Saturday, April 11, 2009

Clementine & Olive Oil Pound Cake

I've become especially intrigued lately with baked good recipes that call for olive oil in lieu of butter, so when I saw a pound cake flavored of sweet clementines, and calling for this special ingredient, I instantly bookmarked it. With Easter arriving just tomorrow, I thought it would be a great time to experiment, which is exactly what I did after getting off of work yesterday. My home was the sweetest it had ever smelled. The combination of the clementine zest and sugar filled the air. A simple, straightforward cake turned out to yield very pleasing results.

This pound cake is best left simple, as to not kill the slightly sweet and citrus bite it lends to it's taster.
Best served alongside a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or a sprinkling of powdered sugar with a cup of tea, this little loaf most certainly felt like Spring in a cake tin. If you're looking for a new twist on your average pound cake, I highly recommend this. I took it upon myself to add some lemon to the recipe I found on Cafe Fernando's blog, and felt it really lifted the clementines out, and the taste a bit stronger.

Clementine & Olive Oil Pound Cake


- 2 cups all-purpose flour

- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp clementine zest*

- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup clementine juice*
- lemon juice (from half a lemon)

* Depending on size, 2-3 clementines would be enough for the zest and juice.

Preheat the oven to 375* F. Grease and flour one 12 x 4 inch loaf pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.

In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and clementine zest and rub together with a wooden spoon to extract the fragrant oil from the zest.

Add olive oil and mix quickly until completely combined (preferably with a whisk).

Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix slowly.

Add half of the clementine juice and continue mixing.

Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by the rest of the clementine juice, lemon juice and the remaining flour mixture and beat until combined between each addition.

Pour batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove the cake from the oven, wait 10 minutes for it to cool down and then remove from the pan.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Crunchy Cornmeal with Caramelized Onions

This was my first time cooking with cornmeal. With how simple and tasty it was, it surely won't be my last. For this recipe, it literally comes down to a little measuring, some stirring, chopping of onions, and the rest of the time is spent in your oven, forming a delectably crunchy crust. If you're a fan of sweet, caramelized onions (like myself), this is your meal. The best way I can describe this dish is that of a cornmeal cake. One baked with soft, sweet, browning onions, and Parmesan, topped with both after coming out of the oven. If you let it cool, you can get slices and serve them alongside a salad, as I did, or dunk them in a chunky vegetable soup, or some chili if you're looking to go down the real filling road. I was also pleasantly surprised with how good the leftovers were. I crumbled mine on top of a salad the next day with a drizzling of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and it was quite tasty. I'd imagine it'd be great just thrown onto a skillet though to reheat with the addition of veggies such as kale, spinach or zucchini.

Crunchy Cornmeal with Caramelized Onions
(Courtesy of 101 Cookbooks)


- 1 1/2 cups (medium grind) cornmeal
- fine grain sea salt
- 4 cups yellow onion, chopped (about 3 medium)
- 1/4 cup olive oil

- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 3 cups water or vegetable broth

Preheat the oven to 400*F. Butter and flour (or line bottom with parchment paper) one 9 x 12-inch baking dish or tart pan - or roughly this size.

In a medium bowl combine the corn meal with 1 1/2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir and set aside.

To caramelize the onions, heat a splash of olive oil in a large skillet. Cook over medium-high to high heat, stirring and scraping the pan occasionally - more often as the onions begin to get increasingly brown. Continue cooking until the onions collapse and turn deep brown in color. Remove from skillet and set aside.Bring 1 1/2 cups water (or broth) to a boil in a medium saucepan, add the water and cornmeal mixture, bring back up to a boil and stir until it is thicker and heavy - about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese and 2/3 of the onions. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan, spreading it to an even thickness, and drizzle with about 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the bottom is golden and the cornmeal begins to pull away from the sides of the pan a bit. Serve topped with the remaining onions (and more grated cheese if you like).