Posts Tagged ‘olive oil’

by Sarah Steimer

Mama ganoush? It's clearly the female version of baba ganoush. Because ladies and zucchinis and men are eggplant. Clearly.

Mama ganoush? It’s obviously the female version of baba ganoush. Because ladies are zucchinis and men are eggplants. Clearly.


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by Caitlin Saniga

You probably already have many of these items in your pantry. What are you waiting for? Try out some of these tips! (All of these photos enlarge when you click on them, by the way.)

One of the best parts of spring is prying open the windows and letting the sun in. But boy, that sure shines a light on all of the cleaning you neglected during the winter.

This year I vowed to tackle as many cleaning tasks with natural cleaners as I could. I started in the kitchen with *five* simple pantry staples that double as cleaning products, and I’m amazed with the success I’ve had. Some of these methods work way better than the store-bought products I’ve tried. And I can’t help but breathe a sigh of satisfaction (rather than choke on bleach fumes) when I see the results.

Have you cleaned with these items before? I tried to list the tips I thought would be most helpful in the kitchen, but I’m well aware that this list is by no means comprehensive. What natural methods have you had success with?

The refresher Lemons' citrus fragrance is invigorating and refreshing, and the acidic fruit can act as an antibacterial and antiseptic cleaner.

Use half a lemon with salt to scrub away stains on cutting boards. The juice will also erase garlic and onion odors.

  • Lemon rinds can be run through the garbage disposal to freshen a stinky drain. Hot water mixed with lemon juice can deodorize any drain.
  • Clean copper-bottomed pots and pans with the juice from a lemon half. Dip the open side of the lemon in salt, and scrub away spots. Add more salt as you go. Rinse the pots with water before letting them dry.
  • To brighten white tea towels and cloth napkins, soak them in a solution of lemon juice and water. Set them out to dry in the sun. The lemon juice acts as a bleaching agent.
  • Rub lemon juice into the stains on a cutting board. Let it sit until the stains disappear. Rinse the juice away with water. The lemon juice will also disinfect the board.
  • To clean up stained plastic containers, squeeze lemon juice in the container with a bit of baking soda. Use the lemon as a tool to scrub the stain. For stubborn stains, let the mixture sit on the stains overnight, and scrub again the next day.

The polisher Olive oil is a natural moisturizer, and just a few drops can make a variety of surfaces gleam.

  • Combine 1 tablespoon of olive oil with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to make a wood furniture polish. Use a rag to buff the liquid onto wooden surfaces.
  • Rub a rag with olive oil on stainless steel and brass surfaces to prevent tarnish, streaks and corrosion.
  • After washing a wooden cutting board in soap and water, let it dry. Once it’s dry, wipe it down with some olive oil to keep it from drying out.
  • Rub olive oil on your measuring utensils to keep sticky substances (honeys, peanut butter and syrups) from sticking.
  • Dab a little bit of olive oil on a towel and lightly wipe knife blades to preserve them.
  • Season a cast iron skillet by rubbing a faint amount of olive oil all over the pan’s surface and letting it sit in 350-degree oven for an hour.

The eraser Baking soda is a pH neutralizer and can zap away stains and odors. The powder is mildly abrasive and works wonders on troublesome spots.

One of my favorite ways to use baking soda is to scour away stains on my stove. I recommend wearing gloves when cleaning with baking soda.

  • Place a dish of baking soda in the fridge and freezer to neutralize smelly odors.
  • Use a sponge and some baking soda to scrub away coffee and tea stains on mugs.
  • Unclog a stopped-up drain by running a solution of warm water and baking soda down the garbage disposal.
  • Keep a box of baking soda near the stove in case of a grease fire. Throwing baking soda on such a fire is safer and more effective than attempting to extinguish it with water, which can further agitate it.
  • For pots with food burned to the bottom, sprinkle the dirty area with baking soda and add hot water. Let the pot soak overnight before attempting to scrub again. The baking soda will loosen the food.
  • To remove grease stains from towels and napkins, treat them with a paste of baking soda and water before running them through the washing machine.
  • Use a paste of baking soda and water to scour away burned-on crud from stovetop surfaces. Use a wet rag to mop away leftover residue.

The absorber Cornstarch is known for its ability to absorb grease and oils.

  • Remove grease spatters from appliances and walls by sprinkling a rag with cornstarch. Gently rub the grease spot until it’s gone.
  • Use a paste of cornstarch and water to polish good silverware. Let it dry before rubbing it away to reveal sparkling utensils.
  • To make a great glass cleaner, mix 4 cups of water with 1/2 cup of cornstarch and pour it into a spray bottle. Mist your windows with the solution and wipe it away for glistening results.

The dissolver White distilled vinegar is highly acidic and prized for its ability to break down stains and odors.

I don't use my microwave very often, so it doesn't get terribly dirty. But I was impressed by how swiftly I could wipe away stains after letting the vinegar-water heat up. I felt like I was in one of those cleaning product commercials!

  • Remove price tags and other sticky substances from walls and dishes by sponging vinegar over them several times. Wait about 15 minutes before rubbing away the substance with a damp rag.
  • Another great glass cleaner can be made by mixing 2 teaspoons of vinegar with 1 liter of warm water.
  • Clean the microwave by bringing a combination of 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup water to a boil in the microwave. Vapors will loosen crusty food so that it can be wiped away with a sponge, and odors will vanish.
  • For glassware that has lost its luster, soak a cloth in vinegar and drape it around the inside and outside of the glass. Rinse it with warm water after letting it sit for 1/2 hour.
  • Set out a dish of white vinegar to get rid of pesky fruit flies.
  • Drench a rag in vinegar and use it to wipe away greasy grime on top of the fridge.
  • Eliminate calcium deposits on faucets by soaking a rag in vinegar and tightly wrapping the problem area. Let it sit overnight before wiping the crud away with a clean rag.

Looking for more cleaning tips and tricks? Check out our full Spring Cleaning guide here.


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by Sarah Steimer

The dressing for this salad is awesome and makes just the right amount. You could probably add any number of vegetables to this - peppers or carrots for instance. I would not, however, suggest putting raw onion in this salad as it would completely overtake the ginger and garlic in the dressing.

For the vinaigrette

  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated, peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

For the salad

  • 2 cups packed shredded red cabbage
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 cups thinly sliced Granny Smith apple
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup raisins, plumped in hot water
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds and/or chopped walnuts

Whisk all ingredients for the vinaigrette together. Set aside.

Toss the sliced apples with the lemon juice in a large bowl. Add the cabbage, broccoli, raisins and nuts to the bowl. Add the vinaigrette to the salad and toss until all the vegetables are coated.

Let sit in the refrigerator for about an hour so the vegetables and apples can soak in the vinaigrette.

Serves four as a main dish or six to eight as a side.

Recipe adapted from: Health.com

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by Sarah Steimer

"You don't need a picnic to eat picnic food." - Thomas Jefferson*

  • 1 pound of small potatoes – I used German butter ball and
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 5-6 fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for roasting potatoes
  • salt and pepper

Scrub the potatoes and cut into chunks about the same size. Boil for about 10-15 minutes or until soft. Drain well.

Toss the potatoes with a sprinkling of olive oil and the garlic. Place in a glass baking dish and roast at 400 degrees for about 20-30 minutes or until the edges start to crisp.

I just grabbed up a bunch of the littlest potatoes at the farmer's market.

For the dressing, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, olive oil, mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Toss the potatoes – while still warm – with the basil, walnuts and dressing. Serve warm or cold.

Serves 2-4 as a side dish.

Recipe: Sarah Steimer

Photos: Sarah Steimer

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by Sarah Steimer

I took this pizza to a Slow Foods Chicago potluck in June and it vanished before I ever got in line.

  • Pizza crust recipe here (I only used half)
  • olive oil, for brushing
  • 1 cup loosely packed arugula, rinsed and dried – plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup fresh mozzarella – usually one ball will do – sliced
  • 3 medium-sized tomatoes, sliced
  • handful fresh basil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon oregano, preferably fresh

I’ve made pizza using this recipe for dough countless times since I posted it. When rising, I found it helps to place the dough – covered with a towel – in an oven at the lowest heat setting.

This summer was my first really using arugula - it has a great peppery flavor.

I use half the dough to almost cover a half-sheet pan, coated with a little oil. This makes a very thin-crust pizza. I cook the dough for about 10 minutes at 500 degrees without toppings to crisp it up. Cooking entirely with toppings I found makes the crust a little soggy.

Once your crust is starting to crisp, take out of the oven and give the dough another sweep with olive oil. Add garlic then place slices of the mozzarella on top. Add tomatoes, arugula, basil and oregano. Cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the crust is golden.

Top with additional arugula.

Serves about four.

Crust recipe adapted from: The Merry Gourmet

Pizza idea: Sarah Steimer

Photos: Sarah Steimer

*Throughout August, “That’s Amore” will feature our favorite pizza recipes using farmer’s market ingredients — all of which can be found here.

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