The best olive oil is the most delicious, the most healthy - easy and enjoyable to consume in large amounts.
In honor of its fabulous health advantages, I decided to put up some of my best olive oil rich personal recipes, the main justification for which is to consume luxuriant amounts of this Mediterranean Gold on the pretext of eating something!
(To your right: Basil plant I brought indoors. Pesto in the winter is heaven)!
CAUTION: Don't try this at home with just any olive oil! Not even the high-priced ones from Whole Foods Market or other health stores!
Because you'll probably wish you hadn't! You see, there is only ONE olive oil I have ever been able to do this with. Every other one that I consumed in such luscious extravagance has made me pay dearly afterward with indigestion, burning reflux action as my body tried to reject it and lastly, fatigue and irritability.
After doing lots of research on olive oil quality, I learned that over 70% of all olive oils are adulterated with cheap, often rancid vegetable oils. Often, 40 - 60% of what is called 'olive oil' is NOT!
The body, especially if not burdened by a toxic lifestyle, will in its wisdom, try to expel cheap, rancid oils consumed in any significant quantity.
No worries, when you use the BEST olive oil, you can take it to the limit!
The Best Olive Oil for Great Pesto Recipes
OK, let's start with the most blatantly thin excuse for consuming copious amounts of the best olive oil - Pesto!
As a long time (20 years) garlic grower, and with an organic garden that sports basil, parsley and other dark greens, honing the art of making pesto becomes second nature after awhile.
Photo: Some of my organic home-grown garlic.
First a list of your choices of ingredients:
First cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil.
Greens and Herbs for Pesto Recipes: While basil is the classic pesto herb, with occasionally a little added parsley, let's cut free from tradition and explore new frontiers of gustatory bliss..!
After all, when you use the best olive oil, it is one of the most supportive allies a gourmet cook can ask for.
Arugula, dill, dandelion, cilantro, scallions and even the tender tips of pea vines if you are growing snap or snow peas! (I haven't tried the pea vines yet; let me know how it turns out)...
Some Health Benefits of the Greens: Chlorophyll, a great detoxifier; minerals including magnesium.
Also, did you know that dark greens contain the full spectrum of Vitamin E tocopheryls? Some whole food supplement manufacturers use pea vines as the source for their natural Vitamin E!
Dandelion: liver cleanser.
Cilantro: mobilizes heavy metals and can help mercury detoxification (use in moderation if you have a heavy burden of mercury as you don't want to detox too fast).
Scallions: Like their cousins onion and garlic, are good for circulatory health.
Greens combination ideas: Basil only, basil/parsley 3/1, basil/parsley/arrugula 2/1/1, basil/parsley/cilantro 1 part each, cilantro/dandelion/arugula 1 part each. These are some suggestions; let your imagination and creativity soar!
Pesto Recipe Ingredients: How Much to Use?
Best olive oil: 1 cup
Dark Green Herbs: 2 cups or more, tightly packed, thoroughly rinsed and spun dry.
Garlic: 2 large cloves crushed
(grass fed is best): 1 - 2 Tablespoons (room temperature). I find that adding a little butter helps keep the pesto greens from oxidizing and turning brown.
Lemon or lime: squeeze 1 - 2 Tablespoons fresh into mixture. Lemon or lime also keeps pesto green and fresh for longer so you can still enjoy it for a day or two after preparing.
Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese: 1 1/2 cups
Nuts: very fresh pignolias (walnuts work well also if you can't find good pignolias). I've even successfully used raw almonds).
Perhaps a little sea salt and/or ground black pepper to taste; but go very easy on the salt, since the grated cheese is salty. I stopped using salt in my pesto recipes for that reason.
Pesto Recipe Instructions
Grate Parmesan or Romano cheese and set aside in the bowl that will hold the pesto.
Pour the olive oil in your blender. Add crushed garlic, butter and fresh lemon or lime juice.
Put a loose handful of greens in the blender to start. Put on blender cover, leaving hole in top open so you can continually add more. Switch on blender to low setting and slowly feed greens in through top. When mixture gets almost too thick to blend, turn blender off.
Use a spatula to remove the pesto mixture from blender into bowl with grated cheese.
Pour nuts into blender and chop briefly, then add to bowl. Mix well and serve.
When you use the best olive oil to make your pesto, that alone will increase the nutritive value and taste enjoyment.