Monthly Archives: July 2014

oliveoilcake

The Classics: An Olive Oil Cake Recipe

olive oil cake recipe

Rosemary and Chocolate Olive Oil Cake. Ph: The Vanilla Bean Blog

Spongy, light, and delicious, the all-star classic olive oil cake definitely gets less play than it deserves. For some, it’s has a bit of a vintage-y, Old Italy feel that’s so en vogue right now. To us, it’s a wonderful cross between an angel cake and the most incredibly moist sponge cake. It’s rich and dense but still surprisingly airy, with a crisp and crunchy crust that adds interesting textural contrast.

Famously served at iconic NYC eateries Maialino’s (if you want their recipe, the amazing gals at Food52 have a great how-to right here) and Mario Batali’s Babbo Ristorante, olive oil cake is beautifully simple and still amazingly delicious.

Olive oil cake uses of course, olive oil, instead of butter, giving it not only a lighter flavor, but also a lot less saturated fat, calories, more antioxidants from the oil…overall, just much healthier approach to baking. The trick to a fabulous olive oil cake is choosing a mild and subtle olive oil, nothing too strong or too peppery, so that the cake still tastes like, well, cake!

We love how adaptable it is, a great blank slate of sorts, a moist backdrop for all sorts of other flavors, which can vary according to your moods, tastes or just what’s in season at the time. Add lemon or orange zest in the winter, blueberries and raspberries in the summer, and chocolate, well, any time of year is good for chocolate! The end result will always be delicious.

olive oil cake recipe

How do you like them orange olive oil cake! CC Image courtesy of Uterior Epicture on Flikr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Olive oil cake is great as a dessert, but you can also enjoy it with your cup of morning or afternoon coffee. Make it in a cake or loaf pan for a traditional look, or in a muffin pan for mini olive oil cakes that are modern and more minimalist.

olive oil cake recipe

Make olive oil cake in muffin tins for a more modern minimalist look. CC Image courtesy of Ulterior Epicure on Flikr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The recipe for Rosemary & Chocolate Olive Oil Cake we’re sharing below combines rosemary and chocolate, a matching that is made in culinary heaven. It’s been adapted from Kim Boyce’s Good to the Grain. She uses spelt flour, but you can substitute for all-purpose if you want.

Rosemary & Chocolate Olive Oil Cake Recipe

Rating: 51

Yield: 8-12 servings

Serving Size: 1 slice

Rosemary & Chocolate Olive Oil Cake Recipe

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and whisk together.
  3. Take another large bowl and whisk the eggs. Add the olive oil, milk and rosemary, and whisk. Using a spatula, fold the wet ingredients into the flour mix, gently mixing just until combined.
  4. Stir in the chocolate.
  5. Grease a 9 1/2-inch fluted tart pan with olive oil. Pour the mix into the pan, spreading it evenly and making sure the top is smooth and not lumpy.
  6. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the top golden brown. To test for doneness: insert a skewer or knife into the center of the cake; if it comes out clean, the cake is done.
  7. Let the cake rest for 5 minutes before removing from the pan.
  8. Serve warm or cool.
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VIDEO: How To Style A Cheese Platter (In Under 1 Minute!)

You’ve got your favorite cheeses delivered, the freshest baguette picked out…now, how do you put it all together? There’s an art to assembling a cheese board that goes beyond unpacking the cheeses and plunking them down on a platter or board with a few crackers. It’s all about proportions, balance, textures, colors and flavors – art!

 

Video source: Tesco

We found this fabulous video by Sal Henley for British supermarket giant, Tesco. We loved – and you will too – the cheese platter ideas she gives us to help make our cheese board look not only delicious, but beautiful. She demonstrates how to slice the cheeses, to how to arrange fruit, plus other practical tips for beautifying your cheeses and impressing your guests at your next dinner party.

 

Short on time? Then this 60-second  how-to video by HGTV was made for you. Learn how to easily (and quickly!) arrange a cheese platter in 1 minute!

Video source: HGTV

 

Cheese Platter Ideas: Tips & Tricks

Take the cheeses out of the fridge at least 20 minutes before guests arrive – this brings the fromage to room temperature, allowing the flavors and aromas to develop.

Have at least three cheeses, but no more than five. You want to offer your guests variety, but not overwhelm their palates.

Mix textures, flavors and colors.  A successful cheese board has at least three distinct cheeses. If you’re offering a palate-pleaser like cheddar, then contrast with a soft, gooey Brie and maybe a crumbly blue cheese. Or, divide it up by country, and offer samplings from France, Italy, Spain, the US and perhaps England. However you do it, you want variety on your board.

Pair wisely.  When it comes to the accouterments of the cheese board, think in easy categories: breads, nuts and fruits. A handful of almonds, a bunch of grapes, and a fresh baguette are cheese’s best friends, and you can never go wrong with that. But if you want to get more creative, add jams, chutneys and honey (even honeycomb) – the latter goes especially well with blue cheese and goat cheese. More exotic breads are also fantastic on a cheeseboard, but only if they’re not herbed or flavored (this will cover up the flavor of the cheese itself).

Summer Cheese Platter Ideas:

Chèvre + fresh thyme

Goat Cheese + fig  preserves

Brie + strawberries


Feta + watermelon

Blue cheese + honeycomb

Manchego + Membrillo (quince paste)

Sheep’s milk cheese + cherry compote

Cheddar + fresh apples + fruit chutney

Parmigiano Reggiano + Aged Balsamic + strawberries

Mozzarella di Bufala + Extra Virgin Olive Oil + fresh basil

Gorgonzola or Roquefort + Honey

Saint Andre + fresh berries

Comte + cherries

Explorateur + fresh peaches

Asiago + mango

 

Do you have a fabulous cheese platter tip to share? Leave it in the comments! 

quichelorraine

A Classic Quiche Lorraine Recipe For Bastille Day

quiche lorraine recipe

Paired with a fresh salad in summer and spring, or with a hearty in soup in the winter, the perennial classic French Quiche Lorraine recipe is a dish as versatile as it is delicious.

July 14th marks Bastille Day, the day where all of France takes to the street and celebrates the French Revolution. Over here, it’s also the perfect excuse to celebrate France’s incredible contributions to the culinary world. And what better way to celebrate than with a chic and delicious savory quiche?

There are many versions of Quiche Lorraine, and there’s some contention about what a true recipe should include. The original dish from Lorraine region of France did not include cheese. Made popular in America by the iconic Julia Child, this savory tart starts with a base of flaky, buttery tart crust, and builds up with a hearty layer of delicious Gruyere cheese, sumptuous smoked bacon (which you could easily substitute with smoked pancetta), all perfectly seasoned and welded together by a luscious mix of cream, milk and eggs.

quiche lorraine recipe

The secret to a perfect quiche lies in the short crust. It should be buttery but not overwhelmingly rich, the texture both flaky and delicate, and never overwhelmingly dense.

So how do you achieve that? The best way is to make your own pastry dough, which gives you control of the ingredient proportions. Don’t be intimidated! Making this pie crust is actually super simple and an essential skill to have. Our Quiche Lorraine recipe includes instructions to make your own pastry dough, from scratch, in just minutes.  You can even make extra dough and freeze it for later use, so you only do the work once. If however, you’re pressed for time, you can buy ready made dough or pastry shell.

Once you’ve mastered the Quiche Lorraine recipe, it’s easy to bend the rules and experiment with your own ingredient combinations, and make great, inventive quiche recipes. Add seasonal vegetables, meats and sausage or seafood (like lobster!), and add your favorite cheese. The possibilities are endless…and delicious!

A Classic Quiche Lorraine Recipe For Bastille Day

Rating: 51

Yield: Serves 4

A Classic Quiche Lorraine Recipe For Bastille Day

Ingredients

  • Pastry
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cups butter
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 – 3 tbsp. cold water
  • Filling
  • 150 grams of smoked bacon or smoked pancetta, cut into thin strips
  • ½ tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup cream
  • ½ cup 2% milk
  • ½ tsp. Porcini salt
  • ½ tsp. Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere
  • Special equipment
  • 11” French tart pan (with removable base)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. For The Crust
  3. Place the flour in a large bowl and add the diced butter and the salt. Break the butter with a fork until you get a coarse meal-like (or breadcrumb-like) texture.
  4. Make an indentation in the center of the mix and add the egg yolk and water. Start forming the dough from the outside in, adding more water as needed until you get an even dough ball that doesn’t stick to the walls of the bowl. You want the dough to be soft. Add more flour and water as you go, if necessary
  5. Don’t knead the dough, but press it firmly and wrap it in film. Take to the fridge for at last 20 minutes.
  6. Roll out the dough over a lightly floured surface into a circle. As you roll out the dough, rotate it to ensure uniformity, and sprinkle more flour so it won't stick. The diameter of the crust should be about 1 or 2 inches larger than your pan.
  7. Roll the dough into the rolling pin (see picture), lift and unroll right onto your pan.
  8. With your thumbs, carefully press the bottom and sides of the dough, and make sure the rim of the pan is covered as well. Cut off any excess with a knife.
  9. Pinch the base with a fork.
  10. Blind baking: top with a sheet of foil topped with pastry weights or beans to blind bake the tart shells.
  11. Bake for about 10 minutes, then remove the foil and beans/weights, and bake for another 5 minutes until lightly golden. Set aside to cool.
  12. For the filling
  13. Heat up a large pan with the olive oil, and cook the bacon until golden and soft. Drain and set aside to cool.
  14. In a bowl, with a whisk or a fork, whisk lightly the eggs, cream, milk, pepper, salt and Gruyere.
  15. Spread the mix evenly over the tart.
  16. Bake at 350 F for about 20 to 30 minutes, until the quiche is golden and the filling is firm and has set completely. Tip: to check for doneness, insert a toothpick and remove, it should come out clean.
  17. Serve warm with a fresh green salad.
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crumble01

American Modern: Apple Pie Shots with Pistachio Crumble Recipe

apple pie shooters

Is there any dessert more quintessentially American than a classic apple pie? This crowd-pleasing dessert is the perfect way to pay homage to America on Independence Day (or any other day!). The height of apple season isn’t until the fall, but apples are (thankfully) available all year-round, so you can make this summery version of the patriotic pie for 4th of July.

For our version, we deconstructed it and took the pie out of its shell, layering the different elements and presenting it in modern, individual size glass jars.  You can use small jam jars, mason jars, or even shot glasses for this apple pie crumble.  Instead of a classic crumble, we added meaty pistachios for a great crunchy texture. You can top it off either with ice cream – a la mode – or whipped cream, depending on how hot the weekend gets!

apple pie shooters apple pie shooters

Your pistachio crumble should be buttery, crunchy and just a bit salty. Once it’s done, break it apart with your hands into coarse pieces, and make the crumbles as big or as small as you want. If pistachios are not your thing, you could easily substitute for a finally chopped macadamias (yum!), thinly sliced almonds, or just a regular crumble.

 

Dessert: American Apple Pie Shots with Pistachio Crumble

Rating: 51

Yield: Serves 6

Dessert: American Apple Pie Shots with Pistachio Crumble

Ingredients

  • 5 Granny Smith Apples, medium
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup pistachios, chopped coarsely
  • 2 tbsps. white sugar
  • 2½ tbsps. all-purpose flour
  • ½ stick butter
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Vanilla (or your favorite flavor) ice cream

Instructions

  1. Peel and cube the apples to about ¾ inch wide cubes, and place them in a bowl with water and the juice of ½ lemon. This will prevent the apples for oxidizing.
  2. In a medium saucepan, add the ¼ cup lemon juice with 1 cup orange juice, and incorporate ½ cup sugar, and heat over a hot/medium fire. Once the sugar is fully dissolved, add the apples (previously drained) and cook at medium heat until they’re just tender. Leave in the pan to cool down and get started on your crumble. Note: don’t over stir, so the apple cubes don’t disintegrate and lose their shape.
  3. In a bowl, mix the pistachios, 2 tbsp. sugar, flour, butter, cinnamon and cream and mix with a fork (or your hands), until you get a coarse mix.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  5. Spray non-stick spray over a baking sheet, and spread the crumble.
  6. Bake from 8 to 10 minutes, until the crumble is dry and golden. Once cooled, break up the crumble with your hands.
  7. To serve, scoop the apple mix into shot classes or mason jars, then cover with 2 to 3 tablespoons of crumble. Finish with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
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