Cooking a Gourmet Meal Just Got Easier Thanks to Olio & Spices!

I have had a catering company and cooked for friends and family numerous times, but I am by no means a gourmand.

I just throw stuff together and really, hope for the best.

But now I've found Olio & Spices, a company that specialized in versatile and easy to use gourmet products that take any meal from "Eh," to "Ohhh!"

Take their Extra Virgin Organic Olive Oil. It is fruity, fresh and kosher. It comes in a beautiful aluminum barrel with a pouring spout so you can do as I did, and keep it stoveside, ready to use. I used it for stirfries, searing a roast, drizzling over pasta, making dressing and anytime I needed oil. It was absolutely delicious. So much so that while I cooked, I would tear off a piece of bread and dip it in the oil - I just couldn't resist.

When I was a young gal in my first apartment, I used bottled sauces for time and convenience. But the quality never lived up to what I could mix up on my own. Not with the More Than a Sauce line. This way surpass anything I could ever do. Wow. These all natural, kosher certified sauces allow you to add fantastically fresh and exciting flavours to your food, all with just a tip of the jar. I used the Red Wine Onion Sauce with a pot roast (mmm) and as a marinade for chicken. The complex but complementary flavours is so nuanced. Each bite you take is different than the next. And the Lemon & Mint Chili was fun. I used this on some halibut (lively) and on roasted vegetables (fantastic). But the mind-blower was the Pomegranate Teriyaki, with 30% all natural pomegranate juice. I marinated a pork tenderloin in it as well as some veal chops another night. Both times, my fella and I couldn't believe the flavours. Tangy, sweet and fruity, it is absolutely phenomenal. I can't recommend it enough...

And being a spice fiend, I was excited by their All Natural Spices, Blends and Rubs. Sometimes, in order to liven up a dish all you need is a little sprinkle of this and a pinch of that.
First of all, you should know that they come in these big, beautiful aluminum tins and everything is sealed in a bag for freshness, so you open the bag and then pour it into the large tin for ease of use. That way, you are getting absolutely the freshest herbs and spices possible. And yet, they have a shelf life of 2 years!

Even their Salt & Pepper blend is lovely because of its freshness. I stopped reaching for my old salt and pepper shakers long ago now that I have this beauty. The Ocean Blend mixes dried fresh-water seaweed with other herbs and spices that makes for an exciting - and healthy - addition to fish, seafood, soups and stews. You can use it as a rub or just season to taste. I am smitten by the Provence Blend, as it has everything you could need - oregano, basil, kosher salt, parsley, rosemary, bay leaves, thyme. Don't be surprised if you run out of this one quickly. You'll likely use it on everything as I did. The Tuscan Blend is also incredibly versatile. With onion, garlic, dried vegetables and dry herbs, it goes with everything. I put it in my meatloaf, chili, pasta sauce, soups, stuffing and my salad dressing mix. And to add a little kick to your cookin', the Cajun Blend is the perfect choice. The company calls it an "intense blend" but it's more than that- it's fascinating. Paprika, mustard seeds, basil, black pepper, coriander, cumin, rosemary create a completely unique and exciting flavour. I made a sweet potato gumbo yesterday and added it. It was what made the soup. I'm going to try it as a dry rub for chicken and tonight I'm making cutlets, so I'm going to add it to the breading. Mmm, I can't wait!

What I love about these is that they are all natural, so you don't have to worry about what's in them - it's all on the label and they are all real ingredients. And the fact that you can season your food and really taste the difference, make them stand out with just a shake or pour of these amazing products.

So now you can cook gourmet within your budget and without having to buy fancy ingredients. Just a bottle of oil, a few spices and sauces from Olio & Spices oughtta do it!

Stephanie Dickison

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