During the years I've tried lots and a lot of different components to use in recipes. I have been cooking for myself for about 24 years. I have seen plenty of fads and tons of things change over the realm of healthy food. In college, the idea among all the women wanting to lose fat was that we can eat all the sugar that people wanted, but not the fat.
Now, of course, we all know that not all fats are created equal -- and sugar is definitely not a great weight loss food!
Different items have fallen in and out of favor as I refine our family's pantry staples, as I realize which purchases make the biggest impact on the taste and quality of our meals. One of my favorites that has survived the test of time is olive oil.
When FishPapa obtained his bad report from the doctor, I queried all my crunchy friends to see what would be the healthy fats. Again and again, olive oil came up as being one of the"good men". I switched our diet to whole grains and used olive oil in every possible dish I could, including baked items.
Olive oil is, for certain, a regular in our family's pantry. Here are five great ways I like to use it:
USE AS A DIPPING SAUCE.
There's a wonderful Italian restaurant near our house that attracts hot bread and an olive oil dipping sauce. I recreate that at home by mixing a teaspoon of Jamie's Spice Mix into a small dish of olive oil. This is such a simple appetizer, there's no reason to not do it. If you want to veg out, serve steamed asparagus spears or artichokes instead of the bread.
DRIZZLE OVER AVOCADO TOAST.
THIS is one of my favorite snacks. Toast a slice of bread, smash 1/4 into 1/2 ripe avocado above the surface, drizzle with olive oil, season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and coarse salt.
Avocado toast is good for breakfast, dinner, lunch, snack -- you name it!
MAKE A SALAD DRESSING.
You know how absurd I think it is to buy bottled dressings. There simply is not any reason to do it, especially when olive oil and vinegar are cheaper than most bottled salad dressings.
My general rule of thumb is 1 part acid (vinegar or citrus juice) and 2 parts olive oil. You can adjust it to fit your tastes, and don't forget to add in things like Dijon, jam, or herbs to mix up the flavor profile. Have a look at my Basic Vinaigrette to make your salads come alive.
DRESS A SANDWICH.
Many sandwich spreads contain some sort of oil or fat. Why don't you cut out the middle man and dress your salad with pure olive oil. This is particularly great on a egg or tuna sandwich. If you've got tomato contained, you will already have a bit of acid to offset the oil.
Layer your favorite meats and veggies on a baguette and garnish with a little olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper and you are all set.