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I have some friends that are on a special month-long diet that, among many wonderful things, such as eating more plant-based foods, less meat, and no processed foods, totally restricts the use of olive oil. The theory, I guess, is that you can get all the good fats you need from olives and nuts. Really? How many olives can you eat in a given day? How many olives would you possibly want to eat in a given day?

As we know, I am all for folks eating lots of veggies, less meat, and less processed foods. Heck, I think just eliminating processed foods from one’s diet will change everything. At least to start. But eliminating olive oil? I just can’t get behind it. In my opinion, and it’s just my opinion, that is going against more than seven thousand years of human history. Why do you think the Egyptians placed vessels of olive oil in tombs of royalty? Why did Homer call olive oil “liquid gold”? Why, after more than seven thousand years, are we still consuming olive oil in its purist most unrefined form? Not to mention that we are constantly learning of new health benefits? A list that continues to grow longer, I might add.

Instead of writing the longest post ever on the benefits of olive oil, I offer you a teaser and a link. The folks at The Global Gourmet wrote an excellent and eloquent article on the history and benefits of olive oil that I cannot, nor need to, improve on.

It begins, “Homer called it “liquid gold.” In ancient Greece, athletes ritually rubbed it all over their body. Its mystical glow illuminated history. Drops of it seeped into the bones of dead saints and martyrs through holes in their tombs. Olive oil has been more than mere food to the people’s of the Mediterranean: it has been medicinal, magical, an endless source of fascination and wonder and the fountain of great wealth and power. The olive tree, symbol of abundance, glory and peace, gave its leafy branches to crown the victorious in friendly games and bloody war, and the oil of its fruit has anointed the noblest of heads throughout history. Olive crowns and olive branches, emblems of benediction and purification, were ritually offered to deities and powerful figures: some were even found in Tutankhamen’s tomb.”-www.globalgourmet.com

Do read the rest.

What I will give you is, as my friend Ryan, who has worked kitchens in New York, stomped grapes in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, and who taught me how to cook a perfect sausage that is never dry, put it, “This cake is really good. You should be proud.” And that, my friends, is a compliment I will take.

Cheers!

Lemon Olive Oil Cake with Rosemary

Adapted from saveur.com

What you’ll need~

4 lemons

2 1/3 cups of sugar

Butter for greasing

2 1/2 cups of flour, plus more for dusting

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary

1 tsp vanilla extract

4-5 eggs (I used 5 because my eggs were so small, but darn cute!)

6 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 cup powdered sugar

Coarse sea salt for garnish

Trim about 1/2 inch off the tops and bottoms of two lemons.

Bring 6 cups of water to boil in a 3-4 qt saucepan and add lemons. Let boil for 2-3 minutes remove from heat and drain.

Repeat process two more times with fresh water.

Place lemons, 1 cup of sugar and 4 cups of water in your saucepan over medium-high heat and cook for about 30 minutes. Stir often to help your sugar dissolve.

Remove pan from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Heat oven to 350 and grease a 10” cake pan with butter. Dust with flour and line bottom with parchment paper cut to fit.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder baking soda and chopped rosemary. Set aside.

Remove cooled lemons from pan and cut in half. Using a sharp knife scrape the insides of the lemons out, discarding seeds. Place pulp in your food processor and pulse until it is a chunky purée. Add remaining sugar, flour mixture, vanilla and eggs and process until nicely blended. Add olive oil and process until combined. If you find the batter to be too thick (you want to be able to pour it into the pan) add a splash of water. About a 1/4 cup max.

Pour batter into your greased pan and bake for about 40 minutes, rotating pan once halfway through cooking time. Use a toothpick or fork to test center of cake. It should come out clean.

Remove cake from oven and allow to cool in pan.

As cake is cooling, whisk lemon juice and powdered sugar in a small bowl. Remove cake from pan and place on a plate or cake platter. Using a pastry brush, brush glaze over cake. Garnish with coarse sea salt and serve to all of your admiring, olive oil eating friends:)

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