O’s top tips for summer grilling


Befriend the barbeque

One of the many reasons we cherish summer is that we can’t resist the urge to get outside and fire up the grill. Fruits and vegetables, flatbreads and pizzas, proteins — you name it — the options are endless! The grill is an amazingly versatile tool that offers an efficient way to cook all kinds of cuisine. We savor smoky flavor and gush over gorgeous grill marks. Bonus: barbecuing outside often spares some of the misery of messy kitchen clean up. O the glory of grilling!

Below are a few of our top tips for grilling veggies, fruits and proteins as well as a few of our favorite recipes to fix over the flame. Cheers to barbeque bliss!

Grilling veggies:

  • Cut your vegetable(s) of choice into workable pieces, making sure they’re large enough not to slip through the grate to a fiery fate below. Consider using a skewer or grill basket for bite-sized items like cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, etc.
  • Season veggies with a light coating of olive oil to prevent them from drying out and losing their juicy goodness. Add herbs, spices, or simply a sprinkling of freshly ground pepper and sea salt as desired. Alternatively, marinate them with your favorite vinaigrette.
  • To avoid burning your veggies, first sear them over high heat and then relocate them to a cooler part of the grill to finish cooking.
  • Keep an eye on cook time, which varies by veggie. Most cook quickly. Dense items, such as carrots, beets and potatoes, do take longer. You might precook these first, then toss them on the grill for a hint of that smoky zest.

Grilling fruits:

  • Make sure your grill is clean and clear of grime, char buildup, etc. While the remnants of past cookouts may pair well with meaty mains, fruits do not fare as well with a less-than-great grate.
  • Using a paper towel doused in a bit of vegetable oil or a neutral oil of choice, slick the grate instead of coating the fruit directly to avoid greasy tasting fruit. Save the good stuff (olive oil) for tasty recipes.
  • Select fruit that is just barely ripe and slightly firm, so that it will hold up in the heat and won’t turn into messy mush. See the first tip on grilling veggies for slicing suggestions.
  • Keep it simple. Grilling caramelizes the natural sugars in fruit and enhances their vibrant flavors, so it’s usually not necessary to add extra sweetness.

Grilling proteins:

  • Let meat sit at room temperature while you preheat the grill, which will help it to cook evenly.
  • Season with salt and pepper, herbs and/or spices, or gently apply a rub in advance. Alternatively, marinade with your favorite vinaigrette for 30 minutes up to two hours.
  • If grilling fish, you might consider making a foil packet, using a plank, grilling or fish basket to keep it from flaking or falling apart. If you’re lusting for grill lines, be sure to clean and oil the grate before laying your fillet over the flames.
  • Once on the grill, let it be. Allow the meat to develop a seared crust before you flip it. If meat is sticking to the grate, it’s not ready to be flipped yet. A general rule of thumb: flip as infrequently as possible.
  • For thicker meats with bones, such as chicken thighs or legs, first sear over high heat and then move to a lower-temp locale on the grill to allow the meat to cook thoroughly on the inside without burning the outside.
  • For perfection, use a meat thermometer to ditch the guesswork in determining when meat is done. It’s an affordable and worthwhile investment that will boost your BBQ confidence.
  • Let cooked meat rest uncovered and undisturbed for five to ten minutes afterwards to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat for ultimate moisture and flavor. Settle, slice, serve and savor!

Hungry yet? We sure are!

Our go-to grilling recipes:

Grilled Flank Steak with O Chimichurri Sauce

Grilled Dijon Chicken Breasts with O Citrus Champagne Vinegar

Grilled Tuna Steaks with Blood Orange Ginger Sauce

Grilled Corn with O Jalapeño Garlic Olive Oil

Grilled Figs with O Meyer Lemon, Prosciutto, O Balsamic & Rosemary

And while these aren’t grilled, we think they go great alongside the above recipes:

O Honey Apple Slaw

Watermelon & Feta Salad with O White Balsamic Vinegar

Zesty Zoodle Salad with O Fig Balsamic Vinegar

Summer spoils us with endless abundance


Learn what’s in season

At O, we love to shop in season when it comes to produce. Fruits and vegetables are their freshest during their peak seasons. While we love every season for the variety of goodies that each bring to the table, we have to admit that summer’s abundance makes it our favorite. Plus, who doesn’t love a good farmers market on a warm, sunkissed summer day?

Some of our favorite fruits and veggies that peak in the summer season include:

  • Apricots
  • Beets
  • Berries galore (blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries to name a few)
  • Champagne Grapes (hello champagne vinegar varietals!)
  • Citrus (grapefruit and lime)
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Endive
  • Figs
  • Garlic
  • Green beans
  • Melons (cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon — O my!)
  • Nectarines
  • Passion Fruit
  • Peaches
  • Peas
  • Peppers (sweet and spicy varietals like Anaheim chiles, bell peppers and jalapeños)
  • Plums
  • Radishes
  • Summer squash
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini

Explore a longer list of what’s in season during summer and find some of our favorite seasonal recipes below:

Summer Cucumber Salad with O Apple Cider Vinegar (cucumber)

Fresh Tomato Bruschetta with O Basil Olive Oil & O California Balsamic (tomatoes)

Baby Arugula & Strawberry Salad with O Meyer Lemon Olive Oil & O Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette (strawberry, fig)

Classic Hummus with O Jalapeño Garlic Olive Oil (garlic & jalapenos)

Crisp Kale and Strawberry Salad with O White Balsamic Vinaigrette (strawberry)

6 steps to salad in a jar success!


Simple, healthy and on-the-go goodness

The reasons we love to meal prep salads in a jar are endless, but ultimately we love that they provide an easy, convenient and healthy way to save time and stress without sacrificing nutrition. Not only are canning/mason jars inexpensive, they can be washed and reused over and over which make them cost-effective and eco-friendly. Plus, they are the perfect airtight containers for creating on-the-go salads, keeping contents fresh, separated and non-soggy until you’re ready to shake them up and serve.

Here’s our 6 steps to a successful salad in a jar:

1) Select a wide-mouthed canning or mason jar with a tight fitting lid, as these are easiest to pack, pour out and clean. (Hint: A pint-sized jar works well for a side salad, while a quart-sized jar makes for an individual meal.)

2) Start with dressing or vinaigrette. Pour desired amount into the bottom of the jar based on personal preference and salad size.

3) Next, layer your favorite greens and veggies, starting with the heaviest and least absorbent items on the bottom and leaving the lightest and most perishable for last as suggested below:

Listed from bottom to top of jar:

  • Hard, chopped veggies (such as cucumbers, peppers, carrots and cooked beets)
  • Legumes, grains and pasta
  • *Cheeses and proteins
  • *Softer veggies and fruits (such as sliced tomatoes, avocados, strawberries, apples)
  • *Nuts, seeds and lighter grains (such as quinoa)
  • Salad greens

*If you’re making your salads ahead of time to eat at a later date, soft and perishable ingredients like these should be saved until last and added to the top of the jar on the day the salad will be eaten.

4) Store and/or transport the jar upright. Be sure the lid is tightly secured to keep contents fresh and to avoid unexpected spills.

5) Grab and take on-the-go or store in the fridge up to 5 days.

6) When you’re ready to eat, simply pour the contents onto a plate or into a bowl. The dressing or vinaigrette will naturally coat the ingredients in this process, or you can give it a gentle shake before pouring. Toss if preferred and enjoy!

Whether you’re just throwing together today’s lunch or prepping a week’s worth for the whole family, the salad in a jar is a quick, simple and wholesome solution!

Bonus: Here are a few of our favorite homemade vinaigrette recipes.

Simple O Champagne Vinaigrette

O Honey White and O Blood Orange Vinaigrette

Lemony Vinaigrette

O Cabernet Vinaigrette

Easy and Eco-Friendly Home Kitchen Habits


It’s easier than you think to be green!

From our home to yours, here are some simple suggestions for being more mindful of Mother Earth when it comes to your kitchen:

 

Be responsible & resourceful

  • Establish a simple system for recycling at home. Sort and discard recyclables according to how your local waste management company collects items. Hint: All O Olive Oil & Vinegar products are bottled in recyclable glass.
  • Collect food scraps in a small, countertop compost bin to later add to the soil of your home garden. Find tips here for composting at home. Don’t have a home garden? Many farmers markets and organizations accept compost donations. Find resources for community programs like these below. Some utility companies collect compost as well.

 

Consider green cleaning

  • Consider switching from traditional to green cleaning products, which typically contain less chemicals and are often manufactured using more sustainable methods. Nowadays, most major retailers offer these options. Or, you can take it a step further and use everyday ingredients like baking soda and vinegar for DIY solutions (which tend to be financially friendly as well).

 

Go for green gadgets

  • Choose cookware and kitchen utensils made of stainless steel or cast iron over teflon, glass over plastic, and cloth over paper towels. Materials like these can be washed and reused, and have a longer lifespan than their limited-use alternatives.
  • Maintain and keep your kitchen appliances in fully functioning order to avoid any unnecessarily excessive use of energy. If it’s time to replace an old stove or a defective dishwasher, select energy-efficient upgrades (look for the EnergyStar rating).

 

Be a smart shopper

  • Multi-use water bottles, reusable shopping totes and produce bags go a long way in reducing the consumption of plastic water bottles and store-provided paper and plastic bags. Refill your reusable water bottles at home with a water-purifying pitcher (or refrigeration filtration system if you have one). Keep reusable bags in convenient places such as by the front door and in your car so that you’re prepared and can simply grab and go.
  • Shop local and in season whenever possible. In addition to finding the freshest fare, buying local produce means your food will have traveled fewer miles from farm to table, which cuts down on fuel and emissions tied to long-distance transportation or importation of goods. Plus, you’ll support your community. While many retail markets offer and label locally grown produce, farmers markets and Community Supported Agriculture programs (CSA’s) are worth considering. Not sure what’s available in your area? Check out LocalHarvest.org.

 

Think outside of the box (literally)

  • Many of the most nutritious and beneficial food products, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, naturally have no or limited packaging. No plastic wrappers or boxes to sort and recycle. Easy and eco-friendly! Fill your reusable shopping totes with heaps of healthy, nutritious, raw and unwrapped goodness galore!
  • Take your fresh fruits and veggies home, enhance them with natural flavor enhancers such as olive oils, vinegars, herbs and spices, and enjoy an eco-friendly kitchen and healthy lifestyle!

 

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Recruit! Spread the word and share these tips with your friends and family. Every contribution counts towards a happier and healthier Earth!

Celebrate spring with colorful nutrition


Take advantage of what’s in season to maintain a healthy diet

March is National Nutrition Month and there’s no better time than now to take notice of whether you consume enough nutritious elements in your diet. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the USDA’s MyPlate nutrition guidelines recommend most adults eat 1 ½–2 cups of fruit per day and 2–3 cups of vegetables per day. According to the CDC, only 12.2% of adults meet the recommended daily fruit intake and only 9.3% of adults meet the recommended daily vegetable intake. These scary stats bring more tears to our eyes than slicing onions!

If you feel as though you fall short of these dietary to-do’s, don’t fret. Your friends here at O have whipped up some appetizing advice just for you!

Seek out what’s in season

Each season offers abundance in an array of produce. Some of O’s favorite spring splendors include: artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, corn, fennel, green beans, mango, oranges, pineapple, radicchio, radish, spinach, strawberries, swiss chard and watercress. We could go on and on, but you can choose your favorites from this list of fresh fare available in spring.

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables has a heap of health benefits and is vital to preventing such risks as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer. Make sure to mix a variety of nutritious and delicious elements into your diet in order to reap the rewards.

Decorate your diet with color

You’ve probably heard the phrase “eat the rainbow” and we couldn’t agree more. Naturally adding color to your plate in the form of fresh fruits and vegetables is a great way to incorporate a broad variety of vitamins and minerals into your daily diet. Plus, colorful cuisine is visually appealing and can encourage picky eaters to take a bite out of better-for-you foods.

Below is a special selection of O Olive Oil & Vinegar recipes that include fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season in spring and/or year-round. Plus, we’ve represented every color in the rainbow in this collection. Okay, now we’re just showing off…

Enjoy!

RED

Grapefruit, Kale Crunch Salad

Cranberry Shrub

Beet and Blood Orange Salad

Tomato Bruschetta

Roasted Red Snapper with Cherry Tomato Salsa

ORANGE

Grilled baby Carrots with O Sherry Vinegar

Blood Orange and Jicama Salad

YELLOW

Restorative Tonic

Grilled Corn with O Jalapeño Garlic Olive Oil

Sonoma Spring Vegetable Salad

 

 

GREEN

Super Green Smoothie with O Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

Green Goddess Dressing

Lime, Feta, Mint & Grilled Chicken Salad

Chilled Asparagus Soup with O Fresh Basil Olive Oil

Healthy Winter Pesto

 

BLUE, INDIGO, VIOLET

Pork with Prunes and O Fig Balsamic Vinegar

Roasted Eggplant, Garlic and Tomato Salad

Radicchio Endive Fennel Salad

ENTIRE RAINBOW

Spicy Fruit Salsa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resources:

https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/downloads/fruits-vegetables/2018/2018-fruit-vegetable-report-508.pdf
https://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/whats-in-season-spring
https://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/whats-in-season-all-year
http://www.eatingwell.com/article/275617/why-you-should-eat-the-rainbow-when-it-comes-to-fruits-and-vegetables/
https://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/taste-a-rainbow-of-fruits-and-veggies
https://www.oliveoiltimes.com/olive-oil-health-news/dietary-fiber-linked-to-lower-risk-of-heart-disease-and-cancer/67022

Treat your ticker and your taste buds


Olive oil is an essential element of a heart-healthy diet.

For years, the Mediterranean diet has received a lot of attention in health media and is shining in the wellness news spotlight once again. In fact, U.S. News & World Report ranked the Mediterranean Diet as the #1 best diet overall in 2019, stating that the best diets are “easy to follow, nutritious, and effective for weight loss and preventing diabetes and heart disease.” Generally, the Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional eating habits of the cultures in the Mediterranean region and has a lot in common with the American Heart Association’s dietary recommendations. One shared element happens to be a specialty of ours: olive oil!

When consumed in moderation as a part of a healthy diet, olive oil promotes heart health. How so, you ask? Here’s a few fun facts to feast on…

  1. Olive oil naturally contains polyphenols, which act as antioxidants and protect cells against inflammation and diseases such as atherosclerosis (a condition in which arteries become stiff and can cause various cardiovascular complications). High-quality extra virgin olive oils are packed with extremely high levels of polyphenols!
  2. Olive oil is considered a top source of monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats (aka the “good fats”), which your body cannot produce itself and needs to support cell growth and as a vital source of energy. These healthy fats help to lower bad cholesterol levels, reduce triglyceride levels in your blood and improve total cholesterol, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. So, swap out saturated or artificial fat sources for fresh, smooth olive oil instead!
  3. When combined with vinegars and/or herbs (which usually have little or no calories or sodium), olive oil can liven up vegetables and salads with ease, making it convenient and enjoyable to consume more of the necessary and nutritious elements of a healthy diet that you might otherwise consider bland. A healthy diet supports a healthy lifestyle, which prevents obesity and chronic disease. Oh, and let’s not overlook the obvious. When you make vinaigrettes at home, you know exactly what you’re putting into your body and can avoid the excess calories, sodium, sugars and additives that many store-bought dressings are drowning in. Win-win!

It’s no wonder that many consider olive oil a superfood (including us, naturally). Do your heart a favor and incorporate olive oil and vinegar into your healthy diet! O’s olive oils are rich in polyphenols and antioxidants, and our flavorful vinegars have no added sugars, caramel coloring or sodium. All O products are free from artificial anything and are sourced and made in sunny California.

Treat your ticker and your taste buds to olive oils and vinegars galore with O, and cheers to your health!

Resources:

1.       https://www.cooc.com/health-nutrition/

2.       https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/arteriosclerosis-atherosclerosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20350569

3.       https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats

4.       http://www.internationaloliveoil.org/estaticos/view/89-the-antioxidant-properties-of-the-olive-oil

5.       https://www.health.harvard.edu/blood-pressure/is-your-salad-dressing-hurting-your-healthy-diet

~ O’s Valentine Menu Suggestions ~


This Valentine’s Day, avoid the restaurant crowds and calorie-rich foods.

Instead, celebrate by staying in and preparing a heart-healthy meal for your sweetheart. Try O’s Valentine Menu Suggestions and be sure to win their love.

Blood Orange & Jicama Salad

Petite Frisée Salad in Parmesan Cups

Grilled Salmon & Veggies with O Fresh Basil Olive Oil

Fresh Strawberries with O Oak Aged Balsamic Vinegar

Brownies with O Blood Orange Olive Oil

7 Reasons Why O Vinegars


 

  1. Clean food. 100% transparent. No caramel coloring. No artificial anything.
  2. Small batches aged in Sonoma. Time truly does make a difference for complex, rich flavors.
  3. Obsession with quality. We rely on family tradition, innovative recipes and premium local ingredients.
  4. Good grapes. We source premium wines from the heart of California wine country.
  5. Delicious. We are the leading artisanal vinegar maker in California. Gourmet Magazine says “I’ve never tasted a better vinegar.”
  6. Live. Each vinegar contains live cultures.
  7. Award-winning. Our vinegars have won multiple SOFI awards at the International Fancy Food Show in NYC (the best of the best)!

Want to try for yourself? Shop all vinegars!

Bon Appétit loves O


 

Check it out! Bon Appétit includes O White Balsamic Vinegar as a great example of a top-shelf product for those dishes that “…need a touch of agrodolce, or sweet-tart flavor…white balsamic is aged for much less time [than regular balsamic] to produce a floral and fruity condiment with a sweet finish.” Give ours a try!

White balsamic vinegar adds a bright, sweet character to dishes

Chef David Nayfeld uses white balsamic vinegar to add a sweet-tart flavor and brighten up vegetable dishes and salads at Che Fico in San Francsico. Its floral, fruity notes and sweet finish combine well with butter for a Brussels sprouts glaze in a salad made with honey-roasted squash, cured meats, cheese and marinated chickpeas.

Read the full article on bonappetit.com.

What’s the Healthier Choice?


Looking for ways to have a healthier diet comes down to the details sometimes. One of which is whether to use coconut oil or olive oil for cooking healthy meals. Although both have their unique benefits, the article below by The New York Times goes into detail with a more comprehensive look at making the healthiest selection. O is proud to offer delicious oils and vinegars that set the path for making healthy choices.

 

 

 

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