Archive for March, 2011

Balsamic Swiss Meringue Buttercream

5 large egg whites
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar (we recommend using a flavored Balsamic which complements the cake you are frosting)

This yields approximately 5 cups.

First, reduce the balsamic vinegar by approximately 1/3 and let the reduction cool to room temperature. (*The easiest way to do this is to place the balsamic in a heat-proof glass dish in the microwave…1/2 cup will reduce in approximately 5 minutes, check it at 3 minutes, then continue if needed).

Combine the egg whites, sugar and salt in a heat-proof mixing bowl over simmering water. Heat while whisking frequently until the mixture reaches 160 degrees and the sugar has dissolved. Remove the bowl from the simmering water and beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature…about 8 minutes.

Reduce the mixer speed to medium and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, waiting for each addition to be incorporated before adding more. The frosting will start to look curdled…continute beating on medium-high speed until thick and smooth looking again…about 3-5 minutes.

Stir in a few teaspoons of the Balsamic reduction and mix just enough to incorporate. Taste, and add more of the reduction if a stronger flavor is desired.

Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 1 month. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat on low speed until smooth again…about 5 minutes.

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

2 cups white sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups water
1 cup olive oil (we recommend our Whole Orange Olive Oil)
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl mix sugar, flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa. Add water, olive oil, vinegar and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Pour into pans and bake for 40 minutes, or until tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean.

These are terrific when topped with Balsamic Swiss Meringue Buttercream

9 x 13 pan 35 min

Standard Cupcakes 15-20 min

Mini Cupcakes 10-12 min

9″ round pans 25-30 min

Asiago & White Truffle Mashed Potatoes

6 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled

1 stick butter

2 medium cloves garlic

1 cup half & half

1 tablespoon white truffle oil

1 cup grated Asiago cheese

Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Optional: Finely minced flat leaf parsley for garnish

Dice potatoes, making sure all are relatively the same size.  Place in a large saucepan, add the salt and cover with hot water.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce the heat to maintain a rolling boil.  Cook until potatoes are tender throughout when poked with a fork.  Heat the half and half, butter and garlic in a medium saucepan over medium heat until simmering.  Remove from heat and set aside.  Remove the potatoes from heat and drain the water.  Mash and add the garlic-cream-butter mixture, grated Asiago cheese and truffle oil.  Stir to combine.  Let stand for 5 minutes to allow the mixture to thicken, then serve.

Natural, High-Oleic Peanut Butter

Most commercial peanut butter contains high levels of dangerous hydrogenated fats, sodium and sugar.  This recipe uses a mild, creamy high-oleic extra virgin olive oil.  By using a mild olive oil, the roasted peanut taste will be prominent and your heart will thank you for the change.

2 cups roasted, unsalted peanuts

1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

1 tablespoon sugar (optional)

3 tablespoons Manzanillo olive oil

Place the peanuts in your blender.  Add the salt and sugar if using.  Pour the olive oil over the peanuts and wait 30 seconds before blending on high speed.  Process until the desired level of creaminess up to two minutes.  It may be necessary to turn off the blender a few times to scrape down the sides.  Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 6 weeks.

Whole Grain Lemon-Blueberry Tea Cake

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 cups ground corn meal

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup whole milk

2 large eggs

1/2 cup whole milk yogurt

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup lemon olive oil

freshly grated zest of one lemon

2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Grease or line muffin cups or miniature loaf pans.  In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients and lemon zest.  In three separate additions, add the wet ingredients to the dry, scraping down the bowl.  Gently fold in the berries.  Fill the muffin cups or pans halfway with batter.  Bake in the center of the oven for 20-25 minutes or until a tester inserted to the middle comes out clean.  Makes 18 standard size muffins or 12 muffins and one large or two miniature loaves.

Grilled Radicchio & Hearts of Romaine Salad

1/3 cup Tuscan Herb olive oil

1/4 cup Grapefruit balsamic vinegar

6 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

4 large heads of radicchio, cored and quartered

4 hearts of romaine

1/3 cup shaved pecorino

Whisk oil, vinegar, garlic and red pepper in large bowl.  Add radicchio and romaine and toss to coat.  Marinate 20 minutes.  Prepare barbecue (medium heat).  Drain marinade into small bowl.  Place radicchio and romaine on grill, sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.  Grill radicchio and romaine until edges are crisp and slightly charred, turning occasionally (about 6 minutes).  Transfer to serving platter and drizzle with reserved marinade and sprinkle with cheese shavings.