Try some of these great recipes with great olive oil

By on June 27, 2017

Blood orange cake. (Rosie Hawthorne)

One of the staples in the Hawthorne pantry is olive oil. Good olive oils. Yes, plural, since I like to have an assortment of fruit juices from which to choose.

Selecting an olive oil, like picking out a wine, can be a daunting task. I remember many times standing in front of the array of olive oils at a supermarket and really not knowing what I was looking at.

What’s the difference between extra virgin and naughtier olive oils? What do the oils taste like? Which oil pairs with what food? Which should I buy?


Outer Banks Olive Oil Co. takes out that guesswork. They have an extensive selection of artisan olive oils and vinegars and I was able to taste the oils before choosing.

As a result, I came home with an assortment of 12 different specialty oils and vinegars to play with.

Today, I’m playing with a Persian lime-infused olive oil, a blood orange infused olive oil, and my secret ammunition — a heady, black truffle olive oil.

Their Persian lime-infused olive oil paired perfectly with a roasted cauliflower dish I make. I combine cauliflower with other vegetables, toss with olive oil, and roast in a hot oven. The roasting brings out the natural sweetness in the cauliflower in addition to accenting its inherent nuttiness. It’s like cauliflower candy.

Roasted Cauliflower and Vegetables
½ head cauliflower, sliced into ⅛-inch pieces
1 small squash or zucchini or both, sliced
1 – 2 TB Persian lime infused olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 TB unsalted butter
Pumpkin seeds
Cilantro, chopped
Lime juice and zest


Heat oven to 450°.
Toss the vegetable slices with the olive oil, salt, and pepper to evenly coat.
Spread slices in a single layer on baking sheet and bake until cauliflower is tender and nicely browned, about 15-20 minutes, turning halfway throughout cooking.

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In a small saucepan, melt the unsalted butter. Add the pumpkin seeds and continue cooking over low heat until the butter starts to lightly brown. Immediately remove from heat. Browning the butter gives it a nice nutty flavor which complements the cauliflower. Stir in about a tablespoon of lime juice. Pour over roasted vegetables. Sprinkle lime zest and chopped cilantro over top.

This is a very versatile dish. Besides squash and zucchini, you could use carrots or fennel, if you like. You could also substitute walnuts instead of pumpkin seeds. If you’re not a cilantro fan, try parsley instead. Experiment!


For dessert, I’m going with a blood orange infused olive oil cake. In addition to the oil, I’m also using blood oranges. Blood oranges are in season now so take advantage of them while you can.

Rosie’s Blood Orange Cake

2 TB unsalted butter
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
2 blood oranges
1 ½ cups flour
¾ cup semolina flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp cardamom
½ cup blood orange infused olive oil
½ cup ricotta
¾ cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 TB blood orange zest

Heat oven to 350°. Butter an 8”-round cake pan.
Melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar, stirring until sugar melts, about 3-4 minutes. Press mixture into bottom of prepared cake pan.

Slice blood oranges into ¼ inch rounds and arrange in a single layer on top of brown sugar mixture.

In a bowl, sift flour, semolina, baking powder, salt, and cardamom.

In bowl of stand mixer with whisk attachment, combine blood orange infused olive oil, ricotta, and sugar, mixing about 3 minutes until smooth and well-combined.
Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and a tablespoon of orange zest.

Fold in dry mixture by hand in 3 additions until just mixed.

Spoon batter into pan, spreading evenly.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Rotate pan halfway through baking.

Let cool in pan 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edges to loosen and invert onto serving dish.

Serve with homemade whipped cream brightened with fresh blood orange juice mixed in. In a chilled bowl with chilled beaters, whip 1 cup heavy cream with 3 TB sugar. When soft peaks form, add in 1 tsp vanilla extract. Beat in a few tablespoons of blood orange juice until you get a pretty pink whipped cream.

Drizzle more orange juice over cake slices. Add whatever berries you have and sprinkle with zested orange.

Now, I’ll let you in on a wonderful little secret – truffle butter. Take ½ stick of unsalted butter and let it soften. Add black truffle olive oil to the softened butter, a drop at a time, combining well. This might take 4 drops. Maybe more. Taste test as you go along. If you’d like to drop in a pinch of kosher salt, again, taste test as you go. Truffle oil is not a cooking oil. It’s used as a finishing oil and it’s a powerful thing, so go easy. It’s earthy, pungent, intense, rich, complex, and just this side of heaven.

Spread softened truffle butter on toasted slices of homemade ciabatta bread, warm right out of the oven.

If you want to be really decadent, schmear truffle butter over a slice of reheated leftover cheese pizza. If you do nothing else, try this.

And you’re welcome for that little tidbit.

See what people are saying:

  • Dawn B.

    Can’t wait to try these recipes!

    Tuesday, Jun 27 @ 7:30 pm
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