This beautiful cake is dense, as it was originally adapted from a quick-bread recipe. Before juicing the lemon, remove the zest in long thin strips and reserve for a garnish.
For the cake:
- 3 eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups finely shredded and lightly drained zucchini
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 pint fresh blueberries, a few reserved for garnish
For the Lemon Buttercream:
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoons salt
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare two 8-inch round cake pans with butter and flour or nonstick baking spray. (You can also line the bottoms of the pans with parchment rounds, if desired.)
Make the cake: Grate a large zucchini (or two small zucchini) and place in a clean dish towel. Lift the edges of the towel up and squeeze some of the extra moisture out, but you do not want the zucchini to be dry. You want to have about 2 cups of shredded drained zucchini. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar with a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or a hand mixer. Fold in the zucchini.
Slowly add in the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Gently fold in the blueberries. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.
Bake the cakes for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes in the pans, then turn the cakes onto wire racks to cool completely.
Make the Lemon Buttercream: Combine the butter, sugar, and salt and beat until smooth. Add the lemon juice and vanilla and continue to beat for another 3 to 5 minutes, or until creamy. Place the cake on a cakestand or plate. Frost the top with the Lemon Buttercream. Top with the second cake and frost the top generously. (If desired, you can frost the sides, too. We like the “naked” look.) Garnish with reserved blueberries. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Serves 8 — Recipe adapted from iambaker.net
Fruit-topped oatmeal drizzled with extra virgin olive oil is a lovely way to greet the morning, hitting just the right savory and sweet notes. Use whatever fruit you have on hand—sliced bananas, diced fresh peaches, strawberries, etc.
- 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt, plus more for serving
- 1 cup blueberries or raspberries or a mix
- 1/4 cup toasted almonds, walnuts, or pecans
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
In a medium saucepan, bring the oats, water, and 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt to a low boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring frequently, until the oatmeal is creamy (about 6 to 7 minutes).
Spoon the cereal into 2 bowls, then top with the fruit and nuts. Garnish with a pinch of fresh thyme leaves and a healthy drizzle of olive oil.
Finish with a pinch of flaky sea salt (crush it between your fingers to break up the flakes).
Serves 4 — Recipe adapted from annefood.com
This colorful side dish is potluck-worthy, and with the addition of sliced grilled chicken, pork, or steak, is substantial enough to serve as a main course. Diced avocado is an optional ingredient. If you’re short on time, substitute canned black beans (drained, thoroughly rinsed, and drained again) for the dried.
- 1 pound dried black beans
- 1 small onion, peeled
- 1 small carrot, peeled
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 ears grilled or boiled corn, kernels cut off
- 2 grilled red peppers, finely diced
- 8 green onions, white and green parts thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of 2 limes
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, or to taste
Place the beans, onion, carrot, bay leaf, and garlic in a large saucepan and add water until the beans are covered by about an inch. Bring to a boil, then partially cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the beans are almost tender, about 2 hours, adding water as needed.
Add the salt and continue cooking until tender. Drain the beans, discarding the onion, carrot, garlic, and bay leaf.
In a large bowl, combine the beans, corn kernels, red pepper, green onions, and cilantro. Stir in the olive oil, lime juice, and chili powder, and adjust the seasoning. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Serves 8 to 10 — Recipe adapted from the Los Angeles Times, June 23, 2004
My wife, Meghan, and I enjoyed this simple salad on the first day of our Chilean olive oil expedition, and we recreated it as soon as we returned to Asheville.
- 6 strips thick-cut bacon, diced
- 10 ounces fresh spinach, sliced
- into 1/4-inch strips
- 1 quart ripe strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon honey, or more to taste
- Coarse salt (kosher or sea)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Sliced almonds, toasted (optional)
Place the bacon in a cold skillet and bring the heat to medium. Cook the bacon until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain the bacon and reserve.
Place the spinach and strawberries in an attractive serving bowl.
Make the dressing: Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Whisk to mix. Taste, adding more honey or salt or pepper as needed. Just before serving, drizzle the dressing over the salad, tossing gently to mix. Top with the reserved bacon and almonds, if using.
Serves 4 — Recipe courtesy of the Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club