Executive Chef at True Food Kitchen, Michael Stebner shares the recipe for lemon olive oil cake, a dessert that you can feel good about eating.
Hi and thank you for joining us at EmpowHER. Dr. Andrew Weil explains inflammation like this – he says, “You know, we all know inflammation on the surface of the body. We recognize it as local redness, heat, swelling and pain. It’s the cornerstone to the body’s healing response bringing more nourishment and more immune activity to a site of an injury and infection,” right?
“But when inflammation persists or serves no purpose it creates damage and illness throughout the body. An anti-inflammatory diet is not a diet in the way most of us know of diets; it’s preparing foods based on scientific knowledge and how they can help your body and create optimal health.”
So to join me right now to talk about how we can create optimal health through foods, I am joined by True Food Kitchen’s Executive Chef Michael Stebner. Earlier Chef taught me how to prepare two wellness and prevention recipes – a Tuscan kale salad and also a turkey Bolognese. Chef, did I say that right or wrong?
Yes you did, very good
It was just a roll of the dice. Chef, thanks for joining us again.
Now let’s talk about dessert. You know, we all love desserts. I enjoy a sweet treat now and then. Can you teach me an anti-inflammatory dessert that I could prepare at home?
Of course, we do a lot of desserts at True Food Kitchen and it’s funny because we sell more desserts in this restaurant than I have sold in my entire career in 20 years in any restaurant that I have ever worked in.
Is it because people feel like they have a pass?
I think that’s part of it. I think people feel like they’ve eaten something great, you know, and healthy that they can go ahead and have dessert, but I think also they feel there’s a little trust in the fact that the dessert that they order is going to be sensible and it’s not going to be just completely unhealthy, huge portion of bad ingredients put together.
So I think our desserts are very, very interesting. I think we use a lot of healthy, nutritious ingredients in our desserts and our food is all about quality. Our food is all about seasonality and freshness and our desserts kind of go right into that same line.
So, you know, we are not making all this healthy food and then you can have a piece of cheesecake right here, you know, so I think it’s a little bit of both – I think people feel less guilty eating our desserts and I also think that they feel good about having dessert because they are not stuffed from dinner.
So the dessert that I want to talk about today is our olive oil cake and it’s a lemon olive oil cake that we serve with seasonal fruit. Right now we are serving it with strawberries and we serve it with Greek yogurt, a little Greek yogurt which is becoming very, very popular in the market.
So you know Greek yogurt is high in fat obviously but instead, to me it’s a good alternative to whipped cream and it’s interesting and it has unique flavor and it has a great creamy texture and it’s not necessarily like yogurt that you eat for breakfast. It’s a little bit obvious - it’s a lot more rich than that, about twice as rich. Put a little bit and that’s the key also to our desserts is they are not huge. Our desserts are proportionate to what you should be eating and so a lot of restaurants make desserts that could feed five or six people. Our desserts are designed to share, but you can eat one on your own and it’s not going to be detrimental to your health.
The lemon olive oil cake is very, very simple. It’s a basic cake recipe, but instead of putting in lard or melted butter or a bunch of oil, your know corn oil or vegetable oil into your cake batter, you are going to put extra virgin olive oil and we use a really good brand of organic extra virgin olive oil that Dr. Weil endorses.
The cake batter is pretty straightforward. You start with your white ingredients, your eggs, we put a little bit of vanilla extract in there, extra virgin olive oil and you add your dry ingredients - your flour and your baking powder and a little salt and a little sugar to that and you know, the key with baking any sort of cake is that you don’t want to over mix it once you have added your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients. You don’t want to over mix it. So if you over mix it you end up with pizza dough or bread, you know? You don’t want to develop that gluten.
So, and that’s all in the recipe so that’s easy to follow and we cook them in like almost like little muffin tins and you could cook them in a cake pan as well. I have done both, and then you can cut a wedge out of your cake. I think the key though is it becomes a really good sort of pedestal for other fresh flavors. Right now we are using strawberries and just keep it seasonal. You know, late summer we might use peaches or raspberries. In the winter we might do like an apple compote or something that’s a little bit more conducive to that season, but very, very fresh flavors.
And then we always finish it with a dollop of Greek yogurt and again, that’s our replacement for whipped cream on this dessert. You can leave it off if you don’t want any yogurt, but I think it really adds a great complexity to the dish itself and it’s so good with the strawberries.
Now if I understand this, you bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes if you are making the cupcake size and 35 minutes if you are making a large cake and then you can poke with like a toothpick to check if it’s done.
Yeah, you stick a toothpick in the middle and if the toothpick comes out clean you know it’s done. If it comes out and there’s batter still stuck to it you know that it’s not quite done enough.
Well he is True Food Kitchen’s Executive Chef Michael Stebner. If you haven’t had the opportunity to eat at True Foods they are starting to pop up all over the place. It’s one of my favorite restaurants. There’s one in Phoenix at Biltmore Fashion Park. In August 2010, the next location opens at Fashion Island in Newport Beach and then really close to my house, thank god, is North Scottsdale, I think it’s Scottsdale Quarter and Chef, when I interviewed Dr. Weil we were in an elevator together in Chicago and I said to him, “You know, I love your restaurant but if you can open one up that’s just a couple of blocks from my house I’d really appreciate it.
He asked me where I lived; I told him and then he looked at me and he said, “You know we are actually looking at a location now,” and it’s a real treat to watch you guys getting close to open that. Chef Michael Stebner, thank you so much for helping me make a healthy meal for my wife and improving the health of all those that are listening.
Thanks for having me.
Visit Chef Michael Stebner at True Food Kitchen