This is my birthday week and it's been off to a wonderful start! But there are lots of recipe updates for you!!!Read More
Things are getting exciting. While I've been busy working on my copy edits for the book, I received an email showing me the first mock ups of the book from my editor. We now have a design in place and fonts and colors picked out! Things are coming together and all the moving parts are moving faster than they were before.
When California Olive Ranch asked me to create a recipe with some of the staples in my kitchen, I thought about a bunch of different thigns but truly what would be something, that I could create without too much of a fuss yet bold in flavor. Something that could be used in a ton of different ways and also spark up the most boring of meals with a kick.
I threw in a few coarsely ground spices into a little extra-virgin olive oil and let it slowly simmer on the lowest heat setting to prevent the spices from burning yet. But let's talk about these spices, I threw in a few garlic cloves, a little coriander but some urfa biber flakes. If you haven't tried urfa biber, you should! It's a chile pepper from Turkey that's been dried and has a chocolate-like fragrance and carries a little heat. Once the hot olive oil is infused with flavors from the spices, let it sit for a couple of days to get a more robust kick. You can use this infused oil to dress hardboiled eggs (the example I"ve given below) or shake it with a little vinegar to create a salad dressing or even use it to season vegetables, meats or seafood. Just add a little salt at the end and you're good to go! Here's an easy and wonderful way to bring bold flavors and complexity in your food without too much of an effort!
urfa biber garlic infused oil
Makes 1 cup [240 ml]
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil (California Olive Ranch)
1 tsp urfa biber flakes
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 garlic cloves, smashed
3 hardboiled eggs
kosher or maldon salt as needed
Place the olive oil in a small saucepan.
Grind the urfa biber, coriander and cumin together to a coarse powder using a mortar and pestle or spice mill and add it to the olive oil. Then smash the garlic and add it to the oil.
Heat the oil in the saucepan on low heat (simmer setting) for about 15 minutes. Then remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Transfer the contents to a dry, clean jar and store in a cool, dark place for about 2 weeks.
To use the infused oil: Cut the hardboiled eggs in half, sprinkle with flaky salt and freshly ground pepper. Stir the infused olive oil and drizzle a Tbsp on top of the eggs. Serve immediately with buttered toast.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by California Olive Ranch, however all opinions expressed are solely my own.
The South is famous for many wonderful culinary delights but in summer I'm always reminded of all the peaches we eat when we visit M's parents at the farm. Big, fat juicy peaches where the sweet nectar trickles down your arms and the mess is irrelevant. And then there's bourbon, which I truly think was somehow solely created to go with peaches. Peaches first landed in Virginia somewhere in the 17th century and quickly spread their way across the South. Since Georgia is known for peaches, I thought Georgia is probably the largest producer of the fruit but it turns out, California grows the largest amount of peaches each year. (This actually surprised me because for some reason, California didn't even come to mind).
Peaches have finally arrived at my farmer's market in Oakland. I ate 6 in one sitting on the first day, I think another 5 on the second, I can't help myself.
These cupcakes are made with olive oil and peaches and then frosted with a peach and olive oil based frosting. But the cupcakes are also spiced with a little cardamom, star anise and cloves to complement the peaches. I usually like to spread a spoonful of the frosting on the surface of the cake and finish it with walnut (pecans work well too). Oh yeah and I cheated a little on chopping my peaches, I used my blender to get a little bit of the juice out so it blends in with the cake batter too.
Here, I've used California Olive Ranch's olive oil which has delicious fruity notes that stand out in the frosting and in the cupcakes.
spiced olive oil peach and bourbon cupcakes
makes 16 cup cakes
seeds from 2 green cardamom pods
1 star anise
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger powder
2 cups [280g] whole-wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup [240ml] extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/3 cup [265g] sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature
2 Tbsp peach liqueur
2 Tbsp bourbon
2 [500g] firm yellow peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped *for the frosting
2 cups [250g] confectioner's sugar
4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp peach liqueur
2 Tbsp bourbon
2 Tbsp water
1/2 tsp turmeric or yellow food coloring
16 walnut halves
Place a wire rack at midlevel and preheat the oven to 350F. Line 2 (12 capacity) standard cupcake pans with paper liners.
Grind the cardamom, cloves and star anise using a mortar and pestle or a spice mill. Sift the ground spices with the ginger, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk the olive oil and sugar by hand. Then add one egg at a time and whisk until combined. The mixture should be pale yellow. Whisk in the peach liqueur and the bourbon. Whisk this mixture into the sifted dry ingredients and then fold in the peaches. Divide the mixture equally between 16 cupcake molds and bake in the preheated oven for about 12 to 15 minutes until the cakes are firm in the center and light golden brown, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the cakes to cool in the pan on a wire rack to room temperature.
To prepare the frosting, stir the confectioner's sugar, oil, peach liqueur, bourbon and water to form a smooth paste. Add more water if needed. To frost the cakes, you can either dip a cooled cupcake and rotate to coat the surface in a thin even layer and allow to sit on a wire rack to set. Alternatively, spread 1 to 2 tsp of the frosting on the surface and spread using an offset spatula. Place a walnut half in the center. Allow the frosting to set for about 20 minutes. The cakes should last for 3 to 4 days.
*You can also put the peaches in a blender and pulse for a second or two until you get a little bit of the juice extracted out and add that to the batter. Just don't make a purée! An extra tip, here, reserve 1 to 2 Tbsp of the juice and stir that into the frosting.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by California Olive Ranch. However, all opinions expressed are solely my own.
Last weekend, I found out that I am a very good accidental gardener, it's true, I might not have plenty of luck when it comes to planned gardening but when it comes to unexpectedly growing stuff, I have a green thumb! I went to open up a bag of sweet potatoes that I remember picking up a week or two ago and lo and behold, they were growing shoots and leaves. This isn't the first time something like this has happened, I once grew a date tree in my backyard in D.C. after tossing a medjool date by mistake into my garden (we got a few palm leaves but it didn't make it through the first snow). I was tempted to pull the shoots of the sweet potatoes but I decided to give them a chance and I've planted them. Who knows maybe they will grow well and I might get to eat my own accidentally homegrown sweet potatoes.
If you asked me if I could remember my first taco, I'd sadly say, I couldn't but I will say this, they always make me happy every time. When it comes to talking about tacos, I get pretty excited because every taco is a bundle of joy waiting to be enjoyed with the promise of goodness. There are so many different and wonderful ways to eat tacos so I thought, I'd share one of my personal favorites!
For these tacos, it all starts with a few splashes of color courtesy of these beautiful purple and yellow cauliflowers that get tossed and seasoned with some tasty spices. Cumin and za'atar push these florets to a whole new level of tastiness with an added depth of citrusy and herb flavors. Though I'm only sharing the recipe on how to make the filling here, you can dress the cauliflower tacos with any type of salsa or toppings you love. I did however, share my favorite way to eat these guys at the end of the recipe section but seriously take liberties, because that what makes a taco special, you can individualize to your heart's (tummy's) desires!
cauliflower tacos with cumin and za'atar
yields: 4 -6 servings (depends on how many and how big your tacos are)
1 small yellow cauliflower
1 small purple cauliflower
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground red chili powder
1 teaspoon za'atar
1. Place a wire rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400F.
2. Chop both cauliflowers into small florets. Rinse under cold water, drain excess liquid and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the olive oil, salt, cumin, and chili and mix to coat the cauliflower. Spread this mixture onto a non-stick baking sheet and cook for about 15-20 minutes or until the cauliflower florets are tender and slightly roasted.
3. Sprinkle the za'atar and squeeze the lime juice over the cauliflower. Serve immediately with your favorite taco fillings and tortillas.
Note: I like to serve these with a few extra wedges of lime on the side, fresh avocado slices, some shredded purple cabbage, salsa and my cilantro mint chutney. You can also serve these anyway you love your tacos!