Balsamic Ganache Truffles




  • 1/2 Cup Steaming hot heavy cream
  • 1 pinch of sea salt
  • 8 ounces best quality dark chocolate in chip form, or chopped
  • 3 tablespoons dark or white balsamic - my favorite options for this are: coconut, raspberry, strawberry, maple, espresso, or black cherry.
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder for rolling the truffles or use 6 oz. tempered (melted chocolate) for coating the truffles.

Place the chopped chocolate in a medium size heat proof bowl.

Heat the cream and salt in a heavy bottom sauce pan over low heat until it just begins to steam.  Do not allow it to simmer or boil.  

Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate and allow to sit for 2-3 minutes without stirring.  Stir the mixture gently until all the chocolate is melted.  Add the balsamic and stir to combine well.  Cool to room temperature and then place the bowl in the refrigerator, covered until the ganache has become cold and can be scooped and formed into balls. 

Have a baking with a sheet of parchment ready that will fit into your fridge or freezer. 

Take 1 teaspoon of cold balsamic ganache and quickly roll between your hands to form a ball.  If you spend too much time trying to get the shape just right, you'll begin to melt the ganache and it will be a mess.

Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet and then place the sheet in the fridge or freezer to firm up the truffles when you're done rolling all of them. 

Now you can roll into cocoa powder or in tempered (melted) chocolate.  However, these are best stored in single layers, separated by parchment or wax paper in a sealed container in the refrigerator.  They can be taken out and served at room temperature. 

Makes approximately 30-40 truffles

Gluten Free Granola


  • 3 Cups Gluten Free Oats
  • 1 Cup Buckwheat Grouts
  • 3/4 Medium Sweet Shredded Coconut
  • 1/4 Cup Vanilla Cane Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Liquid Gold Blood Orange Olive Oil
  • 1/3 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 3/4 Tsp Sea Salt
  • Dried Cranberries to taste (optional)


Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients except cranberries. In another bowl, whisk together Blood Orange Olive Oil and Maple syrup. Combine wet and dry ingredients and coat thoroughly. Spread mixture in two baking sheets and bake. Stir every 20 minutes to cook evenly and reduce sticking. Granola is done when golden brown in color. When done, transfer to a large bowl and mix in cranberries if desired. Store in airtight container.

Great on its own or as a topping on yogurt.


UP EVOO Empanadas

Olive Oil Pastry:


1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Pastry  Flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/3 cup your choice UP Extra Virgin Olive Oil

3 to 4 tablespoons water

Empanada Filling:


1 pound ground beef or turkey

1 large yellow onion, finely minced

2 cloves minced garlic

2 tbsps UP Extra Virgin Olive Oil or infused UP EVOO

1 Jar Delizia Roasted Red Peppers in UP EVOO, drained and coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 cup shredded Asiago cheese or your preferred choice

1 egg beaten

Sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste



To make the filling, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground meat of your choice. Sauté until well browned. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the roasted peppers, garlic, oregano and cook for another few minutes until most of the moisture in the mixture has evaporated. Add the cheese, mix well, taste and season with salt & pepper. Set aside to cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Ferenheit.

Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Mix the UP EVOO and water together. Add the dry ingredients and mix well until a dough forms. Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Roll out to 1/8" thickness and then using a round glass or a large circular cutter (4"-5" diameter would be perfect), cut out rounds of dough. Fill each with 2 tbsps of cooled filling, brush one half of the inner edge of the circle and then pinch firmly closed to form a half moon shaped empanada. Use the tines of a fork to makea decorative edge and help seal the empanadas.

Arrange empanadas on a baking sheet and brush with beaten egg. Bake for 15-20 minutes until each empanada is golden brown. Allow to cool slightly and serve warm. Empanadas can be frozen for up to 3 months and reheated with excellent results.

Makes approximately 1 dozen empanadas.



A glorious Salmon supper


OptiMYz 2015. MC Bill McArthur, introducing Chef James Oja as he prepares to make Blood Orange Marinated Salmon, with Warm Greens with warm Vinaigrette, and Toasted Cashews.

A glorious Liquid Gold salmon supper!

Part 1. Warm Greens with Citrus Vinaigrette
and Toasted Cashews

2 bunches of Bok Choy, or 2 – 10 oz pkgs of any combination of Kale, Spinach, or Arugala.
1 Bunch Watercress (optional)
1 cup cashews

Vinaigrette Dressing:
1 Orange
2 table spoons LG Pure Cultivar EVOO (medium)
½ teaspoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon Mirin (sherry or sweet marsala)
1 tablespoon Tamari
1 tablespoon LG Cranberry Pear White Balsamic
1 teaspoon mustard powder or good quality Dijon mustard

• Take a small bowl and add all the dressing ingredients, and wisk
• Prepare greens by trimming them and chopping them into bite sized pieces
• Keep watercress aside.
• Take a small pan and turn it on to medium high and let heat. Add cashews and toast
• At the same time, place all greens into a large pan and turn to medium high add citrus vinaigrette and sautee for 2
• minutes or until bright green and tender. Fold in watercress if using, and cook 1 more minute.
• Remove from heat and top with Toasted Cashews
• Serves 4-6 people

Part 2. Blood Orange Marinated Salmon &
Maple Balsamic with Sticky Rice Pilaf

1-1.5 lbs salmon (skin on preferably)
4 tablespoons LG Blood Orange Flavored Olive Oil
1 tablespoon LG Maple Balsamic Vinegar
2 tablespoon LG Pure Cultivar EVOO (Robust)
1 cup diced onion
1 cup grated carrot
¼ cup grated ginger
3 cups Sticky Rice
6 cups water
Salt and Pepper To taste preference

• Marinate salmon in LG Blood Orange Olive Oil and LG Maple Balsamic Vinegar for half hour minimum and a day maximum (add salt or pepper if you want)
• In a pot, add 1 tablespoon LG Pure Cultivar EVOO, add onions. Sautee for 3 minutes. Aadd garlic and carrot and sautee another minute. Add rice and sautee again for 2 minutes
• Add water and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover 15 minutes or until tender
• Remove from heat and Fluff with a fork gently
• Heat large pan to a medium high Heat for searing salmon and cooking
• Add 2 tablespoons LG Pure Cultivar Robust EVOO to pan and let heat momentarily
• Add salmon to pan, flesh side down to create a great sear and cook part way, about 2-4 minutes depending on thickness of flesh. Flip salmon over and resume cooking on skin side for remainder of cooking - anywhere from 2-6 minutes depending on how well done you like you fish.
• Remove from pan and let rest for 2 minutes
• Serve over bed of Rice Pilaf

Baklouti Green Chili Infused Oil Queso Dip


2 Tbsp Baklouti Green Chili Oil

1/2 Medium Spanish Onion, minced

1 Large garlic clove, minced

1 Tbsp flour

1 5-ounce can evaporated milk

1 Large pinch of sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

3 Cups mexican-blend cheese, shredded

1/4-1/2 Cup half & half

3 Jalapenos, minced (optional)




Heat Baklouti Green Chili Oil in a medium-sized pan. Add onion and garlic, saute for approx. 5 minutes or until starting to soften. Sprinkle flour over onion mixture, stir and cook for roughly 2 minutes.

Stir in evaporated milk and continue to cook until thickened and heated through, about 3-5 minutes. Add a large pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Add cheese and stir until incorporated (mixture will be very thick). Add half & half a few tablespoons at a time, stirring to incorporate, until you reach desired consistency. Stir in minced Jalapenos until very hot.

Serve immediately.


Recipe adapted from the wicked noodle


Balsamic Roasted Pumpkin with Lentils, Goat Cheese & Crispy Fried Shallots


  • 1 Small to medium pumpkin, chopped and peeled *if it's too difficult to peel prior to roasting, allow pumpkin to cool and remove skin afterwards.
  • 1 Cup dried lentils
  • 4 oz goat cheese (1 small log)
  • 1 Shallot, peeled and cut into thin rounds or half-moon shapes
  • 1-2 tbsps EVOO or flavoured oil of your choice for drizzling, extra for roasting
  • High Polyphenol Ultra Premium EVOO for frying the shallots
  • 6 tbsps Traditional Balsamic or your choice Flavoured Balsamic
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 400F. Soak lentils for 10 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, toss pumpkin with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil and season lightly with salt. Spread on a cookie sheet or in a roasting pan and roast until soft, about 30-40 minutes.


Meanwhile, cook lentils in salted, boiling water until soft, about 30 minutes. Heat Balsamic in a small saucepan on medium-low and reduce to about half, about 10-15 minutes.


Pour about 1 inch worth of EVOO into a Medium heavy saucepan or skillet (enough oil to cover shallots). Heat oil over medium-high and fry shallots for 3-5 minutes until crispy, golden brown. Remove and drain excess oil on a paper towel.


Toss pumpkin with Balsamic Reduction and mix with lentils and goat cheese. Drizzle with remaining tablespoon of EVOO and garnish with crispy shallots.


Makes 4-6 Serving


Recipe adapted from Nourish

Lavender Tarts



Lavender Tart Crust:

1.5 Tbsp Butter Flavoured Olive Oil

1 1/4 cup Graham Crackers (Finely Chopped)

1 Tbsp Lavender Flowers

3 Tbsp Sugar


Poached Pears:

1 Cup Cinnamon Pear Dark Balsamic

1 Cup Water

1/2 Cup Sugar

1 Tbsp Dry Sherry Wine

Dash Sea Salt & Pepper


Custard Tart Filling:

3 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour

1/2 Cup Sugar

3 Large Eggs (2 whole eggs, 1 egg yolk)

1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

2 Tbsp Whole Milk



Tart Crust:

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Massage with hands until all crackers are coated and when pinched together hold together.

Transfer all ingredients into a non-stick 9" tart pan, or two 4" tart pans, whichever you prefer.

With a piece of plastic wrap as a barrier for your hands, push and mold the crust into the tart pan, allowing 1/4" thickness throughout.

Bake in oven at 350F for 10 minutes, or until the crusts are nutty and aromatic.


Poached Pears:

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, mix sugar until dissolved on low heat.

Add pears and allow poaching liquid to come to a gentle boil.

Remove from hear and leave pears to remain steeping inside liquid for 15-20 mins. Remove pears and slice as desired.


Custard Tart Filling:

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, vanilla and eggs. Gradually whisk in milk, skimming off any bubbles that may rise to the surface. Mix to a smooth texture.

Pour custard mixture into tart pan. Arrange poached pears in desired placement into the pan.

Bake at 350F for 30 minutes, or until custard has set firmly.

Garnish with caramelized onions, prosciutto, a drizzle of balsamic, or whatever your heart desires.

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