I’ve been so looking forward to sharing this post! You know how excited I get when I try something new - I want to yell it from the rooftops so you can all be as tempted and seduced by new products, flavours and brands as I am. Or because I just like to yack and yack. That, too.
When I started writing in this little corner of the internet, I decided I wouldn’t take on sponsorship’s because I felt it might be harder for people to feel connected with me on the other end of their computer screens and I might come off insincere or pushy. Sponsored posts can sometimes come off like a schmoozy, cologne-drenched salesman trying to shove the highest priced, lowest quality products down your gullet. Granted, there are some really incredible and well-partnered writer/sponsor relationships out there, it just never seemed right for me and what I hoped to accomplish.
So you can imagine my reaction when Kalikori Olive Oil approached me to team up and spread some love about their olive oil, which I had been using for quite some time. I knew I loved their product (loved might even be a small understatement, I am somewhat obsessed) but wondered if you all would still trust me to be honest about my thoughts on food if I was taking on sponsorship.
Ultimately, and not without much thought, I decided it was a move that I felt comfortable making. I would never take on something that didn’t feel sincere and aligned with what I’ve always wanted to accomplish here - honest talk about real, whole food and ingredients - and I truly believe that this product connects with that and so I’m anxious to tell you more about this small business that produces such an incredible product. And so, let’s talk about my favourite olive oil!
photo courtesy of Olive Oil Times
Kalikori Olive Oil is a family-owned and operated business run out of Montreal (1.5 hrs from my hometown of Ottawa). The paternal grandfather of the Ligris family, Vassiily, planted vatsikes olive trees near Kalamata in Messinia in the 1950s and three generations later, Vassiily’s granddaughter Effy and her family took charge of the companys operations and has since been slowly, naturally, finding it’s way into the home of adoring customers who have all but fallen in love with this peppery, green olive oil. Each year, the family heads to Greece to assist in the harvest of the olives and oversee the processing. This is as “small, family run” as it gets and the passion for their craft is entirely evident in not only their eagerness to talk about all the ridiculously tasty ways you can use their oil for, but in their efforts to create a consistently impeccable product. Every one of the some-30 bottles I’ve purchased has tasted the same - rich, peppery and clean with a zingy bitterness that sort of tingles as it makes it’s way down your throat. It has a low acidity and is moderately flavoured. I sometimes sneak into the kitchen just to slurp a spoonful of it. It’s that good.
Each month I’m going to share a recipe that shines a well-deserved spotlight on this small family business’ olive oil and it’s unique, grassy flavour and how you can make the most of it. This month I really wanted to play with the flavour combination of olive oil, orange and toasted fennel. The earthy oil and sweet, toasty fennel pair so wonderfully with the orange zest and juice. I decided to bake these flavours into a loaf of quick bread that would brighten up any afternoon tea or breakfast coffee. It’s delicately sweet and has such a nice brightness to it. The olive oil makes the crumb a bit denser, but it makes for a moist, tender loaf.
If you want to try out Kalikori’s oil in this recipe, you can find some have a peek at their supplier, Favuzzi’s, Where to Buy page. Just search in your city.
Kalikori Olive Oil, Toasted Fennel & Orange Loaf with Orange Glaze
adapted from The Vanilla Bean Blog
makes 1 loaf
1 3/4 cups AP flour (Sub in 1/4 cup whole wheat if wanted
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp toasted, ground fennel seeds
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tbsp orange zest (from 1 large orange)
Juice from 1 large orange
1/2 cup milk (soy or almond ok, too)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup Kalikori Olive Oil
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 tsp orange zest
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 5-by-9 inch loaf pan
In a medium bowl, add the flour, baking power and soda, salt, and fennel. Stir until combined.
In another large bowl, mix the orange zest and sugar until combined. Add the juice, milk, eggs and olive oil and gently whisk to combine. Add the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
Pour into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.
While baking, mix the ingredients for the glaze until smooth. Taste and add more juice if necessary.
Remove the loaf from the pan and place the on a cooling rack over a sheet of parchment. Poke about 10-15 times evenly on top of the loaf with a toothpick and spoon the orange glaze over the top. Let cool. Slice and serve.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. Kalikori Olive Oil sponsored it and compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend restaurants or products I use/enjoy personally and believe will be good for my readers.
As I shoved the last bite of this salad into my mouth the other day, I knew I would have to share it with you all. I’ll make this short, sweet, salty and sour.
It’s become clear that I not only have an issue with baked eggs, but cauliflower too. I can’t get enough lately. I want it all, and I want it now. This salad sort of threw itself together as I stood in the kitchen, watching it all unfold before my eyes. It was as if my brain couldn’t keep up with my hands, grabbing, tossing, mixing, and then there we were. Me and my salad. Sitting down to a lovely lunch together.
This bad boy has it all. A gentle nuttiness from the caramelized bits of cauliflower, a pungent brininess from the fried capers, gentle heat from the almonds and a slight sweetness from the dried apricots. All this pulled together with a creamy orange-scented yogurt dressing. It might sound a bit much, but believe me when I tell you these flavours were meant to be married into one big delicious family. And then eaten by you!
Cauliflower Salad with Almonds, Apricots & Fried Capers
1 large (2 small) head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
1/3 cup raw almonds
pinch or two cayenne pepper, optional
1/4 cup capers, stems removed if necessary
small handful of dried apricot slices, diced
1/2 cup orange-yogurt dressing (recipe follows)
fresh ground pepper, to garnish
Preheat oven to 350.
Toss cauliflower florets with 2 pinches of salt and enough olive oil and to lightly coat. Pour onto a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes or until florets begin to brown around the edges. Turn florets over and bake for another 6-7 minutes until golden.
While cauliflower cooks, put a small saucepan over medium heat and drizzle very lightly with olive oil. Add the almonds and a pinch or two of cayenne pepper, more if you like it spicier. I didn’t add salt to mine, but you can if you’d like. Let sit for 3 minutes until lightly toasted on one side. Shake the pan and let toast for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to cool.
In the same pan, add 1/3 cup olive oil and bring to med-high heat. Add the capers and let them fry until they’ve opened slightly and start to crisp up, 40-60 seconds for small capers, 1-2 minutes for large ones like I used. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate to cool.
Toss the cauliflower, almonds, capers and apricots into a large mixing bowl and toss with 1/4 cup dressing. If it’s too dry, add a little more until it’s coated to your liking. Serve warm with lots of pepper and dressing on the side for those who want more.
makes 1 cup
If you don’t use all the dressing, it makes a great marinade for chicken!
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
zest from 1/2 large orange
juice from 1/2 large orange
1/2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp olive oil
Mix all but the water in a small bowl. If the texture is thin enough already (it should be similar in texture to a slightly thicker buttermilk), don’t add water. If it needs to be thinned slightly, add water 1/2 tbsp at a time until texture is to your liking. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, honey or orange juice if needed.
When Milk Shop, an incredibly unique and fun clothing shop on swanky Dalhousie St in Ottawa, asked if I’d be interested in sharing a monthly dessert recipe on their blog, I jumped at the opportunity to work, even in the tiniest way, with them. Milk is so involved in their community (case in point; here) and are always working on ways to do more for the city they call home. I’m such a big fan of everything Inaas, her sister and their team do.
Read on for the recipe for these beautiful little Spring scones!
I’ve been so completely all over the place lately that I forgot completely we were having some friends over for dinner last night.
Not daring to ever serve guests take-out at my house (the reason for that is much less pretentious than it sounds, I just REALLY like takeout and want it all to myself) I opted for one of those marvelously simple one-pot-dinners. They save me from a life of Kraft Dinner on a pretty regular basis these days. A little protein, some starch, and veggies all thrown in a roasting pan with spices and out pops a fragrant and satisfying dinner good enough to serve dinner guests. Doesn’t that just sound like the bees knees? It really is. Let me show you!
Since there are so few ingredients in this dish, try to buy the best quality you can afford. The chorizo should be fresh, the produce and chicken organic, and your wine glass full. Wait. What? There isn’t any wine in this dish, you say? That’s no reason no to have a full glass anyways. You’ve had a long day, I’m sure.
One-Pot Spanish Chicken and Chorizo with Potatoes and Cauliflower
adapted from Life is Great
I found the hunks of chorizo to be quiet tough to chew on so I’m going to recommend you cut them up a bit smaller so your guests don’t hurt their mouths. No one likes to be beat up by their dinner.
We served a simple salad of Arugula, Roasted Golden Beets, Toasted Pecans and Piave Vecchio cheese and some crusty bread to sop up the beautiful bright orange sauce on the side.
8 large bone-in chicken thighs, skin on
1 large piece Chorizo (8-10”), cut into bite sized pieces
1 bag baby potatoes (about 2 1/2 cups)
1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into 2” florets
2 tsp dried oregano
zest or 2 oranges
4 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
1 small red onion, rough chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400.
Dry the chicken with a clean towel (or paper towel) and salt on both sides.
Pour the potatoes into a large roasting or jellyroll pan. Toss in the onions. Nestle the chicken thighs on top and tuck the cauliflower and chorizo around them evenly. Throw in the garlic cloves and sprinkle the oregano and orange zest evenly over everything. Give the whole pan a good drizzle of olive oil.
Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the chicken is cooked to 170. Spoon onto plates and serve.
Wasn’t that the easiest? Why don’t you have another glass of wine to celebrate?
In the next few weeks, I’m going to be doing something a little different around here.
We all know how stressful the holidays can be, what having to buy gifts for not only your immediate family, but your in-laws, close friends, grandparents, and somehow you always end up getting a few things for people you’re not even sure why you bought for. I know I have a hard time figuring out how to make it all work while still being able to afford my rent and groceries.
We all know a homemade gift is cherished much more than something you swiped some plastic for, so in the weeks coming up to the big day, I’m going to give you some really great, as far as I’m concerned, homemade gifts you can create for very cheap to moderate prices for the food-lover, kitchen-guru or host(ess) in your lives. We’re not talking macaroni animals or painted egg ornaments here either, I promise. I’m going to try my best to keep the posts short and to the point since I know it’s not the easiest time of the year to lounge around reading.
First up on the list, Salt Preserved Lemons and Oranges. If you’re not sure what those are, I don’t blame you. I wasn’t so knowledgable about them a while back, either. Preserving citrus gives you an easy way to add tons of lemon/orange flavour to a dish without using very much. They’re preserved in a salt-brine and after hanging out in a jar for a month, the skins are soft and ready to be minced into your favourite dish. The uses for preserved citrus are endless, you can add them to couscous with roasted vegetables, mince into fresh salsa, chop up with green olives and garlic to garnish fish or chicken, garnish ice cream or a dirty martini, in a gremolata… I’m sure you can use your imagination here. Why preserve the citrus, you ask? Preserved citrus is to fresh what smoked meats are to raw meats. Still delicious, but with more depth, more flavour.
Give your food-loving friends a jar of these with a tag that explains some uses for them and I’m sure they won’t be disappointed.
Preserved Lemons and Oranges
I kept mine pretty simple and didn’t add any extra aromatics, but if you choose to, they would add another dimension of yummyness!
Since you’re intending for your friends/family to eat the rind of these, you should really try to buy organic or unsprayed cirtus.
2-3 medium-sized jars
2 of the smallest lemons you can find (Meyer would be great, but I wasn’t able to find any)
1 extra lemon for juice
3/4 cup or more of your favourite coarse salt (this is a good place to use that jar you’ve been saving)
small chili pepper (optional)
bay leaf (optional)
Working over a bowl, slice the pointy tip off the lemons. Slice in half from the bottom to top, and then slice each half again, from bottom to top.
Scrub each lemon slice really well with salt. Press into jar and give another good sprinkle of salt. Repeat until your jar is packed firmly with lemons. Give them one more generous sprinkle of salt and slice/squeeze the remaining lemon’s juice over the jar. Press them in there really good. Pour remaining juice and salt from the bowl into the jars.
Repeat the same process with the oranges.
Close the jars and place in the fridge over night. For the next 2-3 days, open the jar once a day and press the lemons/oranges down to help release the juices. Refrigerate for at least a month before use (tip: write the “Open On” date on the jar so your giftee knows when they are ready!)
When ready to use, they should be rinsed off well and the meat of the lemon should be removed. You only need a little rind, minced well, to pack a whole lotta cirtus flavour into dishes.
I like coffee. I like it hot, I like it cold. I like it black, I like it creamy and sweet. I like it in a mug, I like it in a paper cup. I like it with breakfast, I like it with my pot roast.
Coffee? Pot roast? Yes, you read correctly. I’m not losing it. I like it with my pot roast. That is to say, I like my pot roast braised in it.
(a crumpled, well loved bag of Bridgehead coffee. A staple in our house… and not only because Mr Goudalife works there)
The more I think of the two together, the more normal it seems. I’ve heard of people getting very distinct ‘beefy’ tastes shortly after drinking a cup of coffee. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced that, but like cocoa, the bold flavour only seemed natural to pair with beef.
This braise turned out incredibly well for my first coffee/meat experiment. It’s hard to describe a specific flavour from it since the addition of citrus and cinnamon really played in well with the beef. I didn’t serve the roast with potatoes like I normally would, but instead relied on some carrots and parsnips to beef (har har) up the meal.
If you’re opposed to incredibly tender, flavourful beef, that can hardly hold itself together when you finally remove it from the oven… don’t make this. You won’t like it. Not one bit.
And for the love of God, if you tell me you don’t like parsnips we’re going to have a problem. It’ll be the next great Brussels sprout/butternut squash fiasco of 2010 and it’ll be all I cook for the next 6 months. Don’t do that to me. It’s a great inconvenience in my life and a real bore to read.
This pot roast packs a punch in the flavour department and is extremely easy to make. I would suggest, though, that you make it on a day when you’re home and can start it early in the afternoon. Otherwise you’ll be eating at 8:30pm, like me.
If you like a starch with your meat, serve with some egg noodles or potatoes of your choice.
Coffee Braised Beef with Cinnamon and Orange
adapted from Gourmet 2006
1 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups strong brewed coffee
3 (3- by 1-inch) strips fresh orange zest
1-2 tbsp cinnamon (I like cinnamon a lot so I added about 1.5tbsp and you could taste it just enough)
2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
1 3 1/2-lb boneless beef chuck roast
Salt and pepper
3 each carrots and parsnips (or vegetable of your choice) chopped into large chunks, optional
Parsley to garnich, optional
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 325°F.
Cook onion in oil in large heavy pot over med-high heat, stirring, until golden, (+/- 5 minutes). Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in coffee, orange, cinnamon, and brown sugar, then bring to a simmer. Season beef with salt and pepper and add to pot. Transfer pot to oven and braise, tightly covered, until meat is very tender, 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
If your pot lid does not fit tightly, slip a piece of parchement or wax paper in between the pot and the lid.
When there’s about 30-40 minutes left in the roasting time, add the chunks of carrot and parsnip. Cover and slip back in the oven.
Skim as much fat as you can from the sauce and serve in a big bowl. Like any braise, this tastes even better the next day!