Contributed by: News Canada
Healthy Food News: Use an olive oil spread every day By J.C. Carroll
(NC) - There aren't a lot of them, but olive oil spreads are now mainstream. Using one every day as an alternative to butter and margarine is not just for gourmet palates anymore.
The inherent goodness of these spreads - on a sandwich, with crusty bread, for cooking and baking - is making them a hot topic with grocery retailers of late. For the best quality when buying, be sure to compare and identify the spread with the highest olive oil content.
Health Canada reminds us frequently that in moderation, the 'good' fats - as in olive oil and fish oil - are an important part of a healthy diet. According to the International Olive Oil Council website, as much as 75 percent of olive oil is oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that has been shown in numerous medical studies to help lower blood cholesterol.
Olive oil is also an excellent source of vitamin E, a nutrient known to be the body's primary fat-soluble antioxidant. Vitamin E is thought to chase down and neutralize cancer-causing free radicals in all the fat-rich areas of the body.
"Our incentive for producing a high-quality olive oil spread was based on an increasing number of people telling us they wanted to do something nutritious for their bodies every day," says Peter Carter of Olive Lea, a line with 24 percent olive oil. "These people were asking specifically for an alternative to the saturated fat in butter, and to replace trans fat-heavy margarine. Olive Lea is now the No. 1 best seller in Australia (where it's known as Olive Grove) and this year, Olive Lea made its debut on the shelves of Safeway in Canada." Use it for cooking too
The success of Olive Lea in Australia is largely due to its high content of premium olive oil. "It's the highest on the market," Carter explained. "The line has four varieties, giving consumers a choice of either the classic spread, the extra virgin spread, one with avocado, and a fourth one that is lowered in oil and calories, designated 'light'. Using an olive oil spread is simply an every day, positive measure for a healthier life."
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly coat 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan with nonstick spray. Blend flour, sugar and salt in processor to combine. Cut in Olive Lea Spread, using on/off turns, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add egg yolks and blend until moist clumps form. Press mixture onto bottom of prepared pan.
Bake until just beginning to turn golden brown around edges, about 10 minutes. Remove crust from oven; reduce temperature to 325 F.
Meanwhile, prepare lemon filling: Whisk eggs and sugar in large bowl to blend. Whisk flour and baking powder in medium bowl to blend. Add flour mixture to egg mixture, whisking to blend. Whisk in lemon juice and peel. Immediately pour lemon filling over hot crust; bake until filling is set, about 30 minutes. Maintain oven temperature.
Blend flour, 1/2 cup sugar and salt in processor to combine. Cut in Olive Lea Spread, using on/off turns, until mixture resembles coarse meal.
Sprinkle topping over hot lemon bars; continue to bake until just golden, about 25 minutes longer. Cool completely. Sprinkle powdered sugar over. Cut into bars. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.)
Serving Size: Makes 16 Servings
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