O’live a Little Specialty Gourmet Oils and Vinegars
I am excited to have recently won O’Live a Little’s “Best Garlic Recipe” contest with my original recipe for Holy Matrimony Minestrone soup. O’live a Little is a specialty gourmet shop that imports extra virgin olive oil and vinegars from around the world. Similar to a wine shop, you can sample any of the oils and vinegars, creating a deliciously unique tasting experience while having some fun. In addition to winning the contest, I also was asked to select a few of their oils and vinegars and see what fun things I could create.
Olive oil is one of the fastest-growing segments of the global food industry. The associated tasting rooms/ shops are popping up as a result of the trend. Foodies, like me, enjoy them as much as fashionistas enjoy clothes shops.
I recently visited the shop. After tasting many varieties of oils and vinegars, I decided to take home two flavored balsamic oils and two vinegars. Included in my samples package were: Meyer lemon extra virgin olive oil; rosemary-infused extra virgin olive oil; green apple white balsamic vinegar; orange white balsamic vinegar and the store manager also suggested I try the Tuscan blend seasoning. I created these recipes: Mediterranean Farro Salad and Orange Chicken Skewers. Both recipes are detailed below.
As for the other samples, here are what delicious dishes they landed into. The rosemary-infused extra virgin olive oil and the Tuscan blend seasoning were mixed together and made for great dipping oil with some beautiful bread from the Italian bakery.
I used the green apple white balsamic vinegar as a salad dressing. It’s so flavorful that I don’t even use any oil. It turns any ordinary green salad into a seasonal fall favorite.
Each dishes’ flavors were greatly enhanced with the specialty oils and vinegars. So if you’re tired of supermarket olive oils and vinegars that have little taste or are trying to imitate the real products, head on over to O’Live a Little for the real deal. O’live a Little has stores in The Promenade Shops at Evergreen Walk in South Windsor, CT, and a newer location at The Shoppes at Farmington Valley in Canton, CT. If you’re not near the store locations, you can purchase items through their online store.
Mediterranean Farro Salad
1 ½ c Farro
6 cups water
1, 14 oz can of petite diced tomatoes (drained thoroughly)
1 can of chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
½ c fresh parsley, finely chopped
½ c fresh basil, finely chopped
½ c chopped red onion
¼ c scallions, chopped (both white and green parts)
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. Meyer lemon extra virgin olive oil
Combine the farro and water in a medium saucepan. Bring it to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20-30 minutes until the farro is tender. Drain the farro in a fine mesh strainer and allow cooling slightly.
While the farro is cooking, combine the tomatoes, chickpeas, parsley, basil, red onion, scallions, vinegar, oil, salt & pepper in a medium-sized bowl. Add the cooled farro to the tomato mixture and toss to coat. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, allowing the flavors to blend with the farro.
I served this salad as a side dish to many meals but it can also be a great vegetarian entree. It yields 4-6 servings.
Orange Chicken Skewers
¼ c. orange marmalade (sugar free is okay to use)
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
6 fresh sage leaves, rough torn
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
Red onion, cut into chunks
2 skinless chicken breasts cut into chunks
1-cup fresh pineapple cut into chunks
1 zucchini, cut into chunks
3 tbsp. orange white balsamic vinegar
Whisk together the marmalade, vinegar, olive oil, basil, garlic, sage, salt and pepper together in a bowl until the marinade is smooth.
Pour one quarter of the wet marinade into a re-sealable plastic bag. Add the vegetables and pineapple. Squeeze all the air out of the bag and seal. Pour the remaining marinade into a separate re-sealable bag. Add the chicken. Squeeze all the air out of the bag and seal. Marinate the vegetables and chicken bags in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours.
Remove the vegetables and chicken from the bag and discard any excess marinade. Thread the vegetables, chicken and pineapple onto the skewers.
Preheat the grill. Cook the skewers once the grill is heated, turning every 3-4 minutes. Kabobs are cooked when the chicken is no longer pink in the center. Transfer to a plate. Serve warm. Yields 4 servings. I served the kabobs with black bean quinoa, cherry tomatoes and onion rings.
Have you been to an olive oil tasting bar shop?
What’s your favorite flavor of olive oil and vinegar?
Disclaimer: While I was provided with a complimentary sample of O’live a Little oil and vinegars, the opinions and views expressed above are my own and describe my personal experiences.