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  • Traditional Irish St.Patrick's Day Pork

    March 15, 2019

    recipe shown with couscous and roasted vegetables



    As a non-Irish American I grew up believing that corned beef was

    original Irish fare. What I now know is that beef is not an original

    Irish dish for St. Patrick’s Day.


    We were familiar with corned beef and cabbage because it was

    marketed in March at the local grocery store. My mother bought

    what looked like a very pink beef roast swimming in brine with

    peppercorns and sprigs of herb, packaged in a very heavy transparent

    plastic package at the local grocery store. She would cook it beyond

    recognition along with cabbage, potatoes and carrots.

    I won't lie , it was tasty and we enjoyed it.


    An Authentic St. Patrick's Day Dinner


    In actual fact,  pork is the genuine, Irish favorite on St. Patrick’s Day and in

    Ireland the pork roast known as Pork Loin of Bacon is traditional .

    While this cut of pork is not readily available in the United States and

    other locations outside Ireland, you can improvise  with a bone in shoulder

    roast and create this Irish treat from scratch by preparing the pork one day



    We’ve included the traditional potato, cabbage and carrot additions along

    with a variation for you. If you’d like to try the roasted vegetables and

    couscous, you’ll find it here also along with a yogurt sauce and tasty glaze

    for the roast. Enjoy and as the Irish among us say, "Lá fhéile Pádraig!"


    -Cheryl Robbins


    Pork Loin of Bacon

    Preparation (adapted from


    Ingredients for Pork: Makes 6 servings

    1 6 1/2-pound bone-in pork shoulder roast (Boston butt), trim excess fat.

    1 gallon water

    3 cups coarse kosher salt

    3 large heads of garlic, halved crosswise

    1 1/2 tsps. whole black peppercorns


    Prepare the Pork One Day Ahead


    Combine 1 gallon of water and salt in heavy large pot. Stir until salt

    dissolves. Add the pork. roast. Cover and refrigerate overnight.


    Second  Day Cooking the Pork -

    With Steamed Potatoes, Cabbage and Carrots


    First Make The Glaze: Ingredients


    Combine the following and set aside.

    3 Tbsp. Chico Honey

    1.5 Tbsp. Lucero Lemon White Balsamic

    1.5 Tbsp. Lucero Country Dijon Mustard

    juice and zest of ½ an orange

    1.5 tsp.  finely grated ginger


    Bring pork in salt water to boil. Boil 10 minutes.

    Carefully drain salt water. Fill pot with enough cold water to cover pork.

    Bring water to boil over high heat. Add garlic and peppercorns. Cover

    and reduce heat to medium low. It will take about 3 hours for pork to

    become tender.


    If you’re serving potatoes, cabbage and carrots, prepare them now and

    add them during the last 20-30 minutes of cooking time.


    Prepare the Cabbage, Potatoes, and Carrots

    Quarter and wash a whole green cabbage (cut into 8ths if cabbage is


    Wash and peel 1 lb. fresh carrots, cut into thick slices

    Scrub 4 to 5 medium to large  red potatoes, cut into ¼’s.

    Set carrots and potatoes aside. Add them to the pork pot for the last 30

    minutes. Add the cabbage wedges for the last 10 minutes to avoid

    over-cooking  the cabbage.


    Remove vegetables , drain and put into a separate dish so they don’t

    continue cooking.


    Transfer pork to large pan, pat dry and brush the pork with the glaze.

    Cut the roast into thick slices and serve alongside your chosen

    vegetable  preparation and yogurt sauce.


    Yogurt Sauce-Ingredients


    150 g/ 2/3 cup low-fat yogurt

    1 tsp. Lucero Country Dijon Mustard

    1 small onion, finely chopped

    1-2 Tbsp. Lucero Lemon White Balsamic, to taste

    1 Tbsp. Lucero Ascolano olive oil

    2 Tbsp. fresh minced parsley

    freshly ground black pepper




    Combine all ingredients together and let sit for 30 minutes in the

    refrigerator until served.


    Roasted Vegetables With Couscous-Ingredients


    1-lb carrots

    1 lb parsnips peeled and diced

    2 red onions, cut into wedges

    4 TBSP.  olive oil

    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Several sprigs of thyme, enough to distribute evenly through the




    Preheat the oven (350°F) 180°C

    To roast the vegetables: Toss the carrots, parsnips and onions in the

    olive oil. Season with  a little salt and black pepper. Place in a roasting

    pan, pop into the oven. Roast for approximately 20 mins. until cooked.


    Steamed Couscous Ingredients


    1 Cup couscous

    juice of 1 lemon

    2 Tbsp. Lucero Ascolano olive oil

    2 garlic clove, crushed

    1.5 cups of  water, ½ tsp salt




    Combine lemon juice, olive oil, salt. water and couscous in a large bowl

    and let sit for 5 mins. Bring  water, to a boil in a 4 quart saucepan. Pour

    1 cup couscous into boiling water, stir once with a spoon, cover with a

    lid, and remove from heat. Let the couscous steam for five minutes.


    Taste Notes: Ascolano is -Medium Intensity Yellow Label


    Fluff with a fork and add diced roasted vegetables to the couscous.

    Parts of the recipe including the Image comes to us  courtesy of

    The Irish Food Board and



    Irish Food Board St. Patrick's Day Food




  • Adapting Balsamic Vinegars to Classic Cocktails

    December 19, 2018


    A few years ago, our friends Karl and Karin made a series of bourbon

    based cocktails using our balsamic vinegars and it got us thinking

    about the well stocked bar and ideas for entertaining.  The photo above

    was taken in their San Francisco Pied-à-terre, and we were charmed.


    The Oxford Dictionary defines cocktail as "An alcoholic drink consisting of a

    spirit or spirits mixed with other ingredients, such as fruit juice or cream".

    Specifically, a cocktail may mean a beverage with at least three flavors,

    one of which is alcohol.


    Even more specifically, a cocktail must contain alcohol, a sugar, and a

    bitter or citrus component.  Mixed drinks containing only distilled spirit

    and a mixer, such as soda or fruit juice, are considered highballs,.


    Mixed drinks without alcohol that resemble cocktails are known as

    "mocktails" or "virgin cocktails". We’ve found that balsamic vinegars

    suit cocktail making well considering they are both sweet and acidic.


    Quality balsamic vinegars used in equal parts with your favorite spirit

    can yield simple and refreshing new highball cocktail combinations and

    used simply with a good club soda or mineral water produce a refreshing,

    healthy mocktail option.


    If you’ like to venture beyond highball combinations you might come up with on

    your own, we’ve found three recipes online of interest or inspiration.  A santé!


    Cocktail Recipes


    Michaela Rosenthal, Head Cook,

    Glory Foods, Inc. Walnut CA.

    Blackberry-Sage Cocktail by Michaela Rosenthal




    3 ounces blackberry juice

    1-1/2 ounces premium vanilla flavored vodka

    1 tsp. blackberry balsamic vinegar

    2 sage leaves, plus extra for garnish

    1 strip lemon peel

    2 ounces club soda

    fresh blackberries, garnish




    Place blackberry juice, vodka, vinegar, sage and lemon peel in a

    cocktail shaker filled half way with ice. Shake to mix well and

    strain into an ice filled glass. Top with club soda and garnish with

    fresh blackberries and sage leaves.



    Balsamic Berry Fizz by Clinton Kelly Emmy winning cohost of

    ABC’s daytime hit, The Chew.




    1 tsp balsamic vinegar

    2 blackberries, muddled (fresh or frozen)

    1.5 tsp. simple syrup

    2 ounces bourbon

    1 splash club soda




    Add balsamic vinegar and blackberries to a rocks glass then

    Muddle the fruit.Top with ice and add simple syrup and bourbon

    Stir to combine. Top with club soda and serve.



    Bufala Negra from Food & Wine




    4 basil leaves

    1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

    ½ ounce simple syrup


    1.5 ounces bourbon

    1.5 ounces chilled ginger ale




    In a cocktail shaker, muddle 3 of the basil leaves with the vinegar

    and simple syrup


    Add the ice and bourbon, and shake well. Strain the drink into an ice

    filled rocks glass abd stir in the ginger ale


    Garnish with remaining basil leaf




  • Holiday Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes

    November 17, 2018

    This recipe is dairy free and vegan.


    Yield 4 large or 6 medium servings


    2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes
    4 cloves garlic
    2 tsp English Flake Salt or other sea salt
    ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Flavored Olive Oil,



    Boil water and simmer cubed potatoes with the  garlic and salt

    briskly for about 15 minutes or until tender.


    Drain cooked potatoes and garlic reserving 1 cup of the liquid.

    Mash potatoes with a potato masher, ricer or food mill, adding

    the olive oil for flavor and thinning with the reserved potato

    water. Avoid leaving the mixture on the heat and over working.

    This will produce a gluey mixture.

  • Classic Aleppian Rice Pilaf

    November 2, 2018



    Recipe excerpted from Syria © 2018, Emily Lycopolus. Recipe and

    images  by DL Acken reprinted with the  permission of  TouchWood



    Rice is a highly valued grain in Middle Eastern cuisine simply because

    historically it was difficult to obtain. In Aleppo, the main trading center,

    many types of rice were available, hence the name of this dish.


    The Lime infused olive oil adds a lovely but subtle and refreshing

    flavor to this dish, and the aroma is remarkable.


    Classic Aleppian Rice Pilaf,  Serves Six


    Makes 4–5 cups of cooked rice


    1/4 cup Lime infused olive oil

    2 cups short-grain rice (basmati or jasmine work well)

    3 cups water

    6–8 strands saffron


    A fun twist on this classic dish that is often served on Syrian tables

    is to add vermicelli to the rice. To make the dish this way, add 1

    cup of broken vermicelli noodles to the oil and toast before adding

    rice. Be careful when the noodles are toasting as they do burn

    easily, so keep an eye on it.


    In a frying pan with a lid, warm the oil over medium heat, then add

    the rice. Toast the rice until it is fully translucent and has absorbed

    all the olive oil, 1–2 minutes. It’s crucial to stir it constantly during

    this time.


    Pour in the water, add the saffron, and stir a few times to fully

    incorporate. Increase the heat to high, and bring the water to a

    boil. As soon as it starts to boil, turn down the heat to its lowest

    setting, cover the pan, and let cook for 30–45 minutes, or until

    the rice has absorbed all the water and is fluffy on top.


    Gently poke a few holes in the top of the rice, but don’t press down

    to the very bottom, to release the steam. Cook for an additional 10

    –15 minutes, still on the lowest-possible setting, with the lid tipped

    a little to release any extra moisture from the pan.


    Using a wooden spoon, carefully check the bottom of the frying

    pan. The rice should be golden brown with a thick, toasted crust

    on the bottom. If it’s not completely golden, continue to cook on

    low heat for up to 15 more minutes, watching it closely and

    checking every few minutes so it doesn’t burn.


    Remove from the heat, remove the lid, and place a serving plate

    over top the pan. Turn it upside down over the serving plate—

    the rice should release in one piece. If desired, fluff the rice,

    mixing in the crusty bottom for some crispy texture throughout.


    For more of Emily's Syria Recipes click HERE




  • Glazed Blood Orange Genetti

    November 2, 2018




    Recipe excerpted from Italy © 2017, Emily Lycopolus. Recipe and

     images by DL Acken, reprinted with the permission of  TouchWood



    Genetti are moist, cake-like cookies, and they are an absolute

    necessity at my husband’s family Christmas gatherings. They are

    traditionally made with star anise, but this version is meant for

    the non-licorice lovers in the family.


    Glazed Blood Orange Genetti

    Makes 30–36 Cookies


    3 eggs

    1/2 cup granulated sugar

    1/2 cup Blood Orange or Mandarin Orange infused
    olive oil

    1/2 cup 2% or whole milk

    3 cups all-purpose flour

    1 1/2 Tbsp baking powder

    2 Tbsp orange juice

    1 cup icing sugar, sifted


    Preheat the oven to 250°F.

    Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.


    In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs until

    light and fluffy, 3–5 minutes. Add the sugar and beat for another 3

    minutes. Add the olive oil, beating until fully incorporated, and then

    gradually add the milk, beating as you add it.


    After all the milk has been added, beat for 1 more minute to ensure

    the wet ingredients are filled with air. With the mixer running on low

    speed, slowly begin to add the flour then beat in the baking powder

    and mix for 1 more minute.


    Drop tablespoonfuls of batter onto the prepared cookie sheet, leaving

    at least 1 inch between them. Bake for 10 minutes, until risen and

    lightly golden on top but not brown. Remove from the cookie sheet

    and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.


    Warm the orange juice a little before whisking it into the icing

    sugar to make a glaze. Warming it helps prevent lumps. Using a pastry

    brush, brush the glaze onto the cookies in a thin, even layer. Allow to

    set completely before enjoying, 2–3 hours.


    Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1



    For more of Emily's Italy recipes click HERE




  • Syrian Chickpea Salad

    November 2, 2018



    Recipe excerpted from Syria © 2018, Emily Lycopolus. Recipe and

    images  by DL Acken reprinted with the  permission of  TouchWood



    Full of protein and used in everything from dips and spreads to cold

    salads and hot dishes, the chickpea (which you may know as the

    garbanzo bean) is used all over the Middle East. This simple salad,

    which is best enjoyed on really hot days, showcases everything that

    is wonderful about this super-versatile legume.


    Chickpea Salad, Serves Two


    1 (16 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

    1 red onion

    2 Tbsp Lime infused olive oil

    2 Tbsp lemon juice

    1/4 cup fresh chopped curly-leaf parsley

    1 tsp sumac or Za'atar Herb Blend

    sea salt


    Place the chickpeas in a serving bowl. Mince the onion and add

    it to the chickpeas. Drizzle the olive oil and lemon juice over

    top and toss to evenly coat. Add in the parsley and mix to

    combine. Top with sumac  or  Za'atar Herb Blend  and sea salt  

    to taste.


    You can store this in an airtight container in the fridge for up

    to 1 week.


    For more of Emily's Syria Recipes click HERE





  • Tomato and Kalamata Flatbread

    November 2, 2018


    Recipe excerpted from Greece © 2017, Emily Lycopolus.  Recipe and

    images by DL Acken reprinted with the permission of  TouchWood



    This simple flatbread is a great appetizer for a movie night or a feast—

    and it’s easily doubled or tripled for a crowd. The Garlic infused olive

    oil in the dough and on top ensures you’ll have delicious garlicky

    flavor in every bite!


    Tomato and Kalamata Flatbread

    Ingredients, Serves Four


    2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting

    1 Tbsp granulated sugar

    1 tsp quick-rising yeast

    1 tsp sea salt

    3/4 cup water

    1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp Garlic infused olive oil, divided

    1 large on-the-vine tomato

    1 shallot

    1 Tbsp chopped fresh curly-leaf parsley

    1 Tbsp fresh oregano leaves

    1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted


    In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt

    until fully combined. Create a well in the middle of the flour



    In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the water to 110°F.

    Add it to the flour mixture along with 1/4 cup of the olive oil.  Mix

    well to form a soft, sticky dough. Turn the dough onto a  lightly

    floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 8–

    10 minutes.


    Place 2 Tbsp of the olive oil in a medium bowl and place the dough

    in the bowl, turning it to coat it evenly with oil. Cover  with a dry

    tea towel and set it in a warm, draft-free place to rise for 10 mins.


    While the dough is rising, roughly chop the tomato, shallot,

    parsley, and oregano. Add 2 Tbsp olive oil and chopped herbs and

    veggies into the blender. Pulse to form a chunky mixture.

    Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking tray with parchment



    Roll out the dough to a 1/2-inch-thick oval or rectangle on a lightly

    floured surface. Place the dough on the prepared baking tray.

    Brush with the remaining 2 Tbsp of olive oil, and let rest,

    uncovered, for a few minutes in a warm place, while you chop the



    Gently brush the tomato mixture over the dough, right to the edges,

    and scatter the olives over the top. Bake for 8–10 minutes, until the

    edges are golden and the center is firm, not doughy. Remove from

    the oven, and cut and serve immediately.


    This can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to

    3 days.


    For more of Emily's recipes from Greece click HERE




  • Labneh Yogurt Cheese

    November 2, 2018



    Recipe excerpted from Syria © 2018, Emily Lycopolus. Recipe and

    images  by DL Acken reprinted with the  permission of  TouchWood



    Labneh, Strained Yogurt Cheese


    This Arab version of mascarpone, ricotta, and Greek-style yogurt is

    salty, and it’s next to impossible to find here in North America.

    Luckily it’s easy to make.


    Unlike homemade ricotta, it doesn’t require cooking, just a long

    draining period. The Lime-fused olive oil lends a creaminess to

    the cheese, and a bit of tang to give this a little extra personality.


    Ingredients, Makes 2 cups


    21/2 cups full-fat, Greek-style

    thick yogurt

    1 tsp fine sea salt

    1 large piece of cheesecloth

    2 Tbsp Lime infused olive oil

    Serving Suggestion


    2 Tbsp Harissa infused olive oil
    or Lime infused olive oil

    1 Tbsp freshly torn mint leaves

    2 radishes (preferably watermelon, if they’re in season)

    1 seedless cucumber, sliced

    1/2 cup pitted black olives


    To make the labneh..


    In a large bowl, stir the yogurt and the salt together, ensuring that

    the salt is incorporated evenly through the yogurt. Fold the

    cheesecloth into a 16-inch square at least two layers thick.


    Spoon the yogurt into the center of the cheesecloth and pull the

    corners together. Tie the opposite corners together, not too tightly,

    so the yogurt can breathe, but tight enough that it will stay closed.

    Place the cheesecloth in a strainer with large holes over a large

    bowl and place a weight on top to help it drain.


    (My favorite way to drain it is to loop the knots over the tap in the

    kitchen sink, so the whey can easily drain. Pros: you don’t need

    to place a weight on top. Cons: your sink is out of action for quite

    some time.).


    Let sit and drain for at least 12 hours, and no longer than 24 hrs.

    To store the labneh, spoon the mixture—it will be thick—into a

    clean jar with an airtight lid. Smooth the top and drizzle the

    olive oil over to seal.


    The Harissa infused olive oil can be quite spicy, so if you want to

    store this for a longer period, I would advise using the Lime

    infused olive oil here.


    When you’re ready to serve the labneh, spoon it into a serving

    dish, plate, or shallow bowl, and drizzle with your choice of

    additional olive oil, top with mint leaves, and serve alongside

    thinly sliced radishes, cucumber, olives, and flatbread.


    You can store this in an airtight container in the fridge for up to

    10 days. Labneh is also often scooped into small balls and rolled in

    sumac, za'atar, pistachios, nigella (onion seeds), sesame seeds, or

    Aleppo pepper.


    These little balls are then perfect to add to a bowl of soup, spread

    on fresh toasted flatbread (page 25), or decorate a salad. To make

    labneh balls, scoop tablespoons of the cheese into your hands and

    gently form a ball. Roll each ball in your spice of choice, nuts, or



    These will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week in the

    fridge, ready to enjoy at a moment’s notice.


    For more of Emily's Syria Recipes click HERE



  • Classic Olive Oil Bundt Cake

    November 2, 2018



    Recipe excerpted from Italy © 2017, Emily Lycopolus. Recipe and

     images by DL Acken, reprinted with the permission of  TouchWood



    Bundt cakes are not only beautiful but also dense and rich and using

    olive oil takes them to a whole new level. This cake is incredibly

    versatile—I’ll fold in fresh raspberries in summer, diced crystalized

    ginger in fall, cranberries at Christmas or for a winter treat, or just

    keep it classically delicious on its own.


    If you want something smaller, halve the recipe and bake it for 45

    minutes in a 9-inch round pan.


    Classic Olive Oil Bundt Cake

    Makes One 10–inch  Cake


    4 cups all-purpose flour

    1 1/2 tsp baking powder

    1/2 tsp baking soda

    1 tsp sea salt

    6 eggs

    2 cups granulated sugar

    1 cup Blood Orange olive oil

    or Mandarin Orange infused olive oil

    2 cups 2% milk


    Preparation Preheat the oven to 350°F.


    Lightly grease a Bundt pan with some olive oil, and sprinkle in

    some flour to dust the pan evenly. Set aside.


    In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder,

    baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the

    sugar to form a fluffy, creamy-colored mixture. Continue to whisk

    while you drizzle in the olive oil.


    Whisk until fully combined. Mixing well after each addition, add

    one-third of the flour mixture, then 1 cup of milk, half of the

    remaining flour, the remaining 1 cup milk, and then the remaining

    flour. Beat until fluffy, creamy, and fully combined.


    Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and tap the pan gently on

    the counter to ensure the batter is level and even and to remove

    any air pockets.


    Bake until the cake has risen and is golden on top, and a toothpick

    inserted in the center comes out with a few soft crumbs but no

    batter on it, 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven

    and immediately run a knife around the outside to loosen the edges.


    Let it sit in the pan on a wire rack for 2–3 minutes, then invert onto

    a serving plate. Let cool completely before drizzling with a simple

    glaze of your choice or a dusting of icing sugar.


    This can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for

    up to 5 days.


    For more of Emily's Italy recipes click HERE




  • Roasted Cauliflower Salad

    November 1, 2018


    Recipe excerpted from Syria © 2018, Emily Lycopolus. Recipe and

    images  by DL Acken reprinted with the  permission of  TouchWood



    Cauliflower is most commonly prepared in Syria as a mezze. However,

    this classic vegetable makes a roasted salad that is delicious, healthy,

    and heartwarming in the winter months.


    Drizzling it with Pomegranate dark balsamic vinegar and Tahini

    Garlic Yogurt Sauce, (page 21) adds a creamy brightness to the dish that

    makes it utterly irresistible.


    Roasted Cauliflower Salad, Serves Two


    1 large head cauliflower

    1/4 cup Lime infused olive oil

    1 tsp ground cumin

    2 Tbsp Pomegranate dark balsamic vinegar

    1/2 cup Tahini Garlic Yogurt Sauce

    1/2 tsp sumac or Za'atar Herb Blend

    2 Tbsp chopped fresh curly-leaf parsley

    2 Tbsp pomegranate arils


    Preheat the oven to 450°F.


    Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

    Separate the head of cauliflower into small florets, place them in a

    medium-sized bowl, drizzle the olive oil over top, sprinkle with the

    cumin, and mix to ensure the florets are evenly coated.


    Arrange them evenly on the prepared baking tray. Roast for 15 minutes

    until the cauliflower is fork-tender and the tips are golden brown. Allow

    to cool completely on the baking tray.


    When ready to serve, arrange the cauliflower on a serving plate. Drizzle

    first with the balsamic and then with the garlic yogurt sauce. Finish off

    with a sprinkle of sumac, parsley, and pomegranate seeds, in that order,

    to garnish.


    Enjoy immediately. In theory you can store it in an airtight container for

    up to 3 days, although it will get soggy after a night in the fridge so it’s

    best enjoyed the day it's made.



    For more of Emily's Syria Recipes click HERE




  • Roasted Eggplant With Cheese

    November 1, 2018



    Recipe excerpted from Spain © 2018, Emily Lycopolus. Recipe and

    images by DL Acken reprinted with the permission of TouchWood


    Eggplant and Cheese in Catalonia


    Eggplants and cheese is a traditional dish for the Jewish

    community in Catalonia. According to the archives, during the

    Inquisition, the inquisitors would look carefully at how people

    were cooking their food to see if they were continuing to secretly

    practice Judaism while claiming to have converted to



    This was a dark period in Spanish history, but some beautiful

    recipes evolved during this time and, because of meticulous

    record keeping, there is an amazing repository of food and recipe

    information from the era.


    Roasted Eggplant With Cheese, Serves Four

    Berenjena con Queso


    1 large eggplant

    2 Tbsp sea salt

    3/4 cup 2% milk

    1/2 cup whipping (35%) cream

    1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp Rosemary infused olive oil, divided

    1 small white onion, finely chopped

    2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

    1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

    1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs

    2 cloves garlic, crushed

    1/4 cup chopped fresh curly parsley

    2 tsp fresh thyme leaves

    sea salt and cracked black pepper

    1/2 cup grated Manchego cheese


    Slice the eggplant into 1–11/2-inch-thick rounds. Place two or three

    sheets of paper towel on a cutting board or baking sheet and

    sprinkle with a little of the salt.


    Place the eggplant rounds on the  paper towel, sprinkle with the

    remaining sea salt, and then cover  with more paper towel. Let

    stand for 20–30 minutes to allow  the water to drain from the



    Preheat the oven to 375°F.


    Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil.

    Set the eggplant slices on a splash guard or in a flat-bottomed

    strainer. Steam them for 3–4 minutes, until just soft and tender.

    Ensure that the eggplant doesn’t touch the water. Carefully place

    the eggplant in a single layer in the bottom of a baking dish or

    roasting pan.


    While the eggplant is resting, bring the milk and cream to a

    simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat.

    In a frying pan or heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat,

    warm the 1/4 cup of olive oil and then add the onion. Sauté for 2

    minutes, until the onion is just translucent but not brown.


    Add the flour and stir to get rid of any lumps and form a loose

    paste. It will bubble up a little—that’s OK. Gently pour the warmed

    milk mixture into the paste a little at a time, stirring constantly to

    prevent any lumps from forming and allowing the sauce to begin to



    Turn down the heat to low...


    ..and continue to stir for 2–3 minutes, until the sauce is fully

    combined. Add the mozzarella cheese and remove the pan from the

    heat. Stir everything for 30 seconds to ensure the cheese is fully

    incorporated. The heat from the sauce will melt the cheese.


    In a small bowl, mix together the remaining 2 Tbsp of olive oil, the

    Panko, garlic, parsley, and thyme until a coarse crumbly mixture has



    Pour the cheese sauce over the eggplant in an even layer, scraping the

    pot clean. Sprinkle the Manchego cheese evenly over the top of the

    sauce then sprinkle it with the Panko mixture.


    Bake for 25–30 minutes, until the eggplant is tender and the cheese

    is bubbling. If necessary, turn the broiler on to brown the top of the

    dish for 2–3 minutes before removing from the oven and serving.


    This dish doesn’t keep well and is best consumed the day it’s made.

    Serve alongside grilled steaks with garlic aioli (page 115) or beans

    and rice (page 71), or braised chicken (page 103) for a delicious

    warm meal.


    For more of Emily's recipes from Spain click HERE





  • Homemade Ricotta Cheese

    November 1, 2018



    Recipe excerpted from Italy © 2017, Emily Lycopolus. Recipe and

    images by DL Acken reprinted with the permission of TouchWood



    Ricotta Cheese Making


    Making cheese can seem daunting, but this is by far the easiest

    cheese you can make. And you’ll have such a sense of

    accomplishment at the end. You made cheese! (It tastes even

    more delicious when you make it yourself.)


    The Perfect Acid Balance


    The Sicilian Lemon white balsamic provides the perfect balance

    of acid and sweetness to this super-creamy ricotta. It’s perfect to

    dollop on pizza, spread on crostini drizzled with Fig dark  balsamic,

    or my personal favorite, eaten with honeycomb, roasted Bing

    cherries, and fresh lemon thyme.


    Ingredients, Makes 1 1/2 cups


    2 cups whole milk

    2 cups heavy (35%) cream

    1/4 cup Sicilian Lemon white balsamic vinegar

    1 tsp sea salt


    In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, place the milk and cream.

    Stirring constantly, heat the liquid over medium heat to 190°F.

    Clipping a candy thermometer to the side of the saucepan is

    the easiest way to monitor the temperature.


    Remove from the heat and add the balsamic and salt. Stir once

    gently and then let the mixture stand for 10 minutes. Do not be

    tempted to stir during this time, or you’ll change the way the

    curd forms.


    Line a fine strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth, allowing

    the edges to hang over the sides, and place it over a large bowl.

    Gently pour the milk mixture (which will now be curds and

    whey—don’t be alarmed by its appearance!) into the cheesecloth

    and allow to stand for at least 2 hours at room temperature, to

    allow the curds to fully set and the whey to drain off. You must

    not move it during this time.


    Pull up the sides of the cheesecloth to gently squeeze any extra

    whey into the bowl, leaving only ricotta in the cheesecloth.

    Discard the whey and transfer the ricotta from the cheesecloth

    to an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 1 week.


    For more of Emily's Italy recipes click HERE




  • Cretan Roasted Beet Salad

    November 1, 2018



    Recipe excerpted from Greece © 2017, Emily Lycopolus.  Recipe and

    images by DL Acken reprinted with the permission of  TouchWood


    Cretan Roasted Beet Salad With

    Yogurt Walnut Dressing


    This salad is amazing any time of year. I serve it warm as a side in

    winter with the yogurt as a dip on the side, and as a potato-style salad

    in summer, chilled and tossed in the yogurt.


    If I’m feeling adventurous, I’ll make this with a combination of golden

    beets and red sugar beets—keeping them separate until serving time,

    of course, so the colors don’t run together.


    Ingredients, Serves Four


    2 lb beets

    1/4 cup Lemon infused olive oil, divided

    1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp Euro Peach white balsamic vinegar

    sea salt and cracked black pepper

    1 cup chopped untoasted walnuts

    1 cup plain Greek yogurt


    To serve cold, allow the beets to cool completely. Place the yogurt

    dressing in a small serving dish, top with the walnuts, and place in

    the middle of a large serving plate.


    Arrange the beets on the serving plate around the dish of dressing.

    The salad and dressing can be stored in separate airtight containers

    in the fridge for up to 3 days.




    Wash the beets and slice the tops and ends off. Bring a large pot of

    water to a boil over medium heat and cook the  beets until fork

    tender, 30–45 minutes. Drain and allow to become cool enough

    to handle.


    Preheat the oven to 375°F.

    Line a baking tray with parchment paper.


    Peel the beets and cut them into wedges. Place them on prepared

    baking tray and drizzle with 2 Tbsp of the oil and 1/4 cup of the

    balsamic. Toss well to ensure the beets are well coated.


    Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and roast in the oven for

    15–18 minutes, until the beets are caramelized and the edges are

    starting to crisp.


    In a small frying pan over medium heat, place the walnuts.

    Dry-toast the walnuts until they’re just browning and releasing

    a lovely toasted scent, 3–4 minutes. Remove from the heat and

    set aside.


    While the beets are roasting, whisk together the remaining 2

    Tbsp oil, 1 Tbsp balsamic, and yogurt. Add salt and pepper to taste.


    Remove the beets from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

    To serve warm, transfer the beets to a large mixing bowl, top with

    the yogurt dressing, and toss gently to coat. The yogurt will turn a

    lovely pink color.


    Divide the salad between individual serving places and top eac

    h one with 1/4 cup chopped walnuts.



    For more of Emily's recipes from Greece click HERE




  • Roasted Rice Pudding

    November 1, 2018


    Recipe excerpted from Syria © 2018, Emily Lycopolus. Recipe

    and images by DL Acken reprinted with the  permission of

    TouchWood Editions. 


    Roasted Rice Pudding


    Simple and classic, this rose-scented rice pudding offers sweet comfort

    when served warm and a refreshing bite when served chilled. This is a

    dessert that I love to put in the oven, moments before sitting down to

    enjoy dinner.


    It cooks while we eat and talk and fills the kitchen with beautiful

    fragrances. As soon as we’re done eating our main meal, the table is

    cleared, the pudding comes out of the oven, and tea is served!


    Whisking the Lime infused olive oil into the rice before it is baked

    intensifies the flavor of the rice and is the perfect complement to the

    rosewater. I love to garnish this with rose petals and lime zest to add

    a touch of color.


    Ingredients, Serves Four


    1 cup short-grain rice

    4 Tbsp Lime infused olive oil, divided

    1/2 cup granulated sugar

    2 cups whole milk

    1 cup whipping (35%) cream

    3 Tbsp rosewater

    lime zest, rose petals, and cream for garnish


    Preheat the oven to 325°F.


    Rinse the rice well, shaking off any excess water, then place it in

    a small saucepan over medium heat. Pour in 3 Tbsp of the olive oil

    and stir to combine. Cook until the rice is glossy and translucent,

    2–3 minutes, and then remove from the heat.


    Drizzle the remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil in a glass or ceramic baking

    dish and rub to coat evenly. Add the rice, stir in the sugar so it’s

    evenly distributed, and then pour in the milk, cream, and



    Cover the pan partially with a lid or cover loosely with foil, leaving

    an opening on the side for some of the steam to escape.


    Bake for 1 hour then uncover and bake for an

    additional 15 minutes.


    Spoon warm pudding into bowls and garnish with lime zest and rose

    petals, and a drizzle of extra cream if desired. Alternatively, let it chill

    completely in the fridge and serve cold.


    You can store this in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3

    days.  This dish does not freeze well.



    For more of Emily's Syria Recipes click HERE




  • Croquettes

    November 1, 2018


    Recipe excerpted from Spain © 2018, Emily Lycopolus. Recipe and

    images by DL Acken reprinted with the permission of TouchWood





    These tasty bar treats have so many variations and possibilities. The

    perfect combination of a crunchy, crispy, fried outside and creamy

    filling, they are rich and supremely delicious. They can be filled with

    salt cod, pork, chicken, spinach, potato, and even pine nuts, but the

    extra-thick, chilled béchamel sauce is non-negotiable.


    The Rosemary infused olive oil adds a lovely herbaceous flavor

    to the béchamel sauce that infuses it completely without taking over,

    as a fresh herb might do.


    Ingredients, Serves six

    Makes 20–24 croquettes


    1 cup diced bacon ends

    2 Tbsp Rosemary infused olive oil

    1/4 cup diced red onion

    1/2 tsp sea salt

    1/4 cup all-purpose flour

    1 cup whole (3.25%) milk

    1 cup grated Manchego cheese, grated

    2 eggs

    1 cup all-purpose flour

    1 tsp sea salt

    1/4 tsp smoked paprika

    1 1/2 cups Panko bread crumbs

    Extra virgin olive oil for frying


    Serrano and Iberico ham are hard to find in North America and

    are very expensive. Thick-cut bacon or bacon ends are wonderful

    substitutes and more reasonably priced.


    Croquettes can be made in advance and reheated in the oven,

    although they are best served straight from the hot oil. The

    béchamel can also be made in advance, formed into balls, and

    frozen before being breaded and fried. They will keep in the

    freezer like this for up to 2 months. Once cooked, they’ll keep

    in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.


    If cooking the béchamel balls from frozen, ensure they are able

    to thaw fully before frying, although breading them while frozen

    is easiest. To prevent your fingers from becoming too sticky

    while dredging or breading, keep one hand reserved for

    handling the dry ingredients and the other for the wet.




    Line a plate with paper towel.


    In a small frying pan, sauté the bacon ends without any oil until

    crisp and golden brown. Transfer them to the prepared plate to

    drain off the excess fat and set aside.


    Warm the Rosemary infused olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan

    over medium heat. Sauté the onions for 1–2 minutes, until softened.

    Sprinkle them with the salt and then continue to cook until the

    onions are translucent and just starting to turn golden.


    Turn downthe heat to low...


    ..and sprinkle the flour over the onions, stirring to combine and

    remove any lumps. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking constantly

    to keep it all smooth.


    Remove the pan from the heat and, using a wooden spoon, stir in

    the cheese until smooth and fully melted,and then stir in the bacon

    ends. Transfer this béchamel sauce to a shallow bowl and cover

    with plastic wrap, ensuring the plastic wrap is directly on the

    surface  of the sauce, to prevent a skin from forming.


    Place in the fridge for 2 hours or up to overnight.


    While the sauce is cooling, or when you are ready to serve,

    prepare  a dredging station. In one shallow bowl, whisk the

    eggs; in a  second shallow bowl, place the flour, salt, and paprika,

    and in a third shallow bowl, place the bread crumbs.


    Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Line a wire rack with

    paper towel.


    Scoop up 2 Tbsp of the chilled béchamel sauce and use your

    fingertips to form it into a ball. Roll the ball first in the flour

    mixture to evenly coat, then dip it in the egg, and, finally, roll it

    in the bread crumbs. Set on the prepared cookie sheet and repeat

    with the remaining sauce.


    Place in the fridge and chill, uncovered, for at least 1 hour, or

    up to overnight.


    When ready to serve, preheat oven to 200°F.


    Heat 2 inches of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over

    medium-high heat to 375°F. Fry the croquettes in batches of

    three or four, so you don’t overcrowd the pan, until golden

    brown and crispy, about 2 minutes per side.


    Using a slotted spoon, remove from the oil and let sit on the

    prepared wire rack to drain any extra oil. Give the oil a minute

    or two to return to temperature between batches.


    Keep them warm in the oven while you cook each batch, and

    then serve immediately.


    For more of Emily's recipes from Spain click HERE





  • Tomato Bread

    November 1, 2018


    Recipe excerpted from Spain © 2018, Emily Lycopolus. Recipe

    and images by DL Acken reprinted with the permission of Touch

    Wood Editions.  


    About Tomato Bread Pan con Tomate


    The simplest of dishes somehow always ends up being the most

    delicious. It’s generally believed that this Catalonian dish was

    originally created to liven up stale bread and use up extra-juicy



    A special bread called pan de cristal (literally, crystal bread),

    has extra-airy pockets for more tomato-soaking-up potential,

    and tomatoes specifically grown for the express purpose of

    rubbing  onto freshly toasted bread, are traditionally used in

    Catalonia, where it goes by the name pa amb tomàquet.


    Ingredients, Serves Four


    The ingredient list is very small, so do use the best ingredients

    you can: homegrown or market-fresh tomatoes at the peak of

    ripeness, fresh bakery bread (I like a hearty sourdough for this),

    and the best extra virgin olive oil you can find (try Picual for a

    dish to remember!).


    4 large slices (each 3/4–1 inch thick) bread, or square ciabatta


    4 Tbsp robust extra virgin olive oil

    4 fresh Roma tomatoes, halved

    sea salt

    Keep the leftover tomato skins to add to vegetable stock for

    extra flavor and a touch of color.

    There’s much debate over whether the tomato should be cut

    in half and rubbed on the bread directly or grated, spooned

    onto the bread, and then rubbed in.


    To make everyone happy, I put a basket of freshly toasted

    bread, whole tomatoes, olive oil, sea salt, and a paring knife

    on the table so everyone can make their own. If I’m feeling

    adventurous, I’ll add a bottle of Sherry vinegar and a few

    cloves of garlic to the table and let people play with different

    flavor combinations.


    Preheat the broiler or grill.


    Slice the bread or buns in half, toast well on each side, and

    drizzle each piece with 1/2 Tbsp of olive oil while they’re hot.

    Rub a tomato half onto each piece, ensuring you get all the

    way to the edges, squishing as much flesh as you can into

    the toasted bread.


    Sprinkle with sea salt and enjoy immediately.


    For more of Emily's recipes from Spain click HERE




  • Roasted Pumpkin Soup

    October 31, 2018


    Recipe excerpted from Greece © 2017, Emily Lycopolus.  Recipe

    and images by DL Acken reprinted with the permission of

    TouchWood Editions


    Pumpkins, Traditional Greek Ingredient


    Pumpkin is a very common vegetable in Greece—something I didn’t

    realize until I was digging around some traditional Greek cookbooks.

    It’s used in savory dishes such as soups and stews where North

    Americans might use a squash, and it’s also super delicious simply

    roasted and presented as a side dish.


    In this simple soup recipe, roasting the pumpkin in the

    Lemon infused olive oil brings out a touch  of sweetness without

    overpowering the other flavors.


    Roasted Pumpkin Soup Ingredients

    Serves four


    1 small pumpkin (see sidebar)

    2 yellow onions

    1 head of garlic

    1/2 cup Lemon infused olive oil, divided, plus extra for garnish

    1 tsp smoked paprika

    1/2 tsp ground cumin

    sea salt and cracked black pepper

    4 cups vegetable stock

    1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt divided (store-bought or homemade,

    see page 17),

    toasted pumpkin seeds for garnish


    Preheat the oven to 400°F.


    Slice the pumpkin in half, remove the seeds (setting them aside

    for now), and place the pumpkin cut side down directly on the

    oven rack. (You might want to place a baking tray directly

    underneath to catch any cooking juices.)


    Bake for 45 minutes.


    Leaving their skin on, slice the onions in half widthwise and place

    them on a baking tray. Slice the top off the head of garlic, keeping

    the skin on and the bulb otherwise intact, and add it to the baking



    Remove the pumpkin from the oven and place it cut side up on the

    baking tray. Drizzle the head of garlic and onions with a few

    tablespoons of the olive oil, then use the remaining olive oil to brush

    the cut sides of the pumpkin. Scatter the paprika and cumin over the

    top of all the veggies, and season to taste with salt and pepper.


    Bake for 20 minutes

    ..and then remove from the oven and allow to cool enough to handle.


    In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, squeeze the garlic from

    the bulb, scrape the flesh from the roasted pumpkin, and add the

    onions (without the skin) and any cooking juices, and pour in the

    vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to

    medium-low and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes.


    Remove from the heat and let cool, uncovered, for 10 minutes. In

    batches, transfer the soup to a food processor fitted with the steel

    blade or a blender, and purée until creamy smooth.


    Return to the pot, and place over the lowest possible heat. Whisk

    in 1 cup of the Greek yogurt. Simmer for 5 minutes to ensure the

    soup is warmed all the way through. Transfer to serving bowls and

    serve with a dollop of the remaining yogurt and pumpkin seeds

    scattered over the top.


    Leftover soup can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for

    up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.


    For more of Emily's Greece recipes click HERE



  • Beef Cacciatore

    October 31, 2018



    Recipe excerpted from Italy © 2017, Emily Lycopolus. Recipe and

    images by DL Acken, reprinted with the permission of  TouchWood



    Beef Cacciatore

    Serves four–six


    This braised roast makes a lovely winter meal. The balsamic adds

    the most amazing touch—the Fig dark balsamic adds a touch of

    rich sweetness, although a Traditional balsamic can  substitute

    for equally delicious results. You’ll need an ovenproof, flame-

    proof pan for this. (I use a cast iron roasting pan or dish.)




    3–4 lb beef rump roast

    2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves

    Sea salt and ground black pepper

    1 large yellow onion

    2 cups button mushrooms

    4 garlic cloves

    3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil(robust)

    1 (28 oz) can whole plum tomatoes

    2 cups beef stock

    3/4 cup Fig dark balsamic vinegar




    If you want to cook this while you’re out, place the roast in the

    bowl of a crock pot, cover with the mushroom mixture, and pour

    in the balsamic and stock as directed. Cover and cook for 6–8

    hours on low. Let sit for 15 minutes before carving.


    Rinse the beef with hot water and pat it dry. Season with the

    rosemary and salt and pepper, and let sit for 5 minutes.

    Meanwhile, chop the onion, slice the mushrooms, and crush

    the garlic cloves with the flat side of a knife, keeping the cloves



    Heat the ovenproof, flame-proof pan over high heat and drizzle

    in the olive oil. Sear the roast on all sides. Don’t rush this process

    —allow it to brown fully and evenly, including the ends. Remove

    the roast from the pan and turn down the heat to medium.


    Place the onion and garlic in the pan and sauté them in the beef

    drippings (add 1 Tbsp olive oil in the unlikely event of the pan

    being dry) until just translucent, then add the mushrooms and

    cook until the mushrooms start to soften, 3–5 minutes.


    Pour the juice from the tomatoes into the pan and stir to gently

    scrape off any bits from the bottom of the pan. Gently crush the

    tomatoes in your hands before adding them to the onion-mushroom



    Continue to sauté the mixture for 3–5 minutes, just until the tomato

    juices begin to reduce and the sauce starts to thicken.


    Preheat the oven to 350°F.


    Remove the pan from the heat. Nestle the roast into the mushroom

    mixture. Pour in the beef stock and the balsamic vinegar and cover

    tightly with a lid or foil.


    Bake until the internal temperature of the roast reaches 160°F, 1 1/2

    hours. Let the roast sit for 10–15 minutes before carving. Serve with a

    spoonful of braised mushrooms on the side.


    For more of Emily's Italy recipes click HERE




  • Roasted Almonds

    October 31, 2018

    Recipe excerpted from Spain © 2018, Emily Lycopolus. Recipe

    and images by DL Acken,  reprinted with the permission of

    TouchWood Editions.  


    Roasted Almonds


    The perfect pre- or post-dinner snack, these roasted almonds can

    be made ahead and stored in an airtight container for weeks,

    although they are incredible served warm. These are typically

    served as a complimentary bar snack or tapas encouraging patrons

    to eat more, although they are also served at home.


    Serving Tapas


    Tapas as we know them today,  were typically not served at home;

    instead, appetizers served at home were traditionally simple snack

    foods that don’t require cooking. At home these almonds would be

    served alongside serrano ham, cured chorizo, and an assortment

    of cheeses and maybe some quince jelly and marinated olives

    (page 39).



    Serves four


    1 cup blanched whole almonds

    1/4 cup Rosemary infused olive oil

    2 tsp sea salt

    or use Sriracha Flake Salt

    1 tsp smoked paprika

    Freshly chopped rosemary for garnish (optional)


    Preheat the oven to 325°F.

    Line a baking sheet with parchment  paper.


    In a mixing bowl, toss the blanched almonds with the olive oil

    until evenly coated. Add the salt and paprika and mix until the

    spices evenly coat the almonds.


    Pour the almonds onto the prepared baking sheet in an even layer.

    Drizzle any residue olive oil and spices from the bowl over the top.

    Roast the almonds for 15 minutes, until golden. Shake the pan,

    turn the almonds so they can roast evenly on both sides, and then

    cook for an additional 10 minutes, until they’re evenly roasted and



    Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before  serving.

    Garnish with rosemary (if using). These will keep in an airtight

    container for up to 2 months.


    For more of Emily's Spain recipes click HERE




  • Honey Pie

    October 31, 2018


    Recipe excerpted from Greece © 2017, Emily Lycopolus.  Recipe

    and images by DL Acken reprinted with the permission of

    TouchWood Editions.  


    Honey Pie

    This pie is probably better described as a Greek-style cheesecake.

    It’s sweetened with honey and Apricot white balsamic vinegar, so

    it’s not overly sweet, and it has a slightly coarser texture than New

    York–style cheesecake, thanks to the yogurt and ricotta, which also

    help it hold its shape. This is definitely worth a try!



    Ingredients: Serves six


    2 cups ricotta cheese

    1 cup plain Greek yogurt (store-bought or homemade,

    see page 17)

    1/2 cup honey

    3 eggs

    1/2 tsp sea salt

    1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp Apricot or Peach white balsamic vinegar

    1 Tbsp cornstarch


    Preheat the oven to 350°F.

    Grease an 8-inch springform pan with extra virgin olive oil.


    In a large bowl, whisk together the  ricotta, yogurt, honey,

    eggs, and salt until smooth and creamy.


    In a small bowl, whisk together 2 Tbsp of the balsamic and the

    cornstarch to form a creamy, lump-free paste. Drizzle the paste

    into the ricotta-yogurt mixture and mix well to combine.


    Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35–40 mins,

    until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center

    comes out with only a few wet crumbs. The center should be set

    and shouldn’t jiggle when the cheesecake is moved.


    Remove the cake from the oven, run a knife around the outside

    of the cake, and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before

    removing the ring from around the outside of thepan. Let cool

    completely before serving.




    In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the remaining 1/4

    cup of balsamic to a gentle boil. Swirling the pan to keep the

    vinegar moving, cook it down for 2–3 minutes, until slightly



    Gently pour this warm reduction over the  cake slices immediately

    before serving, or drizzle it onto serving plates before placing the

    slices on top. The vinegar reduction will cool when it touches the

    cake and create a caramel effect.


    For more of Emily's recipes from Greece click HERE



  • Stuffed Meatballs, Kibbeh

    October 28, 2018


    Recipe excerpted from Syria © 2018, Emily Lycopolus. Recipe and

    images  by DL Acken reprinted with the  permission of  TouchWood



    Stuffed Meatballs



    Kibbeh is a staple dish in Syrian cuisine. This bulgur-based treat is

    prepared a variety of ways. It can be baked or fried, in patty- or in

    ball-form, stuffed with meat or vegetables.


    Some Syrian cookbooks dedicate entire chapters to this endlessly

    diverse dish. In this recipe, the pomegranate balsamic adds a

    richness to the filling and helps to

    caramelize the meat and keep it tender.



    Serves four


    Kibbeh paste

    1 cup bulgur

    1 lb lean ground beef or lamb, divided

    1/4 cup diced red onion

    2 tsp Aleppo Spice (1.5 tsp. ground allpsice, 1Tbsp ground

    cinnamon, 1tsp ea. ground pepper, ground cardamom,

    nutmgeg, 1/2 tsp.ea. ground nutmet, cloves, ginger)

    sea salt and cracked black pepper


    Kibbeh filling

    1/4 cup chopped walnuts

    4 Tbsp Lime  infused olive oil

    2 Tbsp Pomegranate dark balsamic vinegar


    These make a hearty addition to any soup, stew, or braised

    meat dish. While they’re usually added raw and cooked

    with the other ingredients, you can also add them to a

    finished  dish once they’ve been cooked.


    Preparing kibbeh with cooked meat rather than raw meat

    ensures that you won’t find a meatball with a raw center.


    In Damascus, it is common to find these meatballs filled

    with ground meat and pomegranate molasses. In

    Aleppo, butter and mint is a common filling.


    Prepare the Bulgur


    1-  Rinse the bulgur under cold water, then place it in a small

    bowl, add enough cold water just to cover it, soak for 10 mins., and

    then drain.


    2-  Place half the ground meat in the bowl of a food processor or

    blender with 1 Tbsp of cold water and pulse a few times tobegin to

    break it up. Add the drained bulgur, red onion, 1 tsp of the Aleppo

    spice, and salt and pepper to taste.


    3-  Pulse a few times to blend everything and then process until you

    have a very creamy fine paste. The bulgur should be completely

    ground and mixed with the meat.


    4-  Transfer to a bowl, cover, and place in the fridge for a few hours

    (or the freezer for about 25 minutes) to chill and firm up.


    Prepare the Meat Filling


    1-  In a frying pan over medium heat, place the chopped walnuts and 1

    Tbsp of the olive oil. Using a wooden spoon, mix them together until

    the walnuts are fully coated with oil. Continue to stir for 2–3 minutes,

    until the walnuts are evenly browned.


    Remove from the pan and set aside in a medium sized



    2-  Without cleaning the frying pan, place the remaining 1/2 lb  of

    meat, remaining 1 tsp Aleppo spice, and salt and pepper to taste in

    the pan and brown the meat over medium high heat. As the meat

    begins to brown, break it up with your wooden spoon so the meat is

    very fine.


    3-  When almost all the pink is gone, add the balsamic and continue

    to sauté until it has been absorbed. Add walnuts, sauté for 1 minute,

    then remove from the heat and transfer to the bowl the walnuts were

    in (so we’re not using extra dishes!!) and allow to cool enough to



    4-  When you’re ready to make the kibbeh, line a baking tray with

    parchment paper and remove the kibbeh paste from the fridge or

    freezer. Scoop a heaping tablespoon into your hands and form it into

    a ball. If the paste is too moist and difficult to handle, put it back in

    the fridge for 20 more minutes.


    5-  Using your index finger, gently press down in the center of the

    kibbeh ball to form a small divot and gently separate the sides, making

    a little well. Take about 1 tsp of the meat and walnut filling, place it in

    the well, then gently press the edges of the ball together, completely

    encasing the filling.


    6-  Place each meatball on the prepared baking tray. Place the balls in

    the fridge for 30 minutes to rest. At this point, you can also freeze them.

    (Freeze them on the baking tray and then transfer them to freezer-safe

    containers for up to 3 mos.)


    Preheat the oven to 400°F.


    7-  Drizzle the stuffed kibbeh with the remaining 3 Tbsp of olive

    oil and shake the tray to roll them around slightly so they’re well

    coated in oil.


    8- Bake for 7 minutes, shake the tray to roll them around a bit again,

    and then bake for an  additional 5 mins to ensure the outside is

    cooked and the inside is warmed through. (If cooking from frozen,

    cook for 12 minutes and then 10minutes.)


    9-Remove from the oven and serve immediately. I love to serve them

    with tahini garlic yogurt sauce (page 21) and simple  Syrian slaw

    (Page 81)


    For more of Emily's Syria Recipes click HERE



  • Flourless Olive Oil Chocolate Torte

    October 23, 2018


    Recipe excerpted from Italy © 2017, Emily Lycopolus. Recipe

    and images by DL Acken reprinted with the permission of

    TouchWood Editions.  


    Such a dense, rich, and delicious chocolate cake. The Orange

    infused olive oil adds complexity and uniqueness.



    Makes one 8–inch cake: Serves six


    8 oz dark chocolate (I like bittersweet or a minimum 70%

    cocoa for this)

    1/2 cup Mandarin orange infused olive oil or

    Chocolate olive oil

    6 eggs

    3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided

    Pinch of sea salt

    Cocoa and fresh mint leaves for garnish




    Preheat the oven to 325°F.


    1-  Lightly grease an 8-inch springform pan with a little

    olive oil. Set aside. Finely chop the chocolate.



    2-  Using a double boiler, or heatproof bowl set over a

    saucepan of simmering water, whisk together the

    chocolate and olive oil, until the chocolate is melted and

    the mixture is creamy-smooth. Remove from the heat

    and set aside.



    3-  Separate the eggs, placing the yolks in one bowl and

    the whites in another. Whisk 1/2 cup of the sugar and

    pinch of salt with the yolks until the mixture is fluffy

    and creamy-colored, about 2 minutes. Whisk as you

    slowly drizzle in the chocolate mixture, and until

    fully combined.


    4-  Whip the egg whites to soft peaks. Still whipping,

    slowly sprinkle in the remaining sugar, beating until

    stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the

    chocolate batter, being careful not to break down the



    5-  Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top with

    the back of a spoon.


    6-  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes

    out with a few crumbs but no batter attached, 35–40



    7-  Remove the cake from the oven and immediately run a

    knife around the outside. Let it sit in the pan on a wire

    rack for 10 minutes then remove the ring from around

    the outside and cool completely.


    Serve with a dusting of cocoa and a few mint leaves (or

    try a dusting of icing sugar and a few fresh raspberries).

    This can be stored in an airtight container at room

    temperature for up to 1 week. For an extra-dense cake,

    serve chilled and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.


    For more of Emily's "Italy" recipes click HERE






  • Quick & Easy Tarte Soleil (Sun Tart)

    October 21, 2018




    2 packages of puff pastry trimmed into circles (we like

    DuFour brand)

    Your favorite Lucero tapenade,Green Olive,

    Artichoke Lemon, or  Roasted Tomato Tapenade

    1 egg, beaten



    Preheat oven to 400°


    1-  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper

    Roll out pastry and cut two free hand circles or use a pie tin

    or cake pan as a guide

    2-  Transfer the first pastry circle onto the parchment

    Spoon and spread the tapenade of choice over the circle

    leaving a 1 border around the edge


    3-  Place the second pastry circle on top of the tapenade

    Invert a small bowl or glass onto the center of the pastry to

    create a round impression


    4-  Cut from the impression line to the edge at the quadrants

    then add cut lines at the eighths and sixteenths or so.  Our sun

    tart had 24 rays.

    Illustration 1


    (Move the tray to the freezer for 5 minutes or so to firm the

    pastry for easier handling.)

    5-  Remove the tray from the freezer and twist each ray two

    turns leaving the outside flat.  We choose to alternate the

    directions inward for looks; feel free to turn all in the same

    direction if you prefer as that is the most common in any event.



    Illustration 2

    6-  Move the tray to the freezer for another five minutes to

    keep the pastry firm. Beat 1 egg for an egg wash

    Remove the tray from the freezer and brush the beaten egg

    onto the tarte.

    Illustration 3


    7-  Once again move the tray to the freezer to firm the pastry

    to ensure your work will keep its shape in the oven. You can

    even prepare this ahead of time remembering to cover your

    work lightly.


    8-  Bake the tart for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown

    and puffy. Serve warm


    Lucero Kitchen





  • Recipes Ideas For Holiday Gifts

    October 21, 2018



    If you like to create and share food from your own kitchen, these

    quick and easy recipes are healthy ideas for thoughtful, holiday

    gifts.  Although these recipes don't require actual canning,

    they should, neverthelss,  be stored in the refrigerator and

    enjoyed soon after gifting.


    Ascolano, a sweet medium intensity olive oil was used to make

    these gifts, however the best oil is the one you enjoy everyday.

    Happy cooking!


    Marinated Olive Recipe

    This is a general recipe you can tailor to your own tastes.


    2 cups brined table olives

    1 cup Lucero Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus more as needed

    1 to 2 cloves of garlic, thickly sliced

    1 pinch fennel seeds

    1 dried chili pepper or pinch of chili flakes

    1 orange, for zest only




    Use a peeler to make 3.5” by 2” strips of zests.  Combine all

    ingredients and put into Mason jars.  To avoid any extra

    mixture is completely covered with oil.  Store in refrigerator.


    Arugula Pesto Recipe


    Arugula, also known as rocket or rucula by greengrocer, is a

    leafy green with a natural peppery, mustard like flavor. It's

    best to be careful and select young leaves to avoid an overly

    bitter flavor. Here is an easy variation on the classic basil

    based pesto.




    ¼ cup pine nuts

    1 to 2 cloves of garlic, smashed

    2 1/2 packed cups arugula leaves

    1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

    ½ cup Lucero Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus extra for

    covering the finished product

    Maldon English Flake Sea Salt




    1-  Toast pine nuts and cool

    2-  Combine pine nuts, garlic, arugula and Parmigiano

    Reggiano in a blender

    3-  Process while drizzling in olive oil until fairly smooth

    Season with salt and spoon the pesto into gift jars and cover

    with more olive oil.  Store refrigerated.


    Garlic Confit Recipe

    This recipe technique mellows and softens garlic to a sweet

    taste and tender, spreadable consistency while also flavoring the

    olive oil.  Please heed the storage rules and note  the safety

    warning at the end!




    6 to 7 large heads of garlic

    1 ¾ to 2 cupsLucero Extra Virgin Olive Oil, as needed

    ¼ tsp black peppercorns

    2 bay leaves

    10 sprigs fresh thyme


    1-  Separate and peel garlic cloves then combine with

    oil and herbs in small baking dish. Add more oil if needed

    to cover cloves


    2-  Cover with foil and bake for 350° oven for about 30 mins.

    or until the cloves are soft & lightly browned.  Allow the

    ingredients to cool then store in the refrigerator completely

    covered with olive oil.




    Cool the garlic and oil quickly and refrigerate immediately!

    Use a clean jar with a tight seal to store the confit in the

    refrigerator and use within 3 to 4 weeks. Always use a clean

    spoon to remove garlic.


    If you give the confit as a gift, ensure it stays refrigerated

    and that you  include strict storage instructions and safety

    warning  in the gift tag like this:



    Garlic is an extremely  low-acid vegetable. When stored

    improperly, it has the potential to produce the toxin that

    causes botulism, an illness that can be fatal of not treated



    Roasted Red Peppers Marinated in Extra Virgin

    Olive Oil Recipe


    We shared our technique for roasted red peppers last summer

    for use in a red pepper and feta salad.  Now you can use the

    same idea to create a gift for friends!


    Preparation Technique


    1-  Wash and dry bell peppers and keep them intact.  Place them

    directly on your grill or even directly on a burner on your

    stove top and allow them to char to the point of blackening the



    2-  If you have a sensitive smoke alarm have your over-the-stove

    fan running and/or open a window.  Use metal tongs to turn

    the peppers to roast each side evenly.


    3-  When satisfied, use your  tongs to place the charred peppers

    in a plastic bag, perhaps the  one you used when you

    purchased the peppers.  Take  great  care to not let the hot

    tongs touch the plastic and twist the  end closed to let the

    hot pepper finish cooking by steaming.


    4-  Once the peppers have cooled (okay if still a bit warm),

    remove them from the bag and then remove and discard the

    charred skin. Remove the top, slice along the side, and roll

    each pepper open to expose the seeds and any excess

    membrane you’ll want to remove.


    Slice into strips. Insert the prepared pepper strips into a

    gift jar and cover  with olive oil.


    Chermoula Sauce Recipe


    This green Chermoula sauce is another easy, delicious,

    and healthy variation of sauces like pesto. It's originally from

    North Africa and traditionally used on grilled fish in Algeria,

    Libya, and Tunisia where the proximity to the Mediterranean

    Sea inspires delicious recipes for fish.


    This version is from Morocco, near the Mediterranean and

    Atlantic coastline.  Try it on winter vegetables to brighten them

    Imagine using chermoula on squash or grilled cauliflower

    steaks! It also makes a terrific foil for meats such as lamb

    or chicken. Or just enjoy it for its original purpose, as a sauce for

    grilled fish


    3/4 tsp cumin seeds

    1 to 2 cloves garlic, smashed

    ½ tsp lemon zest

    1 tsp smoked paprika

    ¼ tsp chili flakes

    ½ tsp Maldon English Flake Salt

    ¾ cup Lucero Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus extra for

    topping off jar

    1 ½ packed cup cilantro

    1 packed cup flat leaf parsley

    ¼ cup lemon juice


    1-  Toast cumin seeds in a dry skillet until fragrant.  Let cool,

    then grind to a powder.


    2-  Put cumin, garlic, lemon zest, paprika, chili flakes, salt and

    half  the olive oil in a blender.  Puree until smooth.


    3-  Add cilantro and parsley, process and drizzle in remaining

    olive oil until combined.  Taste mixture and add salt if



    Store in jar, covering with a thin layer of oil.

    Keeps 2-3 days.


    Rosemary Pecan Recipe


    We suggest you double the recipe because you’ll probably

    be eating as many as you put in little jars!




    3 tbsp Lucero Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    3 cups pecans

    2 sprigs of rosemary

    ¼ tsp. smoked paprika

    Maldon Flake Salt or Maldon Smoked Flake Salt


    1-  Mix the first four ingredients together.


    2-  Bake in a single layer on a cookie sheet in 350° oven

    until toasted and season with Maldon Salt to taste.



    From the Lucero Kitchen

  • Lemon Roasted Potatoes

    October 18, 2018

    Recipe excerpted from Greece © 2017, Emily Lycopolus. Recipe

    and images by DL Acken reprinted with the permission of Touch

    Wood Editions.  

    Lemon Roasted Potatoes


    Potatoes are such a great comfort food—the crispy outside and soft

    pillow-like inside somehow just speak comfort. The bright Lemon

    infused olive oil and tangy Garlic infused olive oibring

    them to a whole new level.



    Serves four


    4 large baking potatoes (russet or Yukon gold are best)

    1/4 cup Lemon infused olive oil

    1/4 cup Garlic infused olive oil

    1/4 cup vegetable or chicken stock

    4 Tbsp lemon juice (1–2 lemons), divided

    sea salt and cracked black pepper

    1 Tbsp fresh oregano leaves



    Preheat the oven to 375°F.


    The trick to these potatoes is to parboil them first, adding

    moisture to the inside and reducing the cooking time to finish

    them off, and then dousing them with lemon juice as soon as

    they come out of the oven.


    Line a baking tray with parchment paper..


    1-   Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat.

    Wash and scrub the potatoes, but don’t peel them, and cut

    them into 1-inch wedges. Place the potatoes in the boiling

    water and turn down the heat to medium. Cook, uncovered,

    for 5 minutes, until the potatoes are only just fork-tender,

    but not fully cooked.


    2-  Drain the potatoes, rinse them under cold water to stop the

    cooking process, and then place them on the prepared baking



    3-  In a small bowl, whisk together both olive oils, the stock, 2

    Tbsp of the lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle

    this over the potatoes and shake to coat them evenly. Roast in

    the oven for 18–20 minutes, until golden brown and crispy.


    4-  Remove from the oven, and, keeping the potatoes in the pan,

    sprinkle them with oregano and the remaining 2 Tbsp lemon

    juice. Shake the pan (with oven mitts on!) to coat the potatoes

    in the lemon juice again.


    5-  Serve immediately. Serve these alongside lamb sliders

    (page 71 in my book)or moussaka (page 64), or on their own

    for a tasty treat.


    Heating The Leftovers


    In the unlikely event of there being any leftovers, you can store

    them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

    (They’re amazing heated up in a frying pan with some extra

    virgin olive oil or pan drippings the next morning for



    Try a drizzle of lemon juice over the top for a zingy start to

    your day. For more of Emily's "Greece" recipes click







  • Spanish Tortilla

    October 18, 2018

    Recipe excerpted from Spain © 2018, Emily Lycopolus. Recipe  and

    images by DL Acken reprinted with the permission of TouchWood


    Spanish Tortilla, Serves six

    Tortilla de Patatas (potato omelette)


    This classic dish is as simple as it is delicious. Serve with aioli or chilled

    with a meat and cheese platter.





    4 large potatoes (Yukon gold or russet are best for this)

    1 white onion

    1/2 cup Miller's Blend extra virgin olive oil

    (try this with Hojiblanca Single Variety)

    8 eggs

    1 Tbsp water

    1/4 cup Rosemary infused olive oil

    sea salt and cracked black pepper


    Making Egss Light and Fluffy


    Adding the water while whisking the eggs means they’ll be light and

    fluffy after cooking. The steam creates air pockets, which in turn

    create an extra-fluffy texture. This is a great way to scramble eggs.


    Preheat the oven to 350°F


    Peel the potatoes and slice them thinly and evenly. (I use a

    mandoline set at 1/10 inch.) Slice the onion into rounds or half-

    moon shapes as thin as the potato slices. .


    In a large ovenproof frying pan, heat the extra virgin olive oil over

    medium heat. Add the onions and then the potatoes. Sauté for 3–5

    minutes, using tongs to flip the potatoes to ensure even cooking.

    When the onion is translucent but not brown and the potatoes are

    fork-tender, not falling apart, remove the frying pan from the heat

    and set aside.


    Allow the potatoes and onion to cool in the pan for 5–10 minutes

    while you prepare the eggs. In a large bowl, whisk together the

    eggs, water, and Rosemary infused olive oil until light and frothy.


    Ease the potatoes and  onions in the frying pan in a single layer.

    Pour the egg mixture over the top and sprinkle with salt and pepper

    to taste. Lift a few of the potatoes around the outside edges to ensure

    that the egg mixture has seeped underneath to coat the bottom of

    the pan.


    Bake the egg mixture for 35–40 minutes, until the top is firm and a

    toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry with only a few potato

    crumbs on it. Remove the pan from the oven and run a knife or

    spatula around the outside of it to loosen the egg.


    6- Let rest for 10 minutes, then place a large serving platter or cutting

    board over the top of the frying pan; carefully (with oven mitts on!)

    flip the pan over to turn the tortilla onto the platter.


    Cut into wedges and serve warm. This will keep in an airtight

    container in the fridge for up to 4 days.  Reheat it in a 350°F oven

    for 10 minutes.


    For more of Emily's recipes from Spain click HERE




  • Salsa Romesco

    October 11, 2018

    Romesco and the Fisherman of Tarragona


    Just as Cioppino was created by local San Francisco fishermen, so

    too was Romesco Sauce developed by the Serrallo fisherman of

    Tarragona in the early 20th century.  They used what they had on

    hand, and each fisherman added something to create his own sauce.

    Regardless of variations, several ingredients appear in nearly

    every version – tomatoes and peppers, almonds and bread, and

    olive oil, garlic, and vinegar.


    Today, Romesco has travelled far from its coastal Spanish origins

    to be enjoyed around the world as an accompaniment to seafood,

    although it is often used with roasted vegetables, too.


    The traditional Romesco calls for deepening flavors by roasting and

    charring ingredients before puréeing, then thickening the sauce with

    toasted bread and toasted almonds.

    The garlic, vinegar, smoked paprika, and red pepper flakes bring the

    sauce into focus as a smoky and pungent spread which is  ideal for

    mild seafood, potato, and vegetable dishes.


    Here’s our version.  Please note that all measurements are very loose –

    thick or thin, chunky or smooth, mild or piquant – feel free to adjust

    these amounts to please yourself.



    ¾ lbs tomatoes, charred, peeled, and cored

    (may substitute boxed or canned)

    ½ to 1 cup of whole almonds

    1 slice of rustic bread or baguette

    2 to 5 cloves of raw garlic

    1 to 2 tsp red pepper flakes

    12 oz jar roasted red peppers

    1 Tbsp regular or, smoked paprika (pimenton),

    if you can obtain it

    1 tsp sea salt

    black pepper to taste

    1/3 to 2/3 cups Lucero Picual or Arbequina EVOO

    2 Tbsp Lucero Rosato Balsamic Vinegar or

    Spanish sherry vinegar




    1-  Broil the tomatoes under high heat until charred, allow to cool, then

    peel and core.


    2-  Toast the almonds, toast the bread


    3-  Purée the following ingredients into a paste using a food processor in

    this order:


    • raw garlic,
    • toasted almonds,
    • bread,
    • and red pepper flakes


    4-  Scrape down the bowl and add roasted red peppers, tomatoes as

    prepared above, paprika, salt, and pepper, processing until as smooth

    as you desire


    5-  With the machine running, add half the olive oil and all the vinegar,

    thinning the sauce. Add more olive oil as desired. Scrape into a separate

    bowl and adjust seasoning as desired


    Pro tip:  Make double batch and transfer extra sauce into a container.

    Cover with more olive oil which forms an airtight seal before you affix

    the lid and your efforts will keep up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.


    From the Lucero Kitchen




  • Roasted Grapes With Balsamic Vinegar

    September 16, 2018


    Our friend Patty gave us this recipe for roasted grapes last

    year, and now that autumn’s chill is in the air it seems the

    ideal time to try it!


    The oven dehydrates the fruit and  caramelizes the naturally

    occurring sugars giving the grapes a denser texture and more

    complex flavor.


    Her suggestion is to pair  them with a nice blue cheese for an

    appetizer, however, we can image them with other cheeses or

    even with roasted meats to add a bit of sweet to the savor, too!


    The California Table Grape Commission notes that there are

    over 85 varieties of table grapes grown here, however only

    15 dominate and 10 of those are a red type, which is what

    you’re looking for.  We used the Flame Seedless variety for

    our photo.


    This is best enjoyed warm so start prep about 45 minutes

    before you plan to serve.




    1 lb red seedless grapes (black grapes are okay also)

    ¼ cup Lucero Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    ¼ cup Lucero Traditional Balsamic Vinegar

    Maldon Salt

    black pepper



    Preheat your oven to 400℉


    1-  Rinse the grapes and shake off / pat dry any excess water.


    2-  Place on a baking sheet and pour the oil over the grapes

    until well coated.


    3-  Cover with half of the vinegar, then sprinkle salt and

    pepper to taste (don’t be shy)


    4-  Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, stopping to shake the pan

    every 5 or 10 minutes to mitigate any burnt sugars.


    5-  Remove from the oven when a few of the grapes have started

    to burst. Cover the roasted grapes with the remaining balsamic

    vinegar before serving.




  • Homemade Gremolata

    September 6, 2018


    Recipe excerpted from Italy © 2017, Emily Lycopolus. Recipe

    and images by DL Acken reprinted with the permission of

    TouchWood Editions.  


    Homemade Gremolata

    (Parsley Lemon Pesto)


    This unique pesto is native to the north of Italy and is a lovely

    contrast to most basil-based pestos. It’s also nut-free, which

    makes it a delicious treat for anyone with nut allergies. Serve

    this with ricotta on crostini for an appetizer, toss it with fresh

    pasta, or use it like an Italian-style chimichurri sauce on

    chicken or steak.

    Makes 1 1/2 cups

    Best served with farfalle, fusilli, spaghetti


    1/4 cup Taggiasca extra virgin olive oil

    2 Tbsp Sicilian Lemon white balsamic Vinegar

    2 large bunches flat-leaf parsley

    6 cloves garlic

    1/4 cup mint leaves

    1 Tbsp lemon zest


    Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor in

    the  order listed and blend into a smooth paste.


    Store this in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1

    week  or in ice trays in the freezer for up to 3 months.


    For more of Emily's Italy recipes click HERE




  • Baked Feta

    August 28, 2018


    *Recipe excerpted from Greece © 2017, Emily Lycopolus. Recipe

    and images by DL Acken, reprinted with the permission of

    TouchWood Editions,.


    This is one of my favorite appetizers. Warm and delicious, it’s great

    before almost any meal. The tangy feta and sweet roasted tomatoes

    are a perfect match for crackers, crusty bread, or pita (page 19). From

    a movie-night snack to part of a crowd of appies, this dish will always

    please.- Emily Lycopolus



    Baked Feta-Serves four-six


    1 cup cherry tomatoes

    1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted

    1/4 small red onion

    1/4 cup Garlic infused olive oil

    2 tsp lemon juice

    2 tsp chopped fresh oregano leaves

    1 tsp sea salt

    1/2 tsp cracked black pepper

    1 lb block feta cheese (Orland Farmstead Feta)


    Preheat the oven to 375°F.

    Slice the tomatoes and olives in half, roughly chop the onion,

    and add them all to a mixing bowl. Drizzle in the olive oil

    and lemon juice and sprinkle with the seasonings. Toss to coat



    Line a  small baking tray or shallow baking dish with some

    parchment paper. Place the block of feta in the middle of the

    paper. Top the feta with the tomato mixture, piling it high and

    allowing some to fall to the side. Scrape out the bowl that the

    tomato mixture was in, drizzling any residue oil and

    seasonings over the top of everything.


    Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes, until the tomatoes are

    starting to caramelize and the feta has softened. Feta cheese

    doesn’t melt, but as it warms, it softens and becomes



    Serve warm with pita (*page 19), crackers, or fresh crusty

    bread. This can be stored in an airtight container in the

    fridge for up to 3 days.

    For more of Emily's recipes from Greece click HERE




  • Fruity Balsamic Vinegar Marinade

    August 19, 2018

    Enjoy the fruity balsamic vinegars with roasted, grilled, or barbecued meats



    We talk and read about marinades (noun) and marinating (verb) this

    time of year, however what are they really?  I mean, even if you're

    making and using a marinade and not just talking about them, what

    makes them what they are?  What I thought would be a hint in an

    "origin story" was interesting, even if it is not precisely related.


    Have you ever noticed that the words "mar" and "marina" are part

    of the spelling of "marinade"?  It is no accident because it refers to

    the use of brine (as in aqua marina / sea water) in a cooking

    process. Food writers believe that this bygone technique was the

    genesis for cooks adding flavor by immersing food in liquid.


    Today, we think of brining and marinating separately, however

    both deliver flavor through a liquid medium.  Modern marinades

    use mildly acidic formulations to achieve this with wine, citrus, or

    vinegar, and as long as the meat is not too delicate and the medium

    not too strong, the effect is to tenderize as well as flavor.  Our

    Traditional Balsamic Vinegar from Modena is between 4% and

    4.5% acidity and seems well suited to use in marinades.


    Sales Associates Ivan, Eddie, and Sarah spend a good deal of time

    with guests in our Tasting Room exploring flavors and sharing ideas

    about food and cooking.  Here's a recipe that Ivan is recommending

    this week as we enter the summer outdoor entertaining months.

    Blackberries = summer, don't you think?




    3.4 oz. (full 100 ml bottle)  Blackberry Red Balsamic Vinegar

    3.4 oz. (full 100 ml bottle) Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    1 Tbsp. Country Dijon Mustard

    1 Healthy Pinch of Maldon Sea Salt


    Whisk or shake vigorously in a small jar.


    Use ⅔ of the recipe to marinate or pork for 4 to 12 hours covered in

    the refrigerator.  We found the extra time worthwhile as the

    blackberry flavor did come through a bit more.  Once you've prepared

    your beef or pork steak, allow it to cool slightly before slicing.


    Arrange on the plate and use the reserved (unused!) marinade as

    a finishing sauce.


    IMPORTANT:  Never use leftover marinade as it has been in

    contact with raw meat.  Always discard it!


    Of course, don't feel constrained by our suggestion -- we hope

    you try other combinations of our oils, vinegars, and mustards

    this summer!  Let us know what you think in the comments,

    and happy cooking!




  • Cucumber Rosato Gazpacho

    May 7, 2018

    Be Cool as a cucumber with this Cucumber Rosato Gazpacho


    The traditional Andalusian Gazpacho is ancient, with attribution going

    to the Romans in Spain and Portugal in the Way Back times.


    There are many modern variations on the basic cold soup of bread,

    olive oil, vinegar, water, and garlic.  Here's our contribution, which we

    think would make a refreshing starter or intermezzo for a spring

    or summer meal -- perhaps for Mother's Day?


    We've omitted the bread for a lighter touch, however if you're a

    traditionalist, a few croutons on the top would give your diners a

    pleasant, crunchy contrast to this cool, smooth, soup






    *If you prefer, you can substitute other green herbs for  parsley

    such as basil or cilantro.  Mint would be very refreshing, too.




    Note:  We recommend using a blender if you have one.  if you

    use an immersion blender you may need an assistant to help

    add the oil.


    1-  Purée the cucumbers, water, and garlic until smooth. Add

    arugula, herbs, Rosato vinegar, Maldon salt, and purée further

    until smooth again.


    2-  Add  Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a slow stream while blending

    until the mixture has emulsified. Continue to add oil and/or

    water to reach a consistency and flavor which pleases you.


    3-  Season with additional Rosato Vinegar and/or Maldon salt

    to  achieve a good balance.  IMPORTANT NOTE:  because you'll

    be  serving this soup cold, you must season the flavors to be

    more salty and acidic at room temperature -- that said, you can

    always adjust one more time prior to serving, so take care, don't

    over do it.


    4-  Chill in a covered container for at least 4 hours, however try

    to serve between 4 to 8 hours after preparation. Serve in chilled

    bowls or glasses.


    Garnish with your choice of toasted garlic, fresh herbs, a bit of

    pepper, or (with a nod to the Romans, a few croutons).





  • Taggiasca and Honey Ginger Mesclun Salad

    April 25, 2018

    Floral-scented Taggiasca EVOO & Honey Ginger Vinegar make simple dressing for Spring salads!


    The Origin of Mesclun Salad Greens


    In the 1980s mesclun salad ,(from the verb "mesclar", which means

    "to mix thoroughly") , was  the rage in California restaurants. It

    was considered exotic, for its use of  unusual and bitter young greens

    introduced diners to salad in the style of Southern France. Not too

    long afterwards, greengrocers offered pre-mixed bags of young

    leaves, typically some green leaves of different textures with

    radicchio added for color.  I confess that for many years I thought

    "mesclun" was a specific mix, however that is not so.


    Dandelion, lettuce, and arugula are typical offerings of the

    any good French farmer's market, local produce, being the

    main attrasction. Today it's generally accepted that a good

    "mesclun", spring mix is what is local and on hand.


    Your choices will most likely be broad and varied so you'll

    be able to  select a range for a true mix of flavor, texture,

    and color.  The key is to opt for quality of quantity.  Make

    your selection light and delicate, varying the flavors so that

    each bite special.


    Select Quality Greens and Varied Flavors


    We selected four different greens in the salad above -endive,

    fennel, mâche, and arugula , and we embellished with  avocado

    wedges, very thinly sliced cucumber, and grapefruit  suprêmes

    before finishing with oil, vinegar and freshly cracked pepper.


    Choose The Right Olive Oil

    Add A White Balsamic


    One of my favorite olive oils to complement a spring mix is our

    Taggiasca variety extra virgin olive oil because it is moderately

    robust and can stand up to bitter greens, yet its soft floral aroma

    offers a foil for the "green-ness" of  an early harvest olive oil.  We

    have a few thousand Taggiasca trees growing  about 8 minutes

    north west of our olive mill and tasting  room, and while the olive

    variety originated in Liguria, what we do is a "California style".


    Ligurian producers harvest very late for a light and buttery result;

    we harvest this variety early in the season to bring out the fruit

    and floral nature of the olive.


    To finish this spring salad and best complement the flavors present

    we recommend one of our white balsamic vinegars, or perhaps the

    rosé "Rosato" balsamic vinegar we introduced a few months ago.

    We selected our Honey Ginger balsamic vinegar for this presentation

    and think you'll agree that the combination is magic.


    Happy cooking and please enjoy in good health!




    Liz Tagami

    General Manager



    This vinegar's complex bouquet and full flavor of fruit and flowers comes naturally from the sweetness of honey, the warmth of ginger root, and the bright but mild acidity of white grape must.



  • Grilled Eggplant "Caprese"

    April 2, 2018

    Grilled eggplant and ricotta salata are enhanced with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and  fresh dill..




    Caprese salad, once enjoyed only by visitors to the Isle of Capri or

    regular holiday-goers in that Mediterranean region is now

    ubiquitous in the US and anywhere else you can find tomatoes and

    mozzarella.  The origins in Capri of the traditional tomato and

    mozzarella dish have given the salad its name "Caprese",

    which means "in the style of Capri".


    While we can't  vouch for grilled eggplant and ricotta salata as

    truly "alla Capri", the feeling is the same and modern cooks have

    taken a liking to this sort of simple  combination of one fruit to

    replace the tomato (or in this instance, a vegetable), along with

    one complimentary cheese, which creates an entire new genre.


    A note on the cheese.  Ricotta salata is a firm rindless pecorino type

    cheese from Sicily.  It is made from the whey part of sheep's milk

    which is pressed, salted, and then aged for a minimum of 90 days.

    "Ricotta" means re-cooked, and "salata" means salted.  Used sliced,

    crumbled, or grated.  Come to think of it, perhaps we should call this

    "Grilled Eggplant all Siciliana" with a nod toward the Sicilian cheese.

    What do you think?





    Serves four people

    4 small eggplants

    Ricotta Salata

    Lucero Extra Virgin Olive Oilwe recommend

    Hig Performance Arbequina

    Lucero Traditional Balsamic Vinegar

    fresh dill

    Maldon Flake Salt

    freshly ground pepper



    1-  Prepare the grill with an even layer of hot coals. Place grate 6"

    over the coals


    2-  Slice the eggplant, ½ inch thick, preferably at a slight angle

    Brush both sides liberally with olive oil.


    3- Season top side lightly with sea salt and freshly ground black

    pepper. Brush oil onto the grate and place eggplant slices onto it.

    Grill for 5 to 6 minutes per side until golden brown.






    1-  Preheat your broiler with the rack set 6" from heat (at the top).

    Place eggplant slices on an oven proof tray, and brush both sides

    liberally with olive oil.


    2-  Season top side lightly with sea salt and freshly ground black

    pepper. Place the tray with prepared eggplant under the preheated

    broiler and broil for 5 to 6 minutes per side, or until golden brown.






    Slice ricotta salata into thin slices then wash, dry, and section dill

    into small sprigs. Alternate cooled grilled eggplant with ricotta salata

    pieces on your serving plate Dress lightly with olive oil, and decorate

    with dill. Finish with a drizzle of traditional balsamic vinegar.


    (shown left) beautiful eggplant at farmer's  market with Ricotta Salata,
    (shown right) a salted variety of ricotta whey cheese from sheep'smilk
    made in Sicily. 



  • High Performance Arbequina EVOO

    March 29, 2018

    Arbequina through the seasons


    Here is some background information and an update about our
    Arbequina EVOO.


    Grasslands, originally for cattle in early California, gave way

    to rice fields in the middle of the last century.  In 2009 we

    acquired some of those rice fields and converted them into a

    sustainably farmed olive orchard.  The oak savannah habitat

    that runs across and around our land is filled with deer and

    foxes, great horned owls and rabbits. All manner of creatures

    live among the trees and near the mighty Sacramento River.


    Three Types of Orchards


    As you probably know, we have three different types of orchards

    at Lucero Olive Oil -- Old World style "traditional" spacing for the

    trees which are over 100 years old, New World "medium" spacing,

    which makes better use of the land, however still requires hand

    harvesting, and some "high density" spacing for certain varieties

    which have been adapted to grow and be pruned into hedgerows.

    Our arbequina is one such high density planting.


    Standing under an old Valley Oak Tree facing  toward the Arbequina.


    Extremely hot weather during summer and early fall 2017 caused

    olive trees in our area to slow their production of oil which

    subsequently delayed harvest until later that it is typical. The result

    was lower than average yields however more intense flavor than in

    prior years. No where is this impact as pronounced as in this

    Arbequina orchard.


    Unique Conditions :

    Outstanding Arbequina


    We tpically allocate our entire Arbequina crop for use as a

    blending or flavoring oil. However,  this year's oil is so distinctive

    that we want to  share it with you as a single variety. We selected

    the top 3% most tasty and green lots from this year's harvest for

    bottling. When you taste it,  you'll see that  not all California

    Arbequina olive oils are the same!


    As we bottled an early harvest oil from the first day of the

    Arbequina harvest, we found it had a complex ripe floral and

    green aroma, with the classic ripe, nutty, and buttery flavors

    In addition there was a green herbaceous accent and some

    artichoke and green apple flavors.


    Unexpected Results Produce

    a Stunning Arbequina


    We also noticed pronounced bitterness and pungency along with

    a significantly higher than average total polyphenol level

    for  this variety which was due to this year's growing conditions

    The result is  adelicious and "high performance" Arbequina which

    we're proud to  present.


    The degree of polyphenols was quite unexpected because

    historically, California Arbequina olive oils test between 160

    and 190 mg/kg in total polyphenols.  In 2016 our lab reported

    242 mg/kg. Suprisingly, this crop is a stunning 329 mg/kg total

    polyphenols!  This level of nutrition is what contributes to the

    more intense and complex green flavors present in this crop.


    As with all Lucero EVOOs, this oil is verified extra virgin by the

    California Department of Food and Agriculture and the Extra Virgin

    Alliance; it is certified kosher and parve by Kof-K, and earlier this

    week we were advised that our entry earned a Gold Medal  at the

    California State Fair.


    You can order a bottle of this year's via this link, Arbequina and

    here are a few  more photos of the orchard and harvest.

    Please enjoy!




    High density arbequina is pruned at the optimal height for our harvester, between 7' and 8'.





    The harvest process takes one driver for the big yellow machine, and one fellow in the next row to catch the fruit.


    We prefer to harvest our arbequina on the greener side, or just changing colors.




  • Olive Oil & Rosemary Lamb Chops

    March 28, 2018

    Rack of lamb with garlic, rosemary and peppercorns


    Spring lamb is an obvious choice for entertaining this time of year.  We
    love the simplicity of this recipe, which allows the quality of the
    ingredients speak for themselves.



    We recommend  broiling, which  uses an intense radiant heat similar
    to grilling with less effort and no  worry about inclement weather!
    A broiler's intensity at nearly 600°F produces a delicious Maillard
    reaction of browned (caramelized) foods  adding savor and one extra
    layer of complexity.




    8 lamb chops, about 1" thick

    6 to 8 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    2 garlic cloves, minced

    4 tsp.  chopped fresh rosemary

    Maldon salt to taste

    freshly ground black pepper




    Set the broiler to high

    Coat the lamb chops with half the oil and all of the seasonings

    Broil for 5 minutes, and use the balance of oil to baste the

    chops. Turn and broil for approximately 5 minutes more


    Pair this with a California Cabernet Sauvignon




  • Kale Colcannon

    March 15, 2018

    Kale makes terrific colcannon!


    Colcannon is a traditional Irish mashed potato dish which I had always

    associated with cabbage in the past, however now seem to see many

    variations with kale, and one with leeks.  We’re opting to try a kale

    recipe with a bite of scallion for an extra zing of spring flavor.


    Select tender young kale and take the time to de-stem and blanch the

    leaves. The dish epitomizes the change from winter to spring with the

    warm comfort of potatoes and the bright green of the changing season.




    Serves 6 to 8




    1.5 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes

    4 to 5 kale leaves, de-stemmed and blanched

    ⅓ cup scallions, finely chopped

    6 tbsp
    Lucero Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    Maldon Flake Salt

    Freshly ground pepper to taste.






    1-  Prepare the potatoes for boiling as you normally would, and

    while  they are on the stove blanch the kale in a separate pot,

    stopping the cooking processes with a cold or ice water bath.


    2-  When the potatoes are cooked and soft when poked through

    (about 20 minutes), drain and set aside.


    3-  Process the kale and scallions together in a food processor.


    4-  Mash the potatoes with a manual masher or ricer (don't  overwork,

    and mix in the olive oil, kale, and scallions. Season to taste.

    Kale, or "Brassica oleracea" makes a terrific Irish Colcannon





  • Traditional Irish Soda Bread

    March 11, 2018

    Irish Soda Bread in the style of southern Ireland


    As St. Patrick's Day approaches our thoughts turn to
    typically Irish foods and traditions.



    Soda bread is an easy to make quick bread from the 19th century

    leavened with baking soda  instead of yeast.  In the north the dough

    is flattened into a disk and four triangles are cut into it and cooked

    on a griddle.  In the southern part of Ireland the dough is

    prepared as a round loaf and, just as with hot crossed buns,

    a cross is  marked on  the top as shown above.


    Imagine this bread being made in a 19th century Irish farmhouse

    with a cast iron pan over a fragrant peat or turf fire would be a

    very authentic way to complete your work!


    To enjoy this truly, you might try a good Irish butter. Its flavor

    is quite different from  American butter, the cows having access

    to so much green grass and not being fed silage.  Kerrygold  is

    a particular favorite.  That said, we think this  tastes pretty good

    with Lucero Olive Oil, too.


    Use any Lucero Extra Virgin Single Variety Oil to dip this

    traditional Irish soda bread while still warm. Our friend

    Cheryl adapted this recipe using, our oil, in fact.


    Let us know what you think in the comments. Sláinte!




    1¾ cups (265g/ 9oz) whole wheat flour (fine or coarse)

    1¾ cups (265g/9oz) all-purpose flour

    1 tsp salt

    1 tsp. baking soda

    3 Tbsp. Lucero Favolosa Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    1 egg

    1⅔ cups (400ml) buttermilk*

    1 Tbsp. oats




    Preheat the oven to 425°F (215°C).


    1-  Mix flours, salt, and baking soda together in a large bowl.


    2-  Add oil slowly as you crumble flour with a fork until it

    resembles bread crumbs.


    3-  In a separate bowl, Whisk the egg and buttermilk


    4-  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and

    pour the liquid into the flour mixture.


    5-  Mix the flour and liquid together to a loose  dough.

    The dough should be quite soft, but not too sticky.


    6-  Turn onto a floured work surface and gently bring

    the dough together into a round about 1½ inches (4cm)

    thick (8 inches by 8 inches) .


    7-  Place on a baking sheet dusted well with flour. Score

    the bread by making with a deep cross on top (to ward off

    the devil). Alternatively, another tradition is to poke a hole

    in the 4 corners of the bread to release the fairies and stop

    them from cursing your bread.


    8-  Glaze the bread with the leftover bit of buttermilk and

    dust the top with rolled oats.


    9Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven to 400°F

    (200°C) and bake for 30 minutes more.


    When done, the loaf will sound slightly hollow when

    tapped on the bottom. Remove from the baking sheet

    and place on a wire rack to cool.



    Bless you and yours, as well as the cottage you live in. May the roof
    overhead be well thatched, and those inside be well matched.
    May everyone have HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!


    Finished loaves ready to break apart and enjoy warm.


    Taste Notes: Favolosa: Lucero Purple Label-Mild, Delicate



    Recipe adapted from  Bigger Bolder Baking

    photo by Gemma Stafford 







  • Chocolate Olive Oil Torte

    February 2, 2018


    scant 1/2 C. (2 oz) natural or blanched whole almonds,

    or 1/2 C (2 oz.) almond meal

    2 Tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour

    6 oz. bittersweet chocolate (70% to 72% cacao), coarsely chopped

    1/2 C.  Lucero Deluxe Chocolate Olive Oil, extra for drizzling

    1/8 tsp  fine sea salt

    4 large eggs, separated at room temperature

    3/4 C. ( 5.25 oz.) sugar

    1/8 tsp. cream of tartar

    Maldon English Flake Sea Salt  (flaky sea salt)



    Serves 12

    Preheat to 375°F and position rack in lower third of the oven.


    1-  Grease the bottom and sides of springform pan with olive oil.


    2-  If using whole almonds, pulse them with the flour in food

    processor until finely ground. Otherwise simply mix almond

    meal and flour together.


    3-  Put the chocolate, chocolate olive oil, and fine sea salt

    in a large heat proof bowl, preferably stainless steel.


    4-  Set it in a wide skillet of barely simmering water, and stir

    occasionally until the chocolate is nearly melted. Remove

    bowl from the heat and stir the chocolate until it is completely

    melted and smooth. Whisk in the egg yolks and 1/2 cup

    of the sugar. Set aside.


    5-  With the electric mixer, beat the egg whites and cream

    of tartar into the chocolate mixture. Scrape the remaining egg

    whites into the bowl, pour the almond mixture on top, folding

    just until the egg whites and almonds are evenly incorporated.


    6-  Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly.

    Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the toothpick inserted in center

    of the torte comes out with a few moist crumbs.




    7-  Set the pan on the rack to cool Slide a thin knife or a small

    metal spatula around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake

    and allow the thin crust on the top to sink (slightly) as the cake



    8-  Let cool completely. Remove the pan sides and transfer the

    cake to a serving platter. The torte can be kept at room

    temperature, covered or under a cake dome, for at least 3

    days, or frozen, well wrapped, for up to 3 month.

    Bring to room temperature before serving. Serve slices with

    a bit of chocolate olive oil and some flaky sea salt





  • Fabulous Favolosa

    January 31, 2018


    The Universal Passion for New Cultivars Among Growers

    Growers can't resist creating something new. Each year  enthusiasts from

    the American Rose Society create new, more fragrant roses with better

    blooms. Today  sources tell us that there are over 360 species of roses.

    In fact,  “” has reported that they've cataloged over

    44,000  rose varieties!


    Olive farmers are no different than rose-lovers in their quest for new,

    interesting flavors and higher yields from new olive varieties and California

    olive growers are active in this pursuit. Among the thousands  of olive cultivars

    cataloged,  over 75 of those varieties are grown in California . The Crane

    family, olive growers of Tehama County  share in that tradition by growing

    16  varieties for our Lucero brand, including  both classic “heritage”and

    modern varieties.


    The History of Prof. Fontanazza's Favolosa Cultivar

    This month we’re highlighting Favolosa", one of the world's newer olive

    cultivars. ProfessorGiuseppe Fontanazza developed Favolosa from trials

    over a period of 25 years (from 1980 to 2005). He used the classic varieties

    Moraiolo, Frantoio, and Ascolano Tenera as a starting point.


    His aim was to create a 100% “Italian” olive which would be delicious,

    productive, and could be trained to create more intensive  hedgerow planting

    schemes known as “high density” orchards which are suitable for modern

    mechanical harvesting. He succeeded with his cultivar “Guilia”, otherwise

    known in the US market by its patented  name, “Favolosa”, which means



    We certainly think it's fabulous, therefore, in 2013 we devoted one of our

    newer orchards to Favolosa  along with a few rows of “Don Carlo”, a related

    species, developed by Professor Fontanazza  in the late 20th century.


    Characteristics of Favolosa Olive Fruit


    Favolosa olive fruit is mostly round with a very subtle oval shape. It ripens

    in mid-harvest season into a wonderful reddish-magenta color which we’ve

    selected for our label color, too. It's flavor is typically delicate.


    Although we harvested this year’s Favolosa crop mid to late in the season with a

    lot of color showing, it didn't present as a delicate intensity olive oil .



    Our 2017 Favolosa has an assertive floral, spicy, and green olive aroma with

    an artichoke and green flavor and a leafy, slightly bitter finish.


    If you're a dedicated “mild/delicate” olive oil consumer, we hope you won’t be

    overly concerned about bitterness and pungency. Remember, a bit of salt

    always mitigates bitterness (it’s science!).


    We have Favolosa at special prices all of February to encourage you to try it. As

    a bonus we've  have published six recipes for you to try featuring Favolosa and

    we'd love for you to take advantage of this wonderful Valetnines' Day gift

    giving opportunity!


    Please enjoy, and  let us know what you think in the comments below or in a

    product review on the Favolosa page.


    Best Regards,

    Liz Tagami

    General Manager

  • High Expectations for 2018

    January 12, 2018

    Hello Olive Oil Fans!


    We wanted you to be among the first to know that Lucero Olive Oil  was rated the #2

    olive oil brand in the world for the 2017 competition season based on the 41 awards

    we earned in those competitions — 26 of the medals were Gold or higher, 2 were

    Best of  Class  and 2 were Best of Show.


    Judging Olive Oil Quality


    The internationally based EVOO World Ranking organization considers the 29 most

    rigorous and respected  international competition s and assigns points based on the

    type of medal awarded. Our oils were entered into 4 of these competitions (not all

    29) and competed against a field of 7,952 total entries to earn those 41 medals. 


    Factors Affecting Olive Oil Characteristics


    Each year is unique with its own challenges with weather and many other factors so

    we do the best we're able based on the headwinds Mother Nature sends our way.

    Alas, we were not even able to harvest all 17 of our olive varieties this year before

    inclement weather caught up to us.  Despite what some  marketers tell you, we don’t

    use the turning of a  calendar page to determine  an oil’s quality status—we use strict

    chemical  and sensory testing throughout an oil’s potential life span to determine if an

    oil is still worthy to be  called Extra  Virgin.


    What this means is that we  may retire some 2016/17 campaign EVOOs  early, and

    we may hold some  for longer periods. In fact, you'll find some “retired”  EVOOs in

    our clearance section still labeled as EVOO. Some EVOOs which have been re-graded

    to  VOO / virgin status without the “extra” due to how they’re aging and some oils

    from the 2016/17 harvest year rare still “gold medal” quality placed with  pride on

    our shelves.  We’ll continue to roll out 2017/18 releases throughout the Spring,

    including 2 (or more) surprise offerings we’re eager to share in  the  near future.


    Our Olive Oil Certification


    Only the very top oils from each harvest year find their way into Lucero Olive Oil

    brand bottles.  Later this month we’ll undergo our annual audit and have a certified

    laboratory sample our oils to ensure they meet the standards of authenticity and

    quality of the State of California and Extra Virgin Alliance .We submit our own set

    of samples as part of the process, too.


    Thank you for including our oils in your kitchen!  We would love to hear from you,

    whether a note or letter, or a review on our website, so please stay in touch.


    Wishing you a happy and healthy 2018 from all of us in Corning,

    Liz Tagami, General Manager
    Lucero Olive Oil




  • Celebrate Citrus with Rosato!

    January 8, 2018

    Inspiration from Our Lucero Kitchen


    Citrus is still abundant in markets (or via Amazon Fresh), and if you
    suffer from the frigid cold and gray- white days of Winter, this citrus
    salad is just the thing to brighten  your world.


    We selected Valencia and Blood oranges because they looked
    good at our local shop, however use what you have available and
    dress with olives, nuts, herbs and maybe onions, if you like. What
    makes this citrus salad "sing" is our sweet and fruity Lucero
    Ascolano Extra Virgin Olive Oil and our piquant, fragrant
    Rosato (rosé) Balsamic Vinegar,


    We hope you try both terrific choices to pair with citrus
    Taste Notes: Ascolano: Yellow Green Collection- Med




  • Fabulous Potato Soup

    January 2, 2018



    A hot bowl of  potato soup with a fresh sprig of thyme


    Saying that it’s cold outside is an overwhelming understatement
    this week for most of the  country to be sure!  We gave this some
    thought and created a simple soup recipe using ingredients you're
    likely to have in your pantry.


    We chose Lucero Favolosa Extra Virgin Olive Oil because it's
    one of our bright and recently harvested oils. Its sweet, floral
    nature complements this recipe well.  That said, you can use
    any fresh EVOO  — from the most delicate to most robust.
    Favolosa means “Fabulous”, so we’re calling this Fabulous
    Potato Soup.


    We hope you enjoy making and eating it!  Stay warm and let

    us know how you like it on Facebook or in a product review.





    1 whole medium onion, diced

    3 whole carrots, diced

    3 stalks celery, diced

    4 Tbs Lucero Favolosa or any Lucero EVOO

    6 whole small russet potatoes, peeled and diced

    8 cups poultry bone broth or vegetable stock

    3 Tbs all-purpose flour

    1 cup milk

    1/2 cup heavy cream

    1/2 tsp.  Maldon English Flake Salt, more, if desired

    freshly ground black pepper to taste

    1 tsp fresh parsley, minced

    Lucero Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) for drizzling on top




    1-  Warm the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat and add 

    onions, carrots, and celery. Stir and cook for about 3 minutes

    or until the onions are translucent, then add the diced potatoes


    2-   Cook for 5 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper.


    3-  Add the broth and bring it to a gentle boil.  Cook  10 minutes,

    or until the potatoes start to become tender. Whisk the flour

    and milk together, then pour into the soup and cook for another

    5 minutes.


    4-  Remove 1/2 to 2/3 the soup and blend in batches in a blender/

    food processor until completely smooth.  Be careful when you

    blend hot soup, in fact, we recommend that you allow the soup

    to cool, if possible. If you have one, use an immersion blender

    instead of a stand blender or food processor.


    5-  Return the blended soup to the soup pot and heat it to adjust

    seasoning.  Stir in cream, then parsley, and reserve a bit of

    parsley  for garnish.


    6-  Serve with a a bit of fresh EVOO on top.  Finish with the

    remaining chopped parsley. If you don’t like parsley, substitute

    any fresh herbs you have on hand such as thyme, as shown.


    Taste Notes: Favolosa is Lucero Purple Label: Mild-Delicate

    Try this recipe with Lucero Five Star Blend Extra Virgin


    Recipe from the Lucero Kitchens courtesy of Donald S.




  • Lucero Rosato Balsamic Vinegar Mignonette Sauce

    December 28, 2017


    We love the idea of an oyster bar for parties or a simple dozen on the
    half shell for a more intimate gathering; a  simple and elegant notion
    perfect for New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, or any celebration.
    We recommend using our Rosato Balsamic Vinegar for a variation of
    the classic mignonette sauce.  Rosato , or rosé balsamic vinegar pairs
    well with seafoods. The Trebbiano, Albana, and Montuni grapes,
    grown in  Modena and Emilia-Romagna, Italy add the ideal acidity and
    fruity accent.


    While making the balsamic, the skins and seeds are left in a bit longer in
    a process similar to making rosé  wines. The grape skins stay in longer
    than for white balsamics and much shorter compared to red  balsamics
    to  achieve this characteristic rosé color and flavor.




    ¼ cup Lucero Rosato Balsamic Vinegar

    1 tbsp minced shallot

    ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper




    1-  Combine all ingredients and chill.

    2-  Serve with chilled oysters or other shellfish.

    3-  This recipe makes enough for a dozen oysters


    Lucero Kitchen

    Shown:  Dabob Bay and Snow Creek Oysters,

    both known for their crisp and briny nature

    and sweet melon finish.




  • Rosato Apple Mignonette Sauce

    December 18, 2017


    Lucero fruity Rosato Balsamic is made from Trebbiano, White Albana,
    and Green Montuni grapes grown in Modena and Emilia-Romagna,
    Italy- perfect with oysters.


    Mignonette Sauce ( with apple)


    1/4 cup Lucero Rosato Balsamic Vinegar

    1 Tbsp. finely minced  leek or sweet onion

    2-3 Tbsp finely minced green or Golden Delicious apple.

    1/8 to 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

    slight squeeze of fresh lemon


    Combine  leek/onions and pepper into  the Lucero Rosato

    and add small amount of fresh squeezed lemon to taste.


    Let ingredients steep for one hour. Serve with seafood.




  • Za'atar Shakshouka Egg Dish

    December 13, 2017



    I was in Israel to meet with someone who would eventually become

    Lucero's za’atar herb blend producer when I discovered this dish.


    We rose at dawn in Haifa and drove southeast.  There was time for

    coffee and breakfast before crossing the border to Nablus to

    learn about making olive oil soap. We were in a cafe' in a modest

    shopping area in a modest suburb when I saw something on

    the menu called shakshouka.  Intrigued, I asked about it the waiter

    told me I’d love it. I ordered it, and I did.


    Although it's a breakfast food in the middle east and North Africa,

    where it originated,  The New York Times calls shakshouka the

    “apex of eggs-for-dinner”  You might know it as “eggs in purgatory”

    made by poaching eggs in tomatoes, peppers and onion.


    Here’s a recipe from our friend Cheryl.  You can make it at home using

    our Barnea Extra Virgin Olive Oil — a modern Israeli olive variety we

    grow in Corning — along with the za’atar herb blend we source from

    Sindyanna of Galilee twice a year.


    Enjoy in good health!


    Serves 3-4  people


    1 onion

    1 yellow bell pepper

    1  fresh tomato

    1 red chili pepper

    2 or 3 cloves garlic

    4-5 sprigs fresh parsley

    5 Tbsp. Barnea Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    1 cup chopped (canned) tomatoes or over-ripe drained fresh

    1 tsp. sweet paprika

    1 Tbsp or more to taste Lucero Za’atar Herb Blend

    (This za'atar has full flavor- no need to over season)

    ½ tsp. turmeric

    ½ tsp. English Flake Sea Salt

    4 eggs



    Dice all the vegetables. Use an oven safe skillet


    1-  Sauté the onion in the oil until translucent. Add the yellow

    pepper,  chili pepper, garlic, fresh tomato and canned tomatoes.

    Add the paprika, cumin, turmeric, and salt, and simmer until

    vegetables cook enough  to mingle flavors. ( about 12 minutes)


    2-  Drop the eggs into the tomato mixture and cook until eggs

    are just set.  Finish cooking in a 350 degree F oven if y areou like

    until the eggs more set.


    3-   Garnish with fresh parsley and feta cheese. Serve with pita

    or flatbread or toasted baguette slices and set a small bowl of

     Lucero Coratina Extra Virgin Olive Oil on the table for dipping.

    *Add some Za'atar to your dipping oil and let it steep before




    Taste Notes: Woodson Blend: Green Label-Bold

    Barnea Single Variety :  Yellow Green Label-Medium

    Authentic out of focus travel photo somewhere outside of Haifa




  • Mandarin Orange Olive Oil Cake

    December 11, 2017



    Our olive orchards are at the northern edge of Satsuma Mandarin 
    Orange country, so each winter we collaborate  with Lou and Lola at
    Tri-L Ranch to mill their mandarins with our  olives and producing an
    exquisite Agrumato style  olive oil redolent of that special fruit.  


    Many of our customers enjoy it over ice cream for a “creamsicle”effect,
    which we love, however there are many other uses in the kitchen for
    Agrumato, too.


    Here's a cake that would brighten any winter day!  We  use a  generous
    amount of Mandarin Orange Agrumato. If you're adventurous we suggest
    you make your own marmalade.  If you're constrained by time, or not
    so adventurous and must use a store bought version then  look for the
    traditional thick cut , preferably from England.  Alternately, we've
    had good results making our own marmalade any time of year with
    Mamade prepared  Seville oranges.  Another quick and easy alternate
    is to dust the top with powered sugar.




    1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

    ¾ cup Lucero Mandarin Orange Agrumato Olive Oil 

    ¾ cup sugar

    2 eggs

    ½ tsp. Maldon Sea Salt

    ⅔ cup buttermilk

    1 ½ cups all purpose flour

    2 tsp. baking powder

    1 tsp. baking soda

    2 Tbsp. powdered sugar OR marmalade



    Preheat oven to 350°F


    1-  Apply  1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil liberally to a 9” cake pan.



    2-  Beat eggs and sugar in mixer until foamy for approximately

    2 minutes.  Add salt, buttermilk, and

     Mandarin Orange Agrumato Oil continuing  to beat until

    combined.  This should take an extra minute at medium speed.


    3-  In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, and baking

    soda. Using the lowest mixing speed add the flour mixture to the

    wet  mixture and process until the mixture is only just combined.

    Avoid over mixing.


    4-  Transfer the batter into the prepared 9” pan and bake until the

    center of the cake comes out clean using a tooth pick or cake tester,

    about 30 minutes.


    5-  Cool in the cake pan for about ten minutes, then turn onto a rack

    to completely cool. Decorate by sifting powered sugar over the top

    just prior to serving or by spooning warm marmalade over the top

    of the cake at the last minute.


    Recipe by Lucero Kitchen


    seville orange marmalade recipe at



  • Lucero Mandarin Holiday Cookies

    December 5, 2017



    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface

    1 tsp. baking powder

    1/2 tsp salt

    12 Tbsp.  Lucero Mandarin Orange Olive Oil

    (or Lucero Lemon Infused Olive Oil)

    2 cups sugar

    2 large eggs

    2 tsp.s pure vanilla extract

    tubes of cake decorating gel


    Preheat oven to 325 degrees F


    1-   Stir flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.


    2-  Beat olive oil and sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed

    until incorporated, slightly yellow, and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

    Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture,

    then vanilla.


    Refrigerate dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, for at  least 1 hour.


    3-  Roll out dough to about 1/4-inch thickness on floured surface.

    Cut out cookies using a round  or other shaped cookie cutter,

    re-rolling  scraps once. Transfer to a baking sheet.


    4-   Bake until edges just start to brown, 17 to 19 minutes.

    Transfer  cookies to a wire rack, and let cool completely.


    5-  Frost some cookies with white icing to cover and others

    with varied colored icing. (just add food coloring)


    6. To swirl a design oin white icing- immediately using piping

    gel pipe a dot of color on the cookie. Then pipe additional lines

    of color around the center dot and drag a toothpick to form

    a design of your liking.


    7.  For a more solid effect wait until cookie frosting dries a bit

    and then add your designs with different colored tubes of

    decorating gel. You can simply add candy decorations by

    brushing cookie first with a little honey thinned with warm

    water to form a sticky glaze for the decorations and proceed

    without icing the cookie.



    Photo by



  • Olive Oil Zucchini Butter

    November 22, 2017




    Makes about 2 cups


    2     pounds zucchini or assorted summer squash

    1/4  cup Lucero Garlic Infused Extra Virgin Oilve Oil  


    1/4 cup Lucero Basil Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil 

    2     minced shallots

    2     minced garlic cloves if desired.

    salt and pepper






    1. Coarsely grate the zucchini. Let it drain in a colander for 3 to 4

    minutes or until  ready to begin cooking. To hasten cooking time,

    squeeze the water out of the zucchini by wringing it in a clean

    cloth towel.


    2. In a deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Sauté the shallots or garlic

    briefly. Add the zucchini and toss.


    3-  Cook and stir over medium to medium-high heat until the

    zucchini reaches a spreadable consistency, about 15 minutes.

    If you scorch the bottom, turn the flame down! (And scrape

    those delicious bits into the butter for added flavor -- you can

    splash in a little water to help deglaze the pan.) The zucchini

    will hold its bright green color and slowly caramelize into a

    perfect vegetable jam.


    3. Spread on toast, or serve as a side dish all summer long!

    Keep in covered jars in refrigerator.




  • Roasted Root Vegetable Gems

    November 20, 2017


    This hearty holiday side dish is healthy, delicious, and simple to make.
    Take advantage of the stunning  seasonal colors!  You’ll be making
    these gems for everyday weekend meals, too.  Combine your favorites
    (beets, potatoes of various colors, carrots, rutabagas, turnips, parsnips.)



    Serves 4-6 people


    2 lbs   assorted root vegetables peeled and cut into

    cubes or coins, roughly the same size.

    1   medium onion, peeled and cut into small wedges

    ¼   cup or more mediium intensity Lucero Extra Virgin Olive

    Oil for good coverage;  we recommend our fruity

    Lucero Ascolano Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    1 Tbsp Maldon English Flake Sea Salt

    2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped

    Lucero Balsamic Vinegar or

    Lucero Balsamic Vinegar Glaze

    ( glaze-optional)



    Preheat oven to 400°F


    1-  Clean and slice all vegetables


    2-  Place the prepared vegetables in a roasting pan large enough

    so cubes and coins are not crowded, and toss the mixture with

    olive oil and salt until well coated


    3-  Roast for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally until tender and

    evenly browned. Add chopped rosemary and additional salt to

    taste before  serving.


    Optional:  drizzle Lucero Balsamic Vinegar or

    Balsamic Vinegar Glaze


    Taste Notes: Ascolano is Lucero Yellow Green Label-Med




  • Creamy Cauliflower Soup

    November 13, 2017

    A recipe for a simple winter soup that  takes advantage of the
    flavor  and texture. of  cauliflower. This soup doesn’t need to
    simmer all day. It's a fast ,fresh, healthy and satisfying recipe. 




    Preparation Time:  30 minutes

    Yield:  Four Servings


    2 Tbsp Lucero Garlic Infused Olive Oil or your choice

    Lucero Single Variety Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    1 large onion, peeled and chopped

    2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

    1 potato, chopped

    1 large cauliflower, cut into florets

    1 1/4 cup poultry stock

    1 1/4 cup milk

    1 pinch nutmeg

    sage leaves for garnish

    Maldon Flake Salt

    black pepper




    1-  Heat 2 Tbsp Lucero Garlic Olive Oil in 4 quart saucepan.

    Add chopped onion and cook until soft, but not brown, about

    5 mins. Add chopped garlic cloves.


    2-  Place cauliflower florets and chopped potato in the saucepan,

    followed by soup stock and milk, and bring to a gentle boil.


    3-  Turn down the heat, cover the mixture, and simmer for 15

     to 20 mins. or until the cauliflower is soft.


    4-  Puree the mixture and add the nutmeg. Season to taste

    with  salt and pepper.


    5-  Add sautéed sage leaves and another swirl of olive oil for

    serving. Enjoy with warm, crusty bread.



    Thoughts : Cauliflower is a wonderful cruciferous vegetable to

    enjoy all year. Steamed, sautéed, or perhaps breaded and

    fried as a cauliflower steak ..try something new!





  • Festive Glazed Brussels Sprouts With Bacon

    November 7, 2017

    Brussels sprouts are in season and are excellent as a Thanksgiving
    side dish. Purchase them on the stalk, if possible. If your greengrocer
    offers them loose, choose firm sprouts and avoid  softer ones.




    1.5 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed , cut in halves or

    quarters as needed to uniformity

    4 oz Canadian bacon, diced into 1/4 inch pieces

    1/4 cup Lucero Coratina Extra Virgin Olive Oil 

    1.5 tsps Maldon English Flake Salt or other sea salt

    freshly ground black pepper to taste

    1 Tbsp.  Lucero Balsamic Vinegar Glaze



    Preheat the oven to 400° F


    1-  Place the trimmed and cut brussels sprouts on a sheet pan.

    It’s okay to include some of the loose leaves, which become

    crispy when roasted.


    2-  Add the bacon, olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Toss

    thoroughly to mix the ingredients, and spread onto the

    sheet plan in a singlelayer.


    3-  Roast the Brussels sprouts for 20 to 30 minutes, until  tender

    and the bacon is cooked. Toss once during roasting.


    4-   Remove from the oven, drizzle immediately with the balsamic

    vinegar glaze and toss again. Taste and adjust seasonings.


    Serve hot.


    Taste Notes-Coratina is Lucero Green Label-Robust




  • Basil Olive Oil Burger

    October 31, 2017


    Patty Ingredients




    Cheddar cheese slices

    cooked bacon

    tomato slices

    avocado slices





    1-  In large bowl combine ground beef,,

    egg, garlic powder and cumin. Then divide the mixture into

    5-6 (depending on how big you want your patties) balls.


    2-  Using the palm of your hand, squish the ball to form the

    patty. (About ½ inch thick).


    3-  Grill patties over medium-hi gh heat for 6-7 mins. before

    flipping and cooking for 5 minutes. Place a slice of cheese

    over the patty and continue to cook for an additional 2



    4-  Remove patties from heat.

    Assemble the cheeseburgers by adding the desired

    toppings and enjoy!


    Recipe by K. Holmes from the Lucero Kitchen




  • 6 Ways to Fry Baby Fry!

    October 23, 2017

    Frying With Extra Virgin Olive Oil - A Healthy Habit!


    Most of us worry about deep fried fats, however, the main  fat in

    olive oil is monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA), which also contains

    oleic acid. Your doctor will tell you that this kind of dietary fat

     is not only necessary for you to maintain health, but will 

    encourage you to replace the saturated and trans fats with fats

    such as found in extra virgin olive oil.


    Flavor Notes And Natural Benefits of Olive OIl


    Extra virgin olive oil contains compounds responsible for the pungent 

    flavor as well as containing powerful anti-oxidants like  tyrosol phenolic

    compounds, oleuropeinand oleocanthal and its derivative, hydroxtyrosol .


    The question at this point is whether we can still deep fry our foods

    and retain the healthy benefits of the oil we use.


    Quality Olive Oil and The Right Frying Temperature


    Modern research shows that frying in EVOO will imbue your food

    with  antioxidants and the only caution for you is to use fresh,

    authentic oil and the right temperatures to get the benefit.


    Fresh extra virgin olive oil's smoke point is typically between 380°F

    and 450°F depending on the olive variety, how it was milled, and 

    the freshness of the oil. You only need to pre-heat to ~350°F and

    maintain to ~325°F for deep frying.


    So, feel free to drizzle olive oil directly over your foods or

    you can also fry baby fry!


    Top:  onion rings Ascolano,   beet chips Taggiasca,  avocado Coratina
    Bottom: parsnips Picual, sweet potato Hojiblanca, steak fries Barnea

    Find oils mentioned in this post below:


    Lucero Picual

    Lucero Hojiblanca

    Lucero Ascolano

    Lucero Taggiasca

    Lucero Coratina

    Lucero Green Label-Bold/Robust

    Lucero Yellow Green Label-Med

    Lucero Purple Label-Mild/Delicate





  • Olive Oil Guacamole

    October 18, 2017



      • 3 medium ripe avocados
        1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
        1/2 jalapeño pepper, minced (more or less, to taste)
        1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves and upper stems
        pinch or two of coarse salt
        2 Tbsp.  Persian Lime Agrumato Olive Oil



    1-  Cut the avocados in half and remove the pit.


    2-  Spoon the flesh of  the avocados into a Mortar and Pestle,

    or mixing bowl.


    3-  Add the onion, jalapeño, cilantro and salt, and combine.


    4-  Add the Persian Lime Agrumato Olive Oil and stir

    gently, so as not to crush the ingredients too aggressively.


    Serve with tortilla chips or on top of your favorite

    Mexican dish.





  • Warm Figs With Blue Cheese and Lucero Balsamic Vinegar Glaze

    October 3, 2017


    Stuffed figs are equally delicious with blue or goat cheese. Try  using
    both at your next party.



    Makes 16 appetizers


    16   fresh black mission figs (about 1 pint)

    3     oz. blue cheese or chèvre goat cheese

    1     tsp. fresh thyme, chopped

    ¼    cup pistachios, toasted and roughly chopped

    Lucero Balsamic Vinegar Glaze, for drizzling*

    Thyme sprigs for garnish


    Put the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan and

    heat on  med heat until it bubbles. Reduce heat to low.

    Simmer and stir often until it thickens.


    Adjust oven rack  6 or 7 inches below the broiler.


    1-  Trim stems off figs.  Using a small knife, cut an X into the

    top of each fig stopping halfway down.


    2-  Crumble or cut the cheese into small pieces. Gently stuff

    each fig, slightly mounding the cheese.


    3-  Sprinkle with chopped thyme.  Place stuffed figs on a

    foil-lined sheet pan.


    4-  Turn broiler on and place figs in oven. Broil 4-5 minutes or

    until figs are warm and the cheese begins to melt. Transfer

    warm figs to a serving platter.  Sprinkle with the pistachios

    and a liberal drizzle of balsamic glaze.


    Garnish with thyme sprigs and serve immediately.


    For Lucero by P. Wittmann




  • Winter Spice Balsamic Vinegar Glazed Ham

    October 3, 2017


    Lucero presents our simply spectacular clove studded ham. Balsamic
    vinegar in the glaze takes a classic to a new level.






    Position rack in lower third of oven

    Preheat oven to 325 d/F.


    To make glaze:


    1-  Combine balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, mustard, and black

    pepper in a small bowl. Place ham on a large cutting board with

    the fat side facing up. Score ham in a diamond pattern, cut ½ inch



    2-  Poke in cloves, pointed end first, at the intersections of every

    diamond. Note: the ham can be scored and studded ahead of

    time refrigerated  until ready to use.


    3-  Remove ham from refrigerator one hour before baking. Place

    ham, studded side up , on a rack in a roasting pan.


    4-  Bake uncovered in oven for 15 minutes per pound or  until the

    internal temperature reaches 140 degrees.


    Now apply the glaze....


    5-  Halfway through the roasting period pull ham from oven and

    brush with 1/3 of the glaze.  Return to oven and continue to bake,

    basting with remaining glaze two more  times at 20 min. intervals.


    When ham is done remove from oven and drape lightly with foil.

    Let rest a minimum of 10 minutes before slicing.


    For Lucero by P. Wittmann




  • Lucero Chocolate Olive Oil Brownies

    October 3, 2017



    1/4 cup flour

    1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa

    1/4 tsp. baking powder

    1/4 tsp. kosher salt

    1/3 cup Lucero Deluxe Chocolate Olive Oil

    5 oz. 70% dark chocolate finely chopped

    1 cup sugar

    2 large eggs

    1 tsp. vanilla extract

    1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

    1/2 cup, walnuts, coarsely chopped, divided

    Maldon flake sea salt, for topping



    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


    1-  Generously oil or butter an 8x8-inch baking pan and line

    bottom with parchment.


    2-  In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder

    and salt.  Set aside.


    3-  Using a double boiler  or heat proof mixing bowl, set directly

    in a wide skillet with barely simmering water, stir chocolate

    and oil together until chocolate is just melted .


    4-  Remove from heat and  whisk sugar until incorporated.

    The batter will be slightly grainy. Whisk in eggs one at a time,

    mixing vigorously after each until batter is smooth.

    Mix in vanilla.


    5-  Sprinkle dry ingredients over chocolate mixture, barely

    stirring until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips and 1/3

    cup of walnuts. Spread evenly in the lined pan.


    6-  Top batter with the remaining walnuts and a sprinkling

    of Maldon. Bake until the brownies are set in the middle,

    25 to 28 minutes





  • Cumin Butternut Squash Crostini

    October 3, 2017

    Combining roasted squash, goat cheese and our Lucero Mandarin
    Orange Agrumato makes this rustic crostini an easy favorite.



    Yield: 30 pieces


    3     lbs. butternut squash, peeled and seeded, cut into ¼

    pieces (about 6 cups)

    4     Tbsp.  Lucero Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus more for

    brushing or Lucero Taggiasca Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

    31/2  tsp.   ground cumin

    1/2    tsp.   sea salt (we recommend Maldon)

    1/4    tsp.   fresh ground pepper

    30     slices of baguette, cut ¼ inch thick

    14oz. soft goat cheese, such as chèvre

    1   bunch chives, finely chopped

    Lucero Mandarin Orange Agrumato Olive Oil



    Preheat oven to 375 degrees


    1-  Combine cubed squash with extra virgin olive oil, cumin,

    salt and pepper in a bowl.


    2-  Stir well to evenly  coat squash.  Line 2 sheet pans with foil.

    Divide squash evenly between both pans and spread out in a

    single layer.


    3-  Bake squash in the oven, stirring as needed for 25-35 mins.

    or until squash cubes are soft and begin to show signs of



    4-  Remove from oven, set aside to cool. Lay baguette slices in

    a single layer on a sheet pan and brush liberally with olive oil.

    Toast in the oven, flipping the bread once, until slices are light,

    golden brown.


    Assemble the crostini:


    5-  Spread  goat cheese, onto toasted bread slices, a shy ½ oz.

    per slice. Top with a spoonful of the roasted squash and a

    sprinkling of chives.


    6-  Transfer to a serving platter and lightly drizzle each of the

    crostini with Mandarin Orange Agrumato Olive Oil just

    before serving.


    Tasting Notes: Taggiasca is Lucero Green Label-Bold


    For Lucero by P. Wittmann 




  • Chicken Basil Mozzarella Skewers With Lime Agrumato

    October 3, 2017



    Here's a refreshing bite-size option for year-round



    Ingredients-Makes 30 Appetizers


    2 boneless chicken breasts, about 1 lb. total

    1 clove garlic, finely chopped

    1 pinch chili flakes, plus more for garnish

    1 Tbsp.  Lucero Persian Lime Agrumato Olive Oil

    plus more for drizzling

    1/4 tsp.  Lucero English Flake Sea Salt and pepper

    15 ciliegine  (pearl sized ) fresh mozzarella balls, cut in half

    30 small basil leaves

    30 red grapes

    30 short skewers or toothpicks


    1-  To marinate the chicken place each chicken breast between

    two sheets of plastic wrap.


    2-   Then pound to a uniform ½ inch thickness.  Place chicken in a

    shallow dish and add garlic, a pinch of chili flakes, 1 Tbsp. of

    Persian Lime Agrumato Olive Oil and season with

    salt  and pepper.  Mix chicken to coat evenly. Place chicken in 

    the refrigerator for 20 minutes to overnight.


    Meanwhile, preheat grill to medium


    3-  Brush the grill grate with oil.  Grill chicken breasts, flipping as

    needed,  for a total of 6-8 minutes until done or  until the internal

    temperature  reaches 160 degrees.


    4-  Remove chicken from grill and set aside.  Allow meat to rest at

    least 5 minutes.  Cut each breast into 15 (approximately ½ inch)



    Assemble Skewers


    Thread  one grape, one basil leaf, a half mozzarella ball and a

    piece chicken onto each skewer.  Arrange skewers on a serving

    tray. Garnish with a sprinkling of chili flakes and sea salt.


    Finish with a drizzle of  Lime Olive Oil.


    For Lucero by P. Wittmann




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