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salad

My Zucchi extra virgin olive oil blending experience: “a kind of magic” and a search for perfection

Close your eyes and imagine a salad ripe with the flavors of summer, fresh and perfect, and ready to be devoured. Then, try to imagine the extra virgin olive oil that would go with it. You know it has to be light and delicate, yet at the same time it has to be strong enough to assert itself among the other flavors on your plate, and to make your salad taste experience complete. You know the basics, but that’s not all. How can you turn this oil – this figment of your imagination – into something real, something which can be enjoyed by many, something authentic, which represents your values and stands the test of time?

You may think these are way too many questions. After all, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is just another kind of oil, right? The makers of Zucchi extra virgin olive oil would definitely disagree with you on this point. I reconsidered my own perception of this oil recently, when I was invited to attend an EVOO Tasting Master Class conducted at Chicago’s Quartino restaurant by Giovanni Zucchi, the blend master behind an Italian company with three centuries of tradition and experience in the field: Oleificio Zucchi.

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A review of the new menu items from Corner Bakery Cafe: Spring has sprung in the kitchen!

I don’t know about you guys, but I just love the weather outside! It seems that spring has come to Chicagoland and that, after months of grueling cold and icy roads, I can put away my heavy winter coats and wear light clothes – at last! Spring and summer are my favorite seasons because I feel at my best in the sun: I am confident, inspired, energized, happy. Now is the time when things and situations around me gain new meanings, and obstacles are approached with a positive and constructive attitude. Now is the perfect time for me to go ahead and work on any outstanding projects.

I always eat light in the spring and summer. Whereas during winter I often make Georgette’s zucchini bake and drink rivers of comforting sweet hot chocolate, in the spring I want to give my body nutritious but also calorie-friendly dishes. The foods I make at home and eat while out and about are informed by this desire to eat lightly, and each new dish I discover makes me very happy.
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Apple and celeriac panini: a combo that works!

Making the Méro cake has inspired me to cook more with apples, so last week I bought a few from the grocery store, and I decided to use them in panini. I remembered a recipe for an apple and celeriac salad my mom used to make when I was little, and I thought it would be great if I used it in my panino. On paper, apples and celeriac sounds like an odd combination for a panino, but I assure you it works. The apples make the panino light and refreshing, while the celeriac provides a touch of assertiveness – and lots of healthy fiber. Keep Reading