiovascular risk.
Consumption of a Mediterranean diet enriched with virgin olive oil for 2 years is associated with increased serum osteocalcin and P1NP concentrations, suggesting protective effects on bone.
Age-related bone mass loss and decreased bone strength is an almost invariable feature of human biology, affecting women and men alike as an important determinant of osteoporosis and fracture risk. Nutritional factors are known to be involved in age-related bone loss associated with osteoblast insufficiency during continuous bone remodeling, in interaction with a combination of genetic, metabolic, and hormonal factors.
Epidemiological studies have shown that the incidence of osteoporosis in Europe is lower in the Mediterranean basin. The traditional Mediterranean diet, rich in fruit and vegetables, with a high intake of olives and olive products, mainly olive oil, could be one of the environmental factors underlying this difference.
Some reports have suggested that the consumption of olives, olive oil, and oleuropein, an olive oil polyphenol, can prevent the loss of bone mass in animal models of aging-related osteoporosis. Recent in vitro studies have shown that oleuropein, the main phenolic compound in olive leaves and fruit and a constituent of virgin olive oil, reduced the expression of peroxisomal proliferator-activated receptor-γ, inhibiting adipocyte differentiation and enhancing differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells into osteoblasts. In addition, the gene expression of osteoblastogenesis markers, runt-related transcription factor II, osterix, collagen type I, alkaline phosphatase, and osteocalcin, was higher in osteoblast-induced oleuropein-treated cells.
A protective effect of olive oil and oleuropein has also been observed in experimental models. Femoral failure load and diaphyseal bone mineral density were increased after consumption of oleuropein and olive oil in ovariectomized mice. In addition to its role as bone marker, osteocalcin has also been related to glucose homeostasis. Mice lacking osteocalcin displayed decreased β-cell proliferation, glucose intolerance, and insulin resistance when compared with wild-type mice. We are unaware of studies evaluating the effects of olive oil on circulating osteocalcin and its possible relationship with insulin secretion/resistance in humans. The objective of this study was to explore circulating bone formation and resorption markers in association with the intake of olive oil. For comparison, we also studied the effects of consuming nuts and the effects of a low-fat diet.
Published evidence suggests that olive oil phenols can be beneficial by preventing the loss of bone mass. It has been demonstrated that they can modulate the proliferative capacity and cell maturation of osteoblasts by increasing alkaline phosphatase activity and depositing calcium ions in the extracellular matrix. Further research on this issue is warranted, given the prevalence of osteoporosis and the few data available on the action of olive oil on bone.
by T N
The kind of oil you use in your food matters. This is true especially when it comes to bottles labeled extra-virgin olive oil, which can be anything from awful to something so sublime you want to sip it from a spoon. Picking a bottle at random from the supermarket shelf just because it has the lowest price won’t solve the problem. You need to be an informed consumer, especially since most governments aren’t doing a great job of weeding out the olive oil shams from the saints, the U.S. included.
In a $12 billion global business, the stakes are high, so producers go to great lengths to keep selling enormous volumes. “Most [sellers] are just traders who mix olive oil in Frankenstein quantities and call it extra-virgin olive oil,” says Tom Mueller, author of Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil. “In most cases of crappy oil, it’s not from the place on the label. It is a jungle out there. Koroneiki [the most common Greek variety] is a perfect blending oil that gives generic oil oomph.” As for the problem of shipping oil transatlantic in hot containers, “only the best who care what oil is will ship in refrigerated containers,” adds Dan Flynn, executive director of the UC Davis Olive Center. “But most don’t even consider it.”
So how do you pick a good olive oil—and there are many made by impassioned, principled professionals—that you can trust and that’s right for you? Essentially by learning more about olive oil quality and grades, using your senses to taste and smell it, and listening to referrals to get the best stuff. Flynn asks that you keep one thing in mind: If you’ve had a bad OO experience; don’t turn away from it. There are plenty of great olive oils within reach. Our olive oil primer below will help you get started.
What is olive oil? First understand that olive oil is the juice of a fruit—the olive. This fruit juice, like wine, is alive in the bottle and continually changing with external conditions like high heat, which can oxidize and (rarely) hydrogenate it, and light such as UV, which oxidizes the oil and breaks down its chlorophyll. Several varieties of olive, each with its own characteristics, can produce oil. But the best olives oils are often made from one variety. Under optimal conditions, the oil contains up to 30 nutrients, among them beta-carotene, lutein, and vitamin E. It comprises mainly monounsaturated fat, which reduces LDL (bad) cholesterol and raises HDL (good) cholesterol in the bloodstream. The higher the oil quality, the more immune-strengthening antioxidants it has; antioxidants are bitter, so bitter olive oil is a good thing. Olive oil is also a natural anti-inflammatory, generating an ibuprofen-like effect. A cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil protects the body from obesity and cancer, and it can reduce the risk of heart disease (with two tablespoons minimum a day) and diabetes type 2. It is a myth that its fats turn saturated or to trans fats when it’s used in cooking, even for high-heat frying, according to the International Olive Oil Council (IOC).
This has the loveliest texture of any chocolate mousse I have ever tasted. If your chocolate and olive oil mixture splits you can rescue it by taking a new egg yolk and whisking the curdled mixture into it a drop at a time.
200g (7oz) plain chocolate, 70 per cent cocoa solids, broken into pieces
80g (3oz) caster sugar
5 large eggs, separated (you will use only three of the whites)
125ml (4fl oz) extra-virgin olive oil (a fruity one, not a grassy one), plus extra to serve
1½ tbsp brandy
sea-salt flakes, to serve
Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring from time to time. (The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water.) Leave to cool a little. Stir 30g (1oz) of the sugar into the five egg yolks, then gradually add this to the chocolate. Slowly and steadily stir in the oil, then the brandy.
875ml (1½ pints) full-fat milk
250ml (9fl oz) double cream
220g (8oz) caster sugar
10 egg yolks
½ tsp vanilla extract
good pinch sea-salt flakes, plus more to serve
75ml (2¾fl oz) extra-virgin olive oil (a fruity one), plus more to serve
Begin by setting a bowl in a sink of ice-cold water.
When it comes to appetizers, simplicity is sublime. Often the limited number of ingredients combined together creates the most spectacular flavor profiles. My Olive Tapenade Crostinis are a perfect example of this theory. Between the salty, savory tapenade and the smoky flavor from the red pepper along with the sweetness from the reduced balsamic on top of a crunchy carbohydrate – this is heaven in a two bite delight.
Hubby and I attended a holiday party last weekend in San Franciscowhich was rather beige unfortunately, but one that we needed to attend. We had great guests at our table, so the event was several shades more enticing. With any type of mass catering, sometimes the finesse of tasty food is lost in production and as hard as they tried, it was a lack luster attempt. Perhaps because I have such an affinity for food, I am being a bit too critical and I am sure others were thrilled and I am hapy for them. Be that as it may, there was one bright light shining at the event and it was on the appetizer portion of this party – thus my inspiration for this week’s Friday Night Bites. I always try to find the positive in any situation.
My positive was this delightful little two bite Crostini filled with salty tapenade, mozzarella and roasted red bell pepper. I added the reduced balsamic and a garlic rubbed Crostini. This can’t be more simple to make and will WOW your guests. This is a perfect appetizer to bring for any holiday party or enjoy on New Years Eve with a chilled glass of your favorite bubbly. Cheers! Continue reading
“In Greece, eggs are eaten as a meal later in the day,” according to the writers of Olives, Feta, Phyllo & More by the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral.
Greek Island Omelet
From Matina Nicholas in Olives, Feta, Phyllo & More: Classic & Contemporary Greek & American Cuisine.
INGREDIENTS: 1/4 onion, chopped # 1/4 cup canned artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained well # 9-ounce bag fresh spinach # 1/4 cup plum tomatoes, chopped # 4 eggs # dash of black pepper # 2 tablespoons pitted ripe olives, rinsed and sliced
METHOD :Spray small non-stick skillet with no-stick cooking spray. Heat over medium heat until hot.
Cook and stir onion 2 minutes until crisp-tender. Add artichoke hearts. Cook and stir until heated. Add spinach and tomatoes; toss briefly. Remove from heat. Transfer vegetables to small bowl.
Eataly’s Nick Coleman says nothing’s slicker than choosing the perfect olive oil.
By: Kelly Mickle, Q by Equinox
Photography by James Wojcik/Art Dept./trunkarchive.com
Olive oil may be the most cultivated cooking ingredient. Called “liquid gold” by the ancient Greeks, refinement pours from a perfectly chosen bottle — and the one who did the choosing. What’s more, Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN, and author of The O2 Diet, says, “Healthy fats and antioxidants in olive oil provide a host of body benefits such as lowering your risk for heart disease, boosting brainpower, warding off wrinkles and more.”
Related: Why Eating Fat Makes You Lose Fat
But for such an essential element, most of us know far less about olive oil’s finer points than, say, a good Cabernet. So we turned to Nick Coleman, chief olive oil specialist at Mario Batali’s Eataly, for advice. Click through the gallery below for his favorite labels and top tips for stocking and cooking with the viscous liquid.
(Read more at: https://www.yahoo.com)
Inflammation is associated with metabolic syndrome, an increasingly common condition characterized by the presence of three of the following pathologies in an individual: obesity (particularly abdominal fat), high blood pressure, a low level of “good” HDL cholesterol, high fasting blood sugar and a high level of triglycerides. Left untreated, metabolic syndrome can trigger diabetes, stroke and heart disease.
Forty-nine patients with metabolic syndrome added 40 ml of high-, medium- or low-phenol virgin olive oil to their breakfast. The high-phenol olive oil (398 parts per million) breakfast neutralized pro-inflammatory gene expression in patients while reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines in blood plasma. The result was an overall lower level of post-meal inflammation.
Phenols — phytochemicals found in plant-based foods such as olives, coffee, tea, and chocolate — have been enjoying the nutritional limelight as an increasing number of health-related benefits are revealed. While the lion’s share of studies to date focus on their anti-oxidant benefits, growing evidence shows that phenols also reduce inflammation.
Virgin? Extra virgin? Should you be worrying about how promiscuous your olive oil is, or the fat content, or about the mob selling you counterfeit oil? Here’s what you need to know before your next stir fry.
1. Refined Olive Oils
Olive oil is basically made by macerating olives, and spinning the paste in a centrifuge to separate out the water, leaving only the oil. But only about 30 percent of olive oil production ends there; the oil is usually then refined using solvents and high heat to neutralize the tastes of the oil. This lets manufacturers use olives that aren’t in the best condition, since the bad tastes from the mass production process are chemically removed. When you see bottles of ‘Pure Olive Oil,’ or just ‘Olive Oil,’ these are refined.
Unrefined olive oils, such as ‘extra virgin’ and ‘virgin,’ don’t undergo chemical refining, so the oil goes straight from the centrifuge to the bottle. Since bad tastes and contamination can’t be hidden with refining, producers of these oils need to use olives that are in good condition and carefully manage the process.
3. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
A virgin olive oil is better quality than a refined olive oil, but an extra virgin olive oil goes the extra mile with flavor and care. In these oils, the taste of the olive remains intact, and they have higher amounts of nutrients and thus more health benefits. Not just anyone can claim their oil is extra virgin, according to Olive Oil Times: “In order for an oil to qualify as “extra virgin” the oil must also pass both an official chemical test in a laboratory and a sensory evaluation by a trained tasting panel recognized by the International Olive Council.”