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Archive for the ‘fruits’ Tag

Zabaglione with a heaping tbsp of THANKS!

Ever since I could reach the stove, I’ve been cooking in the kitchen (refining my taste along the years). I remember mixing melted cheese with ketchup one time, but I’ll spare you the details of my culinary mishaps. My family, however, has always been extremely supportive and perfected the art of masking their displeasures with the widest grins on their face.  I, after all, was their favorite little chef.

once a foodie, always a foodie
drinking tea

Next month will be Olive Juice’s 1st birthday and I suck at keeping things under wraps.  Last week, one of my dreams came true when I finally made it on TV to showcase two of my signature dishes: pasta alla zarina and baba ganoush. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have a support network that has grown beyond my family to include my friends and fellow food bloggers around the world.  I wish I could one day meet the faces behind all the delicious-looking blogs I visit on a regular basis; but for now, I would like to dedicate this post to everyone who has tuned in and especially to those who’ve taken the moment to comment and send e-mails.  You have inspired me to keep doing what I love and this Italian zabaglione is for you – buon appetito!

mise en place
mise en place

Zabaglione (or Sabayon as it is known in France), is a basic dessert sauce made from whipped egg yolks, sugar and marsala wine.  I took the liberty to add a splash of amaretto, I hope you don’t mind.

zabaglione never met a berry it didn’t love
zabaglione with berries

The sauce is super easy to put together all while having the benefits of sounding extremely elegant.  All it takes is whisking all the ingredients over a double boiler until the sauce is light and fluffy and you could form ribbons like the one shown above.

zabaglione con frutta
zabaglione con frutta

Fresh summer fruits is my preferred canvas for this rich sauce just because it brings a refreshing note to each bite.  Of course, it goes well with just about anything.


yields approx. 325 ml


  • 6 egg yolks
  • 110 g sugar
  • 125 ml marsala
  • a splash of amaretto

Putting them all together

  1. With an electric mixer, whisk the ingredients in a heat-proof bowl until well blended.
  2. Transfer to a double boiler and continue whisking for about 5 minutes or until the sauce is light and fluffy.
  3. Remove from the double boiler and continue whisking until the sauce has cooled down slightly.
  4. Serve slightly warm over fresh fruit.



Clips from the morning show!


Pasta alla Zarina

Creamy Spinach Pesto


Baba Ganough

Middle Eastern Roasted Eggplant Dip

Rebecca & Me
Rebecca & Me
Pretend News Anchors
Pretend News Anchors

Grandmas are the BEST!

A few days ago, my cousin sent me photos from back in the day that I didn’t even know existed. They were of my family’s summer getaways in Venezuela, where we used to live before moving to the good ol’ US of A. I spent hours looking through the photos – conjuring up memories I had stored away a long time ago. Granted, a lot of them were of me in speedos in Venezuela’s many beaches; so I’ll skip through those and share with you this one:

grandma, little brother and me (eating, of course)

A lot of my Middle Eastern recipes are inspired by my grandmother who is as much a foodie as I am, if not more. She is still a private Middle Eastern caterer in Venezuela and on her visits to our house in Miami, she feeds everyone: family, friends, neighbors… repairmen.  My friend Zarina, who met my grandmother for the first time this past summer, describes her as “a food machine.”  That summer, Zarina would often hear my grandmother waking up at 5am to start making breakfast and the rest of the meals for the day.  A food machine, I tell you, and I’m proud to call her my sito (Arabic for grandmother — pronounced sit-toe).

mise en place
mise en place

The funny part is that the day I received the photographs from my cousin, I was actually on a mission to figure out what to do with the all the leftover fruits from my fruit tarts. This is when I stumbled upon Fanny’s post of her grandmother’s cherry clafouti.  Fanny has a sweet French food blog called foodbeam where she shares with the world her culinary treasures in her own retro fashion.  Anyway, the moment I read the way Fanny idolizes her grandmother and describes the recipe for this custard-like pancake with a funny name, I knew I had to make it.

a match made in heaven
cardamom and blueberry

I didn’t want to change the recipe too much, because grandma’s do know best.  I did, however, want to modify the flavors to pair well with the TONS of blueberries I was planning on using.  For this, I relied on cardamom.  The soothing lemony flavor that cardamom brings to the dish works great alongside the fresh flavors of the gushing blueberries.

a stream of melted butter
melted butter

As this recipe is French, you’ll just have to live with the 80g of butter that go into this dish. Trust me though, after the first bite you’ll forget all about it.  It’s that good!

fresh summer blueberries
fresh summer blueberries

Plus, I’m an optimist, so I focus on the abundance of fresh fruits and antioxidants I’m supplying my body with every bite.  500g of fresh blueberries – 80g butter + 1 tsp cardmom – 120g sugar… I don’t know how the math works out exactly, but like I said, you’ll be too happy to even care.

blueberry-studded batter
blueberry-studded batter

Another thing I fell in love with about this dish is the way the batter envelopes the blueberries while they bake in the oven. And one thing I forgot to take into account is that blueberries are less dense than cherries; so you need a lot more blueberries than cherries to come up with the 500g for the recipe.

blueberry cardamom clafoutis
blueberry cardamom clafoutis

As I expected, I loved the clafouti! And I still can’t get over how cool the name is; klah-foo-tee! Aaanyway, I still have more blackberries, raspberries, kiwis and strawberries leftover, so look out for another fruit post soon!

Blueberry Cardamom Clafouti

yields approx. six 4″ ramekins

adapted from Fanny Zanotti


  • 200g flour (≈1 3/4 cups)
  • 120g sugar (≈1/2 cup + 2 tbsp)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 80g butter, melted (≈ 3/4 stick or 6 tbsp)
  • 250ml whole milk
  • 400g blueberries

Putting them all together

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and butter your ramekins.
  2. Whisk together the flour, sugar and salt.
  3. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, until smooth and then incorporate the melted butter.
  4. Gradually mix in the milk so that no lumps form.
  5. Add the blueberries and divide the batter into your buttered ramekins.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden and a skewer comes out clean. 


clafoutis butter


Aside from not having stable internet for an entire week, nothing irks me more than to have to deal with the providers to come fix the problem.  The customer “care” service probably qualifies as some sort of psychological warfare/torture; what with the annoying elevator music loops during hold and the machine constantly reminding you, “you’re call will be answered in the order it was received, please hold for the next available representative.”  It’s enough to make any sane person go mad!

As I’m writing this post the internet problem has finally been resolved, but the past few days have not been pleasant. To help ease my discomfort, I turned to baking. I didn’t want to make cookies or brownies… I needed something bright; something that would be sure to lift my spirits.

mise en place (dough)
mise en place

I needed fruit tarts.  To me, plump berries and fresh fruits epitomize summertime. For the regular shortbread crust, I gussied it up with some finely ground pistachios. It takes away from some of the bland flour taste and adds a tasty nutty undertone. I brought those pistachios with me from Aleppo – a Syrian city internationally renown for its pistachios. Of course, once these babies run out, that doesn’t mean I’ll stop making this amazing nutty crust.  High quality pistachios work just as well. 

crumbly buttery flour
crumbly buttery flour

I use my food processor to form the crust because it cuts the butter into the flour perfectly. You pretty much want to end up with tiny beads of butter running throughout the flour.  The dough will seem a bit dry, but that’s perfectly normal.  Once it just barely comes together, you’ll want to wrap it in plastic wrap and throw it in the ice box to chill out for a bit.

poke, poke, poke!
docking the dough

Once it’s chilled you can easily roll the dough out into your favorite tart molds.  I like these little ones because I could quickly convince myself to go for seconds since they’re so darn tiny.  Don’t dwell on the amount of butter in the dough – just look at the pretty specks that the pistachios leave.  

beans, beans their good for your tarts
beans, beans their good for your tarts

I couldn’t resist with the title of this photo. After poking the dough with a fork so it doesn’t rise while baking, throw some dry beans on top to secure the job.  This will also prevent the crusts from browning too much while you’re blind baking them.  Now on to the pastry cream.

mise en place (pastry cream)
mise en place

Pierre Hermé is a culinary genius.  I adapted this pastry cream recipe from his collection and can say without a doubt that it is one of the best pastry creams I’ve made at home.  I infused mine with some grated orange zest and a vanilla bean.

the possibilities are endless
mise en place

I usually don’t like to toot my foodie horn, but these tarts were so yummy.  I even went on to make another batch (this time with an almond-infused pastry cream) and they were all so good.

fruit tarts
mise en place

Part of the fun was assembling the tarts and coming up with neat little designs.  You seriously can’t go wrong with such pretty fruit, though. So make sure to make some fruit tarts (or anything with fruits) before summer’s long gone. For the Ausies and Kiwis reading this post, sorry for the tease… soon your summer will come and we’ll be the ones keeping warm with soups and stews.