• Mediterranean Olives

    The beautiful olive tree is synonymous with the Mediterranean and is a characteristic symbol of that landscape. The world’s religions associate it with wisdom, peace, and prosperity. From a culinary perspective, as the only fat derived from pressed fruit, olive oil has been championed in recent years as a particularly healthful food.

    Olive Oil is Healthy

    Revered, healthy, flavorful
    By Carolyn Samuel
  • Black Olive Risotto Balls

    Weekly Recipe: 

    2 tablespoons butter

    3 cloves garlic, minced

    2 medium shallots, chopped

    1 cup Arborio or short grain rice

    1 container (32 oz) chicken stock, warmed

    1/2 cup sauvignon blanc

    2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

    1 1/3 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided

    1/4 cup minced sun-dried tomatoes (preferably smoked)

    3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

    1 can (2.2 oz) sliced California ripe olives, drained and coarsely chopped

    Freshly ground pepper to taste

    1 cup panko breadcrumbs

    1/2 cup flour

    2 eggs, beaten

    Olive oil cooking spray

    Melt butter in a large skillet. Add garlic and shallots: cook over medium heat for five minutes. Stir in rice and cook for two minutes more. Add chicken stock, 1/2 cup at a time, adding more when broth has been absorbed, stirring frequently. When all broth has been used, stir in mozzarella, 1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, olives, and pepper. Let cool, then cover and chill for at least one hour or until firm.

    Roll mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls. Stir together breadcrumbs and remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano. Roll each ball in flour, then in beaten egg, then in breadcrumb mixture. Let stand for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

    Place risotto balls on a baking sheet and spray liberally on all sides with olive oil cooking spray. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown, coating with olive oil spray every 10 minutes. Recipe and image courtesy of the California Olive Committee.

  • Warm Marinated Olives

    12 ounces mixed un-marinated olives, with pits
    ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
    1 large garlic clove, peeled and halved lengthwise
    1 pinch hot chili flakes
    1 strip lemon or orange peel (peeled with a sharp vegetable peeler)
    3 sprigs fresh thyme
    Olive oil

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine olives, fennel, garlic, chili flakes, peel, and thyme in a small baking dish that is just large enough to hold everything with 1-inch headroom. Add enough olive oil to just top the olives. Cover with tin foil and bake until hot and fragrant, about 45 minutes. Serve warm, with crusty whole grain bread.

    Contributed by Ivy Manning, author of The Adaptable Feast (Sasquatch Books, 2009)

  • Ode to an Olive

    In the late spring, throughout the rocky terrain of the Mediterranean, the gnarled limbs of the Olea europaea tree begin to bud with olives. Too bitter to eat right off the tree, they’re first fermented and cured in oil, salt, or brine (a combination of salt and water or wine). The method and ingredients determine the olive’s final flavor, texture, and color.

    These little fruits are as nutritious as they are tasty.
    By Lisa Turner
  • Greek-Style Kale Salad

    3/4 pound kale leaves
    1/4 cup olive oil
    1/4 cup lemon juice
    1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
    Salt and pepper
    1/2 cup grape tomatoes
    1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted
    2 ounches crumbled feta

    1. In a large pot of boiling water, blanch kale leaves until just tender, about 1 minute. Drain, and rinse under cold water to cool.

    2. Transfer kale to a clean kitchen towel, and press dry. Fluff up the leaves, coarsely chop, and transfer to a large bowl.

    3. In another bowl, combine olive oil with 1lemon juice,  crushed red pepper, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add grape tomatoes, kalamata olives, and crumbled feta to the kale.

    4. Add the dressing, and toss to coat. Great by itself, or chop finely and use as a stuffing for roasted red bell peppers.

  • Moroccan Chicken With Olives

    1 yellow onion, diced
    3/4 cup chopped parsley plus a little more for garnish
    1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/2 teaspoon mild paprika
    1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    1/8 teaspoon cayenne
    1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt (check sodium content of stock)
    1 teaspoon agave nectar or sugar
    2 tablespoons olive oil, plus another tablespoon for drizzling
    6 to 8 chicken thighs, bone in, with skins
    1 cup chicken stock or water
    1 teaspoon lemon zest (grated peel)
    Juice of 1/2 lemon
    1/2 cup Gaeta or Kalamata olives, pits in

    1. Mix the onion, parsley, spices, salt, and agave nectar in a medium bowl.

    2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken in a single layer, and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side until slightly browned.

    3. Add the stock and onion mixture. Bring the stock to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook gently for 20 minutes until the chicken is tender and no pink flesh remains.

    4. Place the chicken on a platter. Turn the heat up to medium-high, and let the sauce simmer for 2 to 3 minutes until reduced slightly. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and olives.

    5. Spoon the sauce over the chicken. Drizzle with olive oil, and garnish with the remaining parsley.

    Nutrition info per serving (4): 297 calories; 22 g fat; 5 g saturated fat; 72 mg cholesterol; 18 g protein; 8 g carbohydrates; 2 g fiber; 459 mg sodium

  • Olive Tapenade

    1 cup pitted Kalamata olives
    1 canned sardine fillet
    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    1/2 tablespoon capers
    2 cloves garlic
    1/4 cup olive oil
    1/4 teaspoon sugar (optional)

    Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until pureed.

    Nutrition info per serving (4 to 6): 160.4 calories; 15 g fat; 0.7 g saturated fat; 2.8 mg cholesterol; 0.6 g protein; 6.1 g carbohydrates; 0.1 g fiber; 712.9 mg sodium