Baklouti Chili Agrumato Olive Oil Latke Waffles

2 pounds baking potatoes (preferably organic) washed and scrubbed clean
1 large onion, grated
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons table or fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Baklouti Agurmato Olive Oil - or any olive oil of your choice
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
Baklouti for greasing the waffle iron

Heat oven to 350. Lightly oil a large baking sheet and set aside.

Coarsely grate the potatoes by hand or on the disc of a food processor, transferring to a large bowl of cold water as grated. Soak potatoes 1 to 2 minutes after last batch is added to water, then drain well in a colander. Spread grated potatoes and onion on a kitchen towel and roll up jelly-roll style. Twist towel tightly to wring out as much liquid as possible. Transfer potato mixture to a bowl and stir in eggs, Baklouti, salt, pepper, baking powder, and flour.Heat your waffle iron to high heat. Once hot, coat with Baklouti. Heap some latke mixture on top and spread it into an even layer. Cook until deep golden brown and then transfer to a baking sheet and place in the over to keep warm.

Makes around 8 latke waffles

Etouffe with Chili Agrumato Olive Oil Roux - AKA Delicious Heresy

I know. Just stop. Breathe (deeply). Now let's collectively get over it.

If you're familiar with Cajun cuisine then you know about roux.  And if you know about roux, you know it's a sacred pillar of the cuisine, revered, and ALWAYS made with a mixture of copious amounts of butter and flour.  The shrimp etouffee recipe above would typically call for no less than 1/2 cup of butter - let that sink in for a minute.  Now let's focus our righteous indignation where it belongs.

If you're still with me, (I assume if  you're still reading this, there exists at least a modicum of trust), then you'll make your roux forever more with extra virgin olive oil and never look back. It will be our delicious, healthy little secret. 


1/2 cup Baklouti Chili Agrumato, or any UP extra virgin olive oil of your choice
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chopped onions
4 cups chicken, shrimp or vegetable stock
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped 
4 large garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons tomato paste 
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 bunch of green onions, sliced
Steamed white rice, for serving

In a large pot or Dutch oven, over medium heat, add Baklouti Agrumato or extra virgin olive oil of your choice. Add the flour, stir it to combine well, and then babysit it.  Continuously stir the flour to make a roux - this can take up to 10 minutes and needs your constant attention lest the flour burn. Stir the roux over medium heat until it reaches a deep caramel brown color. 
Add all the vegetables and garlic to the roux, and saute until the vegetables become soft, approximately 5-7 minutes. Add the tomato paste to the mixture and stir cooking for another minute.  Add the bay leaves, thyme, and stock.  Whisk constantly over medium until the mixture becomes smooth and begins to simmer.  Turn down the heat to low, taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.
Cook partially covered over low heat, keeping the pot at a simmer for 30 minutes. 
Add the shrimp to the pot and cook for approximately 5 more minutes.
Serve immediately over steamed white rice with sliced green onions and more Baklouti for drizzling. 
**Disclaimer - this recipe is designed to have a spicy kick.  If you still want some of the taste of the Baklouti Agrumato but desire something a bit more mild, go with 1/4 cup Baklouti and 1/4 cup UP extra virgin olive oil of your choice.
Serves 6-8 (with leftovers as the sauce gets even better the next day) 

Arancini in UP Certified Extra Virgin Olive Oil

They say you can't fry with extra virgin olive oil. "They" say "it's unhealthy" and that "it burns creating toxic byproducts." Some folks say, for instance, that "one should only use extra virgin olive oil for finishing and cold applications, and use cheaper, refined olive oil or other types of vegetable oils to fry and cook with." You've heard this mantra repeated by chefs, prominent public figures and even Food Network celebrities. You might've even heard this from dieticians and those who seem like a good source of information on the topic of culinary applications with extra virgin olive oil.  Well, guess what?  "They" are wrong... sort of.

What's more than likely, is that "they" have been using poor quality, old, and/or adulterated extra virgin olive oil. If the FFA of an olive oil is over .5, will it smoke at lower temperatures?  Heck yes!  If it's old, oxidized, and devoid of good phenolic content, will it stave off the formation of toxic aldehydes (free-radicals) that typically form in other types of refined cooking oils when heated?  Nope, at least not as effectively!  So the key is knowing the crush date and chemistry of the extra virgin olive oil you're using, and trying to select an olive oil based on optimal chemistry.

Most chefs, doctors, and dieticians would go blank if asked to define FFA, oleic acid, or phenols and the role they play in the stability and health benefit of extra virgin olive oil.  They are not experts with solid practical knowledge about the chemical parameters of extra virgin olive oil, and which parameters are particularly important when looking to optimize nutrients, stability, and overall suitability for a wide array of culinary applications.

*Disclaimer:  In the making of the deep fried risotto croquette above, no Up Extra Virgin Olive Oil was made to smoke, nor were toxic aldehydes formed.

Truffled Wild Mushroom Risotto & Arancini in Baby Arugula UP Pesto

Porcini/Shitake Mushroom Stock
5 cups water brought to a simmer
2 cups of a mixture of dried Porcini mushrooms and Shitake mushrooms broken in to pieces or coarsely chopped

Bring the water just up to a simmer and then add the mushrooms.  Allow to steep for 30 minutes before using in recipes.  Strain before using.

Make the risotto:
5 cups mushroom stock
3 tablespoons UP Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 shallots, finely chopped
sea salt and freshly ground pepper 
1 1/2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice  
1/2 cup white wine
1 teaspoon white or black truffle oil  
1 pound mixed wild mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese  
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
In a medium saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer. Keep warm. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and add the mushrooms.  Season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.   Add the shallots and saute for another few minutes until the mushrooms are nicely caramelized and the shallots are cooked through and translucent.
Add the rice and cook, stirring until well coated with olive oil and beginning to toast. Add the wine and cook, stirring until the wine is absorbed. Add 1 cup of the warm stock and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until nearly absorbed. Continue adding the stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly, until it is nearly absorbed between additions. The risotto is done when it is opaque and just the sauce that has formed from the rice, creamy.  About 20 minutes total. Add the truffle oil and cheese in at the very end, and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. 
Eat this now using any leftovers for the recipe below.

The Arancini 
3 cups cooled, leftover risotto from the recipe above or your own
1 1/2 cups plain bread crumbs
1 large egg, beaten
6 oz. mozzarella fresca (fresh mozzarella in water) 
UP Extra Virgin Olive Oil for deep frying I recommend Oro Bailen or Melgarejo's new harvest UP Certified Extra Virgin Olive oils
Mix together 1/2 cup of bread crumbs and the beaten egg with the cooled risotto.  Heat 2" of UP Extra Virgin Olive Oil to 350 F. in a heavy pot with relatively high sides.  Preheat the oven to 250 F.  
Place the breadcrumbs in a shallow dish or plate for rolling the arancini and cut the mozzarella into small 1/2" cubes.
Using a scoop or spoon, portion out 2 tablespoons of risotto mixture and roll into a ball.  Gently push one piece of mozzarella into the center of each ball and re-roll between your hands to encase the cheese.  Roll the ball in the bread crumbs to fully coat and deep fry until golden brown.  Place the fried hot ball of arancini on a rack and hold in the oven while frying the rest.  Serve hot with the cheese melting in the center.   

Baby Arugula Pesto
3 cups baby arugula washed and dried
1/2 cup UP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice  
1/2 cup grated Pecorino cheese
1 large clove garlic chopped
Sea salt to taste

Add all of the ingredients to the the container of a a blender or food processor.  Pulse to combine and adjust seasoning with salt if desired.  Serve with the arancini above or with bread, pasta, vegetables.... you name it.

Speaking of Duck Eggs...

 Caramelized Vegetable Croquettes
2 cups coarsely mashed Yukon Gold potatoes, skins and all
1 cup broccoli florets, coarsely chopped
1 cup cauliflower florets, coarsely chopped
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons such as Oro Bailen Picual for pan frying & sauteing
1/3 cup cherve (fresh goat cheese) creme fraiche, or sour cream
1/3 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
fresh ground pepper
2 duck eggs or 3 large chicken eggs beaten
2 cups panko bread crumbs
mixed baby greens (optional)
Gremolata Hollandaise Sauce*
2 duck eggs or 3  large chicken egg yolks
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon Sicilian Lemon White Balsamic
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and very warm
1 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly cracked pepper (optional)
In a saute pan set over medium-high heat, add two tablespoons of extremely fresh (most recent press), (low FFA below .3), high phenol (above 300 ppm) fruity-green extra virgin olive such as Oro Bailen Picual.  Add the shallots, broccoli, and cauliflower and saute until golden brown, and slightly caramelized (about 20 minutes) add the garlic at the last minute.  
Add the coarsely mashed potatoes to a large bowl and add the goat cheese, pepper and salt.  Add the caramelized veggie mixture to the potatoes and mix gently, keeping the veggies in tact as much as possible.
Add the beaten egg to wide flat container or bowl, and add the Panko bread crumbs to another bowl. Season the egg with a little salt.
Once the potato mixture has cooled enough to handle, form six patties, about 4" wide and 1" thick. Dip each patty in to the seasoned egg, and then in to the Panko bread crumbs making sure to gently press the crumbs on to the patty.  Set the patties on to a lined baking sheet and set aside.  
For the Duck Egg Hollandaise
Heat the butter and olive oil in a small sauce pan until very warm, about 180 degrees.  In the bowl of a food processor or in the jar of a blender, add the vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and egg yolks. Process briefly to blend everything.  With the motor running, slowly drizzle in warmed butter.  
Heat 1/2" of Oro Bailen Picual in a wide heavy saute pan over medium-high heat and pan fry the patties until golden brown on both sides - set aside on a lined baking sheet.  
Poach 6 duck or chicken eggs

To assemble, arrange the mixed baby greens on the plate.  Top with the warm veggie patty. Set a poached egg atop the veggie patty and ladle the Hollandaise over the top. 
Serves 6

Pasture Raising Ducks for Eggs

Here's our heritage breed ducks including Blue Swedish, Welsh Harlequin, and Khaki Campbell that we raised from a day old.  They're free-ranged during daylight hours and forage for much of their food when not secured in their night time pen. We have organic vegetable gardens and pasture that they peruse for slugs, snails, greens, and vegetables.  They have two pools and enjoy a very natural care-free life.  In this picture they're approximately 18 weeks old and will start laying within a month or so.   

Empanadas with Extra Virgin Olive Oil Pastry

Olive Oil Pastry
1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Pastry  Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup UP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 to 4 tablespoons water

Empanada Filling 
1 pound ground beef or turkey
1 large yellow onion, finely minced
2 cloves garlic minced
2 tablespoons UP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 jar Roasted Red Peppers in UP Extra Virgin Olive Oil, drained and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 /2 cup shredded Asiago cheese
Sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
1 egg beaten

To make the filling, heat olive oil of choice in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the ground meat of your choice.  Saute until well browned.  Add the onion and saute until translucent.  Add the roasted peppers, garlic, oregano and cook for another few minutes until most of the moisture in the mixture has evaporated.  Add the cheese, mix well, taste and season with salt and pepper, and then set aside to cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder.  Mix the UP extra virgin olive oil and water together.  Add to the dry ingredients and mix well until a dough forms.  Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth.  Roll out to 1/8" thickness and then using a round glass or a large circular cutter (4"-5" diameter would be perfect), cut out rounds of dough.  Fill each with 2 tablespoons of cooled filling, brush one half of the inner edge of  the circle and then pinch firmly closed to form a half moon shaped empanada.  Use the tines of a fork to make a decorative edge and help seal the empanadas.  

Arrange on a baking sheet and brush with beaten egg.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until each empanada is golden brown.  Allow to cool slightly and serve warm.  Can be frozen and reheated with excellent results.

Makes approximately 1 dozen empanadas

Golden Cauliflower Croquettes Fried in a Super Fruity Low FFA, High Oleic, High Phenol Picholine UP Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Pho Ga

Pho Ga Broth Base
5-6 pounds assorted chicken necks, backs, and wings (roasted is great, raw is fine)
3" piece ginger smashed
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 large yellow onion with skin, halved
1 teaspoon peppercorns
2 bunches cilantro stems, leaves reserved for garnish
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
2" piece of rock sugar
2 large star anise
2" piece of cinnamon stick
fish sauce - optional to taste - I recommend 1/4 cup

Place ingredients in a large stock pot and cover with water (up to 12 quarts) and bring to a simmer. Simmer partially covered for 6 hours - it should never boil - just barely simmer.

Allow the broth to cool in the pot - strain with a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth and refrigerate overnight.  Skim the fat from top of cold broth.

Add stock to a large pot and bring to a simmer.  Taste and add salt - to taste - keep adding and tasting until you get it just right!

Pho Ga Accoutrements
1 pound raw boneless skinless chicken breast, partially frozen, sliced paper thin
2 pounds fresh - not dried, refrigerated pho noodles
1 bunch washed and dried fresh cilantro leaves
1 bunch fresh Thai basil leaves, washed and dried
1 small thinly sliced yellow onion
1 bunch green onions, light green and white parts thinly sliced
4 shallots thinly sliced and fried golden-crisp in vegetable oil (optional)
4 limes quartered
2 green chillies (Serrano) thinly sliced
AND SRIRACHA... of course!  :)

 Rinse the fresh noodles and soak them in very hot water.  Meanwhile, add the chicken to the simmering broth.  Cook through. Add the noodles, simmering for only a minute (be careful to not overcook them!  Ladle noodles broth, and some chicken into bowls and serve immediately.  Allow folks to add the other accoutrements as they see fit.

Serves 8-10 generously