11.24.2014

For the love of olive oil

If my first love is butter, my second love is olive oil. Nothing beats a good quality olive oil -- you can dip bread in it, drizzle it on your cream soups, use it to dress your favorite salad, cook with it and even bake with it. And outside of the kitchen, sometimes I even use it on my chapped lips or dry hair. The key to a good experience with olive oil is investing in a quality product. I know, I know, it's expensive! But I recently learned of a reasonably priced olive oil that tastes like a million bucks. So today, I've got two recipes that showcase this most special of ingredients.

Last week, I had the opportunity to test out FreshDirect.com -- groceries delivered right to my front door, heck yeah! I found the experience of online grocery shopping really easy. Just search for things you need and add them to your cart. When you're ready to check out, you get a list of available two-hour delivery windows, so I was able to get my groceries delivered the next day between 7 and 9 p.m. which gave me enough time to get to the gym and home before my groceries arrived. 

One of my favorite ingredients that I ordered was their Just FreshDirect Unfiltered Olio Novello. This olive oil is full-bodied, a little bitter, a little rich, and has a great peppery finish. It'll run you $20 for 33.8 oz which puts it in the mid-to-high price range for olive oil, but I think it tastes a lot better than most grocery store brands. First up, I had to try olive oil in one of my most favorite ways, as a dip for a nice crusty bread. 
Garlic and Parmesan Olive Oil Dip

Ingredients
1/4 cup olive oil
3-4 cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoon of finely grated parmesan cheese

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350° (I do this in a toaster oven)

Place garlic on a piece of aluminum foil and drizzle with a teaspoon of olive oil and seal the foil around the garlic leaving a small air pocket inside. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the garlic is soft and fragrant. 

Pour 1/4 cup of olive oil onto a small plate. Add roasted garlic, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and parmesan. 

Serve with a warm crusty bread for dipping. 
Now that we talked savory, here's something sweet for you to try. Olive oil cake. Never had it? Well it's basically the texture and flavor of pound cake minus the guilt of eating a cake that contains a pound of butter. Somehow it maintains a perfect balance of being simultaneously light in flavor and dense in texture, and perfectly moist. 
Olio Novello Olive Oil Cake
Serves 8

Ingredients
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons whole milk, at room temperature
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.

Into a medium bowl, sift together the 1 3/4 cups of flour, baking powder and salt. In another medium bowl, whisk the melted butter with the olive oil and milk.

In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar and citrus zest until pale and thickened, about 3 minutes. Alternately beat in the dry and wet ingredients, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and the side pulls away from the pan. Transfer the cake to a rack and let it cool before serving.

Serve with some freshly whipped cream and seasonal berries. 
Fun Tip: Both of these recipes are shoppable via Popcart. Just download the bookmark for your browser and then copy and paste any recipe to automatically create a FreshDirect order with the needed ingredients. 

This is a sponsored post by FreshDirect.com... all opinions and ideas are my own.

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