Spiced Carrot Dip w/Pomegranate and Mint

A creamy, healthy, festive spiced carrot dip with pomegranate seeds, fresh mint, pistachios and sesame seeds is a wonderfully bright dip. Serve with grilled bread, mini naan or crudité.

Serves 6 – 8

Ingredients:
 

  • 1 ½ lbs peeled carrots
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • ¼ cup TAO EVOO – you can be creative here and use a flavored olive oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp honey from Honey Feast
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • chopped toasted pistachios
  • toasted sesame seeds, black and white seeds if possible
  • pomegranate seeds
  • torn mint
  • crudité, charred bread or mini naan

 

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the carrots and blanch them for about 6 minutes, or until fork tender. Transfer the carrots to a bowl of ice water to cool.
  2. Trim and discard the ends of the carrots, cut the carrots into chunks, and add them to a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped.
  3. Add the tahini, olive oil, water, lemon juice, honey, salt, smoked paprika, coriander, and cumin. Process until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides of the processor as needed. Taste the dip and season with more salt, honey, or lemon juice if desired.
  4. Garnish the dip with the pistachios, sesame seeds, pomegranate seeds, torn mint, and a good drizzle of olive oil.
  5. Serve with crudité, charred bread or mini naan.

This recipe and photo were adapted directly from Kayla Howey’s beautiful blog and website, The Original Dish, https://www.theoriginaldish.com/2019/04/05/spiced-carrot-dip-with-pomegranate-mint/#tasty-recipes-6876

 


Maple Balsamic-Bacon Vinaigrette Over Wilted Baby Spinach

Makes 6 servings

ingredients:

preparation:

Place spinach in a serving bowl. Place the maple balsamic, half the crumbled bacon, red wine or champagne balsamic vinegar, salt, half the shallots, pepper, and mustard in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Gently warm while whisking – remove from heat before it reaches a simmer.  Allow to cool for a minute, and then whisk in the extra virgin olive oil to emulsify.  Adjust seasoning,

Gently dress spinach with warm vinaigrette and top with remaining crumbled bacon and shallot. Add blue cheese crumbles, chopped dates/strawberries/dried cranberries, and chopped walnuts if desired and serve warm.


Grilled Pears w/Cinnamon Honey Drizzle

Serves 6 (1/2 pear per serving)

Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe, but firm bosc pears, washed and dried
  • 1 tablespoons honey (We use Honey Feast from Florida)

    Grilled Pears w/Cinnamon Honey Drizzle

  • 1 tablespoon TAO Cinnamon Pear (Fig or Traditional work here, too) balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • TAO EVOO – use one of our unflavored EVOOs or try our Blood Orange olive oil for a citrusy twist.
  • Himalayan pink salt
  • Vanilla ice cream, optional

Directions:

  1. Turn grill burners to low and preheat to between 350-400 F. You can also use a grill pan on the stove with similar results.)
  2. Cut pears in half (top down to bottom) removing any visible seeds, and leave stems on one half, if possible, for a dramatic look.
  3. Brush pears with EVOO, sprinkle with sea salt and place on grill at an angle flesh side down.
  4. Cook pears on covered grill for 15 minutes. Carefully lift with tongs and turn to see if the pears have softened and have a solid grill mark.  If they do not, continue to cook, covered and check every 5 to 10 minutes.   Turn pears on an angle to create another grill mark (this is how you get a criss-cross pattern) and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes, checking every 5 minutes for the second set of grill marks. Be careful not to over cook the pears to a mushy consistency.
  5. In a small bowl combine 1 tablespoons honey, 1 tablespoon Cinnamon Pear balsamic and mix well.
  6. Let pears rest for a bit after cooking, when they are warm but not HOT, drizzle balsamic-honey over them and top with chopped pecans.
  7. Serve immediately by themselves or with vanilla ice cream that has a light sprinkling of Himalayan pink salt.

This was adapted from a beautiful recipe and photo from the blog: A House in the Hills, 02.25.14


Cantaloupe and Mozzarella Caprese Salad

This quick and easy salad is perfect for any occasion and is ideal when your current stock/selection of tomatoes is not very good. The fragrant and sweet balls of cantaloupe add a surprisingly delicious twist to the standard Caprese salad and we promise you won’t miss the tomatoes! Besides, if you’ve ever enjoyed a slice of cantaloupe wrapped up in salty prosciutto, you already know how delicious this combination is going to be. A total crowd pleaser!

Serves: serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 cantaloupe, halved and seeded
  • 1 8-ounce container mozzarella balls (pearl size balls are a good choice here)
  • 8-10 slices prosciutto, chopped/torn into large pieces
  • ¼ cup basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup mint leaves, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons TAO extra-virgin olive oil or TAO Basil olive oil
  • 1½ tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon TAO Peach or Citrus Mint or Banana white balsamic vinegar
  • Himalayan pink salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Scoop balls from the cantaloupe with a small spoon or melon baller and add to serving bowl or platter. Add the mozzarella pearls and the chopped/torn prosciutto. Sprinkle with the basil and mint leaves.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, honey and balsamic vinegar together and season with Himalayan pink salt and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle over the cantaloupe and toss to coat. Season with more salt and pepper and additional herbs to taste.

This recipe was adapted from Foodie Crush, August 2015: https://www.foodiecrush.com/cantaloupe-and-mozzarella-caprese-salad/


Marinated Olive and Feta Appetizer

This is a great appetizer by itself when served with crusty bread. Or, use a component of a composed cheese board, antipasto platter or charcuterie board.

Serves about 8 as an appetizer.

Ingredients:
Olive Oil Marinated Olives:
• 1 cup TAO EVOO + 4 strips lemon rind OR 1 cup TAO Lemon olive oil
• 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
• ½ tsp red pepper flakes
• 2 cups mixed olives, drained and rinsed of brine – We recommend our Spanish olives from Torremar
• 1 TBS oregano white balsamic

Marinated Feta:
• 3 cups TAO EVOO
• 2 TBS Greek Freak seasoning or Pink Peppercorn Thyme seasoning**
• 2 x 1lb chunks of feta cheese, drained and patted dry, cut in ½ inch chunks
**2 TBS of fresh/dried herbs will work here too: rosemary, bay leaves, thyme

Instructions:
Marinated Olives:
1. Place the lemon olive oil, red pepper flakes and garlic (add lemon rind if not using lemon olive oil) in a medium frying pan over medium heat.
2. Cook for 4 minutes or until the garlic is golden. Add the olives and vinegar and toss until
warmed through.

Marinated Feta:
1. Place the oil and seasonings in a small saucepan over very low heat and gently cook for 10 – 15 minutes or until the oil becomes fragrant.
2. Place the feta in a large heatproof bowl or large jar. Pour over the oil mixture and set aside to
cool and marinate.
Note: The marinated feta and olives will keep in an airtight container for up to two weeks.


Tomato and Pumpkin Seed Salsa Fresca

This fresh recipe is wonderful with tortilla chips or poured over eggs, fish or added to tacos!

Ingredients:
• 1 can whole, peeled tomatoes (fire roasted is nice here)
• 1 cup cilantro, chopped, leaves only
• ½ cup red onion, diced
• Serrano peppers, roasted and chopped fine
• 2 Tbs lime juice
• 1 Tbs TAO extra virgin olive oil
• 1 medium avocado, sliced
• Salt and pepper to taste
Pepitas, roasted (we prefer Stonybrook Pepitas)

Instructions:
Drain the whole, peeled tomatoes, chop them up, and mix with 1 cup chopped cilantro (no stems), ½ cup diced red onion, 2 roasted and finely chopped serrano peppers, 1 Tbs EVOO and 2 Tbsp. lime juice. Salt and pepper to taste.
Mix in some toasted and ground pepitas for a delicious pumpkin salsa fresca. Serve with tortilla chips and sliced avocado


Grilled Bread with Thyme Pesto and Preserved Lemon Cream

The smokey grill flavor and crustiness of the bread combined with the salty, tangy, nutty, creamy,
herbiness of the toppings is wonderful enough by itself, but it can also serve as a jumping off point for any
number of sandwiches. You can top the bread and spreads off with slices of grilled chicken or a runny fried egg
and grilled asparagus, for example, and your life will never be the same…

Serves 6 slices

Ingredients

• 2 cups baby spinach, cleaned and torn into small pieces
• 1/2 cup fresh thyme leaves (stems removed)
• 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
• 3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
• 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup TAO olive oil plus more for brushing
• 1/2 cup creme fraiche
• 2 teaspoons minced preserved lemon
• 6 thick slices of good Italian country bread

1. In a food processor, combine the spinach, thyme, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan, and salt. Process until the
ingredients are roughly chopped. With the processor running, gradually drizzle in the olive oil until you
have a chunky pesto. Set aside. (This will make more pesto than needed; the rest can be kept refrigerated
for about a week and used in other dishes like pasta, chicken, and fish.)
2. In a small bowl, combine creme fraiche and preserved lemon. Allow to stand in the refrigerator for about a
half hour for the flavors to combine.
3. Heat the grill. Lightly brush each slice of bread with olive oil on both sides. Grill the slices a minute or
two per side until they are crusty and have charred grill marks but are still soft in the middle.
4. Spread each slice of bread with the pesto, and top with a generous smear of preserved lemon cream.


Cantaloupe and Mozzarella Caprese Salad

Serves: serves 4-6

This quick and easy salad is perfect for any occasion and is ideal when your current stock/selection of tomatoes is not very good. The fragrant and sweet balls of cantaloupe add a surprisingly delicious twist to the standard Caprese salad and we promise you won’t miss the tomatoes! Besides, if you’ve ever enjoyed a slice of cantaloupe wrapped up in salty prosciutto, you already know how delicious this combination is going to be. A total crowd pleaser!

Ingredients

• 1 cantaloupe, halved and seeded
• 1 8-ounce container mozzarella balls (pearl size balls are a good choice here)
• 8-10 slices prosciutto, chopped/torn into large pieces
• ¼ cup basil leaves, thinly sliced• ¼ cup mint leaves, thinly sliced
• 3 tablespoons TAO extra-virgin olive oil or TAO Basil olive oil
• 1½ tablespoons honey
• 1 tablespoon TAO Peach or Citrus Mint or Banana white balsamic vinegar
• Himalayan pink salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste Instructions

1. Scoop balls from the cantaloupe with a small spoon or melon baller and add to serving bowl or platter.

2. Add the mozzarella pearls and the chopped/torn prosciutto. Sprinkle with the chopped basil and mint leaves.

3. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, honey and balsamic vinegar together and season with Himalayan pink salt and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle over the cantaloupe and toss to coat. Season with more salt and pepper and additional herbs to taste.

 


Classic Tomato Bruschetta

The outcome of this really depends on the quality of the ingredients. Pick from the store or farmers’ market the ripest, heaviest you can find. We like the “ugly” and heirloom varieties, but when we can’t find great fresh tomatoes we’ll use high-quality, petite diced canned San Marzano tomatoes or fire roasted, petite diced from Muir Glen. Just be sure to drain the tomatoes thoroughly. Save the juice and add to pasta water or use the juice when steaming spinach or broccoli!

INGREDIENTS:
• 20-24 oz fresh tomatoes (4-5 roma tomatoes or 3-4 regular tomatoes) diced small. Or use canned, petite diced tomatoes that have been drained completely. Fire roasted tomatoes are excellent choice, too!
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped fine
• 2 tablespoons The Ancient Olive single varietal EVOO or Tuscan Herb or Basil olive oil
• 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar by Giuliano Hazan.
TAO balsamic vinegar for drizzling. We like our extra dense, traditional and fig for this dish. Red wine vinegar is typically used to create a classic bruschetta, and you can optionally drizzle the bruschetta with balsamic vinegar just before serving.
• 1/2 teaspoon each salt & pepper (or to taste)
• Optional: Grated parmesan Reggiano** do NOT use finely ground cheese as this will make the bruschetta look cloudy our muddy; grate should be like tiny pieces of angel hair or capellini pasta.
• 1 baguette
• EVOO & fresh garlic pieces
Our olives, as a side dish. Obviously, this is optional but a mistake not to serve them with this dish!

DIRECTIONS:
• Dice tomatoes about 1/4″ and lightly drain.
• Mix all ingredients and let stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
• Slice the baguette, brush with olive oil and toast or grill until lightly browned. Rub each toasted slice baguette with a clove of raw garlic.
• Top with tomato mixture and sprinkle with grated cheese. Best served at room temp and with a big bowl of our amazing olives!


Citrus Avocado Salad w/Citrus Vinaigrette

Ingredients:
• ¼ cup sugar
• 1/3 cup TAO Grapefruit or Citrus Mint balsamic
• 1 ½ tsp finely grated onion (we use a handheld micro planer)
• 1 teaspoon yellow mustard powder
• ½-1 tsp salt
• 1 cup TAO EVOO (a mild to medium robust EVOO may work best here)
• 1 ½ tsp poppy seeds
• 4 medium pink or red grapefruit, peeled and sectioned (save time: purchase peeled sections in jar from grocer’s cold case, near orange juices)
• 4 medium avocados, peeled and cut into wedges
• Bibb lettuce or organic mixed baby field greens

Directions:
In a bowl, combine the sugar, vinegar, onion, mustard and salt; stir until sugar is dissolved. Gradually whisk in oil. Stir in poppy seeds. Cover and refrigerate until serving.
Just before serving, stir salad dressing. Arrange grapefruit and avocados on lettuce-lined plates; drizzle with desired amount of dressing.

Yield: 8-10 servings


Gremolata with Pasta

Gremolata is a dressing or garnish made with chopped parsley, garlic, and grated lemon zest (and sometimes mint), served as an accompaniment to meat, chicken or fish, or in this recipe, as the perfect match for pasta!

You can use the gremolata on flatbreads and as a marinade to baked chicken and fish. Gremolata also makes a bright accompaniment to oysters and shrimp! Always serve with fresh lemon slices or wedges.

Note: To make a bright Gremolata marinade or salad dressing, combine the first 6 ingredients of this recipe and add ¼ cup of TAO Citrus Mint balsamic vinegar.

Serves 4 to 6

INGREDIENTS:

  • ½ cup minced parsley (leaves only)
  • 1 TBS fresh mint, minced (optional)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 lemons – zested carefully to avoid the pith, plus the juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup TAO EVOO or TAO Milanese Gremolata olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb pasta

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Mix the parsley, mint, garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Season with salt, pepper and olive oil.
  • Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  • Toss the gremolata and the pasta until thoroughly coated. Serve immediately with sliced lemon.


Seven Layer Hummus Dip

Amanda Paa – Heartbeet Kitchen

Easy Seven Layer Hummus Dip

Adapted from Amanda Paa at Heartbeet Kitchen:

Instead of serving a classic seven-layer dip (one with salsa, refried beans, and guacamole), try this fresh and healthy version. Scatter the layers atop your favorite homemade hummus recipe, but you can definitely use store-bought to make this a simple and quick dish.

Obviously this seven-layer hummus dip is first and foremost a dip. But! Here are a couple of leftover ideas for you:
• as a spread for a vegetarian wrap, stuffed with brown rice and romaine lettuce
• as a base for poached eggs
• as a grain bowl component

Amanda likes to serve this dip by spreading the hummus onto this marble platter, but if you’re taking this to a party, it transports well in a simple glass dish.

INGREDIENTS
• 12 oz. your favorite hummus recipe, or 12 oz. store-bought hummus
• 1/2 cup chopped cucumber
• 1/2 cup quartered cherry or halved grape tomatoes
• 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper strips from a jar with liquid drained
• 1/4 cup chopped Kalamata olives
• 1/2 cup drained, chopped artichoke hearts
• 1/4 cup – 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
• 2 teaspoons Pink Peppercorn Thyme or Greek Freak spice blend from Spiceologist

• 1 tablespoon minced, fresh dill optional
• olive oil to marinate components and for drizzling (Use TAO EVOO, or lemon olive oils)

DIRECTIONS
Marinate the components: In a medium bowl, add chopped cucumber, tomato pieces, red bell pepper strips, Kalamata olives, chopped artichoke hearts and feta cheese. Sprinkle mixture with 1 ½ teaspoons Pink Peppercorn Thyme or Greek Freak spice blend and drizzle with olive oil to coat. Gently stir mixture and let stand at room temp for about 15 minutes.

Spread the hummus on the bottom of a large glass dish or marble platter and top with cucumber, tomatoes, red bell pepper, olives and artichoke hearts. Sprinkle with feta, remaining teaspoon of spice blend and drizzle with olive oil.

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