Friday, June 24, 2011


 Love dessert but watching your sugar intake?  This recipe is perfect for that.

3/4 cup heavy cream
4 Tbs. STAR Balsamic Vinegar
3 Tbs. orange honey
2 baskets raspberries, about 3 cups

 In a small jar, combine cream and 1 Tbs. vinegar.  Cover and let stand in warm place 6-8 hours or until thick.  Refrigerate (will keep 2-3 weeks in refrigerator).  In bowl, stir remaining vinegar and honey to blend. Add raspberries and toss gently to coat.  Let stand at least 1 hour.  Before serving, gently stir berries then place in stemmed glasses or dessert bowls.  Top with crème fraiche.

Serves 4
Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Olive Oil may protect against stroke

reported by CNN

A diet high in olive oil may help protect older people against strokes, which are the third leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease and cancer. The findings are in a study published in the journal Neurology.

A stroke occurs when an artery within the brain, or leading to the brain, becomes blocked by a clot or bursts. The brain becomes deprived of blood and oxygen carried in the arteries and begins to die.

Strokes become more common as we age – stroke risk doubles for each decade of life after age 55, according to the American Heart Association.

University of Bordeaux researchers examined the medical records and olive oil consumption of 7,625 study participants, which included people age 65 and older from the  French cities of Bordeaux, Dijon and Montpellier. None of the participants had any history of stroke when the study began. Olive oil use was classified as “no use”, “moderate use” – meaning using olive oil for cooking or as dressing or with bread, or “intensive use” which means olive oil was used for cooking and as dressing or with bread.

Participants had follow-up exams at 2, 4, and six years and stroke incidents were recorded and verified. 148 stokes occurred after slightly more than five years.
Compared to those who didn’t use olive oil, people who had “intensive use” of olive oil had a 41% lower risk for stroke.

Many previous studies have reported health benefits from eating a Mediterranean-type of diet. "Olive oil is a component of the Mediterranean Diet which has been shown to have beneficial effects on cardiovascular disease and stroke. It can be included in a healthy eating plan as one of the oils that contains the least amount of saturated or bad fat,“ according to Dr. Ralph Sacco, President of the American Heart Association.

However, while numerous studies have linked the eating pattern to health benefits including lower rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson disease, Dr. Larry B. Goldstein of the Duke [University] Stroke Center, and a spokesman for the American Heart Association, is quick to note that the findings of the Neurology study show only an association between lower stroke risk and eating a diet high in olive oil, not proof that a diet high in olive oil will lower stroke risk. “There’s no reason you shouldn’t use olive oil paired with other healthy lifestyle behaviors including a diet high in fruits and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise, and not smoking cigarettes,” which Goldstein says are known to reduce stroke risk by 80%.

Posted by Ann J. Curley - CNN Medical Assignment Manager  on
Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Grilled Pesto Heirloom-Tomato Pizza!


1 ball store-bought pizza dough, cut in half
STAR Extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup pesto
1 cup heirloom cherry tomatoes, cut in half
4 to 6 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into thin, round pieces
Fresh basil for garnish

Assemble ingredients. Preheat grill to medium-high. Use your hands to knead and roll out dough on a lightly floured surface or parchment paper. Brush one side of each pizza with olive oil. Set pizza dough on grill, oiled side down, and cook with grill open until bottom is seared and cooked, about 4 to 5 minutes. Top should still be slightly doughy. Bubbles may form but will deflate when dough is turned.

Remove dough from heat and flip so grilled side faces up. Brush lightly with olive oil and spread a thin coat of pesto over pizzas. Next, top with tomatoes and mozzarella. Return pizza to grill, close and cook until cheese is thoroughly melted and lightly browned in spots. Remove from heat, garnish with fresh basil and serve immediately.

Makes 2 small pizzas.

Read more:
Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

This cake is wonderful for picnic and BBQ's.  We made is super easy by using a yellow cake mix!
1 (18 ounce) box yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1/3 cup STAR Extra Light Oil
1 1/3 cups water
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/4-1/2 cup butter
1 (20 ounce) can sliced pineapple
1 (8 ounce) jar STAR maraschino cherries

Follow instructions on cake box for making an oblong single layer cake.  Prepare cake batter and set aside.  Cut up butter in small pieces and place all over the bottom of the oblong pan specified on cake box.  Sprinkle brown sugar generously over the butter. Place pan on the stove (or in the oven) and heat slowly until butter and sugar melt to a liquid then remove from heat. Evenly space the pineapple slices around the bottom of pan in the heated sugar and butter. Place the cherries between the pineapple slices. Pour cake batter on top of the pineapple/cherry/nut mixture. Place in oven and bake as directed on cake box. As soon as cake is done place a plate over the cake and turn upside down and carefully remove pan.
WARNING!  If you wait too long the sugar will harden and be difficult to remove.


Sangria is a wine punch typical of Spain.  You start with a cheaper red table wine and can play with the other ingredients such as the fruit juices or carbonation using ginger ale, Sprite or club soda.  Here is a great recipe  to use as a guideline:

1/2 cup brandy
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup frozen lemonade concentrate
1/3 cup orange juice
1  bottle dry red wine
1/2 cup triple sec
1 lemon, sliced into rounds
1 orange, sliced into rounds
1 lime, sliced into rounds
2 cups club soda, sprite or ginger ale. (optional)
8 STAR maraschino cherries

1. In a large pitcher or bowl, mix together the brandy, lemon juice, lemonade
concentrate, orange juice, red wine, and triple sec. Float slices of lemon,
orange and lime, and maraschino cherries in the mixture. Refrigerate overnight for
best flavor. For a carbonated sangria, add club soda, sprite or ginger ale just before serving

Sit back and enjoy!
Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Cucumbers are on season!

The cucumbers are in season and can be found at all the farmers markets!  We love this quick and easy cucumber salad.  It makes a quick, healthy side dish that does great with almost anything.

Here is what you need:
3 tbsp of  STAR seasoned rice vinegar
1 tbsp  of sugar
2 tbsp of STAR Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cucumbers halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4 inch half- moons
3  celery sticks, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
salt & pepper

In a medium serving bowl, stir vinegar, sugar and olive oil.  Add cucumbers and celery; season with salt and pepper.  Toss well to coat and serve immediately.
Monday, June 6, 2011

Pesto Potato Bites

 Have a houseful of hungry guests?  This appetizer recipe is sure to please!


1 lb. baby red potatoes, about 18
1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup STAR® Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup STAR® Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 peeled garlic cloves
Salt and pepper


Cut potatoes in halves and place in pot of boiling water. Reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in blender or food processor, combine basil, olive oil, 3 Tbs. red wine vinegar, 6 Tbs. pine nuts, 4 Tbs. Parmesan and garlic. Process until completely blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Drain potatoes and cool slightly. With 1/4 teaspoon measuring spoon, scoop out small amount from cut surface of each potato half to form shallow cup. Sprinkle with remaining vinegar and toss to coat.

Arrange potato halves on serving dish. Fill each with pesto and sprinkle with remaining pine nuts and Parmesan. Serve warm or room temperature.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mediterranean diet - for your hair!

From Hello Magazine

We've heard time and time again that olive oil is good for our health, but there's more to it than that. It's also a useful beauty ally. And if you're looking for a quick and easy trick to improve dry hair, you need look no further.

At least thirty minutes before washing your hair, apply a little warm olive oil on the hair shaft and comb down, making sure to reach right down to the ends, where damage Is usually most noticeable.

Leave the oil to do its work, penetrating and nourishing the hair fiber for half an hour or so, and then wash twice with warm water and use your usual conditioner. 

Home-made deep treatment recipe 

If you want to go further, you can create your own deep treatment cream using avocado and olive oil. Simply mash an over-ripe avocado with oil to make a cream, and apply, smoothing all over your hair and scalp. You need to leave it to act for at least an hour, so it's a good idea to pop on a disposable shower cap to keep things clean. This has the added advantage of concentrating the heat and enhancing the effect. Wash as above.

Don't forget: wash your hair in warm water.
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