Why olive oil? Well, aside from the fruity, wonderful flavor it lends while cooking, olive oil contains the "good fats" that your body needs to survive. Many other cooking oils contain trans fats and saturated fats that have been known to be harmful. Another thing I love about olive oil is that it is incredibly versatile. Olive oil can be used in so many ways! From cooking meats to making dressings and marinades or even as a dip for some crusty, fresh bread, a good quality olive oil can add extra depth and flavor to any dish. So olive oil is a natural choice for cooking!
That's why I was so excited to review the olive oil from California Olive Ranch. You see, olive oils are not all created equal. Some olive crops are grown with pesticides, and not all olives are cultivated and processed quickly enough to maintain that to-die-for flavor we all know and love. That's why some olive oils, even of the same variety, can taste and appear so different! It's all about quality. California Olive Ranch is dedicated to providing the highest quality olive oils to their consumers.
California Olive Ranch is also a socially responsible company and believes in protecting the environment. Their olive oil production uses substantially less energy and transportation than their European counterparts, since they are processed near the crops themselves. The olives used are high-quality, and are not grown using any pesticides! You can definitely taste the difference, too! California Olive Ranch uses a drip irrigation system to help conserve water, and after they harvest their crop, they even allow other farmers to use their leftover olive pits! Another thing I love is that California Olive Ranch uses a beautiful green glass to create the bottles for their olive oils. This glass is 100% recyclable and even makes your olive oil last longer, since it aids in protecting the oil from light.
Here are some tips for keeping your California Olive Ranch products fresh longer!
Once can protecting the freshness and flavor of California Olive Ranch EVOO by minimizing the following:
Unlike wine, olive oil does not get better with age. Once the fruit is picked, the fermentation process begins.
Therefore, the time from tree‐to‐crush to fully‐produced extra virgin olive oil must be as brief as possible.
COR’s innovative growing and harvesting methods minimize Time’s effect on the quality of the oil.
The optimal storage for olive oil is 60‐69 degrees Fahrenheit.
Exposure to Heat: Olive oil can also be damaged if exposed to warmth or heat from a nearby stove or
oven. The ideal storage temperature for your California Olive Ranch EVOO is room temperature –
preferably in a cupboard away from any heat source.
Exposure to Cold: Refrigerating the oil will hold the freshness only while it is refrigerated. Once you bring
it back to room temperature, the oil will last for a shorter period of time. Some flavors are lost when the
oil moves from a solid (refrigerated) state to a liquid state.
Exposure must be minimized or eliminated during storage.
Exposure to Oxygen: Olive oil is a form of fruit juice, and therefore perishable. Exposing an oil to air
accelerates the oxidation process and will eventually cause the oil to go rancid. Once the bottle is opened,
we recommend using the oil quickly (30‐60 days) as the flavor and aroma will fade.
California Olive Ranch uses glass bottles to minimize oxidation and exposure to UV rays. Plastic bottles
have a tendency to “breathe", accelerating the oxidation process. An unopened bottle of oil stored in a
temperature controlled environment will last longer than its intended shelf life. As oil (any oil) ages, it is
exposed to heat, oxygen and light. Over time, the quality, fresh aroma and flavor of the oil will fade and
Exposure must be minimized or eliminated at all times.
Exposure to Light: It is generally a good idea to store olive oil in a dark cupboard and away from direct
light. UV rays can break down an olive oil over time. This is why all California Olive Ranch products consist
of very dark bottles or packaging which strictly limits the oil’s exposure to light.
I received a bottle of California Olive Ranch Everyday Extra Virgin Olive Oil for my review. I use olive oil all the time while cooking, so I was definitely curious to see how this fared against my usual Italy-Direct brand.
When I opened the bottle, the first thing I noticed was the deep, fruity aroma of the oil. This olive oil smells really good! The freshness of the crop was evident just by the aroma alone. This oil had a fresher smell than my usual brand. It had a deep, fruity, slightly floral bouquet that smelled absolutely delicious! It made me imagine super-fresh olive oil being served with a crusty loaf somewhere in a small Italian village nestled among an olive grove.
The first taste test I did was in fact on bread. I used a hearty slice of fresh bread, and dipped it into the California Olive Ranch olive oil. The flavor was amazing! It was delicate yet rich, and has a wonderful fruity finish that made me go back in for another dip! I also decided to get creative and make an Italian-inspired chicken and pasta dish using this olive oil. It was fantastic! The sauce relies on several bold flavors like that of the olive oil as well as freshly squeezed lemon juice and some heavy cream to provide richness to the dish. I suppose it is similar to an amped up chicken scampi!
Here is my recipe, should you want to try it yourself!
Brandy's Amped-Up Chicken Scampi
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/4 cup California Olive Ranch olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley or cilantro
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 can mushrooms
- 1/2 cup chopped spinach
- 1 can large black olives, sliced
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (or more, if you like a lot of cheese like I do!)
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces.
- 1 box pasta of choice. I used Farfalle for this dish, but anything will work well!
- In a deep skillet, heat the butter and olive oil over medium high until the butter melts. Add the parsley or cilantro, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, garlic, white pepper and salt and mix together in the skillet. Stir in lemon juice.
- Then add the chicken and saute for about 3 minutes or until white. Stir in the heavy cream and bring to a boil, allowing it to thicken the sauce slightly.
- Add the mushrooms, black olives, and spinach. Lower the heat and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear. More butter/margarine can be added if needed.
- Serve over noodles or rice. You can add additional parmesan cheese to the top, if desired.
You can purchase California Olive Ranch products on their website. They even have a handy retail locator to help you find California Olive Ranch products near you!
You can also follow them on Facebook and on twitter to stay on top of their latest products and promotions!
One very lucky follower will be receiving a bottle of California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil to help make their meals memorable, too! How cool is that?!
Please use this handy Rafflecopter form to enter!
This giveaway is open to US Residents 18+ until 12:01AM EST on 9/09/2011. Winners will be chosen at random and will be announced here, tweeted, shared on Facebook, and contacted via e-mail. The winners will have 48 hours to reply and claim their prize. If I receive no response, I will be forced to draw a new winner.
***Disclosure:I received a complimentary product to facilitate my review. No other compensation was provided, and all opinions are 100% honest and have not been influenced in any way.***