I think we’ve all heard that olive oil is good for us – mainly linked to the high proportions of monosaturated fats found in this oil. It is claimed to have anti-inflamatory benefits , cardiovascular benefits (thanks to the antioxidant protection for our blood vessels), digestive heath benefits , bone health benefits, cognitive benefits and anti-cancer benefits(thanks to it’s polyphenols).
The funny thing is that even after hearing about all the exalted health benefits of olive oil – I was still wary of using over a teaspoon for the longest of time. I think the attitude was so deeply ingrained in me that oil= greasy, fatty, yucky that I was afraid of trying it. I would add it to stir fries, roast with it and add it to salads – but always in such miniscule amounts that the flavour was totally lost.
But I can honestly say since going on this vacation I’ve had a change of heart. One of my friends is Italian and also an amazing cook. She does 99% of all the cooking in this house which is a good thing, because everything she makes is finger licking good. But if you know anything about Italians it is that olive oil is definitely on their top 10 favorite ingredients to work with, and they don’t belive on skimping on it either.
First day I was here she decided to make hummus. Since she doesn’t like tahini , she subbstituted it for olive oil. As I watched her tip the olive oil bottle I felt a familiar wave of apprehention – how much was she going to put in there? Let me tell you, it was more then just a glug – she kept pouring. Then she processed a little and added some more. And with each tip of the bottle I felt a little more uneasy.
Then dinner was served – we all sat down and I aprehensivly took a small serving of hummus. After the first mouthfull I was in heaven. I went back for seconds and have been eating it since then like it’s my job. Calories shmalories – this stuff was good!
Since then I’ve tried lots of olive oil goodies – my favorites of which have been:
Sage and olive oil roasted squash
Sun dried tomatoes in olive oil:
Squash rissoto cooked in olive oil and wine:
And the classic : Fresh garden tomatoes drizzeled in olive oil with balsamic vinegar, fresh basil and mozzarella cheese:
I’m slowly regaining the mentality that taste >calories and that it’s not worth to skimp on certain ingredients in the name of “lower fat” options. Yes, this is a habit that’s been ingrained in my mind for many years, but trying amazing food like this has made me quiestion this mentality and really encouraged me to start working on it.
You know – sometimes it pays to have someone push you out of your comfort zone, because they might force you to try somethink you never have before. And who knows – you might not just like it, but love it all the way.
What’s your favorite way to use olive oil?
What ingredient or food were you aprhensive about using before, but that is a regular staple in your diet now?