About Our Recipes
Our recipes are meant to inspire healthy, clean eating with minimal fuss and a clear focus on everyday simple home cooking that inspire us to create uncomplicated, healthy meals in under an hour.
The focus of our recipes is centered around healthy eating while not sacrificing the depth of flavor and taste we all love to enjoy with family friends. Research has shown that the whole foods, natural ingredients and healthy cooking is the only way forward as we enter a more sustainable, mindful 21st century.
Culinary Tips From Seasons:
Cooking with Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Mediterraneans have long known that fresh extra virgin olive oil is the best and healthiest oil for cooking and frying.
So why do many Americans still believe that olive oil should only be used raw for dressing salads, dipping bread, or finishing? Too often, I hear people expressing concerns about cooking with extra virgin olive oil—either because of concern that it will lose its nutrients or because they fear that olive oil’s smoke point is too low for frying.
Seasons’ high polyphenol, low free fatty acid content and early harvest extra virgin olive oils offer a higher smoke point due to their quality and composition.
Myth: Extra Virgin Olive Oil loses its nutritional value when heated.
Truth: Contrary to what you may have heard, olive oil does not lose its health benefits or become unhealthy when heated.
Extra virgin olive oil is one of the most stable oils for cooking. Unlike other conventional (and refined!) cooking oils, extra virgin olive oil contains compounds and antioxidants that prevent the oil from breaking down under moderate heat. Extra virgin olive oil’s main health benefit is its fat composition. Olive oil is mostly monounsaturated fat, which remains the same after heating, even at high temperatures.
A study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry set out to put this myth to rest. In this study, two monovarietal extra virgin olive oils were heated to 180∘ C (356∘F) for 36 hours. They monitored oxidation and the minor compounds, including polyphenols. Even after heating the oil for a day and a half—many times longer than you would ever heat at home—they found that olive oil maintained most of its nutritional properties.*
*Source: J Agric Food Chem. 2007 Nov 14;55(23):9646-54. doi: 10.1021/jf070628u. Epub 2007 Oct 13
Myth: Olive oil’s smoke point is too low to cook with.
Truth: Olive oil is great for frying and has a smoke point that can handle the heat, even when cooking at high temperatures. Olive oil’s “low smoke point” is often cited as the reason why olive oil should not be heated or used for cooking. However, the smoke point of olive oil is comparable, and in some cases even higher than, common cooking oils such as soybean, sunflower, peanut, canola and corn oils.
It’s also important to keep in mind that most stovetop cooking is usually around 350°F—at or below the smoke point for olive oil. It is, therefore, unlikely that you will exceed the smoke point of olive oil with typical cooking methods.
So, don’t be afraid to use Seasons olive oil for more than just salads!
Sauté, fry, and make salad dressings with it—our olive oils are so fresh and delicious that they allow simple ingredients to shine. Fresh spinach or peas sautéed in extra virgin olive oil need nothing more than some sea salt and a light drizzle of Pedro Ximenez Sherry Vinegar to turn them into a remarkably delicious side dish.
Techniques for Using Seasons Oils & Vinegars
Coat food in a mixture of Seasons olive oil and/or balsamic and let it rest for a certain amount of time. The purpose of marinating is for the food to absorb the flavors of the marinade or, as in the case of a tough cut of meat, to tenderize it. Because most marinades contain acidic ingredients (4 percent in a dark balsamic and 6 percent in a white balsamic), the marinating should be done in a glass, ceramic or stainless steel container or in a ziplock bag — never in aluminum. For each pound of food to be marinated (meat, poultry, fish, vegetables), use 1 tablespoon each of olive oil and balsamic. Mix contents well and distribute evenly over food. Cover container.
For best results, marinate at room temperature for at least 1 hour, or up to 6-8 hours, in the refrigerator. Turn food halfway through marinating time. Remove food from the refrigerator at least 30–45 minutes before cooking and allow it to come to room temperature. Remove from marinade. Brush on any residual marinade during cooking. (Note: When fruits are similarly prepared, the term used is macerate.)
Slowly add olive oil to a balsamic while whisking vigorously. This disperses and suspends minute droplets of one liquid throughout the other. Emulsified mixtures are usually thick and satiny in texture. Emulsifying will allow you to evenly disperse a vinaigrette flavor over salads and fruit. For a vinaigrette, the usual ratio is 1:3 (e.g., 1 tablespoon balsamic to 3 tablespoons olive oil). You will notice that olive oils and balsamics hold together much better and longer in an emulsion than other oils and distilled vinegars.
Brush or drizzle any balsamic on meat, fish, fruit or vegetables. Cook over medium heat in a pan coated with 1–2 tablespoons of olive oil until the naturally occurring sugars in the balsamic become thicker and sticky, helping to brown (caramelize) the surface of the food.
Cook food quickly in 1–2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Authentic olive oils will withstand heat of up to 405–410 degrees.
After meat, poultry or fish has been sautéed in olive oil and the food and any excess oil has been removed from the pan, deglazing is done by adding a small amount of balsamic to the pan and stirring to loosen browned bits of food on the bottom. The mixture often becomes a sauce to accompany the food cooked in the pan.
Bring balsamic to a simmering boil. Whisk constantly while maintaining a slow boil, until 50 percent of the volume is reduced by evaporation, thereby thickening the consistency and intensifying the flavor. Such a mixture is sometimes referred to as a reduction or a glaze and is used to finish both sweet and savory dishes.