olive oil

Olive Oil Lemon Cake with Blueberries and Ricotta

olive oil lemon cake

I thought about making a pie today, in celebration of Pi Day (3/14). But truth be told, I'm not such a pie-making gal. It's the crust that intimidates me. My mom is a phenomenal pie maker. Her pies are the stuff of legend. She learned from her mom, who was also celebrated for her pies, with their perfectly balanced fruit fillings and their perfectly textured crusts. 

Not sure how or why I yearned to learn how to cook certain foods from my mom but not others. But that's how the cookie crumbled for me. So today, though I wanted to bake a pie, instead I baked a cake. 

I'm anxious for spring, so I wanted something light and fruity. Immediately I thought about an olive oil cake. I perused several recipes (like this one and this one) and then came up with my own.  

Without further ado, here's the recipe: 

ingredients

INGREDIENTS
1 cup whole milk ricotta
1/3 cup +2 tablespoons olive oil (I used a very fruity evoo)
3 large eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
Zest of 2 whole lemons
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pint blueberries

METHOD

  • Preheat the oven to 350. Line the bottom of a springform pan with parchment and spray with a neutral oil.
  • Combine the ricotta, olive oil, eggs, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla extract. Don't overbeat... this can all be done by hand. 
  • In a separate bowl, add the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt). Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until fully combined.
  • Next, get a clean bowl and pour in half of the batter. Add half of the blueberries to half of the batter. This will be the bottom of the cake. Pour this into your springform pan. 
  • Add the remaining batter on top of this cake and decorate with blueberries as you'd like. 
  • If you'd like to make it easier, you can combine all of the batter and all of the blueberries. This method is best if you have a design in mind for the top. 
separate half batter and half berries
top with batter

When you have finished designing your blueberry top, bake for approximately 35 minutes. the top will be slightly golden brown and the texture inside will be moist and delicious. 

olive oil cake pre-baked

Once this is finished baking, set aside to rest and cool for at least 10 minutes. It's bright and satisfying, but not too sweet. The ricotta adds depth and the lemon zest and blueberries balance out the sugar. You'll absolutely notice a change in flavor with a change of olive oil in this cake. Experiment and see what you like best! Enjoy immediately, or savor it over the course of several days (if it lasts that long!) 

olive oil cake

Olive Oil Lemon Thyme Cookies!

Cookie season is here and I couldn't be happier! I've said this before, but this kind of important thing bears repeating. Cookies make the world go round, as far as I'm concerned. Sayonara candy, cake and pie. 

olive oil lemon thyme.JPG
olive oil lemon thyme 2.JPG

My youngest is dairy free, so over the years I've found some terrific recipes for dairy free cookies that satisfy my cookie craving and are also safe for all 5 of us to enjoy. These Lemon & Thyme Olive Oil Cookies have become some of our favorites! Beyond the flavor, which I can assure you as a cookie snob, is out of this world, the texture is fantastic. I'm making a triple batch of these to bring to a Christmas party.

Here's the recipe, courtesy of Une Gamine Dans La Cuisine. The original recipe calls for almond extract, but my family is nut free, so I've eliminated that. 

Lemon & Thyme Olive Oil Cookies
makes about 28-32 cookies

ingredients
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lemon zest (about 2 regular-size lemons) {note: save the lemon}
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon finely minced thyme
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 egg
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

topping
1/2 cup granulated sugar for rolling

method
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar (1 cup) and lemon zest. Rub the zest into the sugar until it's evenly moistened and aromatic; Set aside to marinate for a few minutes.

In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and thyme; Set aside. 

Add the olive oil, egg and lemon juice, to the lemon-sugar mixture. Mix either by hand or with a mixer until smooth. (About 3-5 minutes.) Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 3 hours - this part is key. 

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. 

Place the 1/2 cup of granulated sugar (for rolling) into a large, shallow bowl. 

For each cookie, measure out about 2 well-rounded teaspoonfuls. Roll into balls and roll the balls through the bowl of sugar until evenly coated. {Note: Don't worry if the dough is a bit crumbly. If you work the balls of dough long enough with your palms, it will come together.} Place the sugar-coated cookies onto prepared sheets and use your hand or the bottom of a cup to flatten slightly. 

Bake for 8-10 minutes. The cookies will have puffed up slightly but will still look pale. (Mine were just right after 8 minutes.) Remove the cookies sheets from the oven and let the cookies rest for about 3 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

Recipe adapted from Mama's Gotta Bake

 

Olive Oil Blueberry Deliciousness

Olive Oil Blueberry cake! 

Olive Oil Blueberry cake! 

I've got a sweet tooth but funny enough, I really don't like things that are too sweet. I'm all about the hint of sweet. So when I came across this recipe from Saveur for Olive Oil Quatre Quarts with Chopped Fruit, it looked right up my alley. 

First of all, it has no dairy, which is a huge bonus for a dairy free gal like me. Second of all, I just love the flavor of olive oil desserts. I had everything on hand for this recipe and it was easy enough to whip up while my kiddos were nodding off to sleep last night. I made two changes to the original recipe – I used blueberries instead of peaches or plums, and I used a very fragrant olive oil instead of a bland and sweet variety, as the recipe called for. Yum-oh. 

I initially cut this into squares because it's such a dense, rich cake and I thought it would be best in small portions. But alas... the squares were bite sized and perfect and I just kept popping them into my mouth! So I cut larger slices to stop myself from eating the entire cake!

I had a slice for breakfast this morning, truth be told! We all need departures from the healthy norm, eh? Scroll down for the recipe as I've slightly modified it (and special thanks to Saveur for the original recipe!). 

I began with olive oil from Frankies 457 - my favorite!

I began with olive oil from Frankies 457 - my favorite!

The batter came together quickly

The batter came together quickly

Fold in the egg whites

Fold in the egg whites

Chock full of juicy blueberries! And cooked in parchment paper to reduce cleanup time.

Chock full of juicy blueberries! And cooked in parchment paper to reduce cleanup time.

More batter and more blueberries.  

More batter and more blueberries.  

Oh, sweet (not too sweet!) deliciousness. 

Oh, sweet (not too sweet!) deliciousness. 

INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup of sugar
3/4 cup of fruity extra-virgin olive oil
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 pint blueberries

 

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line an 8x8 dish with parchment paper. 

2. Measure the sugar and place in a mixing bowl. Remove a two tablespoons of the sugar and set aside. Add the olive oil and beat with a hand mixer until combined.

3. Separate the eggs. Add the yolks to the olive oil mixture and put the whites aside. Mix in the yolks. Slowly add the flour to the olive oil mixture, making sure to mix thoroughly before adding more. Add the salt and vanilla extract. Set the batter aside. 

4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Add the two tablespoons of sugar that had been set aside and continue to beat. Slowly fold into the batter using a spatula.

5. Pour half the batter into the 8x8 dish. Rinse the blueberries and pat them dry. Add about 3/4 of the pint on top of the batter and pour the remainder of the batter over them. Place the remaining 1/4 pint of blueberries on top. Bake for approximately 45 minutes. 

Enjoy! 

 

 

 

 

The Pre-Vacation Fridge-Emptying Salad

We are going away for the holiday weekend. Yay! For me, part of vacation planning includes using up the food in my house that will go bad while we're gone. I hate wasted food, so finding great last minute uses for it makes me really pleased. 

The Fridge-Emptying Salad! So satisfying to know that food will not be wasted when we leave town. 

The Fridge-Emptying Salad! So satisfying to know that food will not be wasted when we leave town. 

As I looked inside my fridge last night, I saw a bunch of kale, some baby arugula, one lemon and some cilantro that had to get used plus the last third of my favorite whole wheat bread on the counter. Those ingredients, plus a couple of household staples created a delicious salad for last night's dinner. This salad hit the spot because it had earthiness from the kale, crunch from the croutons, tartness from lemon juice, bitterness from the arugula, salt from the olives and the special secret ingredient that added the needed sweetness – raisins from Peeled Snacks!
Check it out (complete recipe below the photos): 

Best wishes for a happy and healthy July 4th weekend!

First, I cut the whole wheat bread into crouton chunks and put them into a mixing bowl.

First, I cut the whole wheat bread into crouton chunks and put them into a mixing bowl.

Next, I drizzled the bread with my favorite Frankies 457 olive oil and tossed with a sliced shallot. 

Next, I drizzled the bread with my favorite Frankies 457 olive oil and tossed with a sliced shallot. 

I spread the croutons out on parchment paper and baked at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.

I spread the croutons out on parchment paper and baked at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.

At the same time, I sliced my bunch of kale, drizzled with olive oil and spread it onto parchment paper. I roasted it at 375 for 15 minutes. 

At the same time, I sliced my bunch of kale, drizzled with olive oil and spread it onto parchment paper. I roasted it at 375 for 15 minutes. 

I assembled the salad by tossing the kale with arugula, green olives (that I sliced), 1/4 cup of my favorite raisins from Peeled Snacks and fresh chopped cilantro. I squeezed fresh lemon juice and sprinkled with salt and pepper and tossed in the croutons and roasted shallots at the very end. YUM. 

I assembled the salad by tossing the kale with arugula, green olives (that I sliced), 1/4 cup of my favorite raisins from Peeled Snacks and fresh chopped cilantro. I squeezed fresh lemon juice and sprinkled with salt and pepper and tossed in the croutons and roasted shallots at the very end. YUM. 

The Fridge-Emptying Salad
1 bunch of kale, sliced
3 tablespoons of olive oil
3 cups baby arugula
8 green olives, pitted and sliced
1/4 cup raisins (My favorite are the Raisin Expectations from Peeled Snacks
2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
Juice from one lemon
Whole Wheat Croutons (recipe below)
Salt and pepper to taste

Spread the sliced kale onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Roast in a preheated 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until edges are crispy. 
Toss roasted kale with baby arugula, olives, raisins and cilantro until all ingredients are nicely distributed. Add lemon juice and the remaining olive oil and toss once again. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and top with homemade croutons and roasted shallot slices. 

Whole Wheat Croutons
Whole wheat bread cut into chunks (I love the Pain Complet from Eric Kayser)
2 tablespoons olive oil (I swear by Frankies 457
1 shallot, sliced

Place bread chunks into a mixing bowl and toss with olive oil. Add sliced shallot, toss again and let it sit for about 10 minutes so that the flavor of the shallot has a chance to penetrate the bread. Spread onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 375 for approximately 15 minutes. 

Orange Mint Olive Oil Cookies

It worked!

I played around with the delicious recipe from Une Gamine Dans La Cuisine that I blogged about last week and the outcome is equally as yummy! I substituted orange zest and juice of an orange for lemon in the original recipe and also substituted fresh mint for fresh thyme (full recipe below). Voila: Orange Mint Olive Oil Cookies! 

Orange Mint Olive Oil Cookies

Orange Mint Olive Oil Cookies

My family can barely wait for them to cool before gobbling them up. If you're looking to bring cookies to a New Years party, look no further - these tasty cookies have a delicate cookie texture and an interesting flavor that nicely balances sweet and salt. Thank you again to Une Gamine Dans La Cuisine - the original source of this inspiration! 

ingredients
1 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons orange zest (about 1 navel orange) {note: save the orange for the juice}
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons finely minced mint
2/3 cup virgin olive oil 
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 Tablespoon fresh orange juice

topping
1/2 cup granulated sugar for rolling

method
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar (1 cup) and lemon zest. Rub the zest into the sugar until it's evenly moistened and aromatic; Set aside to marinate for a few minutes.

In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and mint; Set aside. 

Add the olive oil, egg, vanilla extract, and orange juice, to the orange-sugar mixture. Using the paddle attachment, beat on med-low speed until smooth. (About 3-5 minutes.) Add the dry ingredients and beat on med-low speed until just combined. Switch over to a large rubber spatula and use it to mix in any stray flour streaks. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. 

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. 

Place the 1/2 cup of granulated sugar (for rolling) into a large, shallow bowl. 

For each cookie, measure out about 2 well-rounded teaspoonfuls. Roll into balls and roll the balls through the bowl of sugar until evenly coated. {Note: Don't worry if the dough is a bit crumbly. If you work the balls of dough long enough with your palms, it will come together.} Place the sugar-coated cookies onto prepared sheets. Use the bottom of a glass or cup to flatten slightly.

Bake for 8-10 minutes. The cookies will have puffed up slightly but will still look pale. (Mine were just right after 8 minutes.) Remove the cookies sheets from the oven and let the cookies rest for about 3 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

Recipe adapted from Mama's Gotta Bake