Fall is the perfect time to relax, enjoy the changing colours outside and invite friends for an evening of good food and great company. Entertaining can be as easy as preparing a few simple, yet impressive appetizers—and olives and olive oil are a great way to add life and flavour to any menu.
Olives and olive oil are incredibly versatile. They're bursting with flavour and health benefits, making them essential ingredients in every cook's kitchen. Olive oil is an excellent choice for all your cooking needs. When heated, olive oil stands up well to high temperatures—its high smoke point of 210°C is well above the ideal temperature for frying food (180°C). Olive oil can be used for many types of cooking methods including: deep frying, frying, stir-frying, sautéing, baking and basting.
With a few tasty recipes in your back pocket, you'll always be ready to impress. Try one of these delicious, easy-to-prepare recipes created by the International Olive Council. Visit www.addsomelife.org for more inspiration and stay up to date on all things 'olive' by following Add Some Life on Facebook and Twitter.
Tips for Casual Entertaining
For some people, entertaining a group seems effortless. Follow these easy tips to make your casual evening one to remember.
• Keep it Simple. Guests don't expect a five-course meal. Instead, offer plates of appetizers and finger foods. It can be a delicious way to offer guests a variety of flavours—just make sure there's enough for everyone.
• Have appetizers ready. If you're also planning to serve a meal, then make sure your guests have something to nibble on when they arrive. Even keeping it as simple as a bowl of olives paired with one or two types of cheese will keep guests satisfied until the main event.
• Practice makes perfect. Try your recipes out at least once before serving them at a dinner party to prevent first-time cooking disasters from spoiling your night.
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive, divided
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
- 1 egg white
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 32 raw medium shrimp, shelled and deveined (about 1 1/4 pounds)
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh dill or parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
- Dash salt, optional
- 1/3 cup finely shredded Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
- 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 16 pitted large green olives
- 16 pitted large ripe olives
- 32 grape tomatoes
- 1/2 medium cucumber, sliced lengthwise and cut into 32 pieces
- 32 (4 to 6-inch) appetizer skewers
- Heat oven to 475°F. Blend 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and garlic in small bowl. Add shrimp; toss to coat; set aside. Blend remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, dill, lemon peel and salt in small bowl. Set aside.
- Mix bread crumbs and cheese on waxed paper; dredge shrimp to coat evenly. Place in single layer on baking sheet. Bake 8 to 12 minutes or until light golden and thoroughly cooked. Gently loosen shrimp from baking sheet; cool 1 to 2 minutes.
- Thread a single shrimp, olive, tomato and cucumber piece on each skewer. Serve immediately drizzled with olive oil mixture.
TIP: To make bread crumb mixture, rub bread crumb and cheese mixture between your palms for uniform consistency. The mixture will adhere more evenly to the shrimp.