Browsing Tag:

olive oil

Desserts

Bing Cherry & Chocolate Chip Olive Oil Cake

Rum-infused Bing Cherry Chocolate Chip Olive Oil Cake_4I decided to macerate the Bing cherries in some Captain Morgan® 1671 rum. This Caribbean rum has aromas of sweet oak and dark fruit – with hints of chocolate. That makes it perfect for this olive oil cake with Bing cherries and dark chocolate chips. Rum-infused Bing Cherry Chocolate Chip Olive Oil Cake_2 Macerating is just like marinating. I took a canning jar and filled it with pitted Bing cherries. Then I topped it off with Captain Morgan 1671 Rum. I let cherries soak for a few hours, but you could also let it soak overnight in the refrigerator. Just don’t throw out the rum after the cherries are done macerating! By itself it makes for a nice sipping companion while you’re baking – or a great addition to an ice cold Diet Coke. Rum-infused Bing Cherry Chocolate Chip Olive Oil Cake_1 This batter is quite thick, so use a sturdy spatula or spoon when you start to incorporate the chocolate chips. You could also mix the Bing cherries into the batter, but I prefer to layer them evenly on the batter to ensure nearly every bite of this rich cake has a burst of rum-infused cherry in it.

Rum-infused Bing Cherry Chocolate Chip Olive Oil Cake_3 I like to serve this cake while it’s still warm. The chocolate, cherries and rum make for a seriously decadent flavor combination. Fresh Bing cherries and Caribbean spiced rum. Now that’s what summer should taste like! Rum-infused Bing Cherry Chocolate Chip Olive Oil Cake_hero_a

Rum-infused Bing Cherry & Chocolate Chip Olive Oil Cake

Rating: 51

Yield: 12 servings

Rum-infused Bing Cherry & Chocolate Chip Olive Oil Cake

Ingredients

3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup cornmeal
1 and 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips, divided
2 1/2 cups fresh Bing cherries, pitted

Instructions

In a resealable container, soak Bing cherries in 1 cup of rum. Let cherries macerate for at least a few hours, and up to 24 hours.

Preheat your oven to 350 F degrees. Lightly coat a 9" round cake pan with butter; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and brown sugar for a few minutes, letting air incorporate into the mixture. Add vanilla, olive oil, lemon zest and lemon juice.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Add dry mixture to the wet mixture. Mix until combined; batter will be thick. With a spatula, stir in 1 cup chocolate chips.

Pour half of the batter into your prepared baking pan. Spread about 2 cups of cherries evenly. Save 1/2 cup of macerated cherries for a garnish. Spoon remaining batter over cherries; it's okay if the fruit peeks through the batter.

Bake until lightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes in a convection oven. If you use a non-convection oven, baking time will take a bit longer.

Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cake from cake pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Cut cake and serve with reserved Bing cherries as garnish. Put remaining chocolate chips in microwave-safe bowl; heat on HIGH for 60 to 90 seconds or until melting process has just started. Remove from microwave and stir with teaspoon until completely melted. Drizzle warm chocolate over slices and Bing cherry garnish; serve immediately.

http://bakedchicago.com/bing-cherry-chocolate-chip-olive-oil-cake-recipe/

Soups, Salads & Sides

Pasta Primavera Summer Salad

pasta primavera summer salad

Making pasta salads, which taste great warm or chilled, are a great meal option especially in the summer when you don’t want to have a heavy meal. And when the vegetables are fresh from the garden or local farmer’s market, it’s time for some pasta primavera.

I adore albacore tuna, especially when it’s packed in olive oil. Because there’s garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil coating the pasta and vegetables in this pasta primavera salad, it blends beautifully with the tuna.

pasta primavera summer salad

Doesn’t it look absolutely delish!?! And it’s beyond simple to make.

To get started all you need is some of your favorite pasta, two of your favorite fresh, in-season vegetables, albacore tuna, extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper. These eight ingredients will come together in less than 15 minutes of cooking time (all in the microwave, so you get to stay cool in the kitchen!).

To make garlic-infused olive oil couldn’t be simpler. Take some minced garlic (about 1 teaspoon) and put in a small bowl. Cover with 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and let it steep while you prepare the vegetables and pasta.

I chose to use sugar snap peas and baby lima beans, but you can use any fresh vegetables you love. I blanched them in the microwave by putting them in a glass bowl and lightly submerging in cold water. Cook them on high for 5 minutes and voila! Drain the water and rinse with cold water to stop them from cooking, which can cause them to lose color, nutrients. Set aside the vegetables while you cook the pasta.

The pasta cooks in the microwave on high in about 10 minutes (for 2 servings). Drain the water and put the pasta in a large mixing bowl.

Combine pasta with the vegetables and add the albacore tuna. Drizzle with the garlic-infused olive oil and toss to coat.
pasta primavera summer salad

Season with salt and pepper and you’ve got a classic summer salad that’s perfect for a light lunch to enjoy at home or at the office. And for when you don’t have even 15 minutes to make lunch, you can still enjoy savory albacore tuna with sun-dried tomatoes and olive oil.

 

Pasta Primavera Summer Salad

Rating: 51

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 2 - 4 servings (2 as entree or 4 as side dish)

Ingredients

15 ounces baby lima beans
4 ounces sugar snap peas
1/2 pound uncooked mini farfalle pasta
5 ounces (2 packages) Bumble Bee Prime Fillet Albacore Tuna with Sundried Tomatoes & Olive Oil
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, season to taste

Instructions

Put the minced garlic in a small condiment cup or bowl. Pour in the extra virgin olive oil and set aside. The garlic will infuse itself in the olive oil while you prepare the vegetables and pasta.

Blanch the lima beans and sugar snap peas in a microwavable bowl. Add enough water to cover vegetables; microwave on high for 5 minutes. Remove from microwave and drain. Rinse with cold water, drain and set aside.

Using a pasta cooker for the microwave, follow pasta package directions to prepare. For 1/2 pound of mini farfalle pasta, cook on high for 10 minutes. If you don't have a microwave pasta cooker, use a glass or microwave safe bowl. Put pasta in bowl and cover with water. Do not overfill; all pasta should be lightly submerged. Do NOT put a cover on the bowl; that will cause it to boil over before it's done cooking.

Drain the cooked pasta. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and stir in the vegetables. Add the Bumble Bee Prime Fillet Albacore Tuna. Drizzle the garlic-infused olive oil over the pasta and vegetables. Stir until all ingredients are well coated. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Notes

Adapted from Nigella Lawson's Pasta Primavera Salad, 2003.

http://bakedchicago.com/pasta-primavera-summer-salad-2/

Desserts

Heavenly HALO Olive Oil Cake

Heavenly HALO Olive Oil Cake Recipe #PompeianVarietals #ad

Heavenly HALO Olive Oil Cake Recipe #PompeianVarietals #ad

The olive oil I selected for my recipe was Arbequina. Arbequina is native to the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Arbequina olives produce an extra virgin olive oil that is intensely aromatic and its flavor profile strikes a delightful balance between grassy and peppery notes, finishing with a buttery almond flavor.

I thought that this particular olive oil flavor profile was perfect for an almond-olive oil cake – so I created a recipe for what I am calling Heavenly HALO Olive Oil Cake with a Brown Butter, Citrus & Almond Glaze. HALO stands for:

  • Honey,
  • Almond,
  • Lemon and
  • Orange

In both the cake batter and in the glaze, the honey, almond, lemon and orange come together in harmony with the olive oil for a symphony of (almost) sinful flavor.

Heavenly HALO Olive Oil Cake Recipe #PompeianVarietals #ad

The recipe is simple and you don’t have to bring out the stand mixer. Everything combines easily by hand in just a few mixing bowls.

When you taste the cake, you can tell that it’s made with olive oil because it’s so moist. And you don’t have to smother the cake in glaze because there’s a delicate sweetness to the cake itself that comes from the buttery almond flavor of the Pompeian Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Heavenly HALO Olive Oil Cake Recipe #PompeianVarietals #ad

I absolutely loved how this cake turned out and can’t wait to use the other Pompeian Varietals in my cooking. The other Pompeian Varietals are stronger, bolder in their flavor profiles and lend themselves more to savory dishes. But the Arbequina olive oil is so light and versatile that you could use it in almost any baking recipe.

What’s your favorite recipe for baking with olive oil?  If you use the Arbequina extra virgin olive oil in your next baking recipe, be sure to share it here on Baked Chicago. I’d love to hear how it turned out for you. Now pardon me, but a slice of cake and a cup of coffee are calling my name….LOUDLY.

Heavenly HALO Olive Oil Cake with a Brown Butter, Citrus & Almond Glaze

Rating: 51

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 12 servings

Heavenly HALO Olive Oil Cake with a Brown Butter, Citrus & Almond Glaze

Ingredients

For Cake:
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
grated zest of 1 medium lemon
1/2 cup orange juice
For Glaze:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup dry roasted almonds, chopped

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Generously grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt to thoroughly combine. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs to break up yolks. Add brown sugar and whisk it thoroughly. Add the olive oil and whisk until mixture is lighter in color and thickened (about 1 minute). Whisk in vanilla and almond extracts, followed by lemon zest and orange juice.

Add dry ingredients to the mixture and whisk until thoroughly combined. Continue whisking until batter is smooth and emulsified.

Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes. Cake is done when it pulls away from the sides of pan and springs back lightly when touched. A cake tester or toothpick inserted should come out clean.

Allow cake to cool for 10 minutes in pan, then remove it and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack.

While cake cools, make the glaze. Melt butter over medium heat in a small saucepan. When butter is melted, lower heat and watch carefully until it turns a light tan color. Swirl in pan while heating to distribute heat evenly. It should smell slightly nutty. Turn off the heat and let it cool. It will continue to darken.

In a medium bowl, whisk milk with the confectioners' sugar until smooth. Slowly whisk in butter and lemon juice. Stir in chopped almonds. Spread the glaze on top of the cake and let it set.

http://bakedchicago.com/heavenly-halo-olive-oil-cake-recipe/

Desserts

Jazzy Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies

Jazzy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies with dried cherries and cinnamon

I would never call a chocolate chip cookie boring to its face…but I might talk about it behind its back.

Have you ever craved something sweet and decadent but your brain and your mouth weren’t on the same page? Let me explain my predicament.

Yesterday my mouth really wanted to taste a chocolate chip cookie warm from the oven, but my mind was saying “how effin’ boring!” I personally don’t like confrontation, but when it involves my mind vs my mouth I step in to broker the peace.

As much as I really wanted to taste a chocolate chip cookie, I couldn’t muster the excitement to make a “plain ole chocolate chip cookie,” so I decided to browse the pantry for inspiration. That’s when I came across an unopened package of dried tart cherries, which I picked up over the holidays thinking I might make a cherry-banana bread or something equally festive.

Next to the dried cherries was my Sam’s Club-sized Quaker Oats Old-Fashioned Oats. And for a moment, I thought maybe I’ll make a cherry crisp or cherry cobbler. But that wasn’t my mission; I still wanted that chocolate chip cookie. So I thought why not combine them all into a chocolate chip cookie with oats (nice for added chewiness and fiber) AND the dried tart cherries (a nice counterpoint to the semisweet chocolate chips). My mouth was calling my brain “genius” and my mind was congratulating my mouth on having such good taste. Finally my stomach had to break up this mutual admiration society to get the recipe in motion.

Jazzy Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies

Because the inspiration for this recipe was to break out of the ordinary and try new ingredient combinations, I exchanged the butter I would normally use for some extra virgin olive oil. And I added a heaping tablespoon of ground cinnamon to play off the tart cherries to create a subtle cherry crisp flavor note.

mix ingredients for Jazzy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is a one-bowl recipe that is easy to mix by hand. Simply put all the dry ingredients (except the chocolate chips and dried cherries) in a very large mixing bowl. Whisk together to combine. Then add the wet ingredients. Stir to combine thoroughly, then fold in the chocolate chips and dried cherries.

If you don’t have a cookie scoop, you could take about 1 tablespoon of dough and roll it into a ball. I tested both techniques in the first batch and found that the cookies were more uniform and held together better on the baking sheet when I used the cookie scoop. Another trick for less mess: In addition to lining my baking sheets with parchment paper, I put parchment paper underneath the wire racks. That way any crumbs from the cooling process fall onto the parchment paper.

I also used a food styling trick that I learned watching some Food Network show: reserve some chocolate chips before folding them into the batter. Then put a few chips on top of each dough ball. That way each cookie will have chips on top, making it more visually appealing.

Jazzy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies by coffee mug

These cookies may look small, but they are dense and chewy. And nearly overflowing with chocolate chips. I rarely recommend “less chocolate” but in this recipe you could easily use half as many chocolate chips as called for in the recipe and you might not notice a difference in the taste.

I decided to call this recipe Jazzy Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies because with the addition of the dried tart cherries, rolled oats and ground cinnamon, this cookie is anything but boring.

What ingredients would you add to a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe to take it from drab to fab?

Jazzy Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies

Jazzy Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 large eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup dried red tart cherries
2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips (60% cacao)

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 350 F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a very large mixing bowl, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, olive oil, eggs and vanilla. Mix until combined and the dough is moist. The dough will be dense and crumbly. Fold in the cherries and chocolate chips.

Using a cookie scoop, place dough balls (roughly equivalent to 1 tablespoon of dough) on the prepared baking sheets about 1 inch apart.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden. Let cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

http://bakedchicago.com/jazzy-oatmeal-chocolate-chip-cookies-recipe/

Soups, Salads & Sides

Pasta Primavera Summer Salad

pasta primavera summer salad

Making pasta salads, which taste great warm or chilled, are a great meal option especially in the summer when you don’t want to have a heavy meal. And when the vegetables are fresh from the garden or local farmer’s market, it’s time for some pasta primavera.

I adore albacore tuna, especially when it’s packed in olive oil. Because there’s garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil coating the pasta and vegetables in this pasta primavera salad, it blends beautifully with the tuna.

pasta primavera summer salad

Doesn’t it look absolutely delish!?! And it’s beyond simple to make.

To get started all you need is some of your favorite pasta, two of your favorite fresh, in-season vegetables, albacore tuna, extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper. These eight ingredients will come together in less than 15 minutes of cooking time (all in the microwave, so you get to stay cool in the kitchen!).

To make garlic-infused olive oil couldn’t be simpler. Take some minced garlic (about 1 teaspoon) and put in a small bowl. Cover with 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and let it steep while you prepare the vegetables and pasta.

I chose to use sugar snap peas and baby lima beans, but you can use any fresh vegetables you love. I blanched them in the microwave by putting them in a glass bowl and lightly submerging in cold water. Cook them on high for 5 minutes and voila! Drain the water and rinse with cold water to stop them from cooking, which can cause them to lose color, nutrients. Set aside the vegetables while you cook the pasta.

The pasta cooks in the microwave on high in about 10 minutes (for 2 servings). Drain the water and put the pasta in a large mixing bowl.

Combine pasta with the vegetables and add the albacore tuna. Drizzle with the garlic-infused olive oil and toss to coat.
pasta primavera summer salad

Season with salt and pepper and you’ve got a classic summer salad that’s perfect for a light lunch to enjoy at home or at the office. And for when you don’t have even 15 minutes to make lunch, you can still enjoy savory albacore tuna with sun-dried tomatoes and olive oil.

 

Pasta Primavera Summer Salad

Rating: 51

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 2 - 4 servings (2 as entree or 4 as side dish)

Ingredients

15 ounces baby lima beans
4 ounces sugar snap peas
1/2 pound uncooked mini farfalle pasta
5 ounces (2 packages) Bumble Bee Prime Fillet Albacore Tuna with Sundried Tomatoes & Olive Oil
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, season to taste

Instructions

Put the minced garlic in a small condiment cup or bowl. Pour in the extra virgin olive oil and set aside. The garlic will infuse itself in the olive oil while you prepare the vegetables and pasta.

Blanch the lima beans and sugar snap peas in a microwavable bowl. Add enough water to cover vegetables; microwave on high for 5 minutes. Remove from microwave and drain. Rinse with cold water, drain and set aside.

Using a pasta cooker for the microwave, follow pasta package directions to prepare. For 1/2 pound of mini farfalle pasta, cook on high for 10 minutes. If you don't have a microwave pasta cooker, use a glass or microwave safe bowl. Put pasta in bowl and cover with water. Do not overfill; all pasta should be lightly submerged. Do NOT put a cover on the bowl; that will cause it to boil over before it's done cooking.

Drain the cooked pasta. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and stir in the vegetables. Add the Bumble Bee Prime Fillet Albacore Tuna. Drizzle the garlic-infused olive oil over the pasta and vegetables. Stir until all ingredients are well coated. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Notes

Adapted from Nigella Lawson's Pasta Primavera Salad, 2003.

http://bakedchicago.com/pasta-primavera-summer-salad-2017/

Soups, Salads & Sides

My Official Salad of the Summer: Pasta Primavera Summer Salad

pasta primavera summer salad

When summer heats up, the last thing I want to do is make things even steamier by cooking over a hot stove or cranking up the oven to get a meal ready. Yet, I do want to prepare a nutritious and satisfying dish. So I rely on my microwave even more to whip up a delicious meal for myself or friends and family. And it keeps my kitchen – and me – feeling cool.

I recently learned how to cook pasta in the microwave. Yes, I bought the not-so-fancy plastic pasta cooker I saw on television but you could easily cook almost any pasta with a microwave-safe glass bowl. It’s so simple, I can’t believe I never thought of it before.

Making pasta salads, which taste great warm or chilled, are a great meal option especially in the summer when you don’t want to have a heavy meal. And when the vegetables are fresh from the garden or local farmer’s market, it’s time for some pasta primavera. Pasta Primavera Summer Salad pairs perfectly with Bumble Bee® Prime Fillet® Gourmet Flavors Albacore Tuna with Sundried Tomatoes and Olive Oil.

I adore albacore tuna, especially when it’s packed in olive oil. Because there’s garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil coating the pasta and vegetables in this pasta primavera salad, it blends beautifully with the tuna.

pasta primavera summer salad

Doesn’t it look absolutely delish!?! And it’s beyond simple to make.

To get started all you need is some of your favorite pasta, two of your favorite fresh, in-season vegetables, Bumble Bee® Albacore Tuna, extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper. These eight ingredients will come together in less than 15 minutes of cooking time (all in the microwave, so you get to stay cool in the kitchen!).

To make garlic-infused olive oil couldn’t be simpler. Take some minced garlic (about 1 teaspoon) and put in a small bowl. Cover with 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and let it steep while you prepare the vegetables and pasta.

I chose to use sugar snap peas and baby lima beans, but you can use any fresh vegetables you love. I blanched them in the microwave by putting them in a glass bowl and lightly submerging in cold water. Cook them on high for 5 minutes and voila! Drain the water and rinse with cold water to stop them from cooking, which can cause them to lose color, nutrients. Set aside the vegetables while you cook the pasta.

The pasta cooks in the microwave on high in about 10 minutes (for 2 servings). Drain the water and put the pasta in a large mixing bowl.

Combine pasta with the vegetables and add the Bumble Bee® Albacore Tuna with Sundried Tomatoes and Olive Oil. Drizzle with the garlic-infused olive oil and toss to coat.

pasta primavera summer salad

Those sundried tomatoes and sugar snap peas almost make you want to dive in with your fingers…..

pasta primavera summer salad

…..but be civilized and use a fork!

Season with salt and pepper and you’ve got a classic summer salad that’s perfect for a light lunch to enjoy at home or at the office. And for when you don’t have even 15 minutes to make lunch, you can still enjoy savory albacore tuna with sundried tomatoes and olive oil. Bumble Bee® Prime Fillet® comes in a very portable single serve pouch. Just grab it and go.

pasta primavera summer salad

Share which type of pasta, fresh vegetables and Bumble Bee® tuna you’d use to create your own version of the perfect Pasta Primavera Summer Salad in the comments section below.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Pasta Primavera Summer Salad

Rating: 51

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 2 - 4 servings (2 as entree or 4 as side dish)

Ingredients

15 ounces baby lima beans
4 ounces sugar snap peas
1/2 pound uncooked mini farfalle pasta
5 ounces (2 packages) Bumble Bee Prime Fillet Albacore Tuna with Sundried Tomatoes & Olive Oil
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, season to taste

Instructions

Put the minced garlic in a small condiment cup or bowl. Pour in the extra virgin olive oil and set aside. The garlic will infuse itself in the olive oil while you prepare the vegetables and pasta.

Blanch the lima beans and sugar snap peas in a microwavable bowl. Add enough water to cover vegetables; microwave on high for 5 minutes. Remove from microwave and drain. Rinse with cold water, drain and set aside.

Using a pasta cooker for the microwave, follow pasta package directions to prepare. For 1/2 pound of mini farfalle pasta, cook on high for 10 minutes. If you don't have a microwave pasta cooker, use a glass or microwave safe bowl. Put pasta in bowl and cover with water. Do not overfill; all pasta should be lightly submerged. Do NOT put a cover on the bowl; that will cause it to boil over before it's done cooking.

Drain the cooked pasta. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and stir in the vegetables. Add the Bumble Bee Prime Fillet Albacore Tuna. Drizzle the garlic-infused olive oil over the pasta and vegetables. Stir until all ingredients are well coated. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Notes

Adapted from Nigella Lawson's Pasta Primavera Salad, 2003.

http://bakedchicago.com/pasta-primavera-summer-salad/

Desserts

Rum-infused Bing Cherry & Chocolate Chip Olive Oil Cake

Growing up, I remember visiting relatives who lived on this massive farm. At least to a young kid, it seemed like the farm was so huge that it could have been a country all to its own. The one thing I remember most from those visits was the fun I had climbing a cherry tree in the back yard.

Not being much of an outdoorsman at age 10, I was proud that I could climb the tree on my own and hold court among the cherry blossoms. I thoroughly enjoyed picking fresh cherries from the tree and savoring their natural sweetness.

I’m sure if I had actually lived on that farm, I would have had the daily chore of cleaning up fallen cherries off the ground. And that might have ruined what was to become my life long love affair with cherries.

To this day, I love anything with dark, sweet cherries. So when cherries are at their peak, I get swept away walking through the produce aisles at the grocery store. Just luck at these cherries! Can you blame me? Rum-infused Bing Cherry Chocolate Chip Olive Oil Cake_5 I actually bought a bag of sweet, dark Bing cherries and some Ranier cherries. I washed and pitted the cherries, freezing the Ranier cherries for a recipe on another day. Rum-infused Bing Cherry Chocolate Chip Olive Oil Cake_4I decided to macerate the Bing cherries in some Captain Morgan® 1671 rum. It’s a new, limited edition rum blend that commemorates Captain Morgan’s last flag ship, The Satisfaction. This Caribbean rum has aromas of sweet oak and dark fruit – with hints of chocolate. That makes it perfect for this olive oil cake with Bing cherries and dark chocolate chips. Rum-infused Bing Cherry Chocolate Chip Olive Oil Cake_2 Macerating is just like marinating. I took a canning jar and filled it with pitted Bing cherries. Then I topped it off with Captain Morgan 1671 Rum. I let cherries soak for a few hours, but you could also let it soak overnight in the refrigerator. Just don’t throw out the rum after the cherries are done macerating! By itself it makes for a nice sipping companion while you’re baking – or a great addition to an ice cold Diet Coke. Rum-infused Bing Cherry Chocolate Chip Olive Oil Cake_1 This batter is quite thick, so use a sturdy spatula or spoon when you start to incorporate the chocolate chips. You could also mix the Bing cherries into the batter, but I prefer to layer them evenly on the batter to ensure nearly every bite of this rich cake has a burst of rum-infused cherry in it.

I wonder what cherry-inspired desserts Martha Washington made for George? This cake is definitely good enough for even the most presidential guests at your dinner table. Rum-infused Bing Cherry Chocolate Chip Olive Oil Cake_3 I like to serve this cake while it’s still warm. The chocolate, cherries and rum make for a seriously decadent flavor combination. Fresh Bing cherries and Caribbean spiced rum. Now that’s what summer should taste like! Rum-infused Bing Cherry Chocolate Chip Olive Oil Cake_hero_a

Rum-infused Bing Cherry & Chocolate Chip Olive Oil Cake

Rating: 51

Yield: 12 servings

Rum-infused Bing Cherry & Chocolate Chip Olive Oil Cake

Ingredients

3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup cornmeal
1 and 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips, divided
2 1/2 cups fresh Bing cherries, pitted

Instructions

In a resealable container, soak Bing cherries in 1 cup of rum. Let cherries macerate for at least a few hours, and up to 24 hours.

Preheat your oven to 350 F degrees. Lightly coat a 9" round cake pan with butter; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and brown sugar for a few minutes, letting air incorporate into the mixture. Add vanilla, olive oil, lemon zest and lemon juice.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Add dry mixture to the wet mixture. Mix until combined; batter will be thick. With a spatula, stir in 1 cup chocolate chips.

Pour half of the batter into your prepared baking pan. Spread about 2 cups of cherries evenly. Save 1/2 cup of macerated cherries for a garnish. Spoon remaining batter over cherries; it's okay if the fruit peeks through the batter.

Bake until lightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes in a convection oven. If you use a non-convection oven, baking time will take a bit longer.

Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cake from cake pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Cut cake and serve with reserved Bing cherries as garnish. Put remaining chocolate chips in microwave-safe bowl; heat on HIGH for 60 to 90 seconds or until melting process has just started. Remove from microwave and stir with teaspoon until completely melted. Drizzle warm chocolate over slices and Bing cherry garnish; serve immediately.

http://bakedchicago.com/rum-infused-bing-cherry-chocolate-chip-olive-oil-cake/

 Disclosure: I was given a free sample of Captain Morgan® 1671 Commemorative Blend to review. I get no additional benefits for talking about this product or company. All opinions about this product are 100% my own.

Events & Entertaining

The Guy’s Guide for the Perfect Mother’s Day Picnic

canta mato salad #FuelTheLove #ad

Collective Bias Social Fabric

My mom and her cutest child (me!) #MyMarianos #CollectiveBias guy's guide for the perfect mother's day picnic

My mom and her cutest child (me!)

Finding the right gift for mom on any occasion can feel like an impossible mission for some guys (me included!). And when it comes to Mother’s Day, the pressure seems to grow exponentially.

How do you say a proper “thank you” to that person who changed your diapers, wiped your runny nose when you were sick and basically made sure that you and your siblings didn’t kill yourself or each other through the course of growing up?

A big bouquet of flowers or a huge box of chocolates? My mom would consider both extravagant. She’d eat one chocolate and share the rest, suggesting she has to watch her sugar and calorie intake.

Jewelry or a gift certificate for a massage? She usually only wears her wedding ring, and she’d much rather take a hot bath in her own tub than go to a stranger for a massage. Fancy perfume? Ivory soap is good enough for her.

On the surface, my mom might seem like a hard person to buy a present for. So what’s a son to do? The answer for me is NOT to buy a present, but rather to create the gift of an experience we can both enjoy.

I found my muse for the perfect Mother’s Day gift for my mom at Mariano’s on this #shop for #CollectiveBias. It hit me as I was exploring the delectable deli and bountiful bakery departments at the Jefferson Park #MyMarianos: a Mother’s Day picnic.

deli croissants #MyMarianos #CollectiveBias, guy's guide for the perfect mother's day picnic

When Mariano’s asked me to share a story about what inspires me about my mom, I didn’t know where to begin because my mom is inspiring in many ways. But the thing that is most amazing is that she’s always giving of herself and her time to others, to the point where she rarely takes time just for herself. She’d rather spend her money and time on her grandchildren or to help others in greater need.

To understand my mom, it helps to know where she came from. She was the 2nd youngest of 11 kids, and grew up right after the Depression. Money was always tight for her family, and some of the simplest things today were considered great luxuries back then.

One of her fondest memories growing up was when she and her mom (my grandmother) would eat ice cream right out of the carton. Back then, ice cream was a rare treat if you were poor. And they didn’t have the kind of refrigerator-freezers we have today, so storing ice cream was a challenge.

But my mom and grandmother had a solution for that: grab a spoon and eat it quick. When you’re one of 11 kids, you share everything so you just grab a spoon and dig in until it’s gone!

Pulling together a picnic doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, a successful picnic menu should be simple. All the food and drink need to be portable, easy-to-consume. Where most guys get it wrong is either by over-thinking it, or not giving it any thought at all. Success lies somewhere in the middle, so I wanted to share my tips for The Guy’s Guide for the Perfect Mother’s Day Picnic.

The Guy’s Guide for the Perfect Mother’s Day Picnic

Tip #1: Show that you’ve been listening (at least some of the time).

Growing up, mom cooked for you. Now it’s your turn to make the meal. That doesn’t mean you have to make everything from scratch. Pick a menu from all the great prepared foods you can find in the deli and bakery aisles, and be sure to include your mom’s favorite foods. Show her that you’ve been paying attention all these years!

My mom absolutely L-O-V-E-S fresh tomatoes and cold vanilla milkshakes. [Hold the whipped cream and cherry so there’s room for more milkshake in the glass!]. For as long as I can remember, my mom has planted tomatoes and cantaloupe (and sometimes watermelon) in her garden. Some days, she’ll go out to her garden and pick a fresh tomato for her lunch or dinner. She cuts up the tomato and uses a little salt and pepper. Bam! She’s got a simple, yet satisfying, meal that she loves.

For this Mother’s Day picnic menu, I’ve selected a few special items from Mariano’s bakery, deli and fresh produce section that make up the majority of the menu. I am going to make one simple dish that combines two fresh foods my mom loves: tomatoes and cantaloupe. I call the dish Canta-Mato Salad. The recipe (below) is so simple that anybody who can hold a knife and drizzle olive oil can make it. It’s deliciously simple and making at least one dish demonstrates an honest effort to give of yourself.

canta mato salad #MyMarianos #CollectiveBias, guy's guide for the perfect mother's day picnic

Picnic Menu

  • All-white meat chicken salad on buttery croissants
  • Crunchy home-style potato chips
  • Tomato-cantaloupe salad with fresh mint
  • Vanilla milkshakes

You can find chicken salad in the deli and croissants in the bakery. And select your favorite chips (for crunch) from the snack aisle.

chicken salad on buttery croissant #MyMarianos #CollectiveBias, guy's guide for the perfect mother's day picnic

Then pick three ingredients from the fresh product department: a pint of cherry tomatoes, a cantaloupe and some fresh mint.

tomatoes cantaloupes mint #MyMarianos #CollectiveBias, guy's guide for the perfect mother's day picnic

That’s all I need for a perfect picnic lunch that my mom will love. [I’ll pick up the vanilla milkshakes from the drive-through down the street from mom’s house so they’re good and cold.]

Tip #2: Don’t forget the flowers!

You might be saying, “hey, wait a minute! You said she really didn’t care about flowers!” That’s true. You don’t have to buy a huge flower bouquet, but a simple corsage that she can wear to church is something that would make her feel extra special. When people comment on her flowers, she gets to “brag” that her son gave it to her.

Tip #3: Sometimes, it’s okay to lie.

I don’t mean that it’s alright to tell your mom you’re in Hong Kong on business if you can’t be with her in person on Mother’s Day. Unless you are. Let me explain what I mean with an example of how I sometimes “lie” to my mom about the gift I’m giving her.

My mom is always thinking of others, and I know she really enjoys helping others in thoughtful ways. So I’ll sometimes get her two of something, like two differently colored corsages. Then I’ll say something like “I couldn’t decide which you’d like more” [the lie!] and suggest she give the one she doesn’t wear to a friend or someone at church who’d appreciate it. That could be an aunt, the minister’s wife or the church organist. It’s a chance for me to help my mom spread a little sunshine, because that gives her such joy to help others.

Tip #4: Your Mother’s Day celebration doesn’t have to be on Sunday only.

I’m one of six kids and everyone wants to spend time with Mom on Mother’s Day. Sometimes that’s not logistically possible.

Pick a time when you don’t have to rush around or deal with competing family schedules. In our family, one of my younger brothers always takes our mom out for a Mother’s Day lunch fundraiser at the local fire station. So I’ve chosen to treat mom to a Mother’s Day picnic on Saturday, the day before Mother’s Day. That way mom gets to celebrate a Mother’s Day weekend and I can give her the corsage in time for her to wear on Sunday to church.

Tip #5: The “perfect Mother’s Day” isn’t really about being perfect.

The perfect Mother’s Day is more about being present, being real and spending time with Mom in an authentic way that you both enjoy. Rather than putting your energy into buying a gift, show mom how much you appreciate her by spending time together and making the shared experience the gift.

For my mom, the only thing better than a Mother’s Day picnic with her cutest kid (me!) would be a Mother’s Day picnic with a side of bingo!

How are you planning to make your mom’s Mother’s Day perfect for her? Share your ideas in the comments section below. For other inspiring ideas to help make your mom’s Mother’s Day as perfect as it can be, follow Mariano’s on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. And check out the Mariano’s TasteMaker series featuring some of Chicago’s most innovative chefs.

Canta-Mato Salad

Rating: 51

12 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Canta-Mato Salad

Ingredients

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cantaloupe, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped

Instructions

Gather your ingredients. Slice the cherry tomatoes. Cut the cantaloupe. Chop the mint.

Put the tomatoes and cantaloupe in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil, Add chopped mint and gently toss.

http://bakedchicago.com/the-guys-guide-perfect-mothers-day-picnic/

Desserts

Jazzy Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies

Jazzy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies with dried cherries and cinnamon

I would never call a chocolate chip cookie boring to its face…

but I might talk about it behind its back.

Have you ever craved something sweet and decadent but your brain and your mouth weren’t on the same page? Let me explain my predicament.

Yesterday my mouth really wanted to taste a chocolate chip cookie warm from the oven, but my mind was saying “how effin’ boring!” I personally don’t like confrontation, but when it involves my mind vs my mouth I step in to broker the peace.

As much as I really wanted to taste a chocolate chip cookie, I couldn’t muster the excitement to make a “plain ole chocolate chip cookie,” so I decided to browse the pantry for inspiration. That’s when I came across an unopened package of dried tart cherries, which I picked up over the holidays thinking I might make a cherry-banana bread or something equally festive. [I guess I failed to get that done, so I’ll move it onto my 2014 holiday checklist for future consideration!]

Next to the dried cherries was my Sam’s Club-sized Quaker Oats Old-Fashioned Oats. And for a moment, I thought maybe I’ll make a cherry crisp or cherry cobbler. But that wasn’t my mission; I still wanted that chocolate chip cookie. So I thought why not combine them all into a chocolate chip cookie with oats (nice for added chewiness and fiber) AND the dried tart cherries (a nice counterpoint to the semisweet chocolate chips). My mouth was calling my brain “genius” and my mind was congratulating my mouth on having such good taste. Finally my stomach had to break up this mutual admiration society to get the recipe in motion.

Jazzy Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies

Because the inspiration for this recipe was to break out of the ordinary and try new ingredient combinations, I exchanged the butter I would normally use for some extra virgin olive oil. And I added a heaping tablespoon of ground cinnamon to play off the tart cherries to create a subtle cherry crisp flavor note.

mix ingredients for Jazzy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is a one-bowl recipe that is easy to mix by hand. Simply put all the dry ingredients (except the chocolate chips and dried cherries) in a very large mixing bowl. Whisk together to combine. Then add the wet ingredients. Stir to combine thoroughly, then fold in the chocolate chips and dried cherries.

If you don’t have a cookie scoop, you could take about 1 tablespoon of dough and roll it into a ball. I tested both techniques in the first batch and found that the cookies were more uniform and held together better on the baking sheet when I used the cookie scoop. Another trick for less mess: In addition to lining my baking sheets with parchment paper, I put parchment paper underneath the wire racks. That way any crumbs from the cooling process fall onto the parchment paper.

I also used a food styling trick that I learned watching some Food Network show: reserve some chocolate chips before folding them into the batter. Then put a few chips on top of each dough ball. That way each cookie will have chips on top, making it more visually appealing.

Jazzy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies by coffee mug

These cookies may look small, but they are dense and chewy. And nearly overflowing with chocolate chips. I rarely recommend “less chocolate” but in this recipe you could easily use half as many chocolate chips as called for in the recipe and you might not notice a difference in the taste.

I decided to call this recipe Jazzy Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies because with the addition of the dried tart cherries, rolled oats and ground cinnamon, this cookie is anything but boring.

What ingredients would you add to a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe to take it from drab to fab?

Jazzy Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies

Jazzy Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 large eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup dried red tart cherries
2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips (60% cacao)

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 350 F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a very large mixing bowl, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, olive oil, eggs and vanilla. Mix until combined and the dough is moist. The dough will be dense and crumbly. Fold in the cherries and chocolate chips.

Using a cookie scoop, place dough balls (roughly equivalent to 1 tablespoon of dough) on the prepared baking sheets about 1 inch apart.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden. Let cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

http://bakedchicago.com/jazzy-oatmeal-chocolate-chip-cookies/

Appetizers/ Events & Entertaining

Some Bunnies Bring A Fresh Take To Easter Brunch!

Collective Bias Social Fabric

Some Bunnies Baxter and Bing - KRAFT #FreshTake #CollectiveBias

Everybunny needs a little extra help and a fresh take in the kitchen when it comes to getting ready for family holiday gatherings, like Easter.

Honestly, I get bored with “traditional Easter” menus. I don’t love ham and I prefer my eggs scrambled or omeletted (yes, that’s a word in my world). Many of the traditional Easter foods I grew up with I just don’t care for as an adult. But that’s not to say that I don’t like to cook with many of the ingredients found in these dishes. I’m simply challenged to find a way to incorporate those ingredients in ways that will excite my palate – and those of the 23 members of my immediate family when we get together for an Easter brunch. [Yes, when the ENTIRE family gets together we have that many in the immediate family, not counting pets!]

So I accepted a challenge to use three varieties of KRAFT #FreshTake Cheese & Breadcrumb mixes to create side dishes for Easter brunch on this #shop for #Collective Bias. But I knew I had to get some help from some bunnies (actually, they’re apricot-fawn pugs) named Baxter and Bing. They are rescues and the MOST FOOD OBSESSED DOGS my vet and dog trainer have ever seen! That’s probably why the universe put us together. Their help in deciding on what to make for an Easter brunch menu is (almost) always invaluable.

Now Baxter and Bing don’t actually help prep any food (I thought I should call that out, as I’ve been told I’m somewhat obsessive when it comes to my dogs). But Bing (the father) and Baxter (the son) may occasionally taste test an ingredient as I cook.

Bing and Baxter aren’t very vocal, unlike their constantly-barking-at-the-wind black pug sisters, Della and Marlo. [Della and Marlo aren’t yet 2 years old, so they’re too young to help out much in the kitchen for now.] But Bing and Baxter can communicate “the world” with a single look, so I pay close attention to their eyes when we “collaborate” on what to make. We “conferred” and decided on using three varieties of KRAFT Fresh Take Cheese & Breadcrumb mixes for our Easter brunch menu:

  • #FreshTake Italian Parmesan Hasselback Potatoes [Sweden’s version of baked potatoes]
  • #FreshTake Southwest Three Cheese Stuffed Peppers [hearty enough to be a satisfying entrée on its own]
  • #FreshTake Cheddar Jack with Bacon Deviled Egg Cups [a modern take on a traditional app]

So it was off to my local Walmart to get the ingredients. You’ll find KRAFT Fresh Take in the refrigerated cheese aisle.

KRAFT #FreshTake at Walmart, #CollectiveBias

For a limited time, you can save $1.00 on the purchase of any KRAFT Fresh Take Cheese & Breadcrumb Mix and fresh chicken at Walmart. Get your $1.00 coupon here.

$1 coupon for KRAFT #FreshTake at Walmart #CollectiveBias

Hasselback Potatoes

If you’ve read Baked Chicago before, you may know that I’ve never met a potato I didn’t like. And while I love a good baked potato, it can be kinda boring to serve for a special occasion. But not Hasselback Potatoes, which are Sweden’s version of baked potatoes. They were made popular by the restaurant inside the Hasselbacken Hotel in Stockholm that created the dish.

By using a simple cutting technique (which also helps the potatoes to cook faster) and adding some simple ingredients inside or atop the potatoes while they bake, you have a simply elegant – and unbelievably delicious – potato dish that everyone is going to gobble down at the Easter table. [I guess that’s a better description for the Thanksgiving table, but you know what I mean.]

This dish would also be something that you could cook to impress someone, like a first date, because they look like they would be difficult to make. But they’re not. It’s all in the presentation, and (from where I sit) there’s no need to let them know just how easy it was!

KRAFT #FreshTake #CollectiveBias Hasselback Potatoes

During the cooking process, the potato start to fan out – making for a beautiful presentation on the plate.

closeup of KRAFT #FreshTake Italian Parmesan Hasselback Potatoes, #CollectiveBias

  

Hasselback Potatoes with KRAFT Fresh Take Cheese & Breadcrumb Mix

Rating: 51

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

18 small Yukon Gold potatoes (about 3 pounds), peeled
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 package KRAFT Fresh Take Cheese & Breadcrumb Mix, Italian Parmesan Recipe
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and ground black pepper, for seasoning

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 400 F degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

Place peeled potatoes on a cutting board. Cut a narrow slice from the bottom of each potato to help the potato lie flat; discard the slice.

Place one wooden chopstick (2 total) on each side of the potato, lengthwise. Use a knife to slice each potato crosswise making slices about 1/4-inch apart for the length of the potato. The chopsticks will prevent the knife from cutting through the bottom of the potato. You want to leave about 1/4-inch on the bottom of the potato intact.

After cutting the potatoes, gently rinse them to rid excess starch which can impede fanning. Carefully flex the potatoes while rinsing under cold running water. Dry the potatoes well before baking.

Place the contents of the entire KRAFT Fresh Take Italian Parmesan package in a food processor, along with olive oil. Pulse until well blended.

Brush the potatoes with melted butter. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Pat the prepared KRAFT Fresh Take cheese & breadcrumb mixture on top of each potato.

Place potatoes onto the prepared baking sheet. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until they turn crispy and are fork-tender.

Notes

Hasselback potatoes are also known as the Swedish version of baked potatoes, popularized by the restaurant at the Hasselbacken Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden. As the potatoes bake, the slices fan out slightly - making for an elegant presentation.

http://bakedchicago.com/hasselback-potatoes/

Slow Cooker Southwest 3-Cheese Stuffed Peppers

The next dish I made was a slow cooker version of stuffed peppers. Many cooks use green bell peppers, but I personally think the vibrant colors of the orange, yellow and red bell peppers are much more visually appealing. As a kid, I hated most green vegetables. While my palate grew up, my eyes still find the same green of most vegetables to be quite dull.

Go veggie! You can also turn this into a vegetarian dish by simply eliminating the ground turkey.

What I love best about this recipe is that it’s another slow cooker home run. I have [undiagnosed] adult ADD. So anytime I can put something into the slow cooker and forget it for a few hours, I am so HOPPY…I mean HAPPY!

KRAFT #FreshTake #CollectiveBias Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients

  • 6 large bell peppers, tops removed and seeded
  • 1 pound ground turkey, browned and crumbled
  • 10 ounces frozen kernel corn
  • 15 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 14.5 ounces diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chunky salsa
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions
  • 1 cup brown rice, cooked
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 package KRAFT Fresh Take Southwest Three Cheese & Breadcrumbs

KRAFT #FreshTake #CollectiveBias mise en place for stuffed peppers

Directions

In a skillet, cook the ground turkey until browned. Crumble it as you stir. Set aside. Cook the brown rice according to package directions. Set aside. Cut off the tops of each pepper, then core and remove seeds, membranes. Rinse out with cold water. If needed, slice off any uneven portion of the bottoms of each pepper in order for them to lie flat. Set aside.

Preparing peppers for KRAFT #FreshTake Southwest 3-Cheese Stuffed Peppers, #CollectiveBias

In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey, corn, black beans, diced tomatoes, salsa, onions, brown rice and Worcestershire sauce until blended. Stuff peppers with mixture and top with KRAFT Fresh Take cheese & breadcrumbs. Stand peppers in a slow cooker. Add 1/2 cup water in the bottom and cover. Cook on low for 6 hours (or on HIGH for 3 hours), or until peppers are tender. Makes 6 servings.

Deviled Egg Cups

The final recipe for my Easter brunch is a twist on deviled eggs. I have always liked the taste of deviled eggs, but I’m not a fan of the rubbery texture that hard-boiled egg whites can sometimes have. Deviled egg cups use phyllo dough for the vessel, so it adds a nice crunchy texture that I find irresistible.

And the filling couldn’t be easier. You essentially puree the hard-boiled eggs (yolks and whites!) and mix in the rest of the ingredients. Then pipe the filling into the phyllo shells and you’ve got a somewhat fancy appetizer that is great for a large gathering.

But don’t forget to garnish with thick-cut bacon. That’s Bing and Baxter’s tip, because they love anything topped with bacon. And I concur.

KRAFT #FreshTake Cheddar Jack and Bacon Deviled Egg Cups, #CollectiveBias

Ingredients

  • 30 (2 boxes) frozen mini phyllo shells
  • 6 hard-boiled large eggs, peeled
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package KRAFT Fresh Take Cheddar Jack with Bacon Cheese & Breadcrumbs
  • 5 slices thick-cut bacon, crispy and chopped, for garnish

KRAFT #FreshTake Cheddar Jack and Bacon with Kraft Mayo, #CollectiveBias

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the phyllo shells on baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Let cool.

In food processor, puree eggs, mayonnaise, lemon juice, pepper, salt and contents of Fresh Take Cheddar Jack with Bacon. Put egg mixture in a resealable plastic bag, cut off tip and pipe into shells.

Garnish with chopped bacon and serve at room temperature. Makes 30 deviled egg cups.

Finally, Some Fun For The Kids

I hope you found some inspiration in these recipes as you prepare your Easter menu. Whether you’re cooking for yourself or for a super-humongous group, make it easy on the chef! Simple can also be delicious and a crowd-pleaser. What’s going to be on your Easter menu this year? Share your comments below.

Dig out the plastic eggs from the basement or attic and get ready for some marathon Easter egg hunts! [For those with kids under age 6, you know what I mean. I have 13 nieces and nephews, of which 8 are under 10 years old. So I’ve hosted my share of egg-citing – and unending – egg hunts. Just don’t forget where you put the eggs. Seriously. Don’t forget.]

Many of my nieces and nephews have iPads and hand-held electronic games, so anything as “manual” as an Easter egg hunt may see alien to them as they get into their teens. I remember as a younger kid that I loved to color with crayons and do word games/puzzles, so I wanted to share with you an Easter coloring page and maze puzzle (both are downloadable PDFs) that you can share.

Who knows? It might just buy you 10 minutes of uninterrupted time in the kitchen. And for that, you’ll thank me!

Happy Easter!

Free Printable Easter Coloring Page (for personal use only), #FreshTake #CollectiveBias

Free Printable – Easter Coloring Page (for personal use only)

Free Printable - Easter Maze (for personal use only), #FreshTake #CollectiveBias

Free Printable – Easter Maze (for personal use only)

Desserts

Heavenly HALO Olive Oil Cake

Heavenly HALO Olive Oil Cake Recipe #PompeianVarietals #ad

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Heavenly HALO Olive Oil Cake Recipe #PompeianVarietals #ad

When I was asked to create a recipe for a new flavor of premium extra virgin olive oil, I jumped at the chance. I love baking with olive oil because it makes cakes so rich, moist. The folks over at Pompeian have created a premium line of mono-varietal (i.e. produced from a single grape) extra virgin olive oils called the Pompeian Varietals Collection. This new line is meant to celebrate the unique flavor profile that a single type of olive provides, while allowing the consumer a chance to learn about the unique journey behind each bottle.

The collection consists of three types of olives:

  • Arbequina – a mild-bodied extra virgin olive oil with a round taste of fruitiness and a delicate sweetness.
  • Picholine – a medium-bodied extra virgin olive oil with a fruitiness and hints of herbs that works well with meats or sauces.
  • Koroneiki – a full-bodied extra virgin olive oil with robust fruitiness and a peppery finish that is perfect for soups or salads.

One of the cool things about Pompeian Varietals is that you can track the story of the olives from harvest to your table. You can uncover the history behind each bottle — starting at the mill, country and harvest date and ending at your very own kitchen table.

The olive oil I selected for my recipe was Arbequina. Arbequina is native to the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Arbequina olives produce an extra virgin olive oil that is intensely aromatic and its flavor profile strikes a delightful balance between grassy and peppery notes, finishing with a buttery almond flavor.

I thought that this particular olive oil flavor profile was perfect for an almond-olive oil cake – so I created a recipe for what I am calling Heavenly HALO Olive Oil Cake with a Brown Butter, Citrus & Almond Glaze. HALO stands for:

  • Honey,
  • Almond,
  • Lemon and
  • Orange

In both the cake batter and in the glaze, the honey, almond, lemon and orange come together in harmony with the olive oil for a symphony of (almost) sinful flavor.

Heavenly HALO Olive Oil Cake Recipe #PompeianVarietals #ad

The recipe is simple and you don’t have to bring out the stand mixer. Everything combines easily by hand in just a few mixing bowls.

When you taste the cake, you can tell that it’s made with olive oil because it’s so moist. And you don’t have to smother the cake in glaze because there’s a delicate sweetness to the cake itself that comes from the buttery almond flavor of the Pompeian Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Heavenly HALO Olive Oil Cake Recipe #PompeianVarietals #ad

I absolutely loved how this cake turned out and can’t wait to use the other Pompeian Varietals in my cooking. The other Pompeian Varietals are stronger, bolder in their flavor profiles and lend themselves more to savory dishes. But the Arbequina olive oil is so light and versatile that you could use it in almost any baking recipe.

What’s your favorite recipe for baking with olive oil?  If you use the Arbequina extra virgin olive oil in your next baking recipe, be sure to share it here on Baked Chicago. I’d love to hear how it turned out for you. Now pardon me, but a slice of cake and a cup of coffee are calling my name….LOUDLY.

Heavenly HALO Olive Oil Cake with a Brown Butter, Citrus & Almond Glaze

Rating: 51

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 12 servings

Heavenly HALO Olive Oil Cake with a Brown Butter, Citrus & Almond Glaze

Ingredients

For Cake:
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
grated zest of 1 medium lemon
1/2 cup orange juice
For Glaze:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup dry roasted almonds, chopped

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Generously grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt to thoroughly combine. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs to break up yolks. Add brown sugar and whisk it thoroughly. Add the olive oil and whisk until mixture is lighter in color and thickened (about 1 minute). Whisk in vanilla and almond extracts, followed by lemon zest and orange juice.

Add dry ingredients to the mixture and whisk until thoroughly combined. Continue whisking until batter is smooth and emulsified.

Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes. Cake is done when it pulls away from the sides of pan and springs back lightly when touched. A cake tester or toothpick inserted should come out clean.

Allow cake to cool for 10 minutes in pan, then remove it and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack.

While cake cools, make the glaze. Melt butter over medium heat in a small saucepan. When butter is melted, lower heat and watch carefully until it turns a light tan color. Swirl in pan while heating to distribute heat evenly. It should smell slightly nutty. Turn off the heat and let it cool. It will continue to darken.

In a medium bowl, whisk milk with the confectioners' sugar until smooth. Slowly whisk in butter and lemon juice. Stir in chopped almonds. Spread the glaze on top of the cake and let it set.

http://bakedchicago.com/heavenly-halo-olive-oil-cake/

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