Have A Spooky Halloween With Our Spider Web Soup Recipe!

spider web soup recipe

Even if we’re too old for trick-or-treating and don’t have children, we can still have a fun time during Halloween! It’s a great time for costume parties and of course, thematic dinners and treats. Really bloody Bloody Mary’s, super-spooky soundtracks, dramatic decor and of course, anything and everything orange and black! What’s not to love?

spider web soup recipe

So while we if might not be out gallivanting dressed as a superhero on the 31st, that’s doesn’t mean we won’t be having ourselves some Halloween good time. How? With our easy Spider Web Soup with Halloween Croutons!  It’s simple to make, and it’s much healthier (and forgiving to our waistlines) than candy corn. Even though we love them, we’re a bit “pumpkin-ed out” by the time Halloween comes about, and it’s nice to have an alternative dish that still looks halloween-y, so we used carrots and tomatoes instead. You get that great orange hue but the flavor is fresher and not as starchy.

We spiced our Spider Web Soup up a bit with cinnamon, ginger and cloves, but you can use your favorite spices and seasonings, and make it frightfully spicy or as mild as you (or your guests) prefer.

spider web soup recipe

The soup itself is delicious, but the theatrical touch is definitely the “spider web” design that is piped onto it using creme fraiche. It really just looks intricate, but it’s actually just circles made with a piping bag of creme fraiche, and then tweaked with a simple toothpick.

spider web soup recipe

We served it alongside some spooky herbed croutons – essentially just white bread cut with Halloween cookie cutters. So simple, but so much fun, so spooky!  Have fun in the kitchen this Halloween with our Spider Web Soup recipe!

Spiderweb Soup Halloween Recipe

Spiderweb Soup Halloween Recipe


  • 6 medium tomatoes
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 1 ½ tbsp. Sugar
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 4-½ cups vegetable broth
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tbsp. ginger powder
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  • 8 slices white bread
  • 2 tbsp. Chopped fresh herbs (oregano, thyme, basil and rosemary)
  • 2 tbsp. Olive oil
  • 7 oz. crème fraiche
  • 16 peppercorns (pink if available)
  • Special equipment: Halloween-themed cookie cutters, piping bag


  1. Heat oven to 300 F.
  2. With sharp knife, score an X on the smooth end of the tomatoes. Drop in boiling water for about ½ minute.
  3. Remove from fire and transfer to cold water, then carefully remove the skin.
  4. Cut into 6 wedges and remove the seeds.
  5. Arrange in a baking pan, sprinkle the sugar and drizzle or brush with olive oil, then bake for about 45 minutes. Reserve.
  6. In medium saucepan, boil the broth. Peel the carrots and dice, and then cook in the broth, boiling, until tender – about 15 to 20 minutes.
  7. To the same pan add the baked tomatoes, and using a hand blender (alternatively, wait till it cools down and process in a regular blender), adding the rest of the vegetable broth as needed to get the desired texture.
  8. Season with spices, salt and pepper. Transfer to individual bowls.
  9. Fill your piping bag with crème fraiche, then slowly and carefully swirl several circles spiraling over the surface of each soup. Using a toothpick, drag it from the center of the spirals towards the edges of the soup, creating a web. Reserve warm.
  10. Cut the bread using the Halloween-themed cookie cutters. Arrange in a baking sheet and bake at 350 F until golden. Remove from oven. Mix 2 tbsp. of olive oil with the fresh herbs, and brush the mix lightly over the croutons.
  11. Serve the soup with a few ghoulish croutons and if you’re using ghost cutters, like we did, finish off with peppercorns as eyes.


Chocolate Dipped Walnut Biscotti Recipe

biscotti recipe

A great, foolproof Biscotti recipe is something that every baker (even the weekend-warrior type) should have in his or her arsenal. Like a little black dress, crunchy biscotti is an ideal treat that carries from day to night, as perfect with your latte during your morning commute as with your after-dinner herbal tea.

Biscotti are a quintessential Italian cookie that’s also known as cantuccini - coffee bread – aptly called since it’s usually presented alongside a steaming cup of coffee. The traditional shape is a thin and long, with rounded ends. The actually meaning of the word biscotti comes from the Latin word biscoctus, which means, “twice baked”, and which pretty much describes how this treat is made. The double baking renders the biscuit dry and crumbly, giving it a longer shelf life than other baked goods, and making it ideal to carry on long trips, for mailing as holiday gifts, or for storing.

biscotti recipe

The basic recipe for Italian biscotti is simple and straightforward – flour, eggs, salt and sugar – but the American version also adds butter and baking powder, for a moister and more airy texture. It’s the perfect canvas for culinary creativity – you can use your imagination (and your favorite ingredients) and make savory biscotti with cheese and herbs, or sweet with chocolate or sour with cranberries or cherries…there are no limitations…but there are some rules.

The trick to a great biscotti is making sure that you get the texture just right, crunchy but not tooth-breaking hard, and crumbly enough to be enjoyable without disintegrating in your hands. And that means paying attention during the baking process to make sure you don’t overcook the dough – which will turn the biscotti rock-hard. The biscotti dough itself is pretty wet – thanks to the butter and eggs – and that great moisture will turn your biscuits light, so you don’t want to dry them out completely.

biscotti recipe

We like our biscotti like we like our latte – grande! Our walnut biscotti recipe is simple and easy, and turns out some deliciously crunchy biscotti with just enough sweetness. To amp up the wow factor, we dipped them in tempered chocolate for a “corner bakery look” and incredible flavor. Plain biscotti can be stored in an airtight container for several weeks (note that they will turn harder as days pass). If you choose to dip them in chocolate like we did, they will last a 3-4 days.

Need some ingredients? Go shopping! Check out our great selection of biscotti ingredients in our Baking and Pastry section.

Chocolate Dipped Walnut Biscotti

Chocolate Dipped Walnut Biscotti


  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 cups bittersweet chocolate pistoles (70% cacao), tempered
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
  3. In a different bowl, cream the butter with the sugar using a wooden spoon or an electric mixer. Add the eggs one by one, beating to incorporate one before you add the next. Add the vanilla extract and slowly incorporate the sifted flour mix until the dough is stiff. Stir in the walnuts.
  4. With floured hands, divide the dough into two equal pieces, and shape each into loaves of about 10 x 4 inches, and about ¾-1 inch tall.
  5. Transfer both dough pieces onto a baking sheet lines with parchment paper, spaced apart (as they will grow).
  6. Bake until just golden, no more than 30 minutes and remove from the oven. Cool until just warm. Using a serrated knife, cut crosswise with into ½-inch strips.
  7. Transfer to a freshly lined baking sheet, and continue to bake for another 12 minutes until crisp, turning the biscotti over halfway through.
  8. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
  9. Dip the cool biscotti into the melted tempered chocolate, about halfway through, letting excess drip off. Let cool on a rack.

Mad About Matcha! (Plus, A Matcha Ice Cream Recipe!

Matcha Tin courtesy of Serena on Flirk (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Matcha Tin courtesy of Serena on Flirk (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

If you’re a modern foodie, chances are you’ve encountered matcha in one of your culinary outings. Matcha refers to powdered green tea, and has been used for centuries in Japan for the traditional tea ceremony, where only the finest green tea leaves were milled to a fine powder. Fast-forward to 21st century America, and matcha is showing up in sweet and savory dishes, bringing that intense green hue and a great bitter flavor.

Green Tea Noodles courtesy of kattebelletje on Flikr. (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Green Tea Noodles courtesy of kattebelletje on Flikr. (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From noodles to mussels, lattes to mint juleps, a spoonful of matcha not only gives flavor and color to an incredible array of dishes and beverages, it also delivers a boost of energy and all the antioxidant benefits of green tea. This triple-threat ingredient, adding flavor, color and health, is a must-have in your pantry!


00235000The Health Benefits of Matcha

One of the main factors that makes Matcha such a powerful health food is that, rather than regular tea bags that you steep and toss, matcha green tea comes in powdered form. What’s the difference? It means that by using matcha, you are consuming the entire tealeaf, not just a green-tea-flavored water. The health benefits are then much more concentrated.  And the benefits of matcha are MANY. For example, according to recent research by Tufts University, matcha has 20 (yes, TWENTY!) times more antioxidants blueberries (and no sugar).

While giving you a caffeine perk-up, there’s an interesting and very important difference between coffee and the caffeine in matcha. Its main component is L-Theanine, an amino acid that promotes a state of “alert relaxation”. Rather than the jitteriness that too many cups of java can cause, L-theanine creates alpha waves, which promotes a state of the mind called “relaxed alertness” – calm, not agitated, but functioning and alert. Beloved by models and celebrities, matcha also brings great detox and metabolism-boosting perks. Without raising blood pressure or heart rate, matcha gets the body’s fat-busting mechanisms going, and naturally (and safely) aids weight loss. Plus, that intense green color? That comes compliments of chlorophyll, which helps the body naturally remove toxins like heavy metals. (source)


Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream

matcha ice cream

Homemade matcha ice cream courtesy of Isaac’licious on Flikr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

You might not go for a hot cup of tea during the summer heat, but how about some of the wildly popular Green Tea Ice Cream? The perfect dessert to cool you down, energize AND calm you! All you need is a few simple ingredients and an ice-cream maker.  Matcha ice cream is deliciously sweet but with a nice bitterness, and the show-stopping intensity of its green color makes it a fun and striking addition to your summer dessert repertoire. Although matcha can be a bit bitter, the sweetness of the sugar, milk and cream all work to balancing it out, dulling it so that the ice cream just has an interesting-yet-mellow edge. Tip: add more or less matcha powder if you want more or less color and flavor.


This recipe is adapted The Perfect Scoop, by David Lebovitz.

Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream

Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream


  • 1 cup whole milk

  • ¾ cup sugar

  • Pinch of salt

  • 2 cups heavy cream

  • 4 teaspoons matcha green tea powder
  • 6 large egg yolks


  1. In a large bowl, add the cream and whisk in the matcha. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, sugar and salt (warm, not hot or boiling).
  3. Whisk egg yolks in a separate bowl, then slowly add the heated milk mixture, whisking constantly. Pour this mix back into the saucepan and turn the heat on to medium. Heat while stirring, scraping the bottom, until the mixture slightly thickens. DO NOT boil!
  4. Set a mesh strainer over the matcha cream mix bowl, and pour the custard through, stirring. Once all the custard is strained into the cream, start whisking (vigorously, put some elbow into it!), until the custard turns frothy and the matcha powder is fully dissolved.
  5. Place your preparation over a bowl of ice, and continue to stir until cool. This is your ice cream base.
  6. Chill the ice cream base in the refrigerator until fully cold then transfer to your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions. Serve with chocolate sauce!

Grilled Salmon Skewers With Mango Salsa

salmon skewers recipe

We love to make the most of grilling season! These delicious salmon skewers are an easy, healthy and super flavorful addition to any summer menu. Served with our sweet and zesty mango salsa, they can work as a great appetizer. Add some couscous and you’ve got a light and fresh summer lunch.

grilled salmon skewers recipe

We used plump mushrooms and tasty zucchinis for our skewers, but you can use any vegetables you have laying around,  or you favorite ones from the farmers’ market.



Whichever you pick, the trick to making perfect skewers lies in getting the different pieces as close to the same size as possible. You’ll want your salmon and vegetables cut into even cubes or pieces, so they’ll cook evenly. To create harmonious presentation – and ensure everyone gets their fair share! – start and end your skewers with salmon.

Grilled Salmon & Vegetable Skewers With Mango Salsa

Grilled Salmon & Vegetable Skewers With Mango Salsa


  • 3 skinless salmon filets (about 1 lb. each), cut into 1.5-inch cubes
  • 8 oz. button mushrooms
  • 2 zucchinis
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • 5 tbsps. olive oil
  • Kosher salt (for the salmon)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, unseeded, cubed
  • 2 small red onions, chopped
  • 1 medium mango, cut into small cubes
  • 2 tbsps. champagne vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


  1. Start your grill and get the fire to medium. Make sure the coals are spread evenly, so you get even heat to all skewers. Brush the grill with oil.
  2. Cube zucchinis and mushrooms into similar size pieces. Get the veggies as close as possible to the salmon cubes in size, so everything will cook evenly.
  3. Starting with a piece of salmon, thread salmon, zucchini and mushrooms, until the skewers are filled (but not overflowing).
  4. Brush each skewer with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Grill, turning occasionally, about 3-5 minutes on each side (fish should turn an opaque pink all around and inside). Spray some lemon juice.
  6. To get your salsa ready, mix the tomatoes, onions, mango, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, vinegar and salt and pepper in a bowl. Refrigerate until use.
  7. Serve two skewers per person, topped with the salsa, plus some salsa on the side.
  8. Notes
  9. Make sure to soak the bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes to prevent burning on the grill.

Fourth of July Recipe Roundup: 8 Delicious Dishes Featuring Seasonal Fruit

fourth of july menu



Fresh berries, sweet strawberries, juicy peaches…summer is finally here!

Make the most of this short and incredibly sweet season by incorporating fresh fruit to your Fourth of July dishes! From savory to sweet, we give you 8 amazing recipes by incredible bloggers and foodies, all featuring the best of the season – festive, party-ready dishes, from appetizers and mains, to drinks and desserts. So, read on, get to  themarket and start prepping for the Fourth! Freedom never tasted this sweet!


Baby Back Ribs with Balsamic Peach BBQ Sauce by Damn Delicious

Baby Back Ribs Recipe

These ribs are just peachy! Recipe & Photo credit: Damn Delicious


Grilled Blackberry, Strawberry, Basil and Brie Pizza Crisps by Half Baked Harvest

Berry Pizza Crisps

Berry delicious
Recipe & Photo Credit: Half Baked Harvest


Blueberry & Basil Quinoa Stuffed Endive by Greens & Chocolate

Healthy and sophisticated
Recipe & Photo Credit: Greens & Chocolate


Blueberry Vanilla Ice Cream by Heather’s Dish

Blueberry Vanilla Ice Cream

Scoop it out!
Recipe & Photo credit: Heather’s Dish


Roasted Cherry Tomato Tart by Baker’s Royale

Roasted Cherry Tomato Tart Fourth of July Recipe

Cherries, tomatoes? Fruit, vegetable? Who cares when it’s so delicious!
Recipe & Photo Credit: Baker’s Royale


Strawberry Basil Infused Vodka by Foodie With Family

Strawberry Basil Infused Vodka

Vodka + Strawberries + Basil = A good start to any party!
Recipe & Photo Credit: Foodie With Family


Watermelon Ice by Taste & Tell

Fourth of July Recipe Drink

Chill out your melon
Recipe & Photo Credit: Taste and Tell


Red, White and Blueberry Yogurt Popsicles by The View From Great Island

fourth of july recipe dessert

Patriotic popsicles!
Recipe & Photo Credit: The View From Great Island

Passion Fruit Mousse Tart Recipe + Make The Perfect Italian Meringue

Passion Fruit Mousse Tart Recipe

Light, sweet yet tart, with a melt-in-your-mouth buttery crust, this Passion Fruit Mousse Tart has it all! The perfect dessert for summer, the airy mousse won’t weight you down when you head for the pool after lunch.

You can make this as one big tart, but another great way to present this would be in individual mini-tarts. Just use smaller tart molds and cut the dough accordingly. Not passionate on Passion Fruit? No problem? Use any of the other flavors of frozen fruit purees by Ravifruit, and adapt the recipe to your (or you guests’) taste.

The trick to this dessert is the recipe for Italian Meringue. This somewhat little-used meringue recipe uses a sugar syrup, rather than caster sugar, for stiff, super glossy peaks that are unwaveringly stable and firm. This makes for perfectly firm mousses (and also allows torching, if so needed), making Italian meringue sturdier and much more forgiving than French meringue. To make sure you get the right consistency, take care to add the sugar syrup slowly, in a slow, thin stream.

Running short on time? Skip making the tart shell and use pre-made tart shells (you can find our great selection here – including round and square shells in an assortment of sizes).

Passion Fruit Mousse Tart

Passion Fruit Mousse Tart


  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp. confectioner’s sugar
  • ½ or 1 stick cup cold butter, cubed
  • Grated peel of 1 orange
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Cold water, as needed
  • 2 eggs (separated into 2 yolks and 2 egg whites)
  • 11 tbsps. Granulated sugar (separated into 2 tbsp. and 9 tbsp.)
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1 ½ tsp. of plain gelatin
  • 6 tsp. cold water
  • ¼ cup water (for syrup)
  • ¾ cup Passion Fruit Frozen Puree, defrosted
  • ¾ cup heavy cream, whipped
  • Whipped cream, fresh mint, Passion Fruit Frozen Puree


  1. In a medium bowl, place the flour, sugar and butter. With a fork, mix and blend pressing down on the butter until the mix takes the consistency of breadcrumbs.
  2. Incorporate the orange grating and the egg yolk and start forming the dough with a spatula first to gather everything together, then with your hands to unify, adding in 2 or 3 tablespoons of water until a dough ball forms.
  3. On a flat working surface, place a sheet of plastic wrap and place the dough over it, covering it with a second sheet of wrap. Using a heavy rolling pin, and without kneading, roll out the dough in between the film. Once it’s flat, remove the film and press the dough into a tart mold. Pinch the base of the tart with a fork (this will prevent it from rising), and leave in the freezer for about 20 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and bake the tart shell until golden, about 15-20 minutes, depending on your oven. Set aside to cool.
  5. Create a sugar syrup by bringing ¼ cup of water to a boil and add in ½ cup sugar, stirring until it thickens into syrup. In an electric mixer, whip egg whites into stiff peaks. Without stopping the mixer, very slowly begin to incorporate the sugar syrup in a thin, steady stream. Keep whipping until you get an evenly thick, shiny meringue. Set aside to cool down.
  6. In a simmering double boiler bath or bain marie, whisk 2 yolks with 2 tbsp. sugar and the orange juice, whisking constantly until you get a thick cream. Mix the plain gelatin with ¼ cup water and add into the cream, blending.Set aside at room temperature.
  7. Once cooled, incorporate the Passion Fruit Frozen Puree, and add the whipped cream and meringue - the preparation should be even and smooth.
  8. Pour into the tart shell, and take to the fridge to cool down and set.
  9. To serve, garnish with a few dollops of whipped cream, Passion Fruit frozen puree and some mint leaves.

Meatless Monday: Goat Cheese On Green Pea Blini



It’s Monday! Brighten up your evening and start the week of right with a flavorful and elegant dinner featuring delicious green pea blini filled with tart goat cheese. This recipe uses simple ingredients that are readily available in your kitchen (plus, you get to finally use that big bag of frozen green peas!), and with a little easy assembly makes for a very sophisticated presentation.

You might be used to seeing the classic blini in a miniature format, topped with glistening caviar, but these versatile pancakes are the perfect vehicle for all types of food – especially if you make them bigger (and better!).


Typically made with buckwheat flour, our variation of the classic blini recipe features green peas, and is easy and fast to make. The peas give the batter a vibrant green color, a hue perfectly suited for an “almost-summer” night.

Juicy oven-roasted cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and chives go beautifully with the chèvre, but you can substitute with whatever filling you have available in your kitchen tonight.

Pair this green pea blini dish with a glass of chilled white wine, and suddenly Monday will start looking as good as Sunday!

Bonus Tip: If you’re looking to recreate this recipe during the weekend for a party or gathering, and don’t have a lot of time, you can buy ahead some pre-made blini and save yourself some steps.

Goat Cheese And Roasted Cherry Tomatoes Green Pea Blini Tower

Goat Cheese And Roasted Cherry Tomatoes Green Pea Blini Tower


  • 1 ¼ cups frozen green peas
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 medium egg yolk
  • ½ cup milk
  • 4 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp. butter, melted + 1 tbsp. to coat pancake maker
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ½ lb. cherry tomatoes, sliced thinly
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 7 oz. firm goat cheese, cubed
  • 5.3 oz. button mushrooms
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 tbsp. chopped chives


  1. Boil the peas in water (just about covered with water) with ¼ tsp. salt, until they’re al dente (3-4 minutes). Immediately cool under cold water – this will preserve the color.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, place the peas, egg and eggs yolk, milk, flour and melted butter, and process until the batter is smooth and consistent.
  3. Cover with film and leave in in the fridge for about 20 minutes.
  4. Heat up a griddle or non-stick pan, and melt 1 tbsp. butter to coat. In the center of the griddle, pour about ¼ cup of batter, using a large spoon. If it doesn’t form a circular shape, you can shape it with the back of a spoon.
  5. Cook until the blini is golden on one side, then flip. Cook the other side until golden and remove from griddle with a large spatula. Make 12 pancakes in total and reserve.
  6. Preheat the oven at 375 F.
  7. On a roasting pan, place the cherry tomatoes and the garlic, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and honey. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and reserve.
  8. Dice the mushrooms and sauté in a large pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper; add the lemon juice and chives and mix.
  9. Spray some non-stick spray to a baking sheet, and place four blini – at least 1 inch apart from each other. Cover each blini with the mushroom filling, then top with a second blini. Add some of the roasted tomatoes and goat cheese mix and top with third blini.
  10. Warm in the oven for about 5-8 minutes, until goat cheese is warm and soft (not melted). Serve warm and garnish with some sprigs of basil or sage.

Herb Crusted Top Sirloin Roast With Ratatouille

Herbed Top Sirloin Father's Day Recipe


Want to whip up something delicious for Dad this Father’s Day? This crusty roast with colorful (and healthy!) veggie Ratatouille is guaranteed to make you Dad’s favorite.

Herb Crusted Top Sirloin Roast With Ratatouille

Herb Crusted Top Sirloin Roast With Ratatouille


  • 2 lbs. Top sirloin or Strip
  • 5 slices of regular white bread
  • ½ stick butter (room temperature)
  • ¼ tsp. Allspice
  • ¼ tsp. cumin
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • ½ tsp. dry basil
  • ¼ tsp. porcini powder
  • 2 tsp. fresh parsley
  • Sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste
  • 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • ½ lb. pearl onions
  • 3 zucchinis (seedless, cubed)
  • 2 eggplants (seedless, cubed)


  1. Trim the meat of any excess fat.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. In a food processor, combine the bread with butter, herbs and spices, salt and pepper.
  4. Cover the meat with the bread mix and put in the fridge, uncovered, for about 15 minutes.
  5. On a roasting pan, bake the meat for about 10 minutes, and then lower the temperature to 350 degrees F. Continue baking for about 15 to 20 minutes (depending on how well-cooked you want the meat).
  6. While meat is cooking, start the ratatouille.
  7. Heat a medium saucepan with 1 tbsp. olive oil, and sauté the cherry tomatoes, whole, until they’re slightly charred. Remove and reserve. Don’t rinse the pan.
  8. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil to the same pan and sauté the onions until golden, adding 3 to 4 tbsp. of water while cooking, about 4 minutes. Remove and reserve.
  9. To the same pan, add 1 tbsp. olive oil and stir-fry the zucchinis and eggplants until they just change color – about 2 minutes.
  10. Add in the previously sautéed tomatoes and onions, and cook together – about 3 minutes.
  11. Drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt and pepper.
  12. When the meat is done, remove from the oven and let rest in a warm place before cutting, so the juices get a chance to settle.
  13. Slice the meat against the grain (cross-wise) into 1 to 1.5 inch slices, and serve with a side of the ratatouille.
  14. Recipe: Marcela Sorondo for Gourmet Food World
  15. Photo: Monica Sempertegui for Gourmet Food World

The Ultimate Olive Oil Guide + An Incredible Chimichurri Recipe

olive oil guide

Need some guidance when reaching for the bottle of olive oil? We’ve got you covered! Below is a comprehensive olive oil guide: the facts, the myths, the process of extraction, a brief look into the varieties of olive oil available, and of course, how to store and use extra virgin olive oil.

A great quality extra virgin olive oil is something that every modern (and not-so-modern) kitchen should have handy. It’s perfect to add easy flavor to dishes, great for dipping, to create sauces (see our Chimichurri recipe below) and also amazing for baking (try Food52′s amazing Olive Oil Cake recipe and you’ll be forever converted). It’s also great for our health, rich in antioxidants and monounsaturated fatty acids – healthy fats.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

This is the top quality, top grade of olive oils. Extra virgin olive oil has cero defects, plus the highest levels of antioxidants AND the best flavor. To qualify as Extra Virgin, it must pass a series of strict quality tests set forward by the International Olive Council, including rigorous taste tests that look for a specific flavor profile, like enough olive fruitiness.

Pure Olive Oil / Light Olive Oil

Pure olive oil is oil with flavor or aesthetic “defects”, and has been further refined to remove those flaws. It is sometimes blended with EVOO for flavor. It’s not actually light as in calories or fat, but rather in looks and taste. You can use this for high-temp cooking, but you won’t be getting that characteristic olive taste.

The Extra Virgin Olive Oil Process & The Myth of the “First Cold Press”

First cold press just means that the olive oil comes from one press, which is the standard nowadays. The term is a throwback to the early days of olive oil production, where the second press of the olives produced a lower quality oil that was used for other purposes – like oil lamps. Today, all olive oil is first pressed, but the term endures as a marketing label. In short: Extra Virgin Olive Oil is, by definition, always both first and cold pressed.

To extract the top quality olive oils, the olives are crushed at a mill, then the oil extracted by mechanical means – a centrifugal machine. Refined oils are extracted by using chemical means or heat, which can greatly affect the flavor of the oils. Extra virgin olive oil is NEVER refined.

Tasting Extra Virgin Olive Oil

To truly understand olive oil, you have to think of it like wine and consider three things: varietal, terroir and timing.

Olive Oil Varietals


olive oil guide: olive varietals

Photo: Steve Juvetson

There are many varietals (types) of olives, each with their different flavor profiles and characteristics, which will make for different kinds of olive oil. Some are bitterer, some are milder, and some even are sweet.There are hundreds of olive types from around the world, but only a few are used for olive oil productions. Below is handy olive oil guide to the most common ones:

Arbequina: originally from Catalonia, Spain, the flavor of this olive is delicate and very fruity. The olive oil it produces is great for pesto, baking, drizzled over meats. Arbequina olives are grown very successfully in California.

Frantoio: hailing from Tuscany, this olive makes for a strong, peppery olive oil with some bitterness.

Picual:  a type of olive from Andalusia, Spain, the olive oil from Picual olives is strong, robustly peppery with floral aromas.

Taggiasca: mild, fruity, sweet with no bitterness. Taggiasca olive oil is buttery and versatile.

Hojiblanca: Another great Spanish olive cultivar, Hojiblanco is fruity, lightly spicy and just mildly bitter. Health bonus: It has lower saturated fats than most other oils.

Arbosana: A Spanish olive, Arbosana is also grown predominantly in California. Arbosana olive oil is robust, complex, and a bit nutty

Olive Oil & Terroir

Terroir is a French word speaks of the character of the land and the region, and how that translates into anything that grows in it: the soil conditions, the air, the weather…all these factors make the terroir, and therefore how the oil will taste. An extra virgin olive oil from California will be different than one from Italy, even if it is from the same olive, much like a Pinot from Chile will be different than one from France.


How soon or how late the olives are harvested will also influence the flavor of the oil – an early harvest will produce a more herbaceous olive oil, while latter harvest will make for a mellower, more buttery olive oil.


We are so used to thinking about oil as a pantry item, because it needs no refrigerating, that we think: it must last forever, right? Wrong! Olives are after all fruit, and olive oil is really a kind of fruit juice, so to speak. So unlike vinegar, it won’t keep forever, and, unlike wine, it won’t get better with age. Here’s how to make the most of your green gold.

Shelf life of olive oil

Once it’s been bottled, olive oil has about a two-year shelf life. To maximize the flavor and benefits, try to use yours within 2 to 3 months of opening.

Storing olive oil

Store olive oil away from direct light and high temperature. A dark, cool cabinet is best.

Olive oil is typically bottled in dark, opaque bottles to minimize the exposure to UV rays but try to keep it away from the stove or oven or the window.


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The Ultimate Olive Oil Guide + An Incredible Chimichurri Recipe

The Ultimate Olive Oil Guide + An  Incredible Chimichurri Recipe


  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup fresh oregano leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 ½ cups extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup of brine (1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup coarse salt)


  1. 1. With a mortar and pestle crush ingredients together until it forms a coarse, chunky paste.
  2. Alternatively, place parsley, oregano and garlic in a food processor and pulse mode until
  3. ingredients are coarsely chopped. Whisk in the rest of the ingredients until incorporated.


10 Cinco de Mayo Recipes by Bloggers We Love

Cinco de Mayo Menu


Cinco de Mayo is coming up rapido, and we’re ready to put on our sombreros and get our fiesta on!

Americans have warmly embraced this Mexican celebration, which celebrates the defeat of the French army in Puebla on May 5th of 1862. We’re all about fighting oppression, of course, but above all, we’re all about two things: delicious foods and copious amounts of tequila and cerveza. 

To celebrate this Cinco de Mayo, we’ve brought together some of the most incredible food ideas from  our favorite food bloggers. We have 10 amazing Cinco de Mayo recipes to share with you, so grab your amigos, a bottle of tequila, your most colorful serve-ware, and viva Mexico!

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It’s all about fresh ingredients, lots of cheese, and a good amount of spice for this Cinco de Mayo menu. We chose two different types of tacos  – classic Tacos Al Pastor recipe and a healthier Fish Tacos option.  For sides, we went with fresh Cilantro Lime Rice and some mouthwatering Beer Battered Bean and Cheese Stuffed Poblano Chiles. 

You’ll need some traditional salsas, like a classic Pico de Gallo and Salsa Verde, and it wouldn’t be a true fiesta without nachos and guac, so we found you an amazing Sriracha Guacamole recipe and Pulled Pork Nachos that will leave you thanking Dios.  Melted cheese with tequila? Si, por favor! This Queso Fundido With Poblano Chorizo and Tequila recipe has it all.  Finally, a great Margarita recipe to wash it all down! Happy Cinco!


Sriracha Guacamole by Damn Delicious.

Sriracha Guacamole by Damn Delicious.


Pulled Pork Nachos by Simply Gloria.

Pulled Pork Nachos by Simply Gloria.


Beer-battered Bean and Cheese Stuffed Poblano Chiles by Girl Versus Dough

Beer-battered Bean and Cheese Stuffed Poblano Chiles by Girl Versus Dough


Tacos Al Pastor by Spicie Foodie

Tacos Al Pastor by Spicie Foodie.


Fish Tacos by Aggie's Kitchen

Grilled Green Fish Tacos by Aggie’s Kitchen


Cilantro Lime Rice by Big Flavors From A Tiny Kitchen

Cilantro Lime Rice by Big Flavors From A Tiny Kitchen


Pico de Gallo by The Wicked Noodle

Pico de Gallo by The Wicked Noodle


Salsa Verde by Eat.Drink.Love

Salsa Verde by Eat.Drink.Love


Classic Queso Fundido with Poblano, Chorizo and Tequila by Cooking For Keeps

Classic Queso Fundido with Poblano, Chorizo and Tequila by Cooking For Keeps


Green Margarita by Gimme Some Oven

Easy Green Margarita by Gimme Some Oven


Love the Cinco de Mayo recipes? Shop for the ingredients here!

Top row, left to right: Mexican Chorizo, Dried Chipotle Chiles, Arbol Chiles, Sriracha Sauce, Ancho Chile.
Bottom row, left to right: Cumin Seeds, Ground Cilantro, Jalapeño Powder, Red Pepper Flakes, Ground Cumin.