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Roberta Sorge

If I need inspiration for an upcoming meal, I simple go shopping and let the ingredients stimulate my creativity.  Nowhere is this more true than when I go to a shop like EN Olivier where there are dozens of amazing olive oils and vinegars available for sampling and sale. And we've invited one of our best friends to talk about culinary inspiration, the owner of EN Olivier, Liz Nuttle.

Liz is a talented cook with a shrewd palate and a pronounced appreciation for the potential of high quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Here she is, in her own words.

"I often use the infused oils and vinegars when I need a quick simple recipe.

They are very convenient when you might not have fresh citrus or herbs on hand.

Probably the most useful are the citrus oils: 

Lemon Fused Olive Oil: in a salad dressing or a great marinade for chicken.

Lime Infused Olive Oil: for fish.  Just drizzle before cooking gives a great citrus flavor.

Blood Orange Fused Olive Oil: wonderful for a summery fruited salad or to use in a good brownie mix. Yum yum.

Herbs and spices add wonderful accents to a dish, which is why I love to use

herbal olive oils.   

Basil Infused Olive Oil: is good on sliced summer tomatoes or over steamed veggies. Pairs beautifully with Cranberry Pear White Balsamic for a summery dressing.

Dill Infused Olive Oil: works well on fish, especially salmon.  Pair it with Lemon White Balsamic for a dressing or light marinade.

Garlic Infused Olive Oil: brushed onto steak before grilling.

Mix it with Lemon Olive OilJalapeño White Balsamic and mustard for a great imitation Caesar salad dressing.

On the flavored vinegar side of things we have some crowd pleasing favorites. 

Chocolate and Vanilla Dark Balsamic: can be poured over fresh berries or ripe peaches for a quick simple dessert.

Maple Dark Balsamic: on a baked squash or sweet potato.

Espresso Dark Balsamic: used on grilled meats or added to a homemade Barbeque sauce.

This is the start of the serious salad season, and many of the infused oils and vinegars pair together for fun and distinct dressing and marinade flavors:

Lemon Oil and Blueberry Balsamic

Lime and Mango Balsamic

Basil Oil with Cranberry Pear Balsamic

Rosemary Oil with Red Apple Balsamic

Harissa Oil with Tangerine or Peach Balsamic

Tuscan Herb Oil with Serrano Honey Vinegar

on and on it goes

And since Al likes to have recipes, here's an easy one.


                  Basic French vinaigrette recipe:

2 Tablespoons Vinegar

1 teaspoon Mustard

6 Tablespoons Olive Oil

salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together Balsamic Vinegar and Mustard until well mixed.  Drizzle Olive Oil into vinegar and mustard until well blended and emulsified

Jazz it up by adding chopped fresh garlic, fresh herbs, lemon zest or honey.  This recipe works just as well as a marinade for chicken or fish.

The possibilities are as endless as your imagination!

EN OLIVIER is located in the little shopping center across Falls Road from Princeton Sports.

Al Spoler, well known to WYPR listeners as the wine-loving co-host of "Cellar Notes" has had a long-standing parallel interest in cooking as well. Al has said, the moment he started getting serious about Sunday night dinners was the same moment he started getting serious about wine. Over the years, he has benefited greatly from being a member of the Cork and Fork Society of Baltimore, a gentlemen's dining club that serves black tie meals cooked by the members themselves who are some of Baltimore's most accomplished amateur cooks.
Executive Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Corks restaurant is fascinated by food and wine, and the way they work in harmony on the palate. His understanding of the two goes all the way to the molecular level, drawing on his advanced education in molecular biology. His cuisine is simple and surprising, pairing unexpected ingredients together to work with Corks' extensive wine offerings.