Category Archives: olive oil

Corona cookies

Corona cookies

Corona cookies

You came here expecting Thanksgiving recipes, didn’t you? Well … I don’t have any new ones. In fact, we’re not doing a traditional thanksgiving dinner at all, so I won’t have any to share this year. We’re cooking chicken, and yorkshire pudding, with potatoes and gravy and oh, maybe a cherry pie. Maybe not. Maybe I’ll just make a batch of these cookies.

Prep work

Prep work

See, Thanksgiving at our house is always an international affair. I’m usually the only one who actually grew up with the turkey and stuffing and the occasional helping of that spectacular tin can-shaped cranberry (only at Grandma’s house, of course — my parents made the real stuff, which really isn’t that hard to do), so I figure sticking with the spirit of the holiday is the best way to go. To me, that means my guests should feel at home somehow. For a lot of people at my table (including James), a “proper” roast (like the menu above) is the best way to ensure that. Hence the chooks.

But I’m here to talk about cookies.  For those of you who are already thinking about holiday cookies, try these, but replace the orange with lime zest, skip the cinnamon, replace the liquor with lime juice, and throw in 1 t. of vanilla. Sprinkle pretty sea salt (Hawaiian red, in this case, from TJ’s) over the top. And there you have it — cookies faintly reminiscent of a day at the beach, beer in hand, which I could seriously go for after weeks and weeks of bone-chilling weather.

(Alternatively, you can use lemon or orange zest and play with spice combos, like the original recipe states. I prefer the juice to the liquor — the cookies turn out a bit better texture-wise, in my opinion).


Filed under baking, dessert, limes, olive oil

Creamy cod? (and a meme)

Mmm, fishy

Mmm… Cod.

Ok, maybe that’s not the first thing you thought when you saw this picture. Believe me, I was skeptical, too. Especially since I’m actually talking about bacala, or salt cod. Yah, the stuff you can probably cause some serious brain damage with if you decide to backhand someone with the nearest piece of dried fish.  But bear with me for a second; I promise, I won’t lead you astray. Unless, of course, you hate fish — in which case, I really can’t help you.

Milky goodness

So imagine the best white fish you’ve ever had, paired ever so perfectly with amazingly buttery, completely creamy mashed potatoes. The combination of the creamy, buttery smoothness with that addictive fatty fish taste is essentially highlighted in this brandade, and pairs beautifully with crusty peasant bread and a few other basic necessities. Apart from that, we’ve been eating it all week, and aren’t sick of it yet. So if you’re curious about bacala, go try it!

Post blender

On a completely unrelated note, I sometimes think it’d be cool to have a more interesting name. See, everyone knows a Liz or two, so when Marty memes me, he might not actually mean ME. But hey, I’ve never been memed, so I’ll give it a go regardless.

Here are the rules:
A) The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
B) Each player answers the questions about himself or herself.
C) At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

1) Ten years ago I was…
A very awkward high school student, and the new kid, at that.

2) Five things on today’s to-do list:
Update my publications list, finish a proposal, clean up my office, procrastinate on my blog, and wash lots of a scary amount of fries down with plenty of cheap beer (and an awesome Guinness cake).

3) Things I’d do if I were a billionaire:

Revolutionize the school cafeteria programs across the country in an effort to change food culture in the US for the better, set up some education programs to help people all over start local agriculture projects and make some progress on ending world hunger, and throw some serious money at revolutionizing the public transit / pedestrian / bike systems in the US in order to help wean us all off our gas guzzling lifestyle. Ok, that’d all probably take more than a few billion, but it’s good to dream, no? Alternatively, I could build my own radioactive beam facility. Frankly, I think the first few projects are more worthwhile (shh, don’t tell my lab!).

4) Three bad habits:

(1) I can’t make a decision to save my life, (2) I know I’ll forget people’s names unless I see them written, so I tend not to try very hard, and (3) Caffeine:Liz :: Speed:Everyone

5) Five places I’ve lived:

  • San Jose, CA (don’t remember that one. Was it Santa Clara? I don’t know — somewhere near the two)
  • Fresno, CA
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Santa Barbara, CA
  • New Haven, CT (Yes, that’s 6, but experimentalists can’t count anyway)

6) Six jobs I’ve had in my life:

Custodian, Returns Processor, Bakery clerk, Library slave, Medical records entry slave, Lab slave (see a theme?)

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Filed under appetizers, meme, olive oil, potatoes, salt cod, spreads, Uncategorized

Prickly pasta

Nettle pasta

The local farmer’s market is always full of pleasant surprises, but I think early Springtime, when everyone wants something — anything — fresh and local to eat, is when I find the most unusual ingredients offered up. It’s funny, because sometimes those running the stands are almost apologetic about their wares. I always try and make a point to go and find something new on these occasions, searching for signs advertising strange, exotic (but somehow local?) ingredients. This week, I came across a bag of incredibly fresh nettles, picked just that morning. See how pretty they are?


Nettles don’t exactly sound appetizing. When they get older, they remind you not to go near them if you happen to brush their skin. As I found, the little ones still manage to do the same; pulling them out of their careful wrapping sent little tingles of pain across my fingers, like a thousand tiny splinters. I suppose I’ve done worse when cooking before (and after the aloe vera leaf we brought back with us from the store today, these little prickles were child’s play). I had no idea what to do with them. The girl at the stand just said they tasted incredibly green, like springtime, and so I figured I’d just do something simple. A little lemon, and crushed coriander would make for a subtle and delicious flavor, coupled with paprika, garlic, shallots, and olive oil. Add a bit of pasta, and you have the kind of meal you should be eating after cracking open an amazing triple creme brie in the afternoon, after planting still more vegetables in the garden.


The pairing was quite good, in fact, and as for the nettles? They cook down into fresh, slightly firm, soft greens, which go nicely with the tang and slightly spicy aftertaste of the lemon and coriander pairing. The girl who sold them to me? She was right on. They taste of spring, just around the corner. And for the skeptics out there, James says they’re better than Brussels sprouts.

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Filed under firsts, flax seeds, lemon, local, main, olive oil, pasta, quick meals, vegan, vegetarian

Grown up cookies

Olive oil cookies

I never would have thought to make these cookies just a few years ago. I was a chocolate chip girl, fully devoted to “my” oatmeal chocolate chip recipe, straight from the Quaker Oats carton (shhhh, don’t tell!). But then I started getting into Spanish cuisine, thanks to Penelope Casas, who convinced me that olive oil could be sweet and luxurious all at the same time. When you start to learn about a new culinary tradition for the first time, you learn to accept the unexpected, and go ahead and give whatever odd combinations you might try a shot, without prejudice or expectation. More often than not, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.


I call these grown up cookies because they have a slightly complex undertone, thanks to some good Australian olive oil and a bit of my homemade Meyer lemon liqueur (made of vodka, Meyer lemon peel, and time). They’re really simple, fairly quick, and best with a bit of good wine or a cup of hot coffee. And if you want soft cookies, these are not for you. But try them, regardless. Hey — olive oil’s good for you, right? (As if you needed an excuse.)

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Filed under baking, blood oranges, cinnamon, cookies, dessert, Meyer lemons, olive oil, stories