Tag Archives: extra-virgin olive oil

Italian Fresh Purple Grape Cake

I was so excited earlier in the week – I found a lovely recipe for grape cake – a simple cake, with fruit, and just a touch of powdered sugar on top.  My kind of cake – no icing!  I bought my grapes and was prepared to make it this weekend – and couldn’t find my recipe!  Where did it go?  I thought for sure it was in the new Mediterranean cookbook I paid full price for at Joseph-Beth Booksellers at the end of December.  Let me just say, it was worth the money!  But it did not have the grape cake recipe.  I checked through a few of my other cookbooks at home – no luck.  Where did I see it?  I remember well the beautiful picture – my mouth salivated at just the thought of a tiny piece!  I thought perhaps it was in one of the two cookbooks I bought at the half-price bookstore last week – when my sister said, I’m sooo glad you got a cookbook, since you don’t have any.  Did anyone recognize the sarcasm dripping off that sentence?  Okay, so I have a few cookbooks!  But to the pressing matter at hand – I don’t have one with a grape cake recipe!  So what else was I to do – I went to the internet!  Found a great recipe at allrecipes.com!  This cake was just as good as I imagine – better, actually!  The lemon and orange zest gave it an over-the-top flavor – and the grapes were soft and warm.  I added a dusting of powdered sugar – since that was a completion of the picture I had carried around with me all week!  Try this recipe – you will love this cake!

Italian Fresh Purple Grape Cake

  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 – 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons grated orange zest
  • 10 ounces small purple grapes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Generously butter and flour a 9 inch springform cake pan, tapping out any excess flour.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk, beat the eggs and sugar until thick and lemon-colored, about 3 minutes.  Add the butter, oil, milk and vanilla extract, and mix until blended.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.  Add the lemon zest and orange zest, and toss to coat the zest with flour.

Spoon the flour mixture into the bowl of batter and stir with a wooden spoon until thoroughly blended.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix once more.  Set aside for 10 minutes to allow the flour to absorb the liquids.

Stir in about 3/4 of the grapes into the batter.  Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth out the top with a spatula.

Place the pan in the center of the oven.  Bake for 15 minutes, then sprinkle the top of the cake with the remaining grapes.  Bake for about 40 minutes more, until the top is a deep golden brown and the cake feels quite firm when pressed with a fingertip.

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.  After 10 minutes, run a knife along the sides of the pan.  Release and remove the side of the springform pan, leaving the cake on the pan base.  Serve at room temperature, cut into thin wedges.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Enjoy!

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Oranges, Onion and Olive Salad

Doesn’t this look like a luscious and healthy way to start the new year?  Yes, all those holiday meals and desserts were tasty and enjoyed by all – but now is the time to start thinking a little leaner and a little healthier!  It doesn’t hurt anyone to eat light now and then (I can hear the boos coming from a few of you!)!

I met Kate at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lexington during the week between Christmas and New Year’s.  She is one very busy little person!  She graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Kentucky on the 16th, works full-time as a Fellowship Officer in the Graduate School at the university, and works part-time with a young autistic boy – among other things!  This was her one week off and I was very happy to have an afternoon with her!  Kate was running a tad late – and that gave me more time than I needed in the cookbook section!  I found Essentials of Mediterranean Cooking – a Williams-Sonoma book – and just had to have it.  After spending a little time with this book, I found recipes I just had to make!  Such as this one!

I love oranges – so sweet, so good – so good for you!  Believe it or not, olives were not on my favorites list.  But a little encouragement from Ritchey and I have fallen in love – well, with them both!  And the red onion added with the other two main ingredients just gives a super combination of flavors!  The dressing is not overpowering, but the hint of cinnamon truly makes this a Mediterranean dish!  I hope you will enjoy it as much as we did tonight!

Oranges, Onion and Olive Salad

  • 4 navel oranges
  • 1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup olives, quartered and pitted
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Using a sharp knife, cut a slice off both ends of each orange to reveal the flesh.  Place the orange upright on the cutting board and, using the knife, cut downward to remove the peel and pith, following the contour of the fruit.  Cut each orange crosswise into slices 1/2 inch thick.

Arrange the orange slices on a serving platter, overlapping them slightly to cover the plate nicely.  Separate and scatter the onion slices over the top.

To make the dressing, add the orange juice, lemon juice, cinnamon, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Whisk until blended.  Whisk in the olive oil.

Scatter the olives over the orange slices and drizzle with the dressing.  Let sit at cool room temperature for 10-15 minutes to blend the flavors.  Sprinkle with parsley and serve at once.  Enjoy!