Sunday, July 20, 2014

lemon cake, just for me

Who needs company to bake a birthday cake? Baking for one means no layers or buttery frosting, but no skimping on richness or drama, either. This tender lemon cake has the bite of homemade marmalade and the juicy crumb of blueberries, all piled under soft peaks of whipped cream.

Blueberry Lemon Cake
adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
5/8 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups cake flour, plus a spoonful for tossing the blueberries
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
zest and juice of 2 lemons
1 cup blueberries, minus a few for munching
marmalade, for serving
whipped cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter one 9-inch square cake pan.

Beat the butter until creamy with a hand mixer. Add sugars and mix for 2-3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat until everything is combined, scraping sides as needed.

Toss together dry ingredients, then add bit by bit to the butter. Then add buttermilk, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Stir lightly until just combined.

Toss blueberries with 1 T flour and fold into batter. Spoon evenly into cake pan. Bake 20 - 30 min or until toothpick comes out clean.

Serve warm with a spoonful of marmalade and whipped cream.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Springing back up

Hello world! New plants and sunny windowsills contain all the hope of spring. 

These rhubarb bars, from Smitten Kitchen, make a perfect breakfast when served over greek yogurt and splashed with maple syrup. 

Every year, every seder has the best hazelnut torte Mama's ever made. This one was especially gorgeous.

Herby smashed peas are one of my favorite foods. This pea soup was flavored with basil from my windowsill.

My current favorite soup has the bulk of roasted carrots and french lentils, the warmth of harissa, and sweetness of fresh mint.

Feyza taught Mama how to make borek! Yum yum yum. 

When Hmart opened nearby, the crowds carried away all the ready-made food instantly, leaving empty shelves and happy shopkeepers. That first week, I bought buckwheat soba noodles, which tangle here with fresh cilantro pesto, toasted peanuts, bell pepper, and basil. 

Jackie's postcards from the Middle East preceded her. The promises of home-cooked food contained in her missives were kept absolutely.


6 eggs
2 jalapeno peppers, minced
2 onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
cumin, paprika, salt
1 28-oz can whole tomatoes, crushed with hands
olive oil
parsley, to garnish
plain greek yogurt and pita, to serve

Sautee peppers and onions in olive oil in a large heavy saucepan until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, and paprika; cook until garlic softens, about 2 minutes.

Crush the tomatoes with hands and add to saucepan with the liquid from the can. Cook until reduced (10-15 minutes).

Crack eggs into saucepan and cover with a lid until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny, about 5 minutes.

Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with yogurt and pita.