Friday, April 17, 2015

Earth Day Tips!

Being more eco-friendly can be something that the whole family participates in. These tips are easy to implement and can make a big impact on the environment. 

  • Take reusable bags to the grocery store. A plastic shopping bag can take anywhere from 15 to 1000 years to decompose. 
  •  If you do have plastic bags of any kind in the house, reuse for your garbage, to carry wet clothes after swimming or when out walking the dog.
  •  Reuse packaging as much as possible. A lot of food comes in containers that are great for storage. Give your glass STAR and Cara Mia jars a second lease on life by washing and using them to store food or ‘fiddly things’ like buttons and nails. You can also give glass jars to friends, family or groups who make jams. 
  • For packaging you cannot reuse, save water and time when recycling cans and bottles. You no longer need to rinse them out or remove their labels. 
  • Use the Dishwasher. Appliances might seem energy-intensive, but running the dishwasher when it's completely full is actually more energy- and water-efficient than hand washing. For an extra green measure, skip the heated dry cycle and let your dishes air-dry. Use a reusable water container instead of buying individual bottled waters. The energy we waste using bottled water would be enough to power 190,000 homes.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015

STAR Homemade Salad Dressings

Ditch pre-made dressings and make your own using STAR Olive Oils and Vinegars. It’s a lot easier than you might think and you’ll feel better knowing exactly what you are eating.

Greek Vinaigrette
1/4 cup STAR Red Wine Vinegar
1/3 cup STAR Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped
1/2 tsp. ground mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine, stir and enjoy!

French Vinaigrette
4 tbsp. STAR Red Wine Vinegar
2 tbsp. STAR Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 tsp. paprika
1 garlic clove, crushed
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine, stir and enjoy! 

Dijon Vinaigrette
1/2 cup STAR White Wine Vinegar
1 cup STAR Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine, stir and enjoy! 

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
2 tbsp. STAR White Wine Vinegar
3/4 cup STAR Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1-2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. spicy brown mustard

In a blender, mix lime juice, vinegar, & cilantro until smooth.
Add the brown sugar, garlic & salt; mix until smooth. Add the mustard. Slowly pour the olive oil into the vinaigrette; blend. Enjoy!

Red Wine Vinaigrette
1/2 cup STAR Red Wine Vinegar
1 cup STAR Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. honey
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients, except oil. Stir. Gradually mix in oil. Enjoy!

Blue Cheese Vinaigrette
3 tbsp. STAR White Wine Vinegar
6 tbsp. STAR Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/4 cup chicken broth (or water)
1 tbsp. minced shallot
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine, stir and enjoy!  

Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/4 cup STAR Balsamic Vinegar
3/4 cup STAR Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp. sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine, stir & enjoy!
Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Olive Oil Can Be Found Where You Least Expect It

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about olive oil? Is it bread dipping or maybe salad dressings? If you step away from the obvious and give it a bit more thought, you will realize this liquid gold can be in all sorts of other dishes. It’s at the heart of Mediterranean cooking and is featured in recipe books all over the Mediterranean Basin.

Olive oil brings out flavors and adds subtle nuances. It also helps to preserve food. Fish, meat, vegetables… a vast world where olive oil plays a key role, even though we might not notice at first.

Marinating steaks in olive oil with garlic, salt, oregano, paprika and a dash of vinegar. You can try preserving cheese or dried tomatoes in olive oil. Or work it into dishes such as salmorejo, pesto, mayonnaise and humus. Don’t forget homemade semi-preserved vegetables that are always within easy reach in the fridge. Olive oil has such versatile uses in Mediterranean cooking that it is impossible to imagine their diet without it.
Olive OIl Uses

Sweet dishes might not spring to mind as readily, but who said you can’t replace the butter in a homemade sponge cake with olive oil? Food writer José Oneto revealed how to use olive oil for cooking delicious sweet treats in his book El aceite de oliva virgen extra en la repostería de ayer y de hoy [Extra Virgin Olive Oil in Yesterday and Today’s Cakes], which features desserts such as crème caramel, rice pudding, sponge cakes and biscuits.

Olive oil can have hidden flavors such as apple or almond that you can use to highlight a more rich and sweet recipe. But we can also use it in jellies and even ice cream! Ice cream can be the perfect complement to savoury dishes. Wonderful ice creams leave Fernando Sáenz’s ice cream workshop, Obrador Grate in Viana, Navarra, for leading haute cuisine restaurants and his ice cream shop Della Sera in Logroño. For example, his Lemon Cream with olive oil from Alfaro is a fresh original idea that takes olive oil to a place you’d never imagine.

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