Guest Post and Recipe by Cibaria Culinary Writer: Mary Rose Gahon
I call these mashed potatoes brilliant because the idea blows me away. Extra Virgin Olive Oil in mashed potatoes? It’s been lingering in my head until I tried it on my day off. What if, instead of all the cubes of butter and cream that I add into my potatoes to equate creaminess and deliciousness, I add a really fragrant and buttery extra virgin olive oil? Wouldn’t that taste better? Wouldn’t it be healthier somehow? Wouldn’t it be better for me in the long run? Afterall, I already have an excellent bottle of olive oil in my pantry. Why not? If it tastes anything as good as what I’ve been used to making before, then I’d be blessed with another recipe to pair with future meatloaves and roasted chickens. Perhaps to accentuate a baked ham or roast beef on some occasions.
The simple guideline for these mashed potatoes follows at the end, but what I attest regarding this particular recipe as I tested and adjusted to tailor my palate is that the outcome is wonderful. I did add some low fat alternatives like cream cheese, as oppose to butter, to the mash. However, for me, what shined through was the well-rounded taste of extra virgin olive oil complimented by just a sprinkle of fleur de sel. That unique taste of simplicity… just brilliant. What goes a little lighter at times can become boldly brilliant and this is what I discovered from making these mashed potatoes.
Any of Cibaria’s fine Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oils like the Coratina, Frantoio and Moresca would work with this recipe, but what I can’t wait to try in the future is how their infused olive oils might fare well with this brilliant olive oil mash recipe. A basil or oregano olive oil mash to go with some eggplant parmigiana or incorporating the ever fragrant rosemary olive oil into mashed potato to compliment a lemon roasted chicken. With Cibaria’s line of olive oils, the possibilities are endless.
Brilliant Olive Oil Mash
Water for boiling
7 small Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
Kosher salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¾ cup cream cheese
Fleur de Sel (salt), optional
Bring water to a boil. Once water boils, add 1 tbsp of kosher salt to help flavor potatoes. Add potatoes and allow to boil until fork tender. Drain the potatoes well and place back into the pot. Drizzle ¼ cup plus 2 tbsp of the olive oil along with all of the cream cheese. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper to the mix and mash the potatoes gently, folding the potatoes until the cream cheese is fairly incorporated. Adjust salt and pepper according to your taste. Place in a bowl and drizzle with the remaining olive oil and a pinch of Fleur de Sel. If Fleur De Sel isn’t readily available, omit and use kosher salt. Serve with your favorite dish.
By Cibaria Culinary Writer: Mary Rose Gahon
Olive Oil Brownie in a Box
I love brownies. The taste of dense chocolate and cake in my mouth chased by a cold glass of milk… sometimes this is enough to take the stress away. Or better yet, enough to enjoy on a gloomy day when the forecast outside my window looks as though we are on the verge of rain. Nothing like a piece of brownie to bring a smile to my heart, not to mention my face. It seems to lighten things inside of us when we make ourselves present to that moment… biting into a small square of brownie.
There are many brownie recipes out there that are delicious in their own right. Working as a pastry cook, I’ve had a hand at baking my share of brownies. In my line of work, I’ve been fortunate to taste some excellent brownies. Time is of the essence, they say. And as with anything made well and from scratch, include time as part of the ingredients. I understand time. I understand not having enough of it. My schedule, usually a ten hour day with a two hour total commute, preclude me sometimes from baking made-from-scratch brownies. Because of my chocolate cravings, and though most people overlook the boxed brownie, I haven’t removed it from my repertoire when I need to satisfy a chocolate fix. Yes, I get to taste some high quality brownies ranging from chocolatey to fudgy, caramelly to nutty. But none of these recipes mimic the brownies I grew up with, the ones my older sister made time to bake for me as we were growing up. The ready to bake brownie in a box that all of us enjoyed because it was easy and it was there to enjoy. Add oil, add water, add eggs; bake for twenty-five minutes and its ready to eat after a ten minute cool down.
What I wanted to find out was whether extra virgin olive oil would work with boxed brownies. The recommendation has always been a neutral oil like vegetable or canola so it doesn’t interfere with the taste of the brownies. And with the potency from the first pressing of olives, my concern was whether the strong flavor of Coratina EVOO from the Cibaria line distract the chocolate flavor from the brownies. After baking the brownies, along with the addition of a cup each of walnuts and chopped dark chocolate, the verdict is that the brownies taste wonderful. The scent of olive oil was strong prior to baking, but after baking, the scent vanished. There’s a very faint taste of olive oil, but none too prominently detectable that would interfere with the taste of the brownies. What might be a surprise is that the EVOO may have enhanced the brownies, complimenting the chocolate somehow. I asked my sister to taste the brownies and she said that it tasted richer; in this case, I agreed.
Who’s to say that one can’t elevate the boxed brownie? In this case, aside from adding more chocolate or more nuts into your favorite boxed brownie, try using EVOO when it calls for that half cup of oil and taste the difference.
As food bloggers and culinary writers continue to grow exponentially in their numbers, the number of incredibly creative and delicious foods and recipes that hit the web on a daily basis also grows. Below, we’ve noted some of this weeks top picks from some of our favorite blogs and food websites. For us, they make it feel just a bit more like Spring has spring!
‘Ino’s Tuna with Black Olive Pesto Panini
For Pesto’s, we recommend a nice, hearty Extra Virgin Olive Oil such as a Spanish Olive Oil. Cibaria’s Signature Olive Oil featuring Spanish EVOO’s such as Hojiblanca, Picual, and Arbequina varietals would work incredibly well in this dish.
What It Takes:
- For the Pesto
- 1 cup black olives, pitted
- 10 caper berries, any stems removed
- Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 cup olive oil
- For the Sandwiches:
- One 6-ounce can tuna in olive oil, drained
- 6 caper berries, stems discarded, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, from about ½ lemon
- Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 ciabatta rolls, split in half
Balsamic Chicken with White Beans & Spinach
This balsamic chicken is beyond good! For the Olive Oil, a smooth California Extra Virgin Olive Oil, along with a 25 Star Balsamic Vinegar to provide that rich reduction that you’re aiming for is simply divine in this healthy, yet satisfying dish.
What it Takes:
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast half (about 1 pound)
- 3 clove garlic , minced
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell’s® Condensed Golden Mushroom Soup
- 1 can (about 15 ounces) white kidney beans (cannellini) , rinsed and drained
- 1 bag (about 7 ounces) fresh baby spinach
Lemony Olive Oil Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips
Food Writer, Mellisa Clark has created a heavenly delight with this delicious Olive Oil Bread that features almost everyone’s weakness…chocolate chips. This recipe is featured in her book, that is due out later this year. For baking light, sweet, breads such as this one, we recommend a smooth Tunisian Extra Virgin Olive Oil, or even the famed Fior D’Italia Extra Virgin Olive Oil Tin. (Everyone should have one of these on standby in their kitchen, and we’re not just saying that because it’s our brand!)
What It Takes:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 1/2 cups mashed, VERY ripe bananas (3 to 4 bananas)
- 1/4 cup sour cream or plain, whole milk yogurt
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract