Barefoot Contessa Lemon Cake

For my Valentine’s Day care package I decided to make use of a sack of lemons that I received from a friend whose lemon tree is literally dripping with fruit. I’ve had Ina Garten’s Lemon Cake recipe¬†on my mind for years but never attempted it until this evening. Since it makes two loaves, I knew I’d need an excuse to get rid of one so I wouldn’t be tempted to eat lemon cake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner all week.

I’m happy to say this tastes a LOT better than it looks. Next time I won’t stop at just greasing and flouring the loaf pans – they definitely needed parchment to prevent the cake from sticking. Hopefully my friends don’t hold it’s ugly looks against it.


Pizza: Round Two

It was so pretty until I slid it onto the pizza stone in the oven. Next time I’ll use more cornmeal on the pizza peel so that it slides off more easily. It was pretty darn tasty though!

Valentine’s Day Care Packages

Today I came home from work to find not one but TWO packages for me in the meter box. One from Sharon in DC and the other from Lakshmi in Seattle. The three of us decided to do a Valentine’s Day sweets exchange via care packages since we no longer live in the same city. How awesome is this?!

I can’t remember the last time I received an edible care package, let alone TWO in the same day! I owe them both big time especially since I have yet to bake and send my own creations their way. We have a rather nasty ant infestation taking over our kitchen at the moment which made cooking last night very interesting. Ants = protein?

Here are Sharon’s sinful dark chocolate cherry ganache bars:

And Lakshmi’s chewy peanut butter cookies and divine anise biscotti (are you sure you aren’t Italian, L?):

Hooray for awesome girlfriends!

Valentine’s Day

Last night Alex and I continued our tradition of eating pizza to celebrate Valentine’s Day. In years past we’ve tried Gialina and Delfina in SF and Via Tribunali in Seattle. It’s hard to imagine that this was our seventh Valentine’s Day together. Instead of going out, we opted to make our own pizza. Well, Alex made it and I ate it. As you can see below, he did a great job!

It was a delicious concoction of taleggio cheese, garlic, parmesan cheese, white beans, and radicchio. The recipe was inspired from one we’d made in the past. Tonight I’m going to use up the rest of the dough and try to make a margherita pizza. Stay tuned for hideous photos…

For dessert, I made Nigella Lawson’s molten chocolate babycakes which are always a win. I added some fresh strawberries (no winter in California = strawberry season in February!) and vanilla ice cream and we were licking our bowls clean in minutes.

Recipe, courtesy of Nigella

  • 1/4 cup soft unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
  • 12 ounces best dark chocolate
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs, beaten with a pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 6 individual pudding moulds, buttered baking parchment
  1. Unless you are making these up in advance, preheat the oven to 400 degrees, putting in a baking sheet at the same time. Lay 3 of the molds on a sheet of doubled baking parchment. Draw round them, remove, and then cut out the discs as marked. Press them all into the base of the tins.
  2. Melt the chocolate and let it cool slightly. Cream together the butter and sugar, and gradually beat in the eggs and salt, then the vanilla. Now add the flour, and when all is smoothly combined scrape in the cooled chocolate, blending it to a smooth batter.
  3. Divide the batter between the 6 moulds, quickly whip the baking sheet out of the oven, arrange the little tins on it and replace in the oven.
  4. Cook for 10-12 minutes (the extra 2 minutes will be needed if the puddings are fridge-cold when you start) and as soon as you take them out of the oven, tip out these luscious babycakes onto small plates or shallow bowls.
  5. Serve these with whipped double cream, the same unwhipped in a jug, creme fraiche, creme anglaise or vanilla ice cream.