Archives for posts with tag: olive oil

Every once in a while I read a book that makes me go, Dang, I want to be able to write like this author does—as economically, as unpredictably, as gracefully. It tends not to matter so much what the content is, and in fact, the last few writers who’ve affected me this way have been Michael Ondaatje, Rachel Cusk, and Tamar Adler.

My dear friend Madeleine gave me Tamar Adler‘s An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace for my birthday last month and I devoured it the following week. Adler formerly cooked at Chez Panisse, was an editor at Harper’s Magazine, and is now a columnist for the New York Times Magazine. Her book’s subtitle could have been: writing with economy and grace. She writes like she cooks—unpretentiously, no panache, no gotchas.

To me it seems that most writing about food these days, especially in the pages of magazines and blogs, not so much in books I suppose, is an all-too-clever, winking, gotcha! tone. We get it, you’re funny; you could be an ad copy writer; you’re smart and I’m smart and we all have impeccable taste in food and style, bla bla bla.

Well Adler is none of those cloying things. Instead she’s all: here is how to boil your vegetables, use parsley, turn leftovers into better leftovers, cook meat, make soup. It’s an old-fashioned kind of mentality and tone and I mean that in the best possible way. The book, basically, instructs how to get good at the act of cooking and all the simple but important preparations involved in doing so. In all the food writing I’ve read over the years, hers is integrating into my being in a way others haven’t. In the past few weeks I’ve already wasted less food and made better meals than I have all year.

Yesterday, on a blustery early April afternoon in Brooklyn, I ventured to make her rosemary olive oil cake, which she adapted from Cooking by Hand by Paul Bertolli. It was subtle, herbaceous, moist, and would go perfectly with a cup of Earl Gray tea or an espresso. Here you go. You’re welcome.

(When I made this cake I wasn’t planning to write about it and thus have no good photos of it…then today I was struck by the desire to share the recipe so am doing so sans visual aids for the first time! Maybe it’s the spirit of Tamar encouraging me that simple is ok.)

Rosemary Olive Oil Cake
ala Tamar Adler

8 eggs
1 1/2 cups raw cane sugar (I used only 1 cup)
1 2/3 cups olive oil
4 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary*
3 cups flour
2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

*You may be thinking 4 tbsp sounds like a lot. I only had 3 tbsp so I used that and the rosemary was subtle and in fact I think 4 would’ve been better, so be bold!

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Butter and flour a bundt pan.

Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl for 30 seconds with a handheld beater. Slowly add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture becomes foamy and paler in color. Still mixing, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Then fold in the rosemary.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture, and then pour the batter into the bundt pan.

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, rotating the pan halfway through. Mine took closer to an hour. The cake should be golden brown and a skewer should come out clean. Allow the cake to cool briefly in the pan then gently tip it out to cool on a rack.

This would be delicious with unsweetened whipped cream, or smeared with a bit of honey. Makes great breakfast leftovers the next day.

 

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I went into work one day this past week and overheard one colleague squeal to another, “Did you see? Asparagus at the Greenmarket today!” Truth be told, I hadn’t realized that was a new thing. I, somewhat obliviously, picked up a bunch for $4 at the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket last weekend. Asparagus was everywhere, at nearly every stand; I just figured it’d been around for a couple of weeks at least.

I wanted to eat it raw and crunchy, although I do also love it roasted with garlic and dressed with lemon and parmesan. Also check out my friend Valerie’s recent post on green asparagus salad with parmesan. At the market, the radishes were calling to me too so I grabbed a bunch of those for $2 and a 1/4 pound of bright green tatsoi for $3 and headed home to make lunch.

Take advantage of the season, carpe diem, get to your local farmer’s market and see what calls to you. It may be tatsoi, it may be ramps, it may be an apple cider donut. Speaking of ramps, you can check out my recipes from past years for an omelette with ramps and feta, and ramp butter.

Asparagus & Radish Salad
Serves 2

1/2 bunch of asparagus (approx. 8–10 spears), washed
4 radishes, washed
bunch of greens like tatsoi, baby kale, lettuces, rinsed and dried
fresh lemon juice and approx. 1 tsp lemon zest
olive oil
salt and pepper

Cut off the tough bottoms of the asparagus spears and discard (usually the bottom one inch or so). Chop the top part of the spear and slice in half or thirds, setting aside. Using a vegetable peeler slice the remaining asparagus spears lengthwise.

Slice the radishes very thinly. You can either do this with a paring knife or the vegetable peeler. Combine in a bowl with the asparagus tops and sliced spears.

In a small mason jar or measuring cup, combine the lemon juice, zest, olive oil, salt, and pepper, adjusting proportions to your liking. I would use something like 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp lemon juice, a big pinch of salt and a few cranks of freshly ground pepper. Shake (or whisk with a fork).

Toss the dressing with the asparagus and radishes, then add your greens, combining a little more. Plate the salad, adding a few more thin slices of radish on top, and maybe a little more salt and pepper. Serve.

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Happy Monday! I’m very pleased to introduce Lauren Salkeld, guest blogger for this week’s post. As a senior editor at Epicurious.com, Lauren develops, tests, and edits recipes, and writes about various cooking techniques, from making homemade marshmallows to deep-frying a turkey. You can follow her on Instagram (laurensalkeld79) and Twitter (@laurensalkeld). I’m thrilled she’s contributed this delicious yet easy-to-make recipe, combining some of my favorite ingredients. 

This farro and kale salad came about when I was creating a menu for a friend’s baby shower. I love grain salads because they can be made in advance—some even taste better on the second day—and can be served at room temperature, which are two really important things when you’re the only person cooking for a party, which for me is often the case.

Grain salads are also really flexible, so you can add in whatever ingredients you picked up at the farmers’ market, or the ones you happen to be really into at the moment. I’ve developed a bit of formula for mine, which goes something like this: grain + green + veggie or fruit + cheese + nut or seed. And I typically add some kind of homemade pesto or a shallot, olive oil, and lemon juice dressing like the one used here. This version is great as leftovers, and I bring it to work for lunch all the time, but you may want to leave the crispy shallots and walnuts on the side until you’re ready to eat, because otherwise they can get a little soggy.

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Farro and Kale Salad with Roasted Grapes, Crispy Shallots, and Ricotta Salata

Makes 4 servings

1 ½ cups red seedless grapes
6 tablespoons olive oil
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 extra-large shallot
Juice of 1 lemon
1 bunch Lacinato kale, ribs removed and cut into bite sized pieces
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups cooked farro, at room temperature
About 5 ounces crumbled ricotta salata or feta
½ cup walnuts, toasted (optional)
Preheat the oven to 250°F.

In a baking dish, combine the grapes with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until slightly shriveled, about 1 hour. Let cool.

Peel the shallot and slice it crosswise into rounds. Remove the first 2 or 3 large outer rings of each round and set them aside. Mince the rest of the shallot (the smaller inner rings).

In a small sauté pan over medium heat, warm 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add the minced shallot and sauté until softened, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool. Once cool, add the lemon juice and whisk to combine.

Place the kale in a large serving bowl, add the lemon juice-shallot-olive oil mixture and use your hands to massage it into the kale.

Place the flour in a small bowl. Add the reserved shallot rings and toss to coat the shallot rings in flour. In a small sauté pan over medium heat, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Working in batches, shake any excess flour off the shallot rings then fry them in the hot oil, flipping once, until just crispy, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Transfer as fried to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Fluff the farro with a fork then add it, along with the grapes and ricotta salata or feta, to the kale and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top the salad with the crispy shallots and toasted walnuts, if using, and serve.


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