Olive Oil Recipes

Popovers with Olive Oil

Well, it has been a while.  I have had you on my mind every day but just didn’t make the time to write.  Notice that I didn’t say that I “couldn’t find” the time because that is never true.  One can always find the time if one tries.  I was focusing on other things that seem to take me away from writing.  Anyway, here I am.

April and May were busy with olive oil competitions.  I was invited to judge at the Napa Valley Olive Oil Competition in Calistoga.  It was great fun.  I didn’t take any pictures that day.  I think that was due to the cold weather.  We were inside all day with our coats on.  I, also, had the opportunity to venture out a little.  I tried out for a Honey Panel at UC Davis and was accepted.  So, now on Tuesdays, I’m tasting honey.  Olive Oil is my passion but I’ve got to say that Honey is a lot of fun.  It’s so yummy, too.  It’s very exciting to try something so different.  I am being exposed to different aromas and tastes.  The bad news to that is that I am even more sensitive to smells wherever I go.  I am always trying to relate smells to honey or olive oil aromas.  It’s weird.  My EVOO panel leader had warned us about this.  Sue was right.

The beginning of May brought me a family visitor from out of state.  It was someone that I didn’t know well, so, it was fun showing him around and getting to know him better.

We went to San Francisco for the day and I had breakfast at one of my favorite places to eat, the Cliff House.  Unfortunately, it was foggy so the view wasn’t the best but the food was wonderful as always.  I ate my fill of popovers.  I don’t think I have had popovers anywhere else but there.  My mom never made them.  If you have never had them, let me explain how heavenly they are.  The outer layer is crusty.  Once you open it, you find a large pocket of air.  The inner pastry reminds me of a very thin Yorkshire Pudding, soft and custard like.

On a whim, the night before Mother’s Day, I looked up the recipe to see how difficult they are to make.  To my surprise, they are very easy.  Have you ever tried to make these?  I decided to try them for my breakfast the next day.  The only problem I was that I don’t own a popover pan.  I had to use my 6 oz. glass custard cups which I usually appropriate for flan.

Sunday morning, I woke up early and started my popover experience.  I’m not sure if you can tell through my writing but I can be a little bull-headed at times.  The recipe called for greasing the cups with shortening or “spray”.  I am against the sprays because I worry about what’s in them.  One of these days, I’ll go out and buy a can and we can talk about it some more.  For the moment, just understand that I don’t have any in the house.  So, I figured shortening is just vegetable oil in solid form.  This is another thing that doesn’t “feel” right to me.  I do have some in the pantry and will use small quantities in a few Christmas treats or pie crusts  but I try to limit the use of this fat also.  You can imagine that I thought of my two stand-by’s:  butter and olive oil.  Since I was using olive oil in the recipe, I opted to grease the custard cups with olive oil.  Unfortunately, it didn’t work out too well.  I’m not sure if I overcooked the popovers but next time I’m going to try butter or better yet, buy a non-stick popover pan.

The bottoms stuck to the glass cups but the popovers were still very yummy.  I ate them with gusto, butter and a cup of coffee.


Shortening or Nonstick Spray to grease pan

2 Eggs

1 cup Milk

1 Tbl. Olive Oil

3/4 cup Unbleached Flour

1/2 tsp. Salt

Grease Popover Pan or 5 6-oz. custard cups.  Set aside.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Beat Eggs, Milk and Olive Oil with a whisk or beater in a medium bowl.  Beat until mixture is well blended.


Add Flour and Salt.


Beat until mixture is blended but still a bit lumpy, like with pancakes.

Fill the popover or custard cups halfway.  Bake for 40 minutes or till crusts are very firm.  Don’t peek.

Turn off oven.  Remove and prick with a fork to let out the steam.  Return popovers to the oven for 5-10 minutes until desired crispness.  Serve hot.

Each popover contains 164 Calories, 8 g. Fat, 6 g. Protein, 16 g. Carbs.

The music to listen to is anything by Tony Bennett, of course.  I like his Duet 1 CD.  There is a lovely rendition of  “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” on it.

So, this is how my cups looked after I took the popovers out.  Disappointing but they still tasted great.

Chocolate Cake to Go!

I was in a high end grocery store the other day and I found myself in the olive oil aisle.  I always go there even if I’m not in the need for oil, just to peruse.  There was a woman there looking at all the bottles.  She was taking a long time, studying all the oils, and not deciding on one.  I looked over towards her and she asked if I could help her find a virgin olive oil.    Well, you know I can’t keep my mouth shut.  Why? I asked her.  She had just seen an episode of America’s Test Kitchen and they recommend that people use a virgin oil to fry and not an extra virgin.  I asked her why and she replied that the cooking show said that it’s cheaper and better for frying.  Then she mumbled something about smoking point.  I’m pretty tired of hearing people worry about the smoking point of olive oil.  Really?   I told her that the smoking point is higher than is usually thought, especially if it is a good oil and I asked what she was going to fry.  Oh!  She was making marinara sauce and it was to sauté the onions and garlic.  Oh!  I asked her what oil she had at home.  I don’t want to tell you the label but it is a “grocery brand” of a popular market.  I asked if it was the Italian, California, or Greek label.  She didn’t know.  Any of those would be fine to start her spaghetti sauce, I explained.  I didn’t take the time to tell her that what she had at home, was probably virgin already.  I, also, didn’t tell her that the extra virgin label did not guarantee the quality of the oil.  That many bottles of oil have extra virgin on the label but are in fact only virgin.  I, also, didn’t ask her how old it was because I was afraid to tell her that it might be rancid and possibly not fit for human consumption!   I did recommend some of the bottles on the shelf for nice finishing oils.  She left without buying anything but happy knowing that she could use her oil for her sauce.

As she left, an older gentleman was there looking at the oils.  Boy, was I tempted to ask him if he needed help.  Instead, I just turned around and left.  I can’t help everybody.

I have a difficult time in supermarkets.  I wish I could wear an olive green cape and stand in the olive oil aisle and talk to everyone who wanders by.  Maybe I should just stay away from that aisle all together.  It’s difficult because I want to explain it all and there is not enough time or I will sound like a pedant.  So, I just give a tidbit of information and people take that and run with it but it’s not the whole picture.

Can I please say one thing about the smoking point of olive oil?  Italians, Greeks and Spaniards having been using this oil for everything from sauces, salads and frying for thousands of years and they have been doing just fine.  In fact, if you have ever been to Europe, you know how wonderful their cuisine is.  So, please relax on the smoking point.  Most oils, Canola, Olive, Corn, etc. have about the same smoking point – in the 400º or so.   Butter’s smoking point is 350º.  Why doesn’t anybody worry about the smoking point of Canola Oil or Vegetable Oil?  Why just Olive Oil?  Refined oils of any kind, will have a higher smoking point.  Refined oils are processed with heat and chemicals.  As a home cook, when I see my oil smoking, I lower the heat and add whatever I’m cooking immediately to the pan.  I am watchful so that this doesn’t occur too often.  Many inexpensive oils are virgin no matter what their label says.  So, if you are watching your wallet and plan on frying a lot, then go for those oils.  Otherwise, don’t worry about using an extra virgin oil for frying, sautéing and whatever else you are cooking.  That’s all I want to say about the matter.

I had the opportunity to judge at the California State Fair Olive Oil Competition, this year, also.  It was great fun!  I sat at a table with a fellow sensory panelist which I have know for years and a new acquaintance that felt like an old friend when we were through. This is a one day event.  We start at 9:00 and end about 5:00 or so.  We tasted 35 oils.  So, I feel it is a little more laid back than the L. A. competition in so far as the amount of oils we taste in the allotted time ensues a more relaxed atmosphere.  There isn’t much time for mingling but we do have the opportunity to chat with our table judges as we wait for our next flight of oils.

I have been asked to join the Napa Valley competition which is coming up in May.  I haven’t heard from the Yolo County head judge.  So, I might not be in that one.

This week’s recipe is a Chocolate Cake baked in Mason jars.  It’s lovely idea for a picnic.  A few weeks back, my son and his girlfriend were driving down to Los Angeles on the day that happened to be her birthday.  So, I thought it would be fun to pack them a basket with some goodies for the road and cake for the birthday girl.  The Chocolate Cake is made with olive oil and is quite flavorful.  The frosting is the best I’ve ever made to date.  I just spooned the frosting into a ziplock bag and cut the corner.  I tried to use a piping tip but it didn’t allow me to point the frosting into the edges once inside the jar. It’s so fun and portable.  I found it at sarahcucinabella.com under Deep, Dark Chocolate Cake in a Jar.  Let me know if you give it a try.


1 cup Unbleached Flour

1/2 cup Sugar

1/2 cup Dutch-processed Cocoa Powder

3/4 tsp. Baking Soda

1 tsp. Baking Powder

1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt

1 large Egg

1/2 cup Milk

1/4 cup Olive Oil

1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

1/2 cup Boiling Water


3/4 cup Unsalted Butter, at room temperature

2 cups Confectioner’s Sugar, sifted

3 oz. Dark or Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted and cooled

1 1/2 Tbls. Cream

3/4 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Set six pint-size canning jars on a baking sheet. In a medium bowl, whisk together Flour, Sugar, Cocoa Powder, Baking Soda, Baking Powder and Salt until mixed evenly.

Add Egg, Milk, Olive Oil and Vanilla to the bowl.  Whisk for two minutes.  It won’t be easy, but it’s worth doing it by hand.

Pour the Boiling Water into bowl and whisk gently to combine until it is of a smooth consistency.

Divide the batter evenly among canning jars.  Batter will only fill about 1/3 of jar.  Slide baking sheet into oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool before frosting.  Cake can be covered and stored for 3 or 4 days.

While cake is cooling, prepare Frosting.

Add all of ingredients to a mixer bowl and with the paddled attachment.  Beat until thoroughly combined and fluffy, about 1 minute.  Spoon into a ziplock bag.  Snip one end and pipe into the jars.

Screw on the covers and you are ready to go!

This is a pretty quick recipe.  I’ve been listening to Louie Armstrong a lot.  His music is so upbeat and I’m hooked.

Until next time, eat well, drink well and live well.



Blood Orange Chocolate Cake

Last week, I was invited to the Los Angeles International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition.  This year we judged the Northern and Southern Hemispheres together.  I don’t think it works well for the Southern Hemisphere since they are about to harvest their olives at the end of this month, April and May.  So, their oils were in fact last year’s and they were competing with the Northern Hemisphere’s fresh oils.  I’m hoping that will change.  I know our chairman of the competition, Darrell Corti, will try his best to remediate the situation.

Judging in the L.A. International is such an honor.  I sat at table number six with two highly experienced and well-renowned judges, Toshi Suzuki, from Japan and Maria Lourdes Toujas, from Argentina.

We tasted about 50 oils a day from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.  We would eat lunch together and then had the afternoon free.  I would go to my room, read, do a Sudoku and sometimes nap.  At 6:00 we would gather again for dinner.  The dinners were exquisite.  Every night there was great food and wine.  I was offered a taste of a 1957 Port, a dry Vermouth that was outrageously good, a Muscat from Australia that is extremely rare, and two New Zealand wines that only grown in that country.  What an experience!

As with all wonderful meals, besides the great food and libations, it was the company of the fellow judges that made these experiences so wonderful.  I was surrounded by judges from all over the world, many who I had met last year and a few new ones this year.  We had five judges from Sacramento, whom I have been on sensory panels before.  The others were from Italy, Spain, Chile, Argentina, New Zealand, Australia and Japan.  Conversations covered everything from olives to family and life at home.

Margaret Edwards, from New Zealand, is a producer and has been an international judge for a good number of years.  She is such a lovely person.  We got to talking about recipes and she told me about her Mandarin Chocolate Cake made with olive oil, of course.  She sent me the recipe and I wanted to try it out for this posting.  She writes on the top of the recipe that it is a very easy cake to make.  The ingredients and instructions support that claim.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have some of the ingredients, namely, mandarin infused olive oil and ground almonds.  A substitute for mandarin olive oil is the grated peel of a mandarin and plain olive oil.  So, I thought to do that.  I went to the grocery store with a list of things, I bought two mandarins but forgot the almond meal.  Margaret’s cake is gluten-free.  Do you do that, bring a list to the grocery store and still forget some items?  When I got home and I found that I didn’t have a main ingredient, I looked in the pantry and saw that I had a bit of Blood Orange-Infused Olive Oil.  I had four blood oranges left on the tree.  I decided to find a nice blood orange chocolate cake.   this recipe is a little more complicated than Margaret’s.  The candied oranges were delicious but the syrup was very sweet.  I poured the syrup over the the frosting but I think next time I would just drizzle a bit on each piece.  I got the recipe for the cake from Temecula Olive Oil.  The recipe is not well-written but not difficult to figure out.  The Blood Orange Buttercream, I figured out on my own.


2 cup Unbleached Flour

2 cups Sugar

3/4 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

2 tsp. Baking Powder

1 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda

1 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Expresso Powder

1 cup Milk

1/2 cup Blood Orange Olive Oil

2 Eggs

1 Blood Orange Zest

2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

1 cup Boiling Water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans.

Add Flour, Sugar, Cocoa, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Salt and Espresso Powder in a large mixer bowl and stir with paddle attachment until well combined.

Add Milk, Olive Oil, Eggs, Zest, and Vanilla to flour mixture and mix on medium speed until well combined.


Reduce speed and add Boiling Water to the cake batter.  Beat on high speed for about 1 minute to add air to batter.

Pour batter evenly into the two cake pans.  Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and completely cool.  Frost.


1/4 cup Softened Unsalted Butter

1 lb. Confectioner’s Sugar

Juice 1 Blood Orange (1/4 cup)

2 Tbsp. Cream

1 tsp. Salt

Zest of 1 Blood Orange (2 Tbsp.)

For Candied Oranges (optional):

2 Peeled and thinly sliced Blood Oranges

1 cup Sugar

3/4 cup Water

While cake cools, place Sugar and Water in a small pot and boil.  Add Oranges and boil on medium to low for 20 minutes.  Take Oranges out and place on a silk-at or parchment paper to cool.

For Frosting, place Butter, Confectioner’s Sugar, Orange Juice, Cream, Salt and Zest in large mixer bowl.


With whisk attachment, whisk until incorporated.  Frost cake and decorate with Candied Oranges.





Baker, not quite

I have been noticing that a lot of my friends and acquaintances have been thinking that I am a baker.  I really consider myself more of a cook than a baker.  I’m baking so much now because I discovered the joy of using olive oil in baked goods.  I’ve always cooked with olive oil but this is very new to me and I’m enjoying the exploration.

I’ve often mentioned that my mom had a wonderful hand with pastries and desserts.  Mom never slept more than three hours every night.  This would allow her to bake in the mornings while everyone else slept.  It didn’t make her happy.  She always wished she could sleep longer and this was often our morning topic of conversation.  If she wasn’t shopping in the afternoons, she would also bake then, while I was in school.  So the delicious pastries and breads showed up out of no where.  I never saw her make any.  She was also a great cook but that’s another post.

I grew up having cleaning chores but never had much to do in the kitchen besides the dishes.  I do remember going through mom’s cookbooks and ogling the pictures.  There were a few times where I did create a dish or two.  I remember making tuna sandwiches. Tuna sandwiches are a sensitive topic with me.  When I was in school, I often had them for lunch.  Mom would make my sandwiches but in Argentina, they don’t make tuna salad.  So my sandwiches consisted of bread smeared with a little mayonnaise and chunks of tuna in the middle.  I was teased every time I ate one.  The kids would say that I was eating cat food and laughed at me.  When I was 8 or 9, I had tried tuna sandwiches at friends’ houses and wanted to duplicate them but I didn’t know how.  I made lunch for my parents one day.  Tuna Salad Sandwiches were on the menu.  I tried to duplicate the crunchy and sweetness of “American” tuna sandwiches with what I could find in the pantry.  Resourcefully, the sandwich filling became tuna mixed with mayo, chopped walnuts and raisins.  It wasn’t bad.  My parents smiled as they ate them.  I ate those at home for years. That was the first recipe that I ever created.

I caught some flu bug a few weeks ago and found myself sitting on the couch watching daytime TV.  I seldom have the TV on during the day but I was not feeling well enough to even read.  You can imagine what I watched, that’s right, mostly cooking shows.  I cannot believe the garbage that they are promoting on these shows.  I wasn’t watching the food channels, not shows like the Barefoot Contessa or anything.  I was watching, well, I ‘m not going to name them, but the popular shows on the regular stations.  I was appalled at the disregard for the nutritional content in the recipes.   These weren’t desserts or treats.  They were showing main dishes. Ooey, gooey cheese, butter, tremendous amounts of carbs were everywhere.  I’m all for fats.  I love my cheese.  But these recipes had little to no value to them.  I’m sure they tasted great but …

Today, I’ve posted a coffeecake.  It’s not low in calories but I think it has many wholesome ingredients that makes having this treat on a weekend morning worth it.  The chocolate chips sink to the bottom giving almost a crust on the bottom.  I would make this for my son to entice him to get out of bed and ready for school.  It helps getting dressed quickly when the house smells yummy.  I hope you will agree.


2 Eggs

1 3/4 Unbleached Flour

1/2 cup Chocolate Chips

1 tsp. Baking Soda

1 tsp. Baking Powder

1 3/4 cup Plain Yogurt

1 cup Sugar

3 Tbls. Olive Oil



1/2 cup of chopped Almonds


1/3 cup Brown Sugar

1 tsp. Cinnamon




Grease a 13 x 9 pan.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Stir Yogurt and Baking Soda in a bowl.

In another bowl beat Eggs and Sugar until light yellow and fluffy.

Sift Flour and Baking Powder into Egg mixture and blend.

Fold in Yogurt and Chocolate Chips and smooth.  Pour into pan.

Mix Almonds, Brown Sugar and Cinnamon.

Sprinkle over coffeecake.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until an inserted toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Until next time, eat well, drink well and live well.

Truffles with Olive Oil?

I made these truffles for my friends on Valentine’s Day this year.  A group of us were meeting a few days before the 14th.  Since we only meet once a month, we celebrate whatever holiday is at hand.  I thought of making three different truffles.  The first one is my Dulce de Leche Ginger Truffle.  You can search for that recipe on the blog.  That is my own concoction.  The second one is an Orange Olive Oil Recipe.  I thought of this one, after I tasted some infused olive oils and bought one.  I don’t usually have infused oils in my pantry but so many people ask me about them, which makes me realize that a lot of you have them in your pantry.  So, I thought I would give you a sweet recipe for those oils.  The last one is a Dulce de Leche Chocolate Truffle.  My cousins in Argentina taught me this one.  I just added the chocolate coating.  Speaking of the chocolate coating, I cheat with this.  I use Ghiardelli or Guittard chocolate and I don’t temper my chocolate.  I just mix it with coconut oil or dulce de leche.  If I were entering a competition, then I would go through the trouble of tempering it.  Most people can’t tell the difference.

Do you remember those days in school in when we gave each classmate a Valentine?  My family never celebrated Valentine’s Day at home.  It just isn’t in the Argentine culture.  But one year, I did make a Valentine for my mom.  I think I was probably 10 years old.  Do you remember Sucrets lozenges?  (I keep dating myself with these stories.)  They came in little tins like Altoids do now.  I took a thick piece of paper.  Then applied bright pink lipstick and kissed it.  It took awhile to get my lips to imprint something that looked like a kiss.  I wrote  “I love you, Mom” on it.  Then I wrapped the little tin in some flowery contact paper and placed the note inside.  She still kept it through the years.  I came across it while going through her things after she had passed.  I’ve done the same with some cards and notes from my kids.  I like to keep them handy for when I need an extra boost, I can read them and remember that I am surrounded by a lot of love.

I hope you will love these truffles.  They are so simple to make.  Please give them a try and let me know how it goes.  I always love seeing your pictures, so pass them along to me.

Dark Chocolate Orange Truffles


8 oz. good quality Dark Chocolate (60%+)

1/2 cup Cream

1/4 cup Orange-infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Lemon-infused or any flavor you like can be used)

Confectioner’s Sugar for rolling.

See below for Chocolate Coating.

Place Dark Chocolate with Cream in a bowl.

 Place bowl over a pot with simmering water.  Make sure the bowl does not touch the water.

 Whisk gently until Chocolate is melted.  Take bowl off the pot and whisk Olive Oil in gently.  Pour mixture into a pan and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Prepare a cookie sheet with wax paper or a silk pat.  When Chocolate is ready, take out and use a melon baller to scoop Chocolate.

Coat hands with confectioner’s sugar to roll truffle.  Place on cookie sheet and repeat.

Once all the truffles are made, refrigerate 1 hour.  Then coat.

Dulce de Leche Chocolate Truffles

1/2 cup Dulce de Leche

20 Chocolate Wafer Cookies

Confectioner’s Sugar for rolling

See Chocolate Coating below.

Prepare a cookie sheet with wax paper or a silk pat.  Set aside.  With a food processor or ziploc bag and roller, crumble Chocolate Wafer Cookies into fine crumbs.  Place 1 cup of Cookie Crumbles 🙂 and 1/2 cup Dulce de Leche into a bowl and combine..

Place some Confectioner’s Sugar in a bowl.  With a melon baller, scoop some of the truffle and roll in the Sugar.  Place on cookie sheet.

Refrigerate for 10 minutes and coat.


There are many ways to finish truffles.  Here are a few:

-Place 1 cup of Chocolate in a double boiler and melt.  Dip the truffle with forks and place back onto cookie sheet.  Refrigerate 10 minutes until chocolate is set.

-Place 1 cup of Chocolate with 1/2 cup of Dulce de Leche in a double boiler. Use White, Dark, or Milk Chocolate.   Whisk gently until Chocolate has melted and Dulce de Leche is incorporated.  Dip truffle with forks and place back onto cookie sheet.  Refrigerate 10 minutes until Chocolate is set.

-Place 1 cup of Chocolate with 1/4 Coconut Oil in a double boiler.  Whisk gently until Chocolate has melted and Coconut Oil is incorporated.   Dip truffle with forks and place back onto cookie sheet.  Refrigerate 10 minutes until Chocolate is set.

-You can always coat with Confectioner’s Sugar only or Cocoa.  There are many other things you can add:  Chopped Almonds, Sweetened Coconut, Sprinkles, etc.  Use your imagination.

Make sure to add 1 cup of Chocolate to your shopping list and whatever other ingredient you would like to use for your chocolate coating.

These recipes are easy and fun.  Definitely a recipe to try with a young child who doesn’t mind getting his/her hands dirty.

Until next time, eat well, drink well, live well.