Thursday, March 31, 2016

Cooking Is Twice as Fun With Two In the Kitchen

Make cooking even more fun by grabbing your favorite person to help you out in the kitchen. All recipes are twice as satisfying when they’ve been made with two pairs of hands, so get to it: put on some music, open a bottle of wine and fire up the stove!


Cannelloni: a classic for helping hands
Cannelloni are just the thing, because while one of you is working on one stage, the other can be working on a different one. First you need to make the filling: tuna, tomato and pâté (to bind it together and make it smooth and tasty), spinach and pine nut. You also need to cook or hydrate the pasta sheets.
Once it’s ready, one of you can spread the strained pasta sheets on cloths, arrange the filling and roll the cannelloni. Meanwhile, the other should make the white sauce: STAR Extra Virgin Olive Oil, flour, milk, salt, nutmeg, plenty of patience and lots of stirring. You want to get a light, smooth sauce without any lumps. Pour the sauce over the cannelloni on an oven tray and cook au gratin.

Chicken breasts stuffed with king prawns and port sauce
Teamwork! While one of you fillets and halves the chicken breasts, the other can be peeling the fresh king prawns. Once you’re done, place some fresh spinach leaves on top of each piece of chicken, along with 3 or 4 king prawns, and roll them up and tie with kitchen string. Gently poach some onion in STAR Original Olive Oil  and sear the rolls. Put aside.
Now, one of you should place the breasts in the oven, and keep watch until the prawns are cooked. Take them out and remove the kitchen string. The other one should be making the sauce on the stove: you’ll need a glass of port, a glass of chicken stock and a cup of evaporated milk. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with the meat.

Mexican style: I’ll make the guacamole; you make the fajitas
For the guacamole you’ll need 2 avocados, 1/3 cup spring onions, 2/3 cup tomatoes, half a lime, half a teaspoonful of chopped, fresh cilantro and salt. Chop all the ingredients up finely (leave the avocados until last as they’ll go brown quickly) and mix together. Add salt, a dash of lime juice and flavor to taste. You can add chili pepper or Tabasco for an extra bite.
Meanwhile, the other can be making the fajita filling: for example, strips of beef with green, red and yellow peppers, chunks of onion, peeled, cubed tomato and a pinch of chill pepper or Tabasco. Fry everything together in STAR Original Olive Oil. Warm the tortillas and serve the guacamole with tortilla chips. Time to take off your aprons, pour yourselves another glass of wine and enjoy the food and company.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

All About the Olive Tree


It’s got a broad crown and a thick, short, gnarled trunk. It bears olives as its fruit. What else do you know about this amazing tree? Here are five things every lover of extra-virgin olive oil ought to know:


The cultivated olive tree comes from the wild olive tree, which is smaller and bushier, with thorny branches. It bears fruit similar to olives, but smaller. It is found in Mediterranean areas and, although it adapts well to different soils and high temperatures, it is very sensitive to frosts.

It was believed to be an immortal tree. For the first ten years of its life, the olive tree’s trunk is flat and grey. It then starts to knot and darken in color. It has a root system near the surface and when it falls ill it produces offshoots to survive. That’s why in Classical Antiquity it was believed to be an “immortal tree”.

It has small, whitish, feathery flowers arranged in clusters on short branches. It flowers between April and June, depending on the variety, area, climate and the like. This process culminates when the fruit sets to form the drupe, i.e. the olive.

What does it need? Olive trees grow well in Mediterranean soils with little rainfall. They are resistant to drought and can survive temperatures below 15 ºF and above 105 ºF. However, they do need light and air currents. This hardy tree has been known to live for over a thousand years.

Over 200 varieties. More than 262 varieties of olive trees have been counted in Spain alone. Each one has adapted to a certain climate and terrain, although they are not all of the same quality. This leads to a wide range of different olives, each with their own size, color and nuances of aroma and flavor. The gordal olive, from Seville, for example, is the biggest, while the arbequina is the smallest.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Pizza Night in a Whole New Light


Pizza: Noun. A delicious, crispy round of crust topped with warm sauce and garnished with endless varieties of your favorite toppings. Synonym: Happiness


Do you love pizza night? We do too. Instead of ordering the same ol’ take-out pizza, we recommend trying something different! Grab your favorite person or gather the family and make it a special night by making a custom pizza from scratch.

First thing’s first: the dough. You can make things a little simpler by grabbing some French bread from the store, cutting it into equal halves, and then layering all of your favorite things on top and popping it in the oven for it to bake. OR, you can go the whole nine yards and make your dough from scratch! It’s not as scary as it seems. With 30 minutes and only six ingredients, you’ll have your own freshly made pizza dough.

The toppings are the fun part. You can pretty much put anything you want on a pizza, and that’s what makes it great! Our favorite toppings are Cara Mia Grilled Artichoke Hearts, Cara Mia Mushrooms, Cara Mia Sun Dried Tomatoes, our Pimiento Stuffed Manzanilla Olives and Hot Pepper Stuffed Olives. Give them a try, we’re sure you’ll love them, too!

Here’s a recipe for making your own pizza dough:
Ingredients:
  • 1 package (0.25 oz.) active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 ½ cups bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons STAR Olive OilTry one of our Infused Olive Oils to give your dough added flavor!
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 450⁰F. In a medium-sized bowl, dissolve both yeast and sugar in warm water and let stand for about 10 minutes or until creamy.
  2. Stir in flour, salt and oil and beat until mixture is smooth. Let it rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Roll the dough out on a surface that is lightly floured. Transfer dough to a lightly greased pizza pan. Add your favorite sauce and toppings and bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Let it cool and then enjoy!


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