Healthy and versatile olive oil is not just for salad
–by Jennifer Ruple
PUBLICATION DATE: 02.07.17
Flavored olive oils are becoming increasingly popular – showing up in tasting shops, boutiques and specialty grocery stores. That’s good news for home cooks as well as the health conscious. “Olive oil is good for you, and it is extremely versatile in cooking,” said Ashleigh Tresso, owner of Bumble Olive Oil Company which has two area locations, a Central Avenue shop in the Cricket West plaza and a shop on Louisiana Avenue in Perrysburg.
“Olive oil is rich in polyphenols, a class of antioxidants, which are good for the joints and can help with arthritis and inflammation. They can also help lower blood pressure, boost good cholesterol, and enhance cancer medications,” explained Tresso.
However, the health benefits of olive oil are only one reason to incorporate the ingredient into your lifestyle. The second is that olive oils are highly adaptable in the kitchen. “A lot of people have a misconception that you can’t cook with it, but you can even fry with some of our oils. The higher the polyphenol count and the lower the free fatty acid in the oil, the more heat it can take when used for cooking,” said Tresso.
In addition, olive oil is great for baking and can be used in place of butter. “Try Blood Orange olive oil in brownies, Lemon olive oil in blueberry muffins, and our plant-based butter oil in pancakes. Flavored oils are wonderful in marinades, and they make a great topping for popcorn too,” suggested Tresso.
Bumble carries anywhere from 24-30 varieties of olive oil at a time. “Some of our oils are seasonal, so our count depends on what is available at that time of year,” said Tresso. “For example, when green chiles are harvested in the late summer/early fall, they are fused with the olive oil, which means the chiles and olives are crushed at the same time. This is directly opposite of the infusing process where already produced olive oil is enhanced with other ingredients,” she explained.
Tresso said that about 80 percent of olive oils on the market are not pure olive oils; they are blended with other ingredients or mixed with low-quality oils. “We chase the freshest oil from the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern Hemisphere,” stated Tresso. When considering freshness, the crush date, which can be found on the bottle, is the key. “We have an ultra-premium certification, and we will never have olive oil in our shops longer than six months.”
In addition to olive oil, Bumble offers a large selection of flavored balsamic vinegars such as Blackberry Ginger, Neapolitan Herb and Cinnamon Pear. “We carry aged traditional vinegars plus Denissimo and Saba vinegars, which are very thick and more like a glaze,” said Tresso. “Vinegars are a fun way to add flavor to an everyday dish.” Tresso mentioned using them to enhance grilled fruit, as a topping for ice cream, and even as an ingredient in cocktails.
When it comes to flavored oils and vinegars, Tresso pointed out, “You can’t be afraid to experiment with flavors. Some of my best dishes have happened by accident. There’s no limit with what you can do.”
Basil Pesto with Mozzarella and Roasted Tomatoes
For a beautiful presentation, spoon the pesto onto a serving plate, top with slices of fresh mozzarella, add a bit more pesto and roasted tomatoes. Basil pesto is also delicious mixed with pasta or as a sauce for pizza.
1 cup basil leaves
1 cup flat-leaf parsley
¾ teaspoon garlic sea salt
¼ cup pine nuts
¾ cup Parmesan cheese
¾ cup basil-infused olive oil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 fresh mozzarella balls
To prepare the pesto, pulse first five ingredients in a blender or food processor. Slowly add basil olive oil. Set aside.
Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a pan and sauté tomatoes over medium heat for approximately eight minutes. Or roast them at 425 F for approximately 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Balsamic Vinegar Cocktails
Be bold and experiment with flavored vinegars to create your own signature cocktails. Here are two of Tresso’s favorite combinations.
2 ounces vodka
2 ounces apple vinegar
Sparkling water or soda water
To a glass, add vodka, vinegar and crushed ice. Fill with sparkling or soda water. Garnish with apple slices.
Cranberry Pear and Champagne
2 ounces cranberry-pear vinegar
To a glass, add vinegar. Fill with champagne and garnish with pear slices.
Bumble Appetizing Bread
Garlic lovers will swoon over this cheesy and spicy appetizer. Just be sure to save room for dinner.
1-pound loaf white bread, unsliced
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup grated Romano cheese
6 cloves garlic, crushed
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons dried red chili pepper flakes
Heat oven to 300 F. On a large, oven-safe serving dish, place bread loaf. Cutting only half way down the loaf, make eight slices. Sprinkle cheeses, garlic, parsley, and half of the oil over loaf.
Spread peppers around base of bread. Bake approximately 15 minutes or until cheese has melted, but not browned. Remove from oven and cover with remaining olive oil.
Classic Hummus Dip
To serve this classic dip, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle on a bit more paprika and chopped parsley.
2 cups canned chickpeas, drained, reserve liquid
½ cup tahini (sesame paste), optional, with some of its oil
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 cloves garlic, peeled
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ tablespoon ground paprika, plus a sprinkling for garnish
Juice from 1 lemon
Chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish
In a food processor, combine all ingredients, except parsley, and begin to process. Add the chickpea liquid or water as needed to allow the machine to produce a smooth puree. Taste and adjust the seasonings.