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Celebrate Earth Day with Orphan Bottles!

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Did you know that you can bring back your bottles and we will wash, sanitize and reuse them?  Lately we have been thinking about the difference between sustainability and biodynamics.  The grossly simplified difference is this: a farm that makes paper waste can send it out to be recycled therefore being sustainable.  The biodynamic option would be to shred that paper and use it in your composted soil.  That would be a truly wasteless, more natural option.

Instead of putting your EN Olivier bottles out in the recycling, bring them to us! Can’t make it during our hours? Do not hesitate to leave your bottles in front of our door! We call them orphan bottles, and it brings us joy when we get to the store in the morning to be greeted by baby orphan bottles.  It means that a customer out there was thoughtful enough to recycle more biodynamically!

Last week we discussed local produce and its many benefits.  The thing we love most about our store is that you can eat simply but still make your meals interesting by changing up the oils and spices you use.  Simple natural eating is both best for your body and best for the earth!

 

What’s In Season and Why Do We Care?

Back before things like planes, trains, automobiles and ice, we were pretty much stuck with eating whatever was in season wherever you happened to live.  For anyone who has ever grown your own tomatoes you know that your vine ripened ‘maters are far superior to a winter grocery store tomato.  Not only are they more tasty, eating as local as possible is eco-friendly (think of all the fuel used to get your tomatoes from the warm places to the cold tomato loving places.)

tomatoes

If you have a black thumb, you can still get really local delicious in-season food for relatively cheap.  Think CSA’s and farmers markets.  For the newbies, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and is basically a fruit and vegetable subscription to a local farm.  Here is a list of Maryland CSAs to peruse. http://marylandorganic.org/csa/

If you aren’t excited by the idea of a CSA you can always shop at the farmers markets.  They are all over Baltimore all days of the week and have more than just produce.  Here is a fun little farmers market finder http://visitmaryland.org/events/pages/marylandfarmersmarkets.aspx

aprilproduce

So now that you know where you can get local delicious foods, what’s actually in season and performing at peak tastiness? April is the start of our growing season, and you should find in proliferation herbs, parsnips, mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, greens, and fiddlehead ferns. Yum!

 

10 Tips for Spring Cleaning, Naturally!

I am sure most of you have cupboards full of cleaning products.  Turns out a lot of them are pretty gross and bad for the environment.  Did you know with just a few ingredients, you can clean your entire house?  My go-to cleaning staples are as follows: distilled white vinegar, baking soda, castille soap, olive oil, and salt!  They are multipurpose, and quite magical.

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  1. Remove water rings from your wooden furniture using a thin paste of olive oil mixed with salt.  Olive oil also makes a fabulous moisturizer for cutting boards and butcher blocks.  Rub a healthy dollop in and let the oil sink in for an hour or two before putting things back on your block/board.
  2. Clean cast iron: If you have seasoned cast iron dishes, you know dish soap is a no-no, instead sprinkle with salt and clean out with a paper towel.
  3. Remove sweat stains: 4 tablespoons of salt to one quart of hot water.  Sponge clothing with the solution until stains fade.
  4. Keep ants out: they don’t like to walk on salt, so salt your doorways, window sills, any place they like to enter!
  5. Multipurpose cleaner: 1 part distilled vinegar to three parts water, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil if you’d like.  Use this instead of store bought multipurpose cleaner, its cheaper and safer for the environment.
  6. Tub scrub: baking soda or salt mixed into a paste with a little castille soap makes the best tub scrub ever.  Fun fact: Everyone needs a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s castille soap in their life.  Its great and is wildly useful.
  7. Dust your furniture: ¼ cup vinegar, 1 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp water.  Dip your dusting cloth, wring so it is not dripping, dust!
  8. Wash your face: check out our blog post on the oil cleansing method.
  9. Clean your jewels, especially pearls and diamonds, with olive oil.  Put a small amount of oil on a cloth, rub in on your jewelry, then buff with the dry part of the cloth.
  10. Groom and feed your houseplants.  Add 1 tsp of olive oil to each plant’s soil monthly.  When your plants need a makeover, wipe their leaves with olive oil.  It will moisturise them and remove dust.

DIY Mayo and Egg Troubleshooting

Like most things in life, homemade mayonnaise in no way resembles the store bought stuff, both in taste and appearance.  Today we made some in the store with Carriage House Farm eggs, which we sell on Saturdays and will have tomorrow at our Third Thursday event. Because of the color of the olive oil we used, our mayo turned out kind of green! For St. Patty’s day?

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's basic mayonnaise

You’ve been cracking your eggs all wrong!

  1. Crack it on top of the counter instead of on the edge.  You will run a smaller chance of breaking the yolk and getting shells in your delicious egg.
  2. After you crack the shell, open up the egg with your thumbs and proceed and usual.  If you need to separate your egg, pour it into your hand, cupping the yolk and letting the white slip off the side of your hand into a bowl.  This method is way more pleasant that attempting to fish a slippery yolk out of a bowl of eggs.

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Delicious DIY Mayonnaise

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of mild Extra Virgin Olive Oil, like our California Arbosana
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, or vinegar like our Gingras Cider Vinegar
  • a pinch of salt (our Velvet Guarande is extremely fine and would make very smooth mayo)
  • water to thin the mayo (if needed)

1. Using a blender or food processor, mix together the yolk and vinegar.

2. Gradually and slowly add the oil while your blender is running.  The key is adding oil in a steady stream.

3. Your mayo should begin to thicken. If it gets too thick you can add a bit of water to thin.  If it does not thicken, you can start again, or add another yolk and more oil, essentially doubling your recipe.

4. Salt and season to taste. Store in fridge for up to 5 days.

Buon Appetito!

 

 

Ode to Chicken Ceasar

chickenceasar

Last month we lost Liz’s best worst rooster, Mr. Chicken Ceasar.  In honor of Chicken Ceasar, we will now share some fun chicken facts from the book Chicken and Egg by Janice Cole

  1. The amount of chickens Americans consume has more than doubles since the 1970’s.
  2. There is research being done to prove that free range, pasture fed eggs are more nutritious.
  3. Chickens are easier to take care of than dogs, though they still require daily TLC.
  4. The color vision of chickens is way better than humans, until twilight, when the chickens lose their color vision.
  5. Keeping your eggs stored point side down in the refrigerator keeps their yolks centered.
  6. You can predict the color of a hen’s eggs by the color of her ears!

 

To celebrate the life of Chicken Ceasar, the rooster that is responsible for more than one lumpy shin bump, get your longest stick, fight your way to the most delicious eggs you can find, we sell them at the store on Saturdays, and fry a couple up Mediterranean-style.

 

Lemon-sizzled Chicken Ceasar Eggs

-4 eggs

-1/4 cup EN Olivier extra virgin Olive Oil

-¼ tsp Salt of the Earth coarse sea salt (Pangasinan Sugpo would be divine!)

-⅛ tsp Salt of the Earth freshly ground pepper

-1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

-1 Tbsp plus a bit for garnish chopped green onions

 

  1. Crack eggs in individual cups (to keep them pretty), heat pan to medium, add oil.
  2. Once oil is hot add the eggs, salt and pepper and cook for 1 to 1 ½ minutes.  The eggs should bubble up and begin to brown around the edges. Reduce your heat if they look like they may burn.
  3. Add lemon juice, cover and cook for an additional minute.  Add green onion and serve.
  4. Buon Appetito!

Four Steps to Perfect Feet

Some of you may already know that Liz has perfect feet.  She has a routine that she does every night that we will share with you today!  If you have been in the store and asked what’s good for your feet you have heard us sing the praises of The Balm.  The praised Balm is the an olive oil based body balm by 80 Acres, an olive oil and beauty company based in Northern California.   We love this balm so very much because it is 97% organic with a whopping 5 easily-read-by-your-average-third-grader ingredients.  You can visit us or buy it online here!

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  1. Soak your dogs for 20 minutes to soften them up!  Try adding a cup of apple cider vinegar to soothe tired feet.  If you are in need of a little extra exfoliation use a little 80 Acres Salt Scrub.
  2. Dry your feet thoroughly and use a foot file to buff down rough areas.  We like these diamond files from Sephora.  They last forever and just need a scrubbing once in a while.
  3. Take your newly christened 80 Acres Body Balm and rub a generous amount onto your feet.  Then you can do one of two things: slap on a pair of squishy socks and go to bed or go about your morning routine, or do a round of yoga toes, which both massages your feet and over time helps prevent bunions.  Here is a good article with a yoga toes routine.
  4. Play some footsie.  You can find directions on how to do so here.

Comfy Foods Continued

Since tomorrow is our comfort food themed Third Thursday and its unpleasantly cold outside, we are still on a warm and fuzzy food kick.   Think stick to your ribs, sit next to a fire and chow down,  unprocessed homemade deliciousness comfort food.  One of the foods at the top of my comfy foods list is mac & cheese.  While there is a place for blue box Kraft mac, and that Stouffer’s stuff in the frozen red box, there is nothing more delicious than home-made mac cooked on the stove then baked in the oven.  Plus mac is kind of trendy and you can jazz it up with lobster or bacon or other fun delicious things.  There used to be a little restaurant on 7th Avenue in NYC that only served different types of mac, one of them being Bacon and Gorgonzola mac and cheese.  One could actually brave the cold on a windy NYC February day if it ended in a little crock of delicious mac.   Wrangle your favorite cooking partner, sip on some vino, and give this recipe a whirl to warm up your winter tummy!

capresemac

Cozy, Comfy, Warm and Fuzzy Caprese Mac & Cheese

Serves 6 using a 1 ½ quart casserole dish

  • ¼ cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp fresh grated parmesan
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 2 ¾ cups milk
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp Salt of the Earth Velvet Guerande salt
  • ⅛ tsp fresh ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp Salt of the Earth Tellicherry Black Pepper
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 ½ cups grated sharp white cheddar
  • 1 cup grated gruyere
  • ½ cup chopped fresh mozzarella
  • ½ Benedetto Cavalieri Orecchiette Pasta
  • 1 small can roasted diced tomatoes, drained and pat dry with paper towels
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped basil
  • small amount of ENO EVOO to drizzle, like our Organic Chemlali
  • ¼ cup ENO Mission Fig Balsamic

For the Caprese Topping

  1. Toss roasted tomatoes with chopped basil and the mozzarella.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with a pinch of salt and set aside.
  2. For the balsamic reduction, add vinegar to a small pot over medium heat and cook until it simmers and starts to reduce and get thick; about 7-8 minutes.  Stir regularly and remove from heat once it starts to thicken.  Let cool

For the Mac

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Butter your casserole dish and set aside. Heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat.  Melt remaining butter in high sided skillet over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour.  Cook, stirring, 1 minute.
  2. Slowly pour hot milk into flour-butter mixture while whisking.  Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens.
  3. Remove the pan from heat.  Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne, 1 ½ cups cheddar, and 1 cup gruyere.  Set cheese sauce aside.
  4. Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil.  Add pasta and cook 2 to 3 minutes shorter than pasta’s directions, until outside is cooked and inside is underdone.  Rinse pasta in a colander under cold water and drain well.  Stir pasta into cheese sauce.
  5. Pour mixture into casserole dish, sprinkle remaining cheese and panko on top.  Bake until browned on top; about 30 minutes.  Let cool for a couple of minutes before adding caprese topping, drizzling balsamic reduction and serving.
  6. Buon appetito!

 

You Are What You Eat: A Crash Course in Bone Broth

We have been thinking a lot about healthy comfort foods in preparation for our comfort food themed Third Thursday event at the store.  Our pal Al recommended a book called Nourishing Broth by Sally Fallon Morell.  This amazing book is essential a broth bible, first educating you about the numerous health benefits of homemade broth in your diet, then teaching you how to make a variety of bone broths, culminating in a variety of recipes using homemade bone broth.

Four white bookWe’ve been trained to steer clear of of fatty foods, yet those foods we have pulled from our diet actually have a place in a healthy balanced diet. Foods like broth.  Broth is a kitchen staple, yet most of us use store bought stuff that has been stripped of the nutrients that make broth an essential part of your diet in the first place.  The kind of broth we are talking about is the stuff made of oddball animal parts cooked to oblivion to extract all the business that is good for your hair, skin, nails and insides too!  Think collagen injections without the needles!

Here is a basic recipe to get you started.  Essentially you want to cook the collagen out of your various animal bones, hooves, etc that you have procured from your local butcher.  Note, there is no added salt at this point.  Meat releases some salt so you don’t want your broth as it concentrates to become too salty.

Bouquet GarniMixed Bones Slow Cooker Stock

-8 cups bones: add some feet and heads too if you have any saved up

-¼ cup unpasteurized apple cider vinegar

-4 cups chopped vegetables: onions, leek, peeled carrots, celery, turnip, parsley, etc (If you have any wilty veggies, use them up!)

-Bouquet Garni (a bundle of herbs tied together with string. Usually parsley, thyme, basil and bay leaf; pictured to the left) and whole peppercorns

-4 quarts cold filtered water

  1. Place the bones in your slow cooker then pour the vinegar on top.  Put veggies on top, then cover with water.
  2. Cook on low for 12-24 hours.  Check occasionally to ensure ingredients are still covered with water.
  3. Remove the larger ingredients with a slotted spoon, then strain stock through a fine mesh strainer into heatproof containers.  If you are not using your stock right away, let cool to room temperature, refrigerate uncovered until the fat rises, then skim off and cover.  Broth will stay in refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for 6 months

Use your broth in your favorite recipes, and bask in the health benefits and nutritional majesty!

 

Wash Your Face With Olive Oil!

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You know something is probably not bad for you skin if it is good for your body!  Here at EN Olivier we’ve been trying to eat foods that are more pure and we’ve also been trying to carry that over into our beauty routines, which are admittedly pretty basic.  The neat part about going more natural with your skincare routine is that it’s usually significantly cheaper that fancy lab created skincare products. Try this method for a couple of weeks so that your skin can adjust.

Want to give it a whirl? Here is what you will need:

  • Extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil: Come visit for your refill!
  • Castor oil: from a pharmacy
  • a washcloth, or if you want to be somewhat fancy, I personally love using this little gadget
  • A small container for your new facewash!

 

  1. Mix your oils:  In general one part castor oil to three parts olive oil.  If you are more oily, try half and half, as castor oil is a natural astringent.  Really shake your container to mix the two because castor oil is thick and doesn’t like to socialize.
  2. Take about a quarter size amount of your oil and apply to your DRY face.  It must be dry so the oil can get into your pores.
  3. Massage the oil into your face using the nifty gadget linked above or just your fingers.  I usually do half of my face, rinse out my cleansing tool, then do the other half.  It is safe to use over your eyes and will remove your eye-makeup.
  4. Gradually massage in water and rinse.
  5. If you are feeling oily still, wipe your face dry with a towel.
  6. Once your face is dry use a bit of olive oil as a moisturizer!

 

A couple notes:  I wash my face in the shower, so my pores are steamed open before I apply oil to my still-dry face, but if you do not wash your face in the shower, you can wet a washcloth with hot water, wring out, then lay on your face for a minute or two before washing your face.

New Year New You

new-year-new-you

 

Cheers to a happy and healthy New Year! Our resolution for 2015 is to share with you our love and passion for all things olive oil be it new recipes or adding olive oil to your beauty routine. So as well as our monthly newsletter, which you can sign up for at the bottom of this page, we’ll be adding new healthy, delicious, and beautifying ideas here! To start you off here is a super basic chicken recipe that you can use with your favorite EN Olivier products!

 

 

 

Roasted Chicken with Balsamic Vinegar

Ingredients:
1/4 cup E·O·Olivier balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons E·N·Oliver olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (4-pound) whole chicken, cut into pieces
1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

Directions:
Whisk the vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper in small bowl to blend. Combine the vinaigrette and chicken pieces in a large resealable plastic bag; seal the bag and toss to coat. Refrigerate, turning the chicken pieces occasionally, for at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Remove chicken from the bag and arrange the chicken pieces on a large greased baking dish. Roast until the chicken is just cooked through, about 1 hour. If your chicken browns too quickly, cover it with foil for the remaining cooking time. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter. Place the baking dish on a burner over medium-low heat. Whisk the chicken broth into the pan drippings, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the baking sheet with a wooden spoon and mixing them into the broth and pan drippings. Drizzle the pan drippings over the chicken. Sprinkle the lemon zest and parsley over the chicken, and serve.

 

All our love,

The Ladies of EN Olivier