MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - May 23, 2011) - (Family Features) A string of pearls. The irresistible matching bag. The gotta-have-'em high heels. So many times the accessory makes the outfit. So goes the way of California Black Ripe Olives.

From Indian to Italian, black olives are a key ingredient that brings flavor and texture to entrees, salads, soups and more. The most popular usage of black olives is jazzing up pizza, but it's a must-have item in Mexican favorites such as enchiladas and burritos as well.

While they've been a longtime pantry staple of home cooks, chefs love the versatility of olives, too. Celebrity chef Claire Robinson has partnered with the California Black Ripe Olive industry to share her tips for dressing up dishes and has developed four knock-out recipes featuring California Black Ripe Olives -- every season's and every dish's hottest accessory.

Share how you accessorize your meals with California Black Ripe Olives in the Dress Up Your Dish recipe contest for a chance to score $2,500 cash and a $100 gift card to www.gilt.com. Go to www.facebook.com/CaliforniaBlackRipeOlives to learn more and enter.

For recipe inspiration, and other information about California Black Ripe Olives, visit www.CalOlive.org.

Claire's Tip
Use double-duty ingredients. Stocking your pantry is like stocking your wardrobe -- it's smart to have items on hand that serve double duty. California Black Ripe Olives are one of those fabulous multipurpose ingredients. Coarsely chop them with a little garlic, olive oil, and fresh herbs and you have a homemade tapenade. Add them to store-bought hummus and it becomes a delicious dip!

Black Olive, Red Pepper and Cucumber Salad
Makes 4 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes

1/2cup sliced California
Black Ripe Olives
1red bell pepper, chopped
into 1/4-inch cubes
1English cucumber, seeds
removed and cut into
1/4-inch cubes
2tablespoons freshly squeezed
lemon juice
1/4cup garlic-infused olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly
cracked black pepper

In medium bowl, toss together olives, red pepper and cucumber. In small bowl, whisk together lemon juice and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Right before serving, pour vinaigrette over olive mixture and serve.

Orzo with Black Olives and Feta
Makes 6 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: about 10 minutes

1pound orzo
3tablespoons white wine
1/2cup lemon-infused olive oil
1cup whole California Black
Ripe Olives
14-ounce container crumbled
feta cheese (about 1 cup)
Kosher salt and freshly
cracked black pepper,
to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over moderately high heat. Add orzo; cook until al dente, according to package instructions, and drain. Transfer pasta to medium bowl. Whisk together vinegar and oil and pour over pasta, mixing until well combined. Toss in olives and feta. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Baked Fresh Ricotta with Black Olives
Makes 4 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 35 to 40 minutes

115-ounce container fresh
whole milk ricotta cheese
(1 1/2 cups)
Kosher salt, to taste
Zest of 1 orange, divided
1cup California Black Ripe
Olives, strained and cut
in wedges
1baguette, cut into
1/4-inch-thick wedges

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place cheese in medium bowl; add eggs, salt, and half the orange zest and stir until well combined. Transfer to an 8-inch baking dish and place on a baking sheet. Bake in the center of the oven until puffed and beginning to brown, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with remaining orange zest. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serve warm over baguette slices and top with olives.

Contact Information:

Wendy MacDonald
1-888-824-3337 ext. 235