Walnut Zucchini Bread

What to do with all your garden-fresh zucchini?  Aug. 8th is National Zucchini day! Celebrate with walnut zucchini bread, skip the cinnamon, decrease the sugar & use Villa Graziella Organic, Extra Virgin Olive Oil instead of vegetable oil. A healthy breakfast or delicious on the go snack. Makes two 9 x 5 loaves.

Simple Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup Villa Graziella Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil extra for brushing the pan
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature beaten
  • 2 cups finely grated zucchini with excess moisture drained (3 medium zucchini -1 1/2 pounds
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (approx. 1 pound)
  • ¾ packed cup light brown sugar or granulated sugar
  • 7 oz.  plain whole Greek yogurt
  • 1 ½ cups chopped walnuts
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder

Easy Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F & grease two 9- by 5-inch loaf pans with olive oil.
  2. Grate zucchini & drain excess moisture with a clean cloth dish towel. Place zucchini in a large bowl, discard excess moisture.
  3. Add olive oil, Greek yogurt, vanilla extract & sugar to grated zucchini, mix ingredients.
  4. Add eggs & mix until sugar is dissolved.
  5. In another large bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder & lemon zest.
  6. Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients & blend until flour is fully incorporated into a thick batter, fold in chopped walnuts, do not overmix.
  7. Scrape batter into the 2 prepared loaf pans, dividing batter evenly.
  8. Bake on middle rack until a tooth pick or knife inserted in the center comes out completely clean, approx. 55 minutes. Checking after 45 minutes & continue to check every 5 minutes until done.
  9. Set loaf pans on a rack, cool for 30 minutes. Run a knife or spatula around the edges to release & flip loaves.
  10. Slice, serve & enjoy. Zucchini bread will keep for up to 2 days at room temperature wrapped in foil, if it lasts that long!

Helpful Tip: Drain excess moisture out of the grated zucchini for a lighter, less dense version. 

Check out the inspiration recipe!

RecipesAmy WrightComment
Chef Becker’s Mediterranean Couscous Salad

Did you know couscous originated with the Berber tribes in North Africa?

Made from ground durum wheat, it means well-formed or well rolled in the ethnic group’s language. Resident Chef Scott Becker at Binny’s Highland Park demonstration kitchen took us on a fantastic culinary tour creating a Mediterranean couscous with fresh seared halibut. Using our organic, extra virgin olive oil, 8-year aged balsamic vinegar the dish was delicious & light.

Simple Ingredients

  • 4 cups Israeli Couscous cooked
  • 6 tablespoons Villa Graziella Organic Extra Virgin Olio Nuovo olive oil, plus extra to flavor
  • 4 tablespoons Villa Graziella Organic, 8-year aged balsamic vinegar di Modena, plus extra to flavor
  • 1 ½ cups cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 cup fresh French or Greek Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 1 green, bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red onion finely diced
  • 1 green onion of scallion thinly sliced
  • Sea salt & cracked pepper

Easy Directions

  1. In a large bowl toss together the couscous, cucumber, onion, peppers & tomatoes
  2. Add crumbled Feta cheese & gently mix, set aside
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, salt & pepper
  4. Drizzle oil mixture over couscous salad and lightly toss to coat
  5. Garnish with sliced green onion & serve as a side dish or as an entrée with protein such as seared halibut on top
  6. Serve & enjoy with Villa Graziella Bianco Toscano IGT white wine
  7. Tip: Cover & refrigerate 1-day in advance 

RecipesAmy WrightComment
Chocolate Raspberry Cake

Did you know? The word “raspberry” originates from the historical French word raspise, “sweet rose-colored wine”.

One of our favorite fruits, raspberries are vitamin C rich & loaded with anti-oxidants. We’re tweaked a recipe from the nibble to celebrate Chocolate Raspberry Cake Day using Villa Graziella, Extra Virgin Olive Oil instead of butter. A moist, delicious dessert enjoy it after dinner, the next day for breakfast or as an afternoon snack.  8 Servings

Easy Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup + 3 Tablespoons Villa Graziella Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose, unbleached flour, plus more for Bundt pan
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated turbinado sugar (Sugar in The Raw)
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries washed + extra for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Simple Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F, lightly oil & flour a 12-cup/9-inch Bundt pan set aside
  2. Combine sifted flour, cocoa, sea salt & baking soda in a bowl
  3. In another bowl, beat the olive oil & sugar until smooth
  4. Add the 3 eggs to wet ingredients, mixing after each, stir in the vanilla
  5. Add the dry ingredients in 3 batches, followed by buttermilk in 3 batches, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed
  6. Pour the batter into the pan
  7. Sprinkle in the raspberries, they will disperse as the cake bakes
  8. Bake 45-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
  9. Allow cake to cool for 30 minutes in the pan on a wire rack, carefully turn the cake onto a plate
  10. Dust with confectioners' sugar & garnish with raspberries
  11. Serve & enjoy! Can’t finish it all in 1 day? Cover tightly to prevent from drying out

Find the inspiration recipe here!

Kitchen Conversations with Chef Sunita: Part 4

Did you know raw foods can also be sweet? Chef Sunita explains how to make delicious chocolate truffles.

 To learn more about Chef Sunita's culinary programs & wellness events visit http://www.rawfoodcentre.com/

Kitchen Conversations with Chef Sunita: Part 3

Chef Sunita Vira discusses her book-RAW for LIFE - The Modern Guide to Raw, Plant-based, Gluten-free Recipes for Busy Lives. Delicious, Easy & Healthy recipes for breakfast, lunch & dinner! To learn more visit http://www.rawfoodcentre.com/

National Grilling Month: Summertime Grilled Shrimp

Need to fix dinner but don’t want to heat up the kitchen? Look no further! Easy grilled shrimp!

We skipped the butter & used Villa Graziella Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, lemon & fresh parsley for these flavorful skewers. Marinate for 30 minutes so the shrimp does not become too soft. Serve with seasonal veggies, orzo & enjoy for lunch the next day in a salad. Serves 2 to 4.

Easy Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh, medium sized, deveined shrimp
  • 1/4 cup Villa Graziella Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Add your choice of fresh herbs; basil, marjoram, sage, rosemary, oregano or thyme 

Simple Directions

  1. Soak wooden bamboo skewers in cold water
  2. Peel shrimp & refrigerate
  3. In a large bowl, mix olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, minced garlic, salt & pepper
  4. Add shrimp to the bowl, toss to coat, cover & marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes
  5. Preheat grill to 160°F
  6. Thread shrimp onto skewers, piercing once near the tail & once near the head.
  7. Discard remaining marinade
  8. Lightly oil grill grate.
  9. Grill 2-3 minutes per side, or until opaque
  10. Remove from the grill, let rest for 3 minutes, serve & enjoy!

Blueberry, Greek Yogurt & Olive Oil Muffins

We’re celebrating National Blueberry Day with muffins! Made with anti-oxidant rich Villa Graziella Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, healthy Greek yogurt & vitamin packed fresh blueberries, we tweaked a recipe, skipping the sugary streusel topping, replacing it with poppy seeds. Make ahead & freeze for a leisure weekend breakfast or enjoy as an on the go healthy snack. Yields approx. 12 muffins. 

Simple Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup Villa Graziella Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 3 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour 
  • 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt 
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 1 ½ cup organic sugar 
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda 
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt 

Easy Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 425F◦ degrees, arrange rack in the oven to the center. 
  2. Toss fresh blueberries in 1 table spoon of flour until evenly coated, set aside.  
  3. In a bowl, combine eggs, olive oil & sugar, use an electric mixer, set on medium & mix until smooth. 
  4. Add yogurt & lemon juice to the bowl, mix until smooth. 
  5. Add flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda & poppy seeds to the bowl, mix until smooth. 
  6. Add blueberries to the batter, slowly fold into mixture on a low speed. 
  7. Using a soup spoon or ice-cream scoop, fill muffin liners until almost full. 
  8. Bake for 5 minutes. 
  9. Reduce heat to 350F◦, bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown or if a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 
  10. Remove from the oven, cool, serve & enjoy! 






Katie O’Reilly’s Food Carnival

Talented chef & culinary artist Katie O’Reilly’s Food Carnival takes a tour with Italian favorites. 
From Bruschetta con pomodoro, to Zuppa di Verdure, Insalata Mista, to Pasta con Pesto & Biscotti al Limone for dessert. Join Katie here! Buon Appetito!

Morgan ShepardComment
Chef Sunita’s Walnut Paté

We had the privilege of participating in a New Year’s reboot with the very talented raw food chef, culinary author & wellness guide Sunita Vira. She served patés created not from meat but nuts & seeds! We tried Chef Sunita’s recipe in our kitchen using Gabriella Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil & soaked walnuts. Prepare ahead, this easy to make, healthy spread goes with butter or Romain lettuce, fresh raw veggies, sprouted or stone wheat crackers. A delicious, crowd pleasing appetizer, it makes 1 cup, but you’ll want more after tasting, so double up on the ingredients! 

From RAW for LIFE, a Modern Guide to Raw, Plant-based, Gluten-free Recipes for Busy Lives. www.rawfoodcentre.com

Simple Ingredients

  • 1 cup, soaked walnuts for 1-hour, rinsed & drained 
  • 1 tablespoon Villa Gabriella Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus extra to flavor
  • 1 tablespoon tamari-a Japanese soy sauce made of soy & wheat, available at grocery stores 
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon fresh minced parsley or fresh herb of choice   
  • 1 pinch of Himalayan salt

Easy Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients except olive oil, onion & herbs in a food processor with the S-blade  
  2. Process making sure to scrape sides of processor with a rubber spatula
  3. Transfer to a mixing bowl, add olive oil, onion & parsley
  4. Mix thoroughly
  5. Serve on lettuce cups, crackers or crusty French bread
  6. Enjoy with Villa Graziella Rosso Toscano IGT made from organic grapes
  7. Transfer remaining paté to a sealed glass jar for 5 days in the refrigerator, 3 months in the freezer.