Monday, 19 November 2012

How to Choose Top Quality Kitchen Knives, A Guest Post

There are so many things that go into making a meal not only special but also healthy. The use of fresh, quality ingredients and supporting local businesses by purchasing locally grown vegetables and meats is a great way to begin. Using the right kitchen equipment not only saves you time, it can make preparation of a meal easier. How many times have we heard how important the use of good pots and pans are? How difficult does it make it when chopping vegetables with a dull knife?

 I'm lucky today to share with you a visitor to I'm Cookin' In My Kitchen, Sarita Ramakrishnan,  who will share some of her thoughts on this subject.  With Thanksgiving upon us this week there will plenty of turkey to be carved, this article comes to us with perfect timing.

 "I want to know what goes in the foods my child eats and make thoughtful decisions. A few years ago we bought a set of “Global knives” from Selfridges and while they have been expensive, it was worth the investment. Chopping up the vegetables and meats is actually quite satisfying as it’s done with so much ease!"

How to Choose Top Quality Kitchen Knives

Whether you are a master chef or simply an amateur chef, kitchen knives often make up an important part of your kitchen toolbox and help to ensure that you can quickly and easily dice, chop, prepare and consume the food that you put your heart and soul into. If like me you love to cook then you will understand the importance of having a good quality kitchen knife – and you will know how much it can add to your kitchen – so taking your time to choose the right one is essential.
With so many knives on the marketplace it can be hard to know where to start when choosing the right one, so a good place to start is by looking at what you most commonly use your everyday knife for and start from there. Different kitchen knives are used for different purposes and the right knife can make a great difference to the ease of preparing the foods. So it makes sense to start your new kitchen knife collection with the type of knives you would use most often!

What should I look for in a knife?

Reliability, functionality and consistency are three characteristics that you should look for in a good kitchen knife. If you are going to be spending money on an expensive set of knives (or even just a single one to start with) then it’s important that these three characteristics feature throughout. A good knife will be robust and will do the job time and time again. It will also be made of a strong material which won’t rust or become easily damaged and it should be comfortable to hold and well balanced (the weight of the handle and blade of the knife should be evenly distributed).
You need to look for a knife which is well-made and that you can put your trust in, a broken knife or a knife which is dangerous can lead to potentially serious injuries to anyone around you, including yourself. Your knife also needs to be sharp and retain this sharp edge for an extended period of time. A good kitchen knife should allow you to sharpen it easily when it is eventually need, so that it can be used time and time again.

Do I need to consider accessories?

Having the right equipment to work together with your knife is essential and using the right tools to sharpen and maintain your knife in this way goes a long way to ensuring that it stays in a good condition. It’s often worth investing in a good knife block to store your knife, this means that it stays away from any harmful bacteria and moist air which could cause damage to the blade. Many knife blocks also offer an in-built sharpener which can help keep your knives in the best condition and perfectly sharp at all times.
You may also look at the types of sharpening tools that you can purchase, ensuring that you only purchase the highest quality knife sharpeners to keep the blades of your knife ready to go at any point.
Gourmet Kitchenware

 Sarita Ramakrishnan writes for her personal travel blog where she shares her travel adventures and soon will be adding culinary adventures and recipes from around the world.  You can visit her blog at

Thank you so much Sarita for visiting and for bringing us such valuable information.  You are welcome here anytime you get a chance to visit : )

Until next time Ciao & Happy Cookin'

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Arctic Char with a Soy Glaze

Soy Glazed Arctic Char


2 tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 teaspoons Honey
2 teaspoons Fresh Grated Ginger
1/2 teaspoon Sesame Oil
A Sprinkle of Sesame Seeds (optional)

Serve over Basmati Rice

Preheat oven, 425 degrees.  Place Arctic Char fillets on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, skin side down.  Brush sauce over fillets.  Bake for 8-10 minutes.  If you like to gauge doneness by temperature, check for a temp of 110-115.  Fillets will easily slide off the skin when using a spatula to remove the fish from the pan.  It's a simple, quick and super flavorful sauce to add a vibrancy to your fish dinner.

I brushed the sauce on a few times so I would get a deep rich color on my fish and a heavier glaze.   The fillets will be much lighter in color and flavor the less you brush on, it's really personal preference.

This sauce will work for most fish types, salmon would be great too, a close relative to Arctic Char.   Arctic Char is a beautiful cold water, sustainable fish which makes a healthy, environmentally friendly choice for your families dinner table.

Enjoy : )

Ciao for now & until next time, Happy Cookin'

Monday, 15 October 2012

Food, Love & Sex

Go ahead...admit it, you have at some point in your life connected food with love & sex, haven't we all?  Whether it was chocolate covered strawberries and champagne for your lady to celebrate a special occasion or raw oysters and other libido exciting foods to enhance your lovers mood; food, love and sex go together like bread, peanut butter and jelly.
A simple way to let someone know you love them is to cook some of their favorite dishes.  Maybe it was a dish his mother used to make or a treat she adores but doesn't care to make for a favorite dish for the one you love is a win-win.  It makes a statement that never fails to pull the heart strings of the one you love.  A well cooked dish is also always a winner when it comes to attempting to impress a date, I know because my sweetheart won me over with a beautiful salmon dinner on our first date.  The saying "The way to a man's heart, is through his stomach" didn't come about for no reason, and what woman can resist a man who knows their way around a kitchen?
Food and sex have been two peas in a pod since the earliest of times, whether it was grapes being fed to each other between lovers or the creation of dishes that were considered aphrodisiacs.  As early as the 1500's, it was thought that certain foods that produced flatulence would produce male erections and certain roots consumed by women were thought to increase their fertility.  
Countless studies have been done by scientists to confirm or disprove the actual effects of these types of foods and their effect on sexual desire.  Many have been found to enhance, excite or irritate different areas of our bodies and our central nervous systems.  Is there a direct physical connection on sexual desire when these foods are consumed is an answer they are still searching for today.
I believe it is in the simple act of sharing a loving gesture with our loved one that acts as the best aphrodisiac.  It is certainly sexy and loving when someone goes the extra mile and creates a dish for us.  It is definitely sexy and loving when someone has set before us foods believed to create a change in our physiology in hopes of increasing intimacy.  It is in the creation of setting a certain type of atmosphere that can easily raise our libido isn't it?  A nice glass of wine, lit candles, a sumptuous dinner or gourmet dessert and the effort that person put forth to make us feel special, to feel loved and to be made to feel desired.

So whether it is to show someone you love them, to remind them you care, or to try too "get lucky"...always remember that something as special as a home cooked meal or a special treat can be the best investment of them all when it comes to matters of the heart.

Ciao for now, & until next time Happy Cookin'



Monday, 1 October 2012

Veal Chops with a Creamy Mushroom Wine Sauce

Veal chops...Where have you been my whole life???

Rinse and pat dry
Season with salt & pepper

Sear in a hot pan with melted butter till golden brown on each side and finish in a preheated oven

Some recipes will say 3 minutes per side, and some will say more.  I believe the ideal is...when one side is a nice golden brown...flip it over and do the same to the other side : )  If you think, okay, I'll sear for 6 minutes each side and the chops are golden brown before that time is up and you continue searing risk over cooking them, making them dry and tough to chew (and tasteless).  Same goes for a lesser amount of time, if they are not golden brown in 3 minutes...the time is too short!  So...use your judgement and keep a close eye on them and sear until they are a nice golden caramelized brown on each side.  Remove from pan and place in your oven to finish the cooking process.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Add sliced mushrooms and chopped onion or shallot to the pan you seared your chops in...  The mushrooms and onions will soak up the lovely flavor left in the pan.  Add a sprig of rosemary, season with salt and pepper and cook until the mushrooms have released their juices and the moisture begins to evaporate in the pan.
Add approx. 1/2 cup of white wine to pan and let simmer for 2 minutes.  Add home-made chicken stock and allow to simmer until the mixture begins to reduce.  When the sauce reduces, approx. by half, stir in a bit of heavy cream if desired.  I was wanting a creamy mushroom wine reduction if it's not your thing, just skip that step.  Be careful not to over reduce your sauce though, it's better to take it off the heat until you're ready to serve than to let it go too far, you want a nice flavourful sauce, not a syrup : )

I left my chops in the oven for approx 10 minutes while I finished my sauce and they came out  between med and med rare.  Medium rare is perfect I think...I am soooooo glad I didn't leave them in any longer or I would have ruined them by over cooking them.  When you pull them from the oven, set them aside and tent them with foil to let them rest.  Remember that meat continues to cook while it rests so don't be shy about pulling them out after 7-8 minutes.

They smelled so delicious!  This was my first time ever making veal chops and I was super nervous.  Not only are they not a cheap cut but if you do it right, they are spectacular tasting : ) Worth every penny.
Yummy sauce (remove the rosemary sprig before serving)
Plate and serve....I served it over a mushroom risotto (sadly over done, but the first time I did that, so I cut myself some not perfect : ) yet ; )
Drizzle some of the sauce over the chop and enjoy.
Just like the first time I ever had a lamb chop....when I tasted the veal, I couldn't help but wonder...why the heck it had taken me so long to try is sooooooooooooo gooooooooood!

Whether it is chili or spaghetti sauce, sometimes it is about personal preference/taste.  We also don't always make things the same way twice do we?  I think when it comes to a dinner like veal chops, it's not always about a specific recipe as much as it is a method of cooking.  A sauce is a combination of flavors you love and the chops are a method of cooking (sear and finish in the oven).  The advice I would offer when making a sauce, is to choose spices and herbs you enjoy, and when cooking with wine...just be sure to cook it for a couple of minutes to cook out the alcohol only leaving the flavor of the wine to enhance the flavor of your sauce...oh...and as I said before, be careful not to cook too want a full flavor in your sauce but not a syrup which will happen if you let it go to long.

Ciao for now, and until next time Happy Cookin'

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Homemade Taco Seasoning & Taco Casserole

I love tacos, but sometimes I have the stuff to enjoy them without the seasoning for the meat itself.  Why let that stop us right? right!  Making our own is the's fresh and we know exactly what's in there.  So thanks to Google and my powerful ability to type in the words "taco seasoning", I found this recipe which was a good way to start my project for the very first time.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Navratan Korma

Navratan Korma is a lovely vegetarian and gluten free dish that tastes divine.  Navratan is a Muglai Indian dish meaning nine gems for the variety of vegetables, nuts and cheese used in it.  Korma is a term used to describe the method of cooking which is the braising of the veggies, its also used to describe a dish that has a thick cream based sauce or gravy.
Like many recipes, there are many variations out there, for example, Muglai cuisine generates from the Northern parts of India while the addition of the bay leaves is something more commonly found in Southern regions.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Chanterelle Mushrooms, The Hunt Is On

With the fragrance of an apricot and a slight peppery flavor, Chanterelle mushrooms are one of the very best in the mushroom family, in my humble opinion.  They are considered by many to be as special and gourmet as a truffle and their cost is not cheap. They are a beautiful color, an orange yellow shade that shines brightly from the green it attempts to hide in while growing.  Ours were mostly growing in mossy areas close to trees.

Photo by Jenn @ I'm Cookin' In My Kitchen

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Happy Birthday Julia Child!

August 15th 2012

Happy Birthday Julia

How to make the perfect French omelette

Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Lemon Bundt Cake & My Birthday

Lemon Bundt Cake

 This isn't your ordinary Lemon Bundt Cake.  With the addition of a few fun ingredients, and baked in an angel food pan v/s a traditional bundt pan, it transforms into a denser, very moist and flavorful cake.  

There are a few differences between a bundt pan and an angel food pan although a similarity is the hollow tube in the center, there to allow even cooking.

A bundt pan is a round one piece fluted cake pan with a tube in the center, it's sides make for a very decorative cake.  The bundt pan has thicker walls allowing a crust to form on the outside of the cake to help cook the cake on the inside.

An angel food cake pan is a round cake pan with tall smooth, flat sides, usually with a removable bottom piece.  These pans are not greased before the baking process so that the batter can stick to the sides and double in size.

The batters for the two cakes are very different so it's recommended that you don't use them interchangeably.  Angel food cake batter is very light while the batter for a bundt cake is heavier leaving the risk that the batter might leak out from the angel food pan.  Though my experiment using my bundt batter came out fine in the angel food pan, I would not suggest you pour an angel food batter into a bundt pan, it will not come out as airy as it should, it will be very difficult to remove and will not rise properly while baking.

Call me a rebel : ) I used a bundt batter and poured it into an angel food pan.  Was it the additional ingredients that made my batter thicker than a regular bundt batter, I'm not sure, but I will say that the batter was very thick and it did not leak : )  It did though require a longer baking time.  It did not double in size like an angel food cake, nor did it puff up very much, and unlike a bundt cake there was no dark crust to the cake, it was very light in color and soft to touch.  It was a deliciously moist cake with a denser texture than a normal cake, a very pleasant surprise...and the bonus?  Everyone loved it!

Lemon Bundt Cake Recipe
Original recipe: Allrecipes
NOTE: This recipe is for a bundt pan not the angel food pan I used


1 (18.25) package lemon cake mix
1 (3.4oz) package instant lemon pudding mix
3/4 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 cup lemon-lime flavored carbonated soda


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Spray cooking spray on pan and flour it well 
Mix cake mix & pudding mix together
Stir in oil
Beat in eggs, one at a time
Stir in lemon-lime soda

Pour batter into pan, bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  (If using an angel food pan, bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean)

I used a cream cheese frosting I bought from the
store.  I am by no means a professional cake
decorator but gave it a whirl : )  I used some of the
remaining frosting & colored it with yellow food coloring for the flowers and then added green food coloring to the yellow to make some stems and leaves.  Just add one drop at a time and mix until you get the color you like.  I also placed 1 pink heart sprinkle in the center of each flower.

After inverting the cake out of the pan, I left the cake bottom side up because I wanted a nice flat top to frost.

It was a tasty cake and a fabulous birthday and I thank everyone who came to share in the celebration.  The weather was beautiful and I couldn't have been happier : )

Mom made a nice fruit salad at the request of my sister...the recipe follows.

Summer Fruit Salad
8oz carton of frozen whipped topping, thawed
3 1/2 oz package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 orange peeled and cut up
2 cups crushed pineapple w/ juice
1 cup mini marshmallows
2 banana's, sliced
Fresh Strawberries

In a bowl, combine the whipped topping, pudding mix, orange, pineapple & marshmallows.  Cover and refrigerate.  Before serving, place layers of bananas and strawberries on top before serving.

(The recipe mom has is a photocopy from a spiral book of some sort, the name on the salad is Jeanette Allard, Dayton's Fargo.  I don't know anything about the author nor could I find anything on Google, my mom couldn't remember where she got the recipe)

Till Next Time, Ciao & Happy Cookin'

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Summer Panzanella Salad with O Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

I grew up in Michigan, a state with four distinguishable seasons and I loved them all, but there was always something special about long summer days. Those summer sounds that now take us back to our childhoods, the catchy & very recognizable sound of the ice cream truck, the laughter and sounds of children splashing in a pool, the neighbor mowing his lawn. Those beloved summer moments like picnics on the beach, baseball games at the park, barbecue's held in the backyard and the arrival of strawberries became some of my most cherished memories.

This past April, eRecipeCards and O Olive Oil partnered together for their Rites of Spring Cooking Contest and began searching for people to do a product tasting & review paired with a recipe creation challenge. When I was chosen as one of the lucky people to participate, I was excited and began to think of summer...I was hoping for some warm weather inspiration.

I received my surprise set in the mail and was delighted to find O Meyer Lemon Olive Oil paired with their O Champagne Vinegar. Their products are of the highest caliber. Organic citrus crushed together with ripe mission olives produces a golden, silken olive oil that is light in texture and flavorful in taste. It was truly an easy task when it came time to write the review. Using a french baguette so as not to interfere with the taste of the oil, I used the same for tasting the vinegar, and also after emulsifying the two together. There were so many recipes flying through my thoughts I was happily surprised to finally settle on a classic that has had a place in history since the 1500's.

When you're working with gourmet quality ingredients such as O Olive Oil and their oak barrel aged vinegars, you want to follow through by using fresh ingredients that not only shine in your final dish but are at the same quality level as the oil and vinegar you're using.  It's the vinaigrette flavors that pull any salad together to make it exceptional...a dry salad is still only a salad...with O, it's taken to a whole new level!  It turns a good salad into a great salad...and in this case, a real masterpiece.  I'll keep this new recipe in my box and make it again and again for family and friends knowing it will always be a crowd pleaser.

Agnolo di Cosimo, a 16th century Italian was not only an accomplished and highly skilled artist but was a
poet as well.
Agnolo di Cosimo famously and
best known as Bronzino II
In his book, "Li capitoli faceti editi ed inediti di mess", he wrote  "In lode delle cipolle", which translated in English reads, "In Praise of the Onions".  He speaks about a salad of onions that readers construe was a description of a Panzanella Salad.  An onion salad mixed with a vinaigrette, it wasn't until later that tomatoes were added to make it a classic tomato, onion and bread salad.   Italians, priding themselves on not wasting anything, developed this recipe as a way to use day old bread by rehydrating it and serving it with fresh vegetables.   I thank them, and believe you will too once you try this absolutely fantastic salad with the addition of the O Olive Oil & O Vinegar's elevated to a culinary work of art!  It's a summertime treat : ) Fresh, clean and vibrant...
Grilled Panzanella Salad 

1/2 a pint of grape tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 red onion, chopped small
1 sm clove of garlic, minced
8 slender spears of asparagus, ends broken off & stems peeled
1 zucchini, halved
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded, remove pith and quartered
1 bag of focaccia bread croutons
1/2 cup O Meyer Lemon Olive Oil
1/4 cup O Champagne Vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chiffonade (sliced into thin strips)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon fresh basil, chiffonade (sliced into thin strips)
1 tablespoon fresh curley parsley, chiffonade (sliced into thin strips)
Salt & Pepper

Place halved grape tomatoes on a baking sheet, drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over tomatoes and season with S&P
Place into a pre-heated oven set at 350 degrees for 15minutes
While tomatoes roast...prep red onion, garlic, asparagus, zucchini and bell pepper
Preheat grill...remove tomatoes from oven when ready-set aside to cool
Brush olive oil over asparagus, zucchini and bell pepper & season with salt and pepper, grill zucchini & bell pepper for 4 min on ea side, grill asparagus for 2 min flipping over once to create grill marks, remove from grill and set aside to cool
Once cooled, slice veggies into bite size pieces

1/2 cup O Meyer Lemon Olive Oil
1/4 cup O Champagne Vinegar
minced garlic
Whisk well...

Note: You don't need additional seasoning for the vinaigrette as the meyer lemon olive oil and the champagne vinegar are really the stars here...there is a ton of fresh flavor in these products and letting them shine through on their own is the key to making this salad.  As some may say, you don't have to meddle with something when it's already been perfected.
Putting it together:
Place croutons into a bowl, drizzle approx. 1/2 the vinaigrette over the croutons, 1 teaspoon at a time while tossing them in the bowl
Place asparagus, zucchini, bell peppers, red onion and tomatoes into the bowl
Sprinkle fresh and dried oregano, basil and parsley in with everything
Toss gently together
Allow to rest in refrigerator for 1 hour before serving to allow the vinaigrette to soften the croutons.
Remove from frig, taste and drizzle additional vinaigrette over salad if needed
(I served mine straight away at room temp and it was delicious, the vinaigrette softens the croutons in the first step and they were soft around the edges with a slight crunch in the center...not too hard, just firm with a slight bite)

Serve and enjoy : )


*For a quick simple preparation, substitute cucumber for the zucchini, omit the asparagus and keep all veggies raw.
*This salad is traditionally made with day old bread/stale bread cut into cubes, I used the croutons as a quick prep idea, but feel free to play with different types of bread, Italian, Ciabatta...etc.
*Use any fresh herbs you enjoy and omit any from the recipe you don't, try mint for a tasty change.
* You can add thinly sliced salami or prosciutto and a wide variety of different vegetables, be creative : )

 I want to thank O Olive Oil and eRecipeCards for choosing me and allowing me the chance to participate in this cooking contest.  It has been tons of fun : )  I enjoyed trying this great product and will not hesitate to try the many, many different oil and vinegars they offer.  I also want to thank you, my readers for visiting and I hope you'll try making this salad with the addition of these tasty O Olive Oil and O Vinegar products, I know you'll enjoy it.  It's the flavors of the O vinaigrette that pulls everything together and it gives it it's great taste.   

My mom was very hesitant, she likes her lettuce salads...and she asked, No Lettuce???  Lol...but! She ended up eating two bowls of it! Yay!  And although my stepdad didn't throw caution to the wind and try the salad...he didn't want it to interfere with his homemade tacos & in his defense, he is true blue meat & potatoes man : ) He did though ask the next night if I had any of "that vinaigrette" leftover! Score! (I had him sample it when I was done whisking it for the salad).  My sister also shared with us and she really liked it as well, she said it reminded her of a bruschetta flavor.

If you'd like to show your support of my recipe, I would truly appreciate it.  Visit and sign in to eRecipeCards and save this recipe to your recipe box to show you'd like to try it. It takes a few moments to sign up, the site is very user friendly, and you can find my recipes if you click this link.


You can also visit O Olive Oil and eRecipeCards on Facebook, let them know how ya feel : ) Just be sure to let them know "I'm Cookin' In My Kitchen" inspired you : )  "Like" their page and keep up to date with all that's new.

While you're surfing...take some time to stop by O Olive Oil's web site, they offer awesome information on what they do, how they do it, and where they get their inspiration.  They offer beautifully wrapped packages that make wonderful gifts for the people you love who deserve something uniquely special. 

And of course any time you take the time to say hello here on my blog makes me do my happy dance : )

Till Next Time, Ciao & Happy Cookin'

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Preserving Fresh Herbs

This is the time of year that so many of us are busy planting our gardens or watching our springtime efforts already sprouting depending on where you live...and with great joy!  We welcome you warm weather : )

Towards the end of the beautiful weather though, when so many of us have an abundance of extra herbs, some of us are left wondering in a panic what to do with all of them.  Sharing is great and our neighbors and friends greatly appreciate it, but quite often there is too much and for that, there is another option.

I find sometimes as well when I purchase fresh herbs that are out of season or herbs I don't grow that if I don't use them quick enough...I start to worry.  Not any more!  Preserve your fresh herbs for later use instead of watching them slowly wither away in the fridge.

Preserving Fresh Herbs is Easy!

One fabulous way to do this is to freeze them.

Place herbs in the cups of your ice cube trays...I measured 1 teaspoon in each.

Add 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil in with the herbs and place in freezer for 24 hours.

Pop the cubes out of their cups and place flat in a freezer bag or container.  Label the container so you remember later what they are and in what measurements you've stored them.

I measured 1 tsp of Thyme, be sure to wash and then strip the leaves from the stems.

Tear the basil leaves into pieces.

I used the thyme for Lemon Sticky Chicken and just didn't have plans for the rest.

Instead of throwing away green onions or
any stalks, I just toss them into water to watch
them regrow.  I did the same with the basil on the
left here and have quite a nice root ball now.  I'll plant
it and see what happens.
After tearing the basil leaves, add 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil in with the herbs.

In various stages of re-growth, I use
them over and over again for certain things.
I still of course have to pick them up at the
market, but I enjoy watching them grow.

 I'm not sure if the flowering on the basil in the glass is a good thing or not, I'd have to look it up...either way, they're pretty to look at : )

 Ah, but I digress : ) back to freezing my herbs...

After freezing, pop the cubes out and place them flat into a container or a freezer bag.

You can use these with any recipe you are going to make with olive oil and the selected herbs.  I used a light olive oil here but you can use extra virgin, a mix of melted butter and olive oil or even stock.  You can choose a larger size container and mix a variety of herbs with your preferred stock if you think you may later make a soup.

Thanks for stopping by today, be sure to swing by Friday to see what fab dish I served up today to my family for the Rites of Spring Cooking Contest hosted by O Olive Oil and eRecipeCards.

Until next time, Ciao & Happy Cookin'

My inspiration for these cute cubes came from: The Gardner's Eden

Monday, 11 June 2012

O Meyer Lemon Olive Oil & O Champagne Vinegar = A Great Mix

     Some of the moments my sweetheart and I cherish most is time we spend together over a meal at our table.  Whether laughing with good friends, sharing stories with family members or alone together with a glowing candle between us, it's these times we remember fondly.  One of the nice communal things we like to do is break bread together.  An artisan loaf paired with a side dish of extra virgin olive oil seasoned with herbs and fresh garlic, it's always gobbled up and finished off with great joy.  Served on the table complimented with cheese and wine it can be elevated as a great starter for a meal or as hors d' oeuvres for during cocktail hour.

     The Olive tree is the oldest fruit tree dating back to 3500BC and therefore has a very interesting history and has long been a symbol of wisdom, peace and goodwill.  There are dozens of varieties of olives and a lot of different ways to use them in recipes.  I love all of the different methods of dressing them up and highlighting them in delicious dishes but there's just something classic and fantastic about the oils they produce.

I've been cooking with extra virgin olive oils for years now and have been enjoying them as a dipping oil for breads as well.  I love to try different brands and admit I haven't tried oils that have been flavored in any way.  That's why when there was an opportunity to try a brand that's using a method of crushing citrus with olives, I was excited to be a part of it.  It's neither infused with flavors or flavored with some fakey type of flavoring.

O Olive Oil is a California company which hand harvests mission olives and crushes them within 48 hours, they've been doing this since 1995.  Since producing a high quality product is their goal, O Olive Oil uses only organic citrus when crushing them with their olives one batch at a time.

When I was selected as one of the lucky people to participate in O Olive Oil's and eRecipeCards, Rite of Spring Cooking Contest, I was told I would be sent a natural box selection.  Each box contains an olive oil paired with one of their barrel aged vinegars.  I was excited to find out what would be sent and knew no matter which of the nine sets in that series it was going to be, I'd be able to create something delicious with them.  I received their O Champagne Vinegar paired with their O Meyer Lemon Oil.

It has a beautiful golden color and the taste was a very pleasant surprise.  Smooth on the tongue with a clean taste, it has a lovely lemon flavor that's not overwhelming.  It's so flavorful there isn't a need to add anything to it, no herbs, no salt or pepper...just pour and enjoy!  It's light and encourages you to go back for more, there may even be the thought provoking idea of sipping a bit straight from the bottle, it's that tasty.

I did my tasting with a classic french baguette and finished with an artisan olive, garlic & rosemary loaf.  I had no problems sopping it up and pouring a bit more to enjoy.  : )

 The bottles are tall, sleek and sealed with a cork you just twist and pull out, it's a very classy package.

California's Napa Valley wines are used to make O's line of vinegars.  Sealed and stored in oak barrels, the wines age with no added chemicals or preservatives resulting in a high quality tasting product that takes anywhere from months to years to produce.  Creating vinegars since 1997, O has quite the line to choose from, Pinot Noir, Cabernet, Honey apple, Zinfandel and many more.

The O Lemon Olive Oil mixed with the O Champagne Vinegar is a tasty mix of flavors and makes a delicious combination. 

Be sure to visit them on line to learn more about their history, their methods, the vast variety of different products they offer along with their new tapenades and also some really great recipe ideas.  O Olive Oil  does a great job of packaging their beautiful bottles making them awesome gifts and there is an entire list of combination varieties to choose from.

Both O Olive Oil and eRecipeCards can be found on Facebook where you can "LIKE" them and follow all their latest updates.  eRecipeCards is a great place for people to find thousands of recipes and a place for you to post your recipes.  Posting a recipe can take under a minute and signing up is just as user friendly. 

Please take a minute to visit eRecipeCards and sign up if you're not already, it allows you to show your support by selecting your favorite recipes during the contest (by choosing them to put into your recipe box).  It's also a great way to collect all of the favorite recipes you find and put them in your erecipe box while browsing through their site.  Hope to see you there! : ) You can find me on eRecipeCards if you click here

Thanks for stopping by today and be sure to check back on Friday to see what recipe I create using the O Meyer Lemon Olive Oil & O Champagne Vinegar.  Leave a comment letting me know what you think and tell us if you have a favorite flavor oil & vinegar combination : )

Till Next Time, Ciao & Happy Cookin' 

& wish me luck while you're here too...thanks!

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