A Matter of Taste! + recipe

june 24 post

A high-quality extra virgin olive oil is a must-have staple in many kitchens, partly because its delicious flavor and versatile nature allow it to be used in countless ways. For starters, extra virgin olive oil is perfect in homemade salad dressings, on roasted vegetables and as a key ingredient in a wide range of recipes.

In addition to tasting great, olive oil is also good for you.

It is:

  • Naturally low in saturated fat
  • a healthy alternative to butter, margarine and many other oils
  • It is versatile

Great taste and a healthy profile make it easy to see why many cooks and chefs always have a bottle close at hand.

What many people do not realize about olive oil, however, is that it is actually a perishable fruit juice with some finicky preferences. This mean proper care and precautions must be taken in order to keep your olive tasting and smelling the way it should.

The Four Natural Enemies of Olive Oil

  1. Time. Because it is a perishable fruit juice, olive does not have an unlimited shelf life. Try to choose bottles with a clearly marked “harvest date” and make sure that date occurred within the last 18 months to 2 years. It is also recommended that you only buy as much olive oil as you can use within 15 – 30 days of opening.
  2. Temperature. Heat will cause olive oil to degrade quickly. Therefore, do not store your olive oil near your oven or cooktop because the higher ambient heat in those areas will cause it to break down faster.
  3. Oxygen. Like a fine wine, exposure to oxygen for any length of time will cause your olive oil to turn rancid. To prevent this, store your olive oil in an airtight container with the lid securely fasten whenever it is not in use.
  4. Light. Exposure to light will also cause olive oil to degrade more quickly. Avoid storing your olive in clear bottles or out on your counter tops. Dark green bottles are the best for blocking out sunlight, but other dark bottles will also work. Storing bottles inside a cabinet when not in use can also prolong the life of your olive oil. A cool, dark place is your best bet to prolong the life of your oil.

Avoiding the four natural enemies of olive oil will keep it fresh and full of flavor for a longer period of time. With a little bit of effort, you can preserve the delicious natural flavors of your quality olive oils.

Here is a wonderful recipe for white pizza that uses olive oil instead of a tomato based sauce. A fresh take on an old favorite!

Lisa’s White Pizza

This is such an easy and versatile recipe. Simply make or purchase a crust of your choice. I like to make my own {recipe is below}, but Boboli will work in a pinch. Thin is best though if you would like to taste all of the amazing flavor combinations instead of just bread….but seriously – who doesn’t like bread!

the rest of the ingredients that I use are as follows:

  • EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) – fresh! (a drizzle, I never measure that)
  • 2 tbsp. chopped basil
  • 1 tsp. sea salt (fine grind) …or chunky if you prefer, but it doesn’t spread as far
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 large ball of fresh mozzarella (fresh is always better 🙂
  • handful of washed fresh baby spinach.

Lay out your pizza dough, warm the oven to the temperature that your recipe or package directions require, drizzle (or brush if you prefer it to be spread evenly) oil over the crust letting it pool just a bit in the divots of the dough. Not too much though or your pizza will be wet.  This is a matter of taste really, and may take a couple of times for you to figure out what you like. then assemble the directions in the order they are listed above. Put it into the oven and bake!

I love this pizza! It works great for an appetizer too, just cut into little squares and serve with bruschetta topping.

Enjoy!!

Easy Basic Pizza Dough

This versatile recipe is great for pizza, pepperoni rolls or breadsticks for dipping.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 3/4 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups very warm water (110˚F)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Directions:

  • Add warm water, then yeast and brown sugar to large bowl. Let sit for 10 – 12 minutes.
  • Add salt and oil to the bowl, then slowly mix in 2 1/2 cups of flour while stirring constantly with a fork.
  • Empty dough onto a well-floured surface and knead in more flour until it no longer sticks to your hands.
  • Shape dough into a ball and add to a clean bowl sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Cover bowl with a towel and let sit for approximately one hour in a warm place.
  • While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 425˚.
  • Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down with your first and reshape into a ball.
  • After a couple minutes, roll the dough out on a clean, well-floured surface, Place rolled out dough on a pizza pan or stone and brush edges with olive oil.
  • Top dough with your favorite pizza toppings and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese and crust are a nice golden brown.

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