100 days of quarantine: How I kept my lockdown meals healthy and exciting
Okra and Ginger with Couscous and Brocolli and Asparagus Farfalle cooked with Doña Elena olive oil.
Contributed photo
100 days of quarantine: How I kept my lockdown meals healthy and exciting
Chonx Tibajia (Philstar.com) - July 10, 2020 - 1:00pm

MANILA, Philippines — Everytime I open a fresh bottle of olive oil, I’m transported back to Doña Elena’s olive tree plantation in Priego de Córdoba, in Andalucia, Spain, where the best olive oils are made.

One rainy day in the biting cold, I got to stand in the middle of a row of olive trees and pick fresh olives straight from the branch. The smell of extra virgin olive oil, to this day, remains an olfactory trigger, and I make sure to savor it every time.

Quarantine has made me cherish this memory even more—so much that I’ve taken to an olive oil-centric diet over the past few months, using Doña Elena, of course. More so since eating at home is safer, healthier, and more affordable. During the period of ECQ, I’ve rediscovered the joys of cooking, as well as learned some new tricks in the kitchen.

The beauty of getting to visit where the olives are grown and seeing how they are fermented is you get a better appreciation of the product. Just like wine doesn’t just exist to get you drunk, olive oil doesn’t just exist to keep food from sticking to the pan.

 The town of Priego de Cordoba in the Region of Andalusia, Spain is surrounded with lush olive groves on the hills.
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Doña Elena has three kinds: Pure, Pomace, and Extra Virgin, and each one has a different flavor profile and tolerance for heat.

While self-isolating, I experimented on these different varieties in cooking healthier meals that are easy to make, have five ingredients or less, and are, most importantly, budget-friendly.

When cooking with olive oil, as opposed to regular cooking oil, you’ll find that the flavor of the oil almost leads the way, and inspires you to cook healthier. Instead of stocking up on bread and instant noodles, go for healthier staples, such as in-season vegetables or frozen veggies, pasta, grains, spices, and Doña Elena olive oil.

These simple, accessible ingredients are all you need to keep meals exciting, healthy, and delicious.

Mediterranean diet and recipes

Olives are abundant in the Mediterranean region, which is why olive oil is the cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet. Doña Elena Olive Oils are a combination of two types of olives, hojiblanca and picual, which make it rich in good fats and antioxidants.

Each bottle contains 80% monounsaturated oleic acids, a healthy fat that is known for many benefits, including improving cellular health, enhancing brain function, regulating insulin, supporting heart health, and supporting weight management.

Olives are abundant in the Mediterranean region, which is why olive oil is the cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet. Doña Elena Olive Oils are a combination of two types of olives, hojiblanca and picual, which make it rich in good fats and antioxidants.
Contributed photo

This is why, even if the Mediterranean diet isn’t exactly a weight loss plan, but rather a style of eating, people who try it stick to it because it’s non-restrictive and offers a whole lot of proven benefits.

This period of quarantine has encouraged many of us to cook our own food, even taking it a step further by experimenting on our own versions of favorite restaurant dishes. During these restrictive times, it’s important to remain flexible and work with a “diet” that agrees with your taste, time, lifestyle, and budget.

The Mediterranean diet is primarily fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, herbs, fish, and seafood, but because a lot of ingredients are still unavailable due to our current circumstances, it’s okay to get creative and mix it up with whatever you have in your pantry. The star, of course should be olive oil, which is not just a pandemic pantry staple, but a key ingredient in the Mediterranean diet and any healthy dish.

If you want more Mediterranean meal-spirations, just go to Marjorie Barretto’s vlog, where she uses readily available but high-quality ingredients such as Doña Elena Olive Oil in making delicious meals for her family.

For more Mediterranean meal-spirations, just go to Marjorie Barretto’s vlog, where she uses readily available but high-quality ingredients such as Doña Elena Olive Oil.
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One comfort food that I keep going back to is my own Okra and ginger with Couscous recipe. It’s Mediterranean and tweaked to satisfy a carb-lover like myself. Chop the okra into bite-size pieces.

In a pan, sauté chopped onion and ginger in Doña Elena Pure Olive Oil until fragrant. Add the okra and one chopped tomato. Cook until okra is tender and a bit gooey. Add two tablespoons of water and two tablespoons of couscous. Lower the heat and mix well. Remove from heat and fluff.

Doña Elena’s fresh new look

Doña Elena now comes in a new internationally copyrighted look by a French designer, featuring a brighter color palette and usage recommendations for different varieties—Pure, Pomace, and Extra Virgin, which makes it easy for first-time users.

The glass bottle is manufactured in Europe and remains easy to grip and store. For the price of one coffee takeout, you get a 250mL bottle that’s easy on the pocket and good for the health.

Doña Elena now comes in a new internationally copyrighted look by a French designer, featuring a brighter color palette and usage recommendations for different varieties—Pure, Pomace, and Extra Virgin.
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Loved by local chefs and used by home cooks across the country, Doña Elena Olive Oil makes everyday recipes with even just five ingredients taste extraordinary while giving them a healthy boost.

Switching to olive oil may seem like a minor step towards healthy eating, but it is a step in the right direction. With everyone just trying to maximize their resources and manage their time between working from home and doing things that we normally do at home, such as cooking, planning meals in advance plays such a crucial part of our health and well-being.

Having a simple recipe and basic ingredients on hand is all that stands between you and a bag of chips for lunch.

 

Doña Elena’s Pure, Extra Virgin, and Pomace come in 250 ml, 500 ml, 1 L and 5L sizes. Doña Elena Olive Oil is available nationwide at supermarkets, and online via lazada.com.ph and flyacecorp.com.

DOñA ELENA OLIVE OIL
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