March 2010

They say learning something new and doing something new is good for the brain and keeps us young.  Well, yesterday I did two things that I’d never done before and it all started with my “staying young” 90-year-old friend, Irene (here at her b-day party last week)Irene blowing out her birthday cake.  One of her visiting sons brought her a bag full of large Meyer Lemons so she gave me four of them to take home.  Now, we have a Meyer Lemon tree that we’ve managed to keep alive in our cold winters and not-too-hot summers, but I seriously doubt I’ll ever see large lemons off of it like Tom brought her from the Sacramento valley.  It was a great opportunity to use a recipe I’d been saving for a few years since we planted our tree: Meyer Lemon Cake. The recipe is a Sunset Magazine reader contribution: .  After googling to find the link I see it has been the subject of a number of blogs, even featured at a B&B in Nevada.  I guess its claim to fame at our house is that half of it is gone already and I never did get the glaze done! Anyway, the two things I’ve never done before: 1. Butter and flour a tart panPrepared tart cake pan. (I suppose I’ve never done this before because I’ve always used a tart crust in a tart pan.  Truth be told, one reason I chose this recipe is because I didn’t need to make a separate crust) and 2. Boil lemons! Meyer Lemons Boiled This action mellows the flavor and softens them till they collapse.  It was very fun to see what happens when you simmer whole lemons for half-an-hour. So, anyway, the other neat thing about this recipe is that it has no added fat in it.  It’s quite amazing, made mostly with eggs and almond meal.  The recipe calls for whirring 1 1/2 cups of whole almonds, but I had almond meal already on hand and so had to do some calculating by weight on how much to use.  I went with 2 cups of meal and the cake came out very good and moist.  It’s a dense cake even with folding in the egg white separately and I’m missing the candied ginger flavor, so I’d probably up the amount of that.  I did cut out about 1/4 cup of the sugar just because we don’t like things too sweet, but I’d recommend tasting the batter before baking as using the whole lemonsBoiled Lemons in Food Processor does lend a slight bitter quality from the pith.  I’m not sure a child would appreciate this cake, but we sure do!  Thanks Irene (and Tom) for the lemons!  I’m sure the cake is even prettier with the glaze and lemon slices on top, but we’ll have to wait for next time for that.

Cake Done

Cake Done


Clutter – it often gets the best of me, but what to do when there are so many interesting things to learn and read about?  Recently I made a foray onto the dining room table.  It looked really good for my 50th birthday party, but has digressed since then.  We even removed all the table leaves so that there would be a smaller surface to hold clutter, but I underestimated the piling effect…

On the good side, clutter often does provide me with some happy coincidences.  Just yesterday I saw a bowl of floating roses that Tracy had brought in from the greenhouses – the first fragrant blooms of the season. The colors went perfectly with the watercolored birthday napkin I got the day before at my friend’s 90th birthday lunch, and the stuffed purple rabbit still sitting where he landed as a gift at my own party a month ago.  A little repositioning and voilà- a nice colorful composed photo to bring back good memories.Felicia, Barbra Streisand, Intrigue, Strike It Rich roses with Purple Bunny

The roses are (clockwise from top left) Strike It Rich, Barbra Streisand, Intrigue, and Felicia – all really fragrant.  Tracy is shipping bareroot roses almost every day right now.  At last count there were a few plants of 11 varieties still left.  He’ll have some other potted varieties available through spring and fall as they mature enough to ship.  Watch the shopping cart for earliest availability, or send an email from the Contact Us link and ask about a certain variety you’re looking for.  I am always amazed how he sells things that he’s only inventoried in his head.  I guess he experiences happy clutter coincidence too!

It looks like it would take too much time to figure out how to move the first blog (which I abandoned because of trouble uploading photos) to here, so I’ll just post the url for now…