Olive Oil Cake

Greetings! This year for my birthday, I made my favorite olive oil cake. I absolutely love this olive oil cake recipe, as it is sweet,but not too sweet, perfectly dense and moist. We usually eat it for breakfast with a dollop of sour cream and a nice strong espresso. You can certainly devour it with some champagne and fruit or any other way you prefer. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do! Bon appétit! 

Olive Oil Cake Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar (I used raw turbinado sugar)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/3 cups good quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 3 large fresh eggs
  • Zest of a whole fresh orange
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup Grand Marnier ( You can also substitute Benedictine or Rum)

Directions:

1. Heat the oven to 350° F. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform cake pan that is at least 2 inches deep (If your cake pan is less than 2 inches deep, divide between 2 pans and start checking for doneness at 30 minutes).

2. In a bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and powder. In another bowl, whisk the olive oil, milk, eggs, orange zest and juice, and Grand Marnier. Add the dry ingredients; whisk until just combined.

3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, until the top is golden and a cake tester comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and let cool for 30 minutes.

4. Optional: Sprinkle 2 tbsp of fresh orange juice and 1 tbsp of sugar uniformly over the cake.

5. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, invert the cake onto the rack and let cool completely, 2 hours.

6. Serve warm or cold with some sour cream or crème fraiche, fresh fruit, roasted fruit, fruit compote or jam.

Olive Oil Cake

Beef Bourguignon, My Way

Bonjour! Lately, we are drinking and enjoying many Italian and French wines and it is inspiring me to cook with wine and pair wine and food. I have wanted to make Beef Bourguignon for a while, so when we tasted a beautiful Bourgogne Pinot Noir I decided it was the perfect wine to use in Beef Bourguignon. It was a cold Saturday and I did not have every item I needed to make this dish, but I was determined to make it work. Please excuse me for not sticking to the traditional method, but I do plan to make it again using the complete traditional ingredients. Continue reading “Beef Bourguignon, My Way”

Fig, Rosemary, and Bourbon Smash

Greetings! Here is a delicious and easy recipe for a cocktail when you are in the mood for bourbon smash, but want something a little different. Of course, feel free to try different fruits that are in season and, if you would like, pair them with your favorite herbs that complement the specific fruits. I have made these with peaches, apricots, nectarines, plums and cherries and they are all so very enjoyable! Continue reading “Fig, Rosemary, and Bourbon Smash”

Creamy Frozen Blueberry Mojito

It finally feels like summer and so it is time to grill and make very satisfying cold drinks! It was a very hot and humid weekend just this past weekend, so we decided to grill hamburgers and also make a frozen cocktail. I wanted to experiment with a mojito-type cocktail, so I first decide what flavors sounded good at that moment, then I gathered what I had available that I thought would complement each other. I decided to mix dark rum, orange liquor, lime juice, chocolate mint, cream of coconut and blueberries. I incautiously measured the ingredients and added them into a blender and just watched as everything came together beautifully, then slurped up a glassful after doing our weekend chores and just before enjoying our delicious hamburgers! It was so minty, creamy and berrylicious!  Continue reading “Creamy Frozen Blueberry Mojito”

Spicy Israeli Couscous Mushroom Pilaf with Shrimp

I’ve come to embrace how structural I am. I love planning everything in advance. I do need to be more spontaneous and I’m working on that, but I do think being organized and planning ahead really helps get your life in order and maximizes what little time we have after working hours. I love planning everything in advance from seasonal house chores to weeknight meals. Usually on weeknights we have specific meal themes. For example, Mondays are usually vegetarian nights, Tuesdays are usually taco nights or something Tex-Mex, Wednesdays are usually seafood nights and Thursdays are either clean out the refrigerator and put something unique together or leftover nights. Fridays are generally reserved for takeout or eating out, and of course weekends are usually for more time consuming culinary meals. Of course, this is not set in stone and there are times we just change things around or do something completely different.
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Nectarine Whiskey Elixir

Hi there! It has been a while since my last post. It is surprising how busy one can get at spring time. Winter chore list that one must finish, spring house cleaning, gardening, and there is something new to add to the chore list every day. We have been saying we’re almost done with big chores for the last 2 months, but we still have several things left to do. Just last Saturday, we worked very hard cleaning our yard and planting our garden. Afterwards, we craved a cold smoothie-like cocktail, so we decided to try something new. I had seen a recipe somewhere before for a peach whiskey cocktail, so I decided to use what we had on hand to make something similar. I combined bourbon, nectarines, lemon juice, honey, turmeric, ginger, basil and ice in a blender and just watched as the ingredients tornadoed into a beautiful goldenrod hue. This refreshing sweet and spicy drink was very easy and quick to make and so satisfying after a long day’s work. After we served our cocktails in our champagne flutes, we sat out on the patio and enjoyed them as we admired all our hard work. It was a perfect moment for mindfully savoring the flavors and aromas and treasuring the beautiful sunshine and the soft breeze. Of note, you can use gin or another spirit if you don’t feel like whiskey. Also, feel free to experiment with other fruits and herbs in this cocktail as you may end up making something truly wonderful. Hope you enjoy! Continue reading “Nectarine Whiskey Elixir”

Samosas

The other day we felt like having finger food and decided to make samosas for the first time. I’ve had samosas at several Indian restaurants and I love how they are crispy on the outside and warm, spicy and moist on the inside. It is always such a joy to take that first bite and savor it and then devour the whole thing in matter of seconds because it just tastes so great. One of my sister in-laws and her husband gave us an Indian cookbook, Complete Indian Cooking, for a wedding gift and I have used it many times and tried new recipes. I was glancing at it again the other day and found a samosa recipe. I modified it slightly, but I think the samosas came out nicely. I made two kinds, Potato & Pea Samosas and Lamb & Pea Samosas. I also decided to bake them instead of frying them, and not because I wanted them healthier, I just didn’t want to deal with the frying mess that day as after all it was my lazy day. We each ended up having four samosas that day because they were so tasty, fresh and crisp and they went beautifully with our quick Mint-Coconut Yogurt Chutney (recipe below). Here is the recipe for our samosas and hope you enjoy!

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Gin & Elderflower Cordial

The other day we wanted to have a light and refreshing drink to remind us of warmer days when we sat outside and enjoyed fresh air and the scents from our herb garden, so we decided to try a new recipe that we call Gin & Elderflower Cordial. First, when it comes to gin we just love Hendrick’s Gin as it is more mild, floral and aromatic. It works really well in any gin cocktail and it can blend well with other liquors as it is not too strong in juniper taste. For this cocktail, we blended gin with elderflower cordial, lemon juice and orange bitters. I find that when you make new drink recipes, you need to keep adjusting your sweet to sour ratio until you have it balanced the way you prefer. For us, the elderflower cordial in this recipe is sweet enough by itself so there is no need to add any additional sweetener to balance the flavors. The orange bitters add a nice bold, herbaceous and zesty note to the drink. Here’s the recipe. Hope you enjoy making and savoring this drink!

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The Antoinette

On special occasions when we feel like living it up, we love going to our favorite craft cocktail bar The Berry & Rye. It is a charming little place and we love the quaint and cozy atmosphere. They have an awesome selection of original craft cocktails and some classics and they have seasonal menus as well. We love trying new cocktails, but one of our standard favorites is the Antoinette. The Antoinette is this seductively gorgeous drink that tastes heavenly and it is sinfully delicious. It is spicy with beautiful burgundy color and it is composed of whiskey, maple syrup, blueberry reduction, fresh Lemon juice, and their House Cinnamon & Clove Bitters. When we first had this cocktail, I became obsessed with recreating it at home, so I first made our own version of cinnamon and clove bitters (Spice & Spirits Cinnamon Clove Bitters) and once the bitters was ready, I married whiskey, maple syrup, lemon juice and pure blueberry juice with couple dashes of the bitters and voilà.

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Gold Rush

We just love whiskey cocktails as we always have whiskey around the house and it pairs well with citrus and goes well with spicy bitters. I first made this cocktail on New Year’s Eve this year and we just loved it. We loved it so much that we made a whole pitcher full. It is so easy and so delicious. I love the beautiful amber gold color and the smooth sweet and sour comforting taste with just a touch of spice. It is especially great on a cold day when you just want to stay in your warm pajamas by the fire and enjoy the calm moment. Here is the recipe.

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