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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Awesomeness of Olive Oil, Vinegar, Lemon Juice and Pepper

While this is not a new concept I thought I'd write a little bit about my love of the combo of: olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice and pepper.  I feel like it's one of the most versatile concoctions you can use with food.  I've used this combo as for pasta salad in place of using a mayo based dressing, I toss it on almost any green salad, and it's great as a marinade.  When ever I need to add a little "umph" to something I immediately turn to my trusty combo and I'm never disappointed.

I don't typically measure my combos but just eye how much I'm adding.  I use an olive oil base with a splash of lemon juice and vinegar and then throw in some pepper until I feel satisfied that I'll taste it with out being overwhelmed.

To celebrate this awesomeness I'm sharing three of my favorite ways to enjoy the combination:

1 - Pear/Apple, Almond, Feta and Spinach Salad

- 1 pear or granny smith apple sliced thinly

- handfull of slivered almonds

- as much cheese as you'd like, I usually put in about the same amount as the almond slivers

- spinach leaves

- olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice and pepper mix

Mix all the ingredients together and then pour the combo on top and toss.  You won't need a lot because it'll cover everything pretty nicely.

2 - Pasta Salad

- rotini noodles

- yellow pepper

- red pepper

- orange pepper

- cherry tomatoes

- zucchini

- onion

- black olives

- sauteed chopped garlic

- pepperoni/salami/ham cubes (pick one or all)

- parmesan cheese

- -olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice and pepper mix

Cook the noodles and then set them aside to cool.  Chop up the peppers and zucchini into cubes, cut the cherry tomatoes in half and do whatever you'd like with the olives.  (I also like green olives in this salad but not everyone enjoys them quite like I do.)  Sauté your garlic, or you can use garlic powder, but fresh sauteed will be better.  Add all the ingredients together, I like a lot of cheese but feel free to add however much you like, and then again drizzle the combo on top and toss.  Ready to go!  (You do not need to cook the zucchini, I like it better uncooked, but if you must blanch it real quick.)

3 - Marinade

- garlic

- onions

- basil

-  olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice and pepper mix

So this recipe is by taste, so whatever taste you enjoy the most, you should add more of that.  I typically chop up about ten little garlic pieces, half an onion and just a small chunk of basil.  You can use this on pretty much anything, chicken and pork is the best but you could also use it with beef.  Let the meat marinate for a few hours and then prepare however you'd like.  Delish.

So there it is, my love letter to olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice and pepper.  mmmmmmm, yummy.