Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Olive Oil Can Be Found Where You Least Expect It

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about olive oil? Is it bread dipping or maybe salad dressings? If you step away from the obvious and give it a bit more thought, you will realize this liquid gold can be in all sorts of other dishes. It’s at the heart of Mediterranean cooking and is featured in recipe books all over the Mediterranean Basin.

Olive oil brings out flavors and adds subtle nuances. It also helps to preserve food. Fish, meat, vegetables… a vast world where olive oil plays a key role, even though we might not notice at first.

Marinating steaks in olive oil with garlic, salt, oregano, paprika and a dash of vinegar. You can try preserving cheese or dried tomatoes in olive oil. Or work it into dishes such as salmorejo, pesto, mayonnaise and humus. Don’t forget homemade semi-preserved vegetables that are always within easy reach in the fridge. Olive oil has such versatile uses in Mediterranean cooking that it is impossible to imagine their diet without it.
Olive OIl Uses

Sweet dishes might not spring to mind as readily, but who said you can’t replace the butter in a homemade sponge cake with olive oil? Food writer José Oneto revealed how to use olive oil for cooking delicious sweet treats in his book El aceite de oliva virgen extra en la repostería de ayer y de hoy [Extra Virgin Olive Oil in Yesterday and Today’s Cakes], which features desserts such as crème caramel, rice pudding, sponge cakes and biscuits.

Olive oil can have hidden flavors such as apple or almond that you can use to highlight a more rich and sweet recipe. But we can also use it in jellies and even ice cream! Ice cream can be the perfect complement to savoury dishes. Wonderful ice creams leave Fernando Sáenz’s ice cream workshop, Obrador Grate in Viana, Navarra, for leading haute cuisine restaurants and his ice cream shop Della Sera in Logroño. For example, his Lemon Cream with olive oil from Alfaro is a fresh original idea that takes olive oil to a place you’d never imagine.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Fresh Strawberry Cake Recipe

Spring is in the air and the strawberries here in California are delicious. This Fresh Strawberry Cake recipe is perfect for brunch or to go with afternoon tea or coffee.

Serves: 12

Fresh Strawberry Cake Recipe

Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoon STAR Extra Light Olive Oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
Instructions
Preheat oven to 350º F. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick baking spray or spread
with a thin coating of butter and then lightly flour the pan, removing any excess flour.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar until
well-combined.

Add STAR Extra Light Olive Oil into dry ingredients and stir together until really well-combined with a rubber spatula. Add eggs one at a time, combining well after each addition.

Add milk to the batter and stir well.

Gently fold in strawberries. Pour batter into prepared baking dish.

Sprinkle entire top of cake with 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar to form a sugary crust
on the baked cake.

Bake cake for 40-45 minutes until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes
out clean. Allow to cool completely, about 15-20 minutes before serving.

Store cake slices in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


Adapted from a recipe by Robyn Stone from Add a Pinch
Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Deconstructing Carbonara

Did you know that carbonara is not only a simple sauce but can actually be used as a condiment too? Ada Boni reveals all in her book Il talismano della felicità (Colombo)—the mother of all encyclopaedias of Italian cooking. Made with eggs, Parmesan, butter, bacon, onion, dry white wine and salt, carbonara is a vital part of certain dishes. In fact, the author suggests that all cooks planning on making any dish alla carbonara should always start with the carbonara if they want things to go well.
You probably noticed that Boni doesn’t use cream. Well, everyone has their own way of doing things and certain ingredients are added or left out in different regions of Italy. Carbonara is ideal for serving with egg pasta or spaghetti.
Carbonara
Carbonara Ingredients
Originally from Rome, the first recipe for carbonara as a condiment didn’t include cream or bacon—a striking omission for those of us who automatically think of these two ingredients when making carbonara. Every household and every region of Italy has their own way of making it and there’s no right or wrong way. Therein lies part of the joy of cooking.

Some people include bacon; others add garlic; some leave out the wine; and others happily throw in butter, cream and the olive oil used to fry the bacon, which in turn could be chopped up.
Carbonara is a key recipe but it’s origin is shrouded in mystery: some say it was used to feed guerrillas hiding in coal mines (hence the name); others claim it was a typical miners’ meal; and there’s even a suggestion it was invented in a mining town.
There are almost as many versions of the legend as there are of the condiment itself. And don’t forget that whenever you don’t feel like slaving over a hot stove or can’t decide whether to add garlic or wine, you can always use one of the many Borges products that bring any dish to life.


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