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Braised and Roasted Chicken With Vegetables

2-tbsp Bold Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Cerasuola, Leccino, Nevadillo Blanco, Picual)
4 skinless chicken thighs
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 skin-on chicken breast, split to yield 2 halves
3 leeks, trimmed, cleaned and chopped
4 carrots, chopped
6 celery ribs, chopped, leaves reserved for garnish
12 to 16 oz cremini, shiitake, button or other fresh mushrooms, quartered or sliced
3 to 4 sprigs fresh thyme or rosemary
(Better yet, substitute Tuscan Herb or Herb de Provence for the Olive Oil)
3-cups chicken stock
~Heat the oven to 350. Put the olive oil in a roasting pan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Sprinkle the thighs with salt and pepper and add them to the pan, flesh side down. Cook, turning and rotating the pieces as necessary, until well browned on both sides, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove, add the breast halves, skin side down. Brown well, then flip and cook for just 1 minute; remove to a separate plate.
~Put the leeks, carrots, celery, mushrooms, herbs in the same pan and cook until the vegetables are tender and beginning to brown, 10 to 15 minutes
~Nestle the thighs among the vegetables, meaty side up. Add enough of the stock to come about halfway up the thighs. (the amount will depend on the breadth of your pan; add a little more if necessary)
~Put the pan in the oven and cook, uncovered, for about 1 hour, checking occasionally and stirring the vegetables if they threaten to brown too much. When the thigh meat is tender, raise the heat to 400-degrees and lay the breast halves on the vegetables, skin side up. Continue cooking until they are done, 20 to 30 minutes longer
~Transfer the vegetables to a platter. You can either serve by: slicing the breasts and shred the thigh meat and laying the meat on top of the vegetables; or cut the thigh & breast pieces in half ~Garnish with reserved chopped celery leaves

Blender Basil Dressing

Here is a recipe for a wonderful and easy-to-make basil dressing in your blender.

2 tablespoons Pinot Noir Wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Traditional Balsamic Vinegar
4 to 5 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ cup medium/bold extra virgin olive oil*
(Nevadillo Blanco, Picual or Favolosa)
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Add the vinegars, basil, sugar, garlic, oils, salt, and pepper in a blender. Pulse the mixture, or mix it in short bursts so that the ingredients combine thoroughly and the basil do not get chopped too fine. A combination of butter lettuce, freshly shredded Parmesan cheese, marinated mushrooms, juicy red ripe tomatoes, and even some ripe wedges of avocado make for a delightfully superb salad. This recipe yields about a cup dressing.
*May substitute basil olive oil and decrease the basil

Blackened Broccoli

Couple of bunches of broccoli cut into florets(about 4 c)
2 Tbsp bold olive oil
(Cerasuola, Leccino, Mission, Nevadillo Blanco, Picholine or Picual)*
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
2-tsp 18yr Traditional Balsamic Vinegar
Heat heavy skillet on med high and add oil to coat bottom. Toss in broccoli florets and pan sauté stirring and turning the broccoli infrequently to allow the tips to darken. Remove and add sea salt and pepper to taste. Finish with a fine drizzle of balsamic.
*Substitute Chipotle or Harissa Olive Oil for a fabulous hot/sweet version*

Basic Wine Vinaigrette Recipe

4 to 6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed (or roasted)
About 1 teaspoon salt
About 2/3 to 1 cup Pinot Noir, Sherry Reserva or Champagne Vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
About ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
About 2 cups bold extra virgin olive oil (Cerasuola, Leccino, Mission, Nevadillo Blanco, Picual)

One of the great things about vinaigrette is that it is so versatile and flexible. All you need is a reliable basic vinaigrette recipe and all it's other variations stem from just this. Below is a basic recipe for vinaigrette, which you can adjust and alter to create several variations.
To a small or medium sized bowl add garlic, vinegar, sugar, and black pepper and whisk it together. Whisk in the oil and adjust the seasoning, adding more vinegar, salt and pepper if needed.
Variations: Whisk in some shredded Parmesan cheese and/ or sun-dried tomatoes, minced herbs, cumin, fresh ginger, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, or even soy sauce.

Basic Roasted Vegetables

Clean and cut vegetables into desired size. Place prepared vegetables in a single layer on a cookie sheet and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil (single varietal or flavor infused). Roast in 400* oven for 6 min. shake pan to loosen and roast until desired doneness. Thin vegetables like asparagus will take less time than thicker chunks of cut vegetables like cauliflower. Always make extra to use in tomorrow’s recipe!
Finish Variations:
· Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper and or sea salt
· Drizzle with small amount of balsamic vinegar
· Sprinkle with grated cheese
· Sprinkle with herbs
Use Variations:
· Toss with pasta, rice, beans, couscous, quinoa, etc
· Place on a plate and top with grilled seafood or meat
· Make an omelet
· Chop and pile on toast points, drizzle with balsamic for a great appetizer
· Pile on top of steaks or chops
· Add to tomato sauce

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