Spotlight On the Koroneiki Olive and the Peppery Oil It Produces

Photo by Rancher Charlie Garcia

Photo by Rancher Charlie Garcia

If you ever taste our Koroneiki oil, don’t be surprised if you find yourself coughing two or three times from the peppery tickle you experience in the back of your throat. It’s a robust, “cougher” of an oil, one we use for blending with other oils. Koroneiki is the third variety of olives we’ll gather during next month’s harvest, on top of Arbequina and Arbosana.

It’s a small green olive shaped like a tear drop. Koroneiki originally is from Greece. It’s considered that country’s most important variety and has grown there for more than 3,000 years.

As for the flavor profile, we use terms like herbaceous, pear, and green olive to characterize our Koroneiki oil. It’s more robust than Arbequina, delivering “medium intense” levels of aroma, bitterness (a positive attribute of extra virgin olive oil), and pungency. Our Arbosana oil shares those same intensity levels.

Koroneiki is the smallest of our northern California olive crop, accounting for about 5 percent of the olives we cultivate versus 80 percent for Arbequina and 15 percent for Arbosana.

Unlike Arbequina and Arbosana, we don’t bottle our Koroneiki oil as a single-variety oil. We blend it with other oils to make Miller’s Blend, where it delivers robust bitterness and pungency, or pepperiness. We also use Koroneiki to create our Rich & Robust oil.

In general, the intense flavor profile of our Koroneiki adds something very special to our oils. The complexity of Koroneiki also makes it a favorite among people who enjoy a Tuscan-style flavor profile.

The drought-resistant Koroneiki olive tree is a prolific olive producer. And the olive itself is a prodigious producer of oil.

Like the Arbosana olive, timing is very important when we harvest Koroneiki. If harvested too early, the flavors are green and harsh and take time to settle out.

By the way, there’s a scientific explanation behind that peppery and pleasant tickle you get at the back of your throat when you swallow a good extra virgin olive oil. And researchers say the findings may prove useful in combating deadly diseases. (Click here to see a blog about the medical significance.)

In addition, the little Koroneiki olive delivers a healthful punch. It has a very high level of polyphenols, the chemical substances found in plants that may reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.

Bon appétit,

Your Friends at California Olive Ranch




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6 Dishes that Will Get Kids to Eat Their Vegetables

Kid-friendly dishes

Sad fact: Many kids are picky when it comes to eating vegetables. One solution: Serve the veggies by way of another kid-friendly dish. That could mean grilled cheese with eggplant or arugula, quesadillas with mushrooms, pasta with broccoli … . You get the picture.

We’ve assembled six kid-friendly recipes that riff off vegetables. All use olive oil. (Our Everday Fresh would be fine here.) Oh, and by the way, you don’t have to be a kid to like these dishes. They’ll satisfy picky adults, too.

Penne Rigate with Broccoli

Most kids we know love pasta. And what better way to get them to eat veggies than through pasta! “My mom used to make this yummy, Parmesan-and-broccoli flecked pasta a lot when we were growing up because it was a relatively painless way to get us kids to eat broccoli,” Anna Boiardi writes in Delicious Memories, where the recipe appears. For an added buttery note, make the dish with our Mild & Buttery oil.   (Click here to get recipe.)

Portobello Mushroom and Sundried Tomato Quesadillas

Kids take to gooey cheese melted between two tortillas. Introduce some veggies to a quesadilla – in this case mushrooms – and you amp up the nutritional value. This particular quesadilla comes by way of food blogger Erin Clark of The Law Student’s Wife, who gives it an Italian spin. “Mushroom and sundried tomato quesadillas are a bright Italian medley of meaty portobello mushrooms, fragrant sundried tomatoes, gooey mozzarella, and sharp Parmesan,” she writes. “The ingredients are straightforward, the preparation simple, and the results buenisimo.” (Click here to get recipe.)

Eggplant Ricotta Grilled Cheese

You probably remember eating grilled cheese sandwiches as a kid: orange American cheese packed between two buttered slices of white bread – all fried in more butter or perhaps margerine. The grilled cheese here – from food blogger Erin Clark of The Law Student’s Wife - has none of that. It’s made with whole wheat bread, part-skim ricotta, Parmesan, eggplant, basil, and extra virgin olive oil. (Click here to get recipe.)

Sweet Potato Fries with Maple Barbecue Sauce

“It’s tought to get my daughter to eat any type of vegetable other than corn on the cob, peas with butter, and green beans, but she just loves her sweet potato fries,” Anna Getty writes in her cookbook Easy Green Organic. “These fries are not only packed with vitamins and minerals, they are baked instead of deep-fried.” Getty uses garnet yams for this dish. They’re sliced thickly, like steak-cut fries, and then tossed with olive oil, coriander, cumin, garlic powder and salt. The fries are roasted in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 30 minutes, until the edges are brown and the yams are cooked through. They’re paired with an easy-to-make maple barbecue sauce. (Click here to get recipe.)

Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Garlic Confit and Arugula

Like the Eggplant Ricotta Grilled Cheese above, this version goes way beyond the traditional grilled cheese sandwich. The creator – Viviane Bauquet Farre of the online magazine – uses crusty rye country bread, peppery baby arugula, a garlic confit spread, and a “nutty, pungent” aged cheddar, gruyère or fontina. To make the garlic spread, peeled cloves are gently cooked in extra virgin olive oil for 40 minutes over very low heat. “The cloves become so soft that you can spread them on your toast – or in this case, in your grilled cheese sandwich,” Viviane writes. (Click here to get recipe.)

Chicken and Cannellini Bean Chili

Based on our own experience, kids like chili. They’re a great vehicle for including beans and tomatoes as well as other veggies. This chili – from Muir Glen Organic – pairs cut-up chicken thighs with cannellini beans, canned diced tomatoes, zucchini, and red pepper. Fennel seed, paprika, jalapeño chiles, and chili powder provide added zing.  You can make this dish up to three days beforehand and store it in the fridge. Top each serving with grated Parmesan cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, and sliced scallions. (Click here to get recipe.)

Bon appétit,

Your friends at California Olive Ranch



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Spotlight: the Arobosana Olive and the “Floral” Oil It Yields

We’re counting down the days until our harvest begins. With that in mind, we’ll turn our attention to the second of three olives we grow in northern California, Arbosana, after focusing on the Arbequina olive last week. This round, fat olive produces a medium-robust oil that’s great with chocolate – think olive oil chocolate mousse. It’s also good drizzled on soups or on bruschetta rubbed with garlic. Arbosana Artois Sept 2011 LR Rotated

As for taste, the Arbosana oil we bottle has a floral, herbaceous and green fruit flavor profile.

Arbosana accounts for about 15 percent of the olives we cultivate, behind Arbequina (80 percent) and ahead of Koroneiki (5 percent).

The Arbosana olive, like the Arbequina olive, comes originally from Spain. And, like Arbequina, we use Arbosana to make an oil bearing the same name as the olive – just like Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, say, are crushed to make Cabernet Sauvignon wine.

We also blend Arbosana with other oils to create our Miller’s Blend and Rich & Robust oils. In the case of Miller’s Blend, the Arbosana contributes floral notes to the flavor profile. Occasionally, we’ll we use Arbosana to make our more delicate Everyday Fresh oil, which mainly is milled from Arbequina.

Our Arbosana oil has a “medium-intense” aroma level, slightly greater than Arbequina’s “medium” aroma. It also has a medium-intense level of bitterness, which is considered a positive attribute of extra virgin olive oil. And our Arbosana oil has a medium-intense pungency, or pepperiness, which also is an attribute.

The Arbosana tree yields a large crop of olives. The small, pale yellow Arbosana olive is a productive producer of olive oil.

It’s an olive that requires careful timing during harvest. If harvested too early, the Arbosana oil can carry a stringent flavor profile. This is where the communication between our farming operations team and the milling staff works well.

As a team, they select the best time to start the Arbosana harvest based on a perfect flavor profile. With this variety of olive, the importance of selecting just the right time to harvest the fruit is critical.

So far this year, our Arbosana has earned gold medals at the Terraolivo international competition in Israel as well as the Olivinus international competition in Argentina. It has also garnered awards here in California at the Yolo County Fair as well as competitions in Japan and China.

Next up: the Koroneiki olive.

Bon appétit,

Your friends at California Olive Ranch

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Back-to-School Tips, Recipes for Healthy, Kid-Friendly Meals

Healthy Kids Lunchbox

Being a maker of extra virgin olive oil, we’re a bit obsessed about healthy eating – and that extends to children, both in school and at home. With kids now back to school, many are eating lunches served by the school cafeteria – often high in salt, sugar and unhealthy fats. And before they head off to school, they may not be getting a healthy breakfast at home – if they’re eating one at all.

In recent years, there’s been some improvement in the school lunch program. You may recall Uncle Sam introduced new school-meal regulations in 2012. Initially, a majority of elementary-school students griped about the healthier lunches, which feature more whole grains, vegetables and fruits, and lower fat levels.

But by the end of the school year most found the food agreeable, according to a survey of more than 500 primary school administrators. The results are contained in a new study. In fact, it turns out school children actually like eating healthy foods!

“It is my experience – and that of many other educators in the U.S. – that once there is a real alternative, children do not throw out their healthier options. In fact, they embrace those healthy foods and never look back,” restaurateur and food activist Alice Waters wrote in a recent essay on

While not all schools across the U.S. have yet implemented healthier lunch programs, your child can still begin to develop a healthier palate. With a little time and planning, you can help your child prepare a pack lunch and transform their lunch into a flavorful, healthy meal – one they’ll even enjoy.

Here are tips to make the task easier:

  • Think ahead. A little planning can go a long way. Talk with your child about their likes and dislikes, for starters.
  • Capitalize on leftovers. If you’re cooking chicken, for example, make extra and transform the leftovers into a wrap or pita packet. Ditto for pasta, soups, chili, and thin-crust pizza.
  • Compartmentalize. Many kids like to sample a variety of foods. Bento-style lunch containers make that easier. Pack them with hummus, whole-grain crackers, veggies, fruit, meat, and cheese. (In the case of veggies, you can make them an olive oil Caesar dressing.)
  • Get them involved. Have your kids put items on the grocery list and help you shop. They’ll more likely to be enthusiastic if they’ve had a say in the menu. Also, let them pick their own lunchbox.

Here are resources and links for additional help:

Breakfast also is particularly important for kids – and skipping it is a sure way to start the day on the wrong foot. A number of studies have demonstrated that eating breakfast bolsters memory and learning. So make it a good breakfast that will entice a youngster

To help you and your child get off on a healthy footing, we’ve compiled a collection of kid-friendly (and adult-friendly) recipes for breakfast – in addition to lunch and dinner. (Click here to see our eNewsletter featuring kid-friendly recipes.)

Bon appétit,

Your Friends at California Olive Ranch

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How Refined Olive Oils Are Made, How They Differ from Extra Virgin

We pride ourselves for making extra virgin olive oil. It’s very different from refined grades of olive oil – such as “light” or “pure” oils – which are made using heat or chemicals. Extra virgin olive oil, by contrast, essentially is freshly pressed fruit juice. We crush the olives and extract the oil using only mechanical methods, such as a centrifuge.

Fresh Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Fresh Extra Virgin Olive Oil

True extra virgin olive oil doesn’t contain any flaws or defects such as off-flavors or odors, which indicate poor quality oil.

Refined oils initially are processed the same way as extra virgin – but they undergo additional processing to remove any chemical or sensory flaws that would otherwise make the oil unfit for sale.

High temperatures or chemicals are used in the process, and the oil is made odorless, colorless, and tasteless. Refined oils typically are blended with a small portion of extra virgin olive oil to provide some flavor, aroma and color.

“Extra virgin olive oil is essentially the naturally extracted juice from fresh olives. The olives are crushed into a paste, and the oil is physically extracted from this paste without the use of chemicals or excessive heat,” Australian olive oil expert Richard Gawel notes. “Extra virgin olive oil has a distinctive olive fruity aroma and flavor and it contains natural antioxidants.”

Refining, he adds, is a more intricate process using acids, alkalis, steam and other agents. “The refining process removes all of the aroma and flavor substances out of olive including its natural antioxidants,” Gawel explains. “Artificial antioxidants need to be added back to give the refined olive oil a reasonable shelf life.”

Journalist and olive oil aficionado Tom Mueller writes in his book Extra Virginity that olive oil is “one of the very few” vegetable oils that doesn’t require refining. “Since the refining process removes tastes, aromas, and many health-promoting attributes of olive oil, no refined olive oil can legally be sold as extra virgin olive oil,” he says.

So why do some grades of olive oil require refining? In the case of “pure” or “light” oils, the refining process removes defects such as off-flavors and odors. Without the refining, the oil would be unfit for human consumption – and considered lampante oil.

Below is a closer look at the various steps involved in the refining process. Up to five may be used, depending on what elements the refiner wants to “clean out.”

Degumming: Also known as water refining, the oil is treated with hot water, steam, or water mixed with acid. The oil is then spun in a high-speed centrifuge. Healthful polyphenols are removed along with gummy phospholipids, a class of lipids that are a key component of cell membranes.

Neutralization: The oil is treated with caustic soda, or lye, an inorganic compound. Color is removed along with undesirable free fatty acids.

Bleaching: Using an acid bleaching process, the oil is heated to 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Pigments are removed.

Winterization: The oil is quickly chilled, solidified, and then filtered, removing solid matter such as waxes.

Deodorization: The oil is heated to a temperature of 300 degrees to 500 degrees F, and steam is used to remove disagreeable tastes and aromas.

Bon appétit,

Your Friends at California Olive Ranch



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Why Kids Need Healthy Fats (Hint: Good for Body & Brain)

Children need some fats and oils to be healthy and to grow properly. Healthy fat also is considered good for brain health. The key: the type of fat. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends children get their oils from fishnutsavocados, and liquid oils like olive oil.Photo by Alan Berger

Photo by Alan Berger

“Trying to cut way back on fats and oils may seem like a good idea,” the USDA adds. “But your child needs some fats and oils to be healthy.” Why?

  • For energy to play, learn, and grow
  • To grow properly
  • To utilize vitamins from food
  • To provide flavor to foods (something a good extra virgin olive oil certainly adds to cooked veggies and other foods)

Olive oil also can play a role in the development of children’s brains. Some 60 percent of the brain’s weight is composed of fat.

“Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for cognitive (brain memory and performance) and behavioral function,” the University of Maryland Medical Center reports on its website.

However, the body can’t make them. Rather, it must get them from food. Certain foods are a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids, including olive oil, salmon, avocado, and nuts.

“Study after study has shown that they are good for the developing brain,” Roberta Anding, a registered dietitian and director of sports nutrition at Texas Children’s Hospital, tells the Houston Chronicle.

Katherine Tallmadge, a nutritionist and former spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, agrees the type of fat is key for good brain health.

“The type of fat you eat ends up in every cell membrane,” she tells Rodale News, and that can either boost or lower the functioning of cells. She adds that heart-healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats, like the type found in olive oil, help cells because they help blood vessels carry more oxygen to the brain.

The bottom line: Let your kids enjoy healthy fat. It’s good for their bodies … and brains.

Bon appétit,

Your Friends at California Olive Ranch

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A Look at the Arbequina Olive and the Olive Oil it Yields

Arbequina at Artois RanchIt’s hard to believe our olive harvest is just around the corner. It starts in October. Our harvest teams will begin gathering the olives and taking them to the mill, where our milling team will crush them into extra virgin olive oil. It’s an around-the-clock operation, representing the culmination of all the work we’ve devoted to nurturing the olives  during the growing season.

With harvest set to begin, it’s worth looking at the three olive varieties we grow at our northern California ranches: Arbequina, Arbosana and Koroneiki.

Like wine grapes – Merlot, say, or Sauvignon Blanc – each olive variety has unique characteristics that influence the taste of the oil it produces. We use Arbequina and the Arbosana to mill oils bearing the names of the olives themselves. We use Koroneiki oil to blend with other oils, much like a winemaker blends various grapes to produce a single wine. Our robust Miller’s Blend oil, for example, is a blend of all three olives.

Let’s begin with the Arbequina olive. It accounts for our largest crop, amounting to  about 80 percent of the olives we grow. This plump, round olive originally is from Spain’s Catalonia region.

The Arbequina oil we bottle has a “medium” aroma level versus, say, the “intense” aroma of Miller’s Blend. Similarly, it has a medium level of bitterness, which is considered a positive attribute of extra virgin olive oil. And our Arbequina oil has a medium-intense pungency, or pepperiness, which also is an attribute.

And the taste? We use terms like grassy, herbaceous and green olive to describe our Arbequina.

And, like any olive, the taste of the oil can vary depending on when the olives were harvested. For example, we’ve selected Arbequina olives that were gathered late in the harvest season to mill our new Mild & Buttery oil, which is more delicate than our Arbequina.

Typically, late-harvest olives tend to make oils with “buttery” notes. By contrast, olives that are picked early on tend to produce oils with “herbaceous” flavors, like those featured in our new Rich & Robust oil.

Our Arbequina trees are relatively small, but produce plenty of beautiful olives.  The tree itself has weeping branches when full of fruit. The hearty Arbequina olive resists frost well.

Our Arbequina oil, by the way, landed gold medals at this year’s Los Angeles International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition and the Terraolivo international competition in Israel.

It’s great for dipping and salad dressings. We also like to use it for pesto, brownies, and pound cake – and in baking generally when substituting olive oil for butter. (Click here to see blog post about pairing oils like Arbequina with different foods.)

Bon appétit,

Your Friends at California Olive Ranch

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Culinary Rx: How to Cure the Sad Office Desk Lunch

Collage sad desk lunch

It’s called the “sad desk lunch” – the point that an estimated 62 percent of American office workers often eat their lunch in the same spot they work all day. The website Food52 has countered with suggestions for how to jazz up the office lunch. We’re joining that effort, having recruited two noted food bloggers.

Let’s face it: There are advantages to brown bagging versus restaurant dining. It’s easier on your wallet. Plus, you get greater control over what you eat.

But let’s get to our two food bloggers: Erin Alderson of Naturally Ella, and Kate Taylor of Cookie + Kate. Below you’ll find their recipes and tips for how to cure the “sad desk lunch.” (You can see our eNewsletter for additional tips and recipes.)

To begin, you can prepare the kind of meal in the photo at the top on the left – pesto carrots and chickpeas with rice – from Naturally Ella. Get the recipe here, plus tips and more recipes.

And get the recipe from Cookie + Kate  for her mason jar chickpea, farro and greens salad, in the top photo on the right – along with other recipes and tips – here .

What are your favorite go-to meal types when it comes to packing a lunch that other people might try?

Naturally Ella: My favorite meal is usually a salad/bowl type meal of whatever I might have sitting in my refrigerator: grains, greens, vegetables, nuts – finished with a simple dressing of oil and lemon juice.

Any salad and the dressing always makes the meal.

Cookie + Kate: I’m a fan of making big batches of hearty bean salads and vegetarian chili that I can enjoy at lunch for a few days. When I’m cooking basic meal components for dinner, like rice and other whole grains, beans or roasted vegetables, I make extra so I can throw together lunches with them during the week.

Are there certain types of dishes that make for great leftovers – and perhaps you can share some with our fans?

Naturally Ella: I’m all about cooking once and getting a few meals worth. Enchiladas, lasagna, lentil curry, and soups (always soups!).

Cookie + Kate: I get particularly excited about leftover Mexican meals! Enchiladas and other casserole-type dishes, like lasagna, reheat well. So do soups, stews, most pasta dishes, stir fries and, of course, pizza.

Here are some recipes that make great leftovers:

Butternut Squash Chipotle Chili with Avocado

Thai Mango Cabbage Wraps (served chilled or at room temperature)

Spicy Kale and Coconut Stir Fry

Brussels Sprouts and Crispy Baked Tofu with Honey-Sesame Glaze

Quick Vegan Chana Masala

Curried Cauliflower Soup

Do you have any tips for how to pep up an ordinary sack lunch – say a salad or something like that?

Naturally Ella: I think the key is variety: Mix it up from day to day. Eat leftovers one day, and then the next take a fresh salad. It keeps lunch interesting.

Cookie + Kate: I used to keep a little shaker of cayenne pepper in my lunch bag, but that’s probably more pep than most people are looking for! I’d suggest keeping a shaker for sea salt and a black pepper grinder in your desk. Good salt and freshly ground pepper go a long way. Maybe some hot sauce, too, if you like spicy food like me. When it comes to salads, I really like to make my own dressings, but it would be easy to make plenty of dressing for the week’s worth of lunch salads. Just store the dressing in the work refrigerator and pull it out as needed.

Do you usually dress any salad you bring with you beforehand – or do you bring it in a separate container for use at lunch?

Naturally Ella: I keep a few small containers specifically for packed salads. I love crisp greens, and dressing the salad right before lunch keeps the greens how I like them.

Cookie + Kate: Unless it’s a kale salad, I store the dressing separately. You don’t necessarily have to store the dressing in a separate little container if you use the mason jar salad method. Just drizzle the amount of dressing that you think you’ll need into a mason jar. Layer your hardier ingredients (like chopped vegetables) on top of the dressing, then add greens last. Keep the jar upright until you’re ready to eat, then toss the salad by shaking the jar.

Do you have any time-saving tips for people who like to pack a lunch but are strapped for time?

Naturally Ella: Sundays and dinners:  If you’re making dinner, throw on a pot of grains to use throughout the week. I’m constantly cooking two to three different meals at a time so that it makes lunches easy.

Cookie + Kate: I’d suggest portioning off dinner leftovers for lunch so they’re ready to go in the morning. I mentioned this earlier, but it’s nice to make a big batch of chili or bean salad and then portion it off into meal-sized servings. So I don’t get bored eating the same thing every day, I like to combine basics like rice, beans, roasted vegetables and greens in different ways. Advanced preparation and portioning are the keys to good packed lunches.

Bon appétit,

Your Friends at California Olive Ranch



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Seven Awesome Veggie Side Dishes For Your Labor Day Celebration

Labor Day Collage

Burgers, brats, hot dogs, tofu … . Many of you already know what you’ll be dining on as a main dish on Labor Day. But when it comes to side dishes … well, that may still be a work in progress. To give you inspiration, we’ve assembled seven sides that capitalize on the current abundance of seasonal veggies and fruit.

Also, if you’re really pressed for time, just do what we often do: slice a garden-fresh tomato and top it with extra virgin olive oil, chopped basil, and flaky sea salt. It’s a treat!

Summer Corn and Double Tomato Salad

There’s nothing like the classic pairing of tangy tomatoes and sweet corn. The “double” tomatoes come in the form of cherry and sun-dried tomatoes. A dressing made from olive oil – such as our medium-robust Arbosana   - balsamic vinegar, shallots, garlic, and fresh herbs give added flavor. (Click here to see recipe.)

Charred Corn with Grilled Tomato Oil

Corn is a staple at our own Labor Day feast. And this recipe takes grilled corn up a notch. Rather than pairing the corn with butter, it’s paired with tomato-infused oil made from grilled tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil, as well as fresh herbs, garlic and honey. You could use our peppery Miller’s Blend, which would stand up well to the bold flavors in this dish. (Click here to see recipe.)

Sweet Potato Fries with Maple Barbecue Sauce

Here’s a great alternative to French fries — particularly the fast-food variety. Yams are sliced thickly, like steak-cut fries, and then tossed with olive oil, coriander, cumin, garlic powder and salt. The fries are roasted in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 30 minutes, until the edges are brown and the yams are cooked through. You could roast them with our Everyday Fresh or Mild & Buttery oils. The fries are served with a simple sauce combining barbecue sauce and maple syrup. (Click here to see to the recipe.)

Grilled Fingerling Potato Salad

Crisp, paper-thin radishes are tossed with Boston lettuce and a tangy, lemony vinaigrette. “Then the salad is dotted with deliciously smoky, grilled fingerling potatoes – a mouthwatering salad that’s perfect warm-weather fare!,” says Viviane Bauquet Farre of the e-magazine food & style, who created this dish. Our fruity Arbequina would go well with the vinaigrette.  (Click here to see the recipe.)

Skewered Lemon-Rosemary Cherry Tomatoes

For this colorful dish, cherry and grape tomatoes as well as sweet onions are marinated with olive oil, rosemary and lemon juice and then grilled on skewers. You could try our Arbequina or Everyday Fresh oils for the marinade. Give this dish an additional twist if you grow your own rosemary: Use the sturdier stalks as skewers. Otherwise, regular skewers work fine. (Click here to see recipe.)

California Avocado Potato Salad

Ripe, creamy avocados add a luscious flavor to this potato salad from our friends at the California Avocado Commission. In addition to avocados and cooked red new potatoes, the salad includes celery, sweet onion, and cilantro. Try our Everyday Fresh or our medium-robust Arbosana to make the olive oil, mayonnaise, and lemon juice dressing. (Click here to see recipe.)

Arugula Salad with Watermelon and Feta

Summer may be winding to a close, but it’s not too late to enjoy one of the season’s signature fruits: watermelon. And with a good extra virgin olive oil and other ingredients like good vinegar and feta cheese, you can create a sweet and savory watermelon salad. For some added pepper to contrast with the watermelon, use our Miller’s Blend or Rich & Robust oils for this dish. (Click here to see recipe.)

Bon appétit,

Your Friends at California Olive Ranch


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Healthy Eating Tips For Dining Out At Restaurants

Restaurant Menu iStockFor working adults, dining out while on business can be a crapshoot. You and your dining partners may be lucky and land at a restaurant offering plenty of healthy, flavorful menu options – not to mention reasonable serving sizes. Or you may end up – following someone’s suggestion – at a spot dishing out unhealthy options and gargantuan portions.

Restaurants aren’t always the healthiest place to eat. Although many restaurants offer healthy alternatives to fan favorites, many may tempt you with fillers like bread and butter, sugary beverages, or all-you-can-eat specials – all things you want to avoid, for starters.

But there are steps you can take. And, with a little planning, you can ensure you make smart choices when dining out.

Below are healthy dining tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, WebMD and the USDA:

  • Think about the other meals you’ll be having that day and “budget” your calories accordingly
  • Ask for dishes to be prepared the way you want them – i.e., have them use olive oil instead of butter – and, remember, the worst thing the staff can say is: “No.”
  • Order steamed, grilled, or broiled dishes instead of fried
  • Steer clear of all-you-can-eat buffets
  • Resign from the “clean your plate club” – when you’ve eaten enough, leave the rest or get it boxed so you can bring it home for tomorrow’s lunch; alternatively, ask your server to box up half of the meal before it’s served to you
  • Ask for salad dressing to be served “on the side” so you can add only as much as you want; or top with olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper for an easy, healthy alternative
  • Pick entrees that feature seafood, chicken or lean meat, and avoid fatty meats
  • Ask what kinds of oils foods are prepared with or cooked in; among the most desirable oils are monounsaturated oils, like extra virgin olive oil
  • Plan ahead and look for eateries with a big range of menu items; also, scan online menus so you can make smart choices beforehand

Finally, remember this advice from Chef Parke Ulrich of San Francisco’s highly acclaimed Waterbar: “It is about moderation.”

Bon appétit,

Your Friends at California Olive Ranch


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