5 Small Thanksgiving Ideas

This year is going to be very different celebrating Thanksgiving.  Most of us will not celebrating in large family gathers. Small Thanksgiving dinners can be warm and wonderful, and these tips will help you combine tradition and simplicity.

Here are some 5 suggestions for a smaller version this year!

  1. Set a pretty table. Pull out the candlesticks and pick up a bouquet of fresh flowers.  
  2. Choose Turkey breast. One of the best parts of a small Thanksgiving is you don't have to buy a huge turkey that takes an entire day to cook.  Use your crockpot!
  3. Limit side dishes. Keep your list of side dishes manageable and try to prepare one or two ahead of time, if possible.
  4. Simplify desserts. To save time (and sanity), you can opt for ready-made pie crust. Or you can even skip the crust altogether and make a crisp or custard instead of a pie. If you want to save even more time, choose a frozen pie or pick up something from your local bakery.​
  5. Make new traditions. Take a scenic walk after eating dinner; it's a great way to break up the day and get some exercise or choose a favorite holiday movie to watch every year.

 

 

Source: https://www.thespruce.com/small-thanksgiving-dinner-ideas-2997556

5 Ways Of Adding More Olive Oil To Your Thanksgiving Meal

We are not sure who is hosting our family Thanksgiving meal this year and may not be together at all!  It makes me sad this year but it's what we have to do to make sure everyone especially my mother stays safe this year.

But one thing is for sure: Extra virgin olive oil will play a key role. Good olive oil adds flavor to a variety of dishes, from mashed spuds or sweet potatoes to pecan pie. It also keeps the turkey moist, when rubbed on beforehand. And olive oil is a healthful alternative to butter. Below are 5 ways for using olive oil in your Thanksgiving feast – in everything from mashed potatoes and cornbread to vegetables and the Thanksgiving bird itself.

Give roasted veggies like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, or yams a finishing drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil for added flavor. We’d opt for our Blood Orange, Rosemary, or Koroneiko EVOO.

If you have a flavor injector, use it to inject olive oil into the breast and thighs of the turkey just before roasting. You could also try olive oil infused with Meyer Lemon, Rosemary, or Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO).

Rather than rub your turkey with butter, rub it with olive oil beforehand. For added flavor, use an herb-infused olive oil rub.  Combine fresh sage, thyme, garlic, and olive oil and rub that mixture under and over the skin, infusing the meat with flavor and helping keep it moist (Get cooking with the turkey recipe here.)

Swap out melted butter for olive oil in baked goods like cornbread. Why melt the butter if Butter EVOO is already liquid and available!  Use your favorite cornbread recipe, substituting extra virgin for melted butter.

Make your mashed potatoes with olive oil instead of butter and cream. We offer many olive oils that taste so wonderful in mashed potatoes like Black Truffle, Butter, Tuscan Herb, Garlic, and Rosemary.

You can also find more Thanksgiving recipes in our recipe section!

Top 5 Oil & Vinegar Combinations

Walking into the store and looking at the different flavors of oils and vinegar on the wall can be both exciting and overwhelming. Finding your favorite can be a process of trial and error, but when you taste a combination that you like your food will never be the same!

People always ask what our favorite oil & vinegar is. Sometimes answers change if we get a new flavor into the store and become obsessed with it, but other combinations are timeless favorites!

Here are our top 5 favorite oil & vinegar combinations:

  1. Meyer Lemon Extra Virgin Olive Oil + Mango Pulp Vinegar- a sweet, citrusy flavor combination that's great for summer salads, chicken, fruit salads, and salsas.
  2. Tuscan Herb Extra Virgin Olive Oil + Balsamic Reduction- tastes like a classic Italian restaurant bread dip or vinaigrette. Best used with pasta dishes, caprese salads, roasted vegetables, bread dipping and green salads.
  3. Basil Extra Virgin Olive Oil + Peach Vinegar- adds a fruity flavor to your salads, poultry, and cocktails. Very popular in spring/summer!
  4. Rosemary Extra Virgin Olive Oil + Blackberry Vinegar- a thick, moderately sweet & herb flavor that is best used for pork loin, chicken, and salad dressing.
  5. Greek Seasoning Extra Virgin Olive Oil + Lemon Cucumber Vinegar- light & sweet with an after taste of black pepper. Delicious for a Greek salad, sauteed vegetables, and a chicken or fish marinade.

How to Pick the Perfect Peaches

We are in the middle of peach season and now is a great time to get fresh peaches from your local farmers markets and orchards. There is so much you can do with peaches besides putting them in a pie. Peach slices are wonderful on top of soft cheese or in a salad, muddled or pureed for cocktails, and preserved for jams. But to cook with peaches, you need to know how to pick the perfect peaches.

Here is a guide for picking ripe and delicious peaches:

  • Look: Ripe peaches have a "golden hue behind their reddish blush." A lighter yellow peach is a sign that it's less ripe and you don't want it. Avoid peaches where you can still see shades of green on them or have bruises, flat spots, and wrinkly skin.
  • Smell: If your peach has a strong peach smell, then it's ripe and ready to eat. No smell often indicates not peach taste.
  • Feel: You can tell a lot about a peach's ripeness by how it feels. Hold the peach in the palm of your hand, wrap your fingers around it and lightly squeeze. If it feels hard like a baseball, you don't want it because it was most likely picked before it was ready and won't become ripe later. If it feels like a tennis ball, it's not ripe now but shows promise for ripening later in the week. If the peach is soft and lightly bruises when you squeeze it, it's ripe and ready to be eaten immediately.

Enjoy your fresh peaches and check out new recipes for cooking with peaches in the recipes section.

 

Source: Watson, Molly. “Picking the Perfect Peach.” The Spruce Eats, 16 Jan. 2019, www.thespruceeats.com/how-to-pick-and-buy-peaches-2216826.

How to Slice a Watermelon in Just 1 Minute!

Try this method from Delish to enjoy watermelon without the hassle of slicing all summer long!

  1. Cut off both ends: use a serrated knife and a cutting board to trim both ends.
  2. Slice watermelon in half: stand the watermelon up and cut down the middle.
  3. Turn halves into quarters: lay each half "flesh-side" down and cut in half.
  4. Cut into triangles: turn each quartered piece horizontal and cut 1" strips to create triangle slices.

Enjoy!

 

Source: Gore, Makinze. “The 4 Commandments Of Cutting Watermelon.” Delish, Delish, 28 May 2020, www.delish.com/cooking/a21973640/how-to-cut-watermelon/.

The Best Tips for Grilling Sweet Corn

I can't remember a summer that didn't include eating fresh ears of corn on the cob in the backyard with my family. Grilled corn on the cob can be eaten right off the grill or you can cut the kernels off and use them in salads and side dishes. Try my favorite tips and tricks for grilling corn.

Picking Corn

Whether you're buying your corn from a farmers market or a grocery store, there are three things to keep in mind when you're picking your corn.

Make sure your corn has:

  • A firm, green husk- Feel the corn to make sure there are no missing kernels and if the husk is brown, the corn is old and you don't want to eat it.
  • No soft/mushy spots or brown holes- Look your corn over carefully. Brown holes near the top indicate insects may have gotten into the corn.
  • Light brown and sticky tassels- Brown/gold and sticky tassels mean it's worth the hassle!

Grilling Corn

  • Grilling in foil: This is the best method if you want to infuse the corn with oil and spices. Start by shucking the corn and wrapping it in foil. Cook on the grill for 15 minutes, rotating every 3-4 minutes.
  • Grilling with husks on: Remove any dry outer leaves from the husk but not the silks before placing them on the grill. Cook for 15 minutes, making sure to rotate every 3-4 minutes. Grilling with the husk on adds a smoky flavor to the corn inside.
  • Grilling with husks off: To start, shuck your corn cobs. Then place the cobs directly on the grill and cook for 10 minutes. Make sure to rotate them every 3-4 minutes.

 

Source: Parente, Carrie. “How to Grill Corn: A Guide to Buying and Cooking Corn on the Grill.” Today, NBC Universal, 1 July 2020, www.today.com/food/how-grill-corn-guide-buying-cooking-corn-grill-t185613.

Zucchini: Health Benefits & How To Prepare

Zucchini is the summer super food you should be eating. It's rich in vitamins and minerals and very versatile. Much like the cucumber, people assume that it is a vegetable because of how it is used, but zucchinis are technically fruits.

According to Healthline, here are the major health benefits that come from eating zucchini:

  • High amounts of vitamin A and antioxidants- Cooked zucchini has the most vitamin A and the skin has the most antioxidants.
  • Promotes healthy digestion, reduces blood sugar and aids weight loss- Zucchini has more fiber and water than calories so that stool is softened, hunger may be reduced and blood sugar stabilized.
  • Improves heart health- Zucchini's fiber and potassium help lower blood pressure, which lowers the risk of heart disease.
  • Strengthens vision- The vitamin C and antioxidants in zucchini improve vision and promotes good eye health.

Here are my favorite extra virgin olive oils and herbs to pair with zucchini:

  • Garlic EVOO
  • Basil EVOO
  • Tex Mex EVOO
  • Rosemary EVOO
  • Cajun Seasoning
  • Zaatar
  • Moroccan Seasoning
  • Garlic Herb Seasoning
  • Lemon Rosemary Garlic Salt

 

Source: Petre, Alina M. “12 Health and Nutrition Benefits of Zucchini.” Healthline, 24 May 2005, www.healthline.com/nutrition/zucchini-benefits#section6.

Perfect Pairings- Oil & Vinegar Combinations

Finding the right combination can be overwhelming with so much selection in front of  you at our shop!

Just remember it is often dependent what you like not us. So experiment and find your favorite combinations! 

The list below are just a few ideas of combinations .  They're perfect for salads, bread dipping, roasting vegetables and meats.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Vinegar

Basil

Peach, Strawberry, Fig, Tomato, Blueberry, Garden Herb

Garlic

Meyer Lemon, Marc De Champagne, Garden Herb

Blood Orange

Cranberry Pear, Chocolate, Marc De Champagne, Fig, Blackberry, Strawberry, Raspberry

Meyer Lemon

Mango, Coconut Mango, Fig, Strawberry, Peach, Pomegranate, Blueberry, Raspberry

Chili Pepper

Mango, Meyer Lemon, Key Lime

Rosemary

Meyer Lemon, Blackberry, Garden Herb, Sun-Dried Tomato, Balsamic Reduction

Lime

Coconut Mango, Honey Ginger, Peach, Pineapple, Strawberry,

Lemon Dill

Pomegranate, Meyer Lemon

Tuscan Herb

Tomato Pulp, Sun-Dried Tomato, Meyer Lemon, Balsamic Reduction

Mushroom & Thyme

Honey Ginger

Herbs Provence

Meyer Lemon, Red Apple,

Cocktails

Using vinegar in cocktails opens up a whole world of possibilities! 

Balsamic vinegar adds a cool and amazingly refreshing aspect to a cocktail.  Vinegars work best alongside citrus and all relate to how it hits the tongue when tasting the two together.  This creates a fuller experience and enhances the flavors of the alcohol.  Adding a dash of vinegar to simple cocktails adds an excited depth and complexity.

The following below will guide you in some combinations, but please experiment!

  • Bourbon- Mango, Blackberry Dark, Raspberry Dark, Cherry Dark
  • Gin- Lemon Cucumber, Meyer Lemon
  • Rum- Peach, Coconut Mango, Mojito, Strawberry
  • Tequila- Cranberry Pear, Coconut Mango, Mango, Key Lime
  • Vodka- Pineapple, Blueberry, Peach, Meyer Lemon