Food for Thought

On Fridays, Rosie serves a mixed stew of New Jersey food and dining information. Today, read about a cookbook about olive oil, Cooking Techniques and Recipes With Olive Oil.

By Mary Platis and Laura Bashar

Learn how to poach, braise, marinate, steam and even bake with olive oil in this informative single-topic cookbook with beautiful photographs. Butter to olive oil conversion charts as well as useful tips and techniques on purchasing and storing show the home cook that there are a myriad of uses for this oil that has been used for centuries all over the world.

Author Mary Platis is a culinary instructor; co-owner/chef of the Greek Gourmet, a family run concession business and catering company; and food blogger at Co-writer and photographer Laura Bashar is also a graphic designer and food blogger at Both sites are a tremendous resource for cooks.

Recipes in the book include: Greek-style vegetables with tomatoes; Sockeye salmon with spinach and beet greens; rosemary-garlic lamb chops with mashed potatoes and artichokes; whole-wheat scones with blueberries and lavender; olive-oil almond cookies with rosewater and cardamom; Kalamata olive bread with rosemary; and olive oil and vanilla ice cream. Here is an enticing and easy recipe to try:

By Mary Platis and Laura Bashar
Two Extra Virgins / April 2014

Moist and filled with extra chocolaty goodness, this cake is sure to please kids of all ages. Choose either a fruity or neutral olive oil, depending on your personal palate.
Yield: 1 9-inch round cake
Prep time: 20 minutes / cook time: 45 minutes

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt, plain
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
8 large strawberries, halved with the tops removed

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Apply nonstick spray to a 9-inch round baking pan, and line bottom with parchment paper.
2. In a medium-sized bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
3. In a large bowl, mix sugar, yogurt, eggs, vanilla, and olive oil together until combined.
4. In batches, mix flour mixture into yogurt and stir until combined. Stir in chocolate chips, then pour cake batter into the prepared pan.
5. Arrange strawberry halves over the top of the cake.
6. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
7. Allow cake to cool on the pan for 15 minutes; then gently run a knife along the side of cake. Carefully remove from the pan and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
8. Serve alone, dusted with powdered sugar, or add a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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