5.29.2012

Dorie Greenspan's EVO and Yogurt Cake

Four months ago during our Seattle snowstorm, I went on a crazy midnight baking spree while snowed in.  Almost every evening, I whipped out Dorie Greenspan's EVO cake.  By the end of the week, I was no longer needing the recipe.  I'm not sure if I should be proud or ashamed of that...In any case, this is a classic dessert- perfect after dinner, perfect for breakfast, perfect at teatime, perfect in a snowstorm, perfect in the sunshine...you get the idea- it's a keeper.  Recipe below.

Recipe
Dorie Greenspan's EVO and Yogurt Loaf Cake
Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 lime (I used lemons as that's what I had on hand)
1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt (I've used both regular and Greek, depending what I had in the fridge and both turned out delicious)
3 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup EVO (extra-virgin olive oil)

Directions
-Preheat oven to 350 F.  Butter a loaf pan, place on lined baking sheet and set aside.  In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  
-Put sugar and zest in medium bowl and rub ingredients together until the sugar is infused with the zest and fragrant.  Whisk in the yogurt, eggs, and vanilla.  When mixture is well-blended, gently whisk in dry ingredients.  Switch to a spatula and fold in the oil.  (The batter will be thick and shiny).  Scrape into pan and smooth over top with spatula.
-Bake for 50-55 minutes depending on your oven and how browned you like your cakes (I prefer mine a little lighter than most).  Stick a toothpick or knife in the center and it will come out clean when the cake is ready.  Cool on a rack for 5 minutes.  Then run a knife between the sides of the pan and the cake.  Turn upside-down, releasing the cake, and cool to room temperature right-side up.  
-I glazed mine by whisking about a cup confectioner's sugar with ~ 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of zest.  Spoon it over while the cake is still warm and let it set before serving.  Enjoy!  

5.22.2012

Caffe Spinnato in Palermo

Caffe Spinnato is one of those cafes with a deep history, like Cafe Flore or Les Deux Magots in Paris.  A major difference with Caffe Spinnato, however, is that a glance at the prices on the menu does not induce a heart-attack.  They still attract locals with their amazing food, ice cream, and pastries.  The interior of the cafe has an old world feel to it- it used to be the establishment for Palermo's elite and in some ways still is.  On any given day, you will find businessmen in suits, multi-generational families, and young lovers tucked away in corners ignoring their caffè.  
We enjoyed a delicious spaghetti alla Trapanese
After enjoying a leisurely lunch, we walked over to the pastry case and saw the most attractive and scrumptious-looking cake.  They cut us a slice and brought it back to our table.

Caffe Spinnato is located on Via Principe del Belmonte in Palermo

5.21.2012

Evening Light

Another Monday, another Meditation for you.  Here is a photo a few weeks back of our new Kenzo solar lights (the yellow ones) that we purchased from the 100 Layer Cake pop-up shop.   I look forward to the evening light every summer in Seattle.  Here is a poem for you.


Let Evening Come
By Jane Kenyon 

Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving   
up the bales as the sun moves down.

Let the cricket take up chafing   
as a woman takes up her needles   
and her yarn. Let evening come.

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned   
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.

Let the fox go back to its sandy den.   
Let the wind die down. Let the shed   
go black inside. Let evening come.

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop   
in the oats, to air in the lung   
let evening come.

Let it come, as it will, and don’t   
be afraid. God does not leave us   
comfortless, so let evening come.

5.08.2012

Crumble and Flake Patisserie in Seattle

Crumble and Flake is a brand new bakery that set up shop in a postage stamp sized storefront on Olive Way.  I decided on a smoked paprika and cheddar croissant and a plain one.  After two years of living in Paris, I found it to be top-notch, living up to the bakery's name, as it was flaky, soft, and airy with the perfect balance of spice and cheese.  After I let it melt in my mouth, I moved on to my other choices- a lemon and caipirinha macaron, and a mini apricot cream puff.  The cream puffs are made to order and the texture of the puff was exquisite.  The apricot filling was smooth and luscious without being overly rich.  This is a place I will be frequenting regularly and you should as well. 
Crumble and Flake is located at 1500 East Olive Way in downtown Seattle
Crumble & Flake Patisserie on Urbanspoon

5.06.2012

Bizzarro Italian Cafe in Seattle

Can I just say I've found my new go-to restaurant?  The kind of place I'll take people from out of town to?  It's Bizzarro Cafe in Wallingford.  It's a quirky, cozy restaurant that features Italian-American cuisine with a Seattle twist.  I say that because there's elk bolognese on the menu, bicycles and pom-poms hanging from the ceiling, an old-fashioned radio listing hobo names in the women's restroom, and a warning sign at the entry stating a cell-phone surcharge.  (So will you excuse the blurry cell-phone photos? I tried to be quick.)  It fits in the neighborhood perfectly.    
Much of their pasta is made in-house (this one was not), but I ordered it because it was the special and it was heaven.  Prawn fettucine in the most refreshing white wine, garlic, and butter sauce and tossed with mama lil's peppers- they were amazing.  Can you taste something that was cooked with love and care?  I think so.  Because that's what every bite tastes like at Bizzarro.
Molly Moon's ice cream for dessert- Girl Scout cookie flavor

Bizzarro Cafe is located at 1307 N 46th Street in Seattle

Bizzarro Italian Cafe on Urbanspoon

5.02.2012

Orange Blossom Honey Cookies

I've always been a big baseball fan.  It's a tradition in our family to bring a picnic to the ballpark, and two weekends ago when we were on hand to see the perfect game (!), we brought homemade cheese and roasted pepper sandwiches, jalapeno chips, and these homemade cookies.  My mom used to make them when we were younger but it had been ages since I last tasted the sweet honey and hint of orange blossom on my tongue.
You can make them small or big- I tend to like the smaller ones better- plus you have an excuse to eat more!  Recipe below.

Recipe for Orange Honey Cookies
Ingredients
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 table spoons orange juice
1 teaspoon orange blossom
2 tablespoons honey

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 F.  Place butter, power, and baking powder in food processor.  Add in the liquid ingredients and mix/pulse.  The dough will be quite sticky (you don't need to add more flour) and wet from the juice but this is why they are so moist.  Place small spoonfuls on buttered baking sheet.  Make sure they are spaced apart at least 2 inches because they will expand!  Put tray in oven for 6-7 minutes or until golden.  (Again, be sure not to overcook them.  It is easy to think they are too soft or need more time in the oven but these cookies are best crumbly and moist.  Also, they will get crunchier the next day.)  Cool on wire rack.  Enjoy!