Middle Eastern Inspired Cornmeal Cookies

I adapted this recipe from a recipe called “Italian Polenta Cookies” I have made numerous times. Not sure why the cookie recipe is called “Polenta” cookies, other than it sounds a bit chic instead of just simply using the word “cornmeal”. Polenta is actually an Italian dish you make with cornmeal, not the ingredient itself. So, for my lowly recipe I will just stick to the name “Cornmeal Cookies”.In baking there is nothing like cornmeal for added texture, mouthfeel and flavor.  It adds pizzazz to pizza dough, nuttiness to cakes and just the right texture to cookies. I enjoy these...

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Chocolate, Pumpkin & Olive Oil Cake

Whoever the first person was to combine Chocolate and Pumpkin was a genius! The sweet and earthy flavor of pumpkin pairs well with the intense flavor of chocolate to create a uniquely delicious flavor. Also, cakes baked with pumpkin get the added benefit of the extra moistness that pumpkin adds. This cake benefits in that department not only from the pumpkin, but also with the addition of the Blood Orange Extra Virgin Olive Oil in lieu of butter.This recipe can be made fast and simple by baking it in a 9X13 pan. Or, if you have more time and want...

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Not Your Mother’s Sea Scallops Wrapped in Bacon

Scallops from Stonington Seafood Harvesters Scallops from Stonington Seafood Harvesters is one of New London County, CT’s foodie gems. If you have not had their scallops and you are a seafood lover, you are missing out big time! The size of these scallops are somewhere between a walnut and a golf ball and their sweet, sweet, firm texture will leave you wanting more. The best part about Stonington Seafood Harvesters is if you live fairly close, you can visit their little, unmanned, honor system shop in beautiful Stonington Borough, CT and not only pick up scallops, but a plethora of other...

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Chocolate and Halvah Brownies

Halvah is a sweet and dense confections that originated in the Middle East. It is made by grinding oily seeds, such as sesame (tahini) or sunflower seeds, to a paste, and then mixing with hot sugar syrup cooked to hard-crack stage or honey. The most popular Halvah seems to be made with sesame. Halvah can be consumed as is with just it’s sweetener, but often it is mixed with other goodies such as chocolate, various nuts, seeds, etc. My first exposure to Halvah was at a Middle Eastern grocery one day while with my mother-in-law. There were these little candy...

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Cranberry and Cauliflower Rice

Cranberry and Cauliflower Rice Ingredients: – 1 Large head of cauliflower (about 2 ½#), leaves removed, stem trimmed and coarsely chopped into 1” – 2” pcs. 1 Medium sweet onion chopped ¾ Cup celery chopped 2 Cloves garlic chopped 4 Tablespoons O’Live A Little’s Black Pepper Extra Virgin Olive Oil ¾ Teaspoon ground cinnamon ¼ Teaspoon crushed red pepper ½ Cup dried cranberries ½ Teaspoon salt ½ Cup sliced Almonds, Pistachios or Pepitas or any combo of the three 4 Green onions – chopped for garnish Method of Prep 1. Using a food processor, pulse cauliflower (in batched if necessary)...

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Apple Cider & Curry Butternut Squash Soup

When developing this recipe for our O’Live A Little Blog I learned the word “Squash” comes from the Narragansett word askutasquash, meaning "eaten raw or uncooked". Living in Connecticut and being only an hour from Narragansett, RI where I spent a lot of time in the summer camping with my parents and brother, I found that bit of trivia interesting. Food historians peg the spread of various types of squash as coming from South America. So, it is interesting that somehow throughout the world, from an area that would one day be Rhode Island, all these various types of winter fruits ( and...

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