Tuesdays with Dorie: Nectarine Upside-Down Chiffon Cake

This recipe got me and my husband feeling all sorts of nostalgic.  Maybe it was the mah jongg exhibit we’d been to earlier.  Maybe it was my mom’s 1960’s cake plate.  Maybe it was the smell of oats and almonds and ginger or maybe it was the ribbon of streusel running through this fluffy little cake.  No matter what it was, it made both of us long for whatever the modern-day equivalent of a bridge club is.  The kind of casual get-together that requires nothing more than a pot of coffee, a simple little cake, and some good old-fashioned conversation.

So friends, let’s get together.  Scrabble, poker, cocktails, game night — come on over.  I’ll make cake.  🙂

Thanks to our hosts this week – Marlise of The Double Trouble Kitchen and Susan of The Little French Bakery.  Check out their blogs to read about their baking experiences as well as for the recipe itself.

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Tuesdays With Dorie: Pecan Sticky Buns

Sometimes life is sticky.

Sometimes your husband’s department will have a major upheaval days before you’re due to have houseguests.

Sometimes you’ll experience one of those uncommon side effects from a medication and discover there’s such a thing as drug-induced pneumonia.

Sometimes your three year old will test you like he’s never tested you before while your inlaws are visiting.

Sometimes you’ll wonder if you can list him on ebay.

Sometimes the coyote howls outside will make you cry and worry about bullies and you’ll get out of bed to clutch your child’s tiny hand and kiss his sleeping cheek.

Sometimes you’ll try to remove the thermometer from a freshly roasted chicken with your bare hands.

And sometimes a bit of butter, flour, and cinnamon will make everything better.

Thank you Dorie, Julia and Nancy for showing me that sticky makes us stronger . . .

Sticky shows us what we’re made of  . . .

And sticky can taste oh so sweet.

Thanks to Lynn of Eat Drink Man Woman Dogs Cat and Nicole of Cookies on Friday for hosting this week.  Check out their blogs to hear their baking experiences as well as for the recipe itself.

Tuesdays with Dorie: Lemon Loaf with Lavender

Since sharing my love of spring and lemons in my previous post, it’s time for a confession.  While I love fresh lemon in savory dishes, in desserts . . . not so much.  That’s not to say I don’t love lemony sweets.  I just don’t like them to be natural.  That’s right, I confess.  When it comes to lemon desserts, I’m a fan of the processed stuff — that bright, artificial, never existed in real life neon yellow of lemon meringue pies and the Girl Scout’s lemon chalet cookies.  That “natural” lemon flavoring that was invented in a lab and is all yellow dye and chemicals I can’t pronounce.  Yep, that one.  Love it.

And it’s for that reason alone I wasn’t all that excited about this recipe.  I’ve made a few lemon loaf type desserts before and haven’t been too excited by them.

I planned on getting this one out of the way early.  Which turned  into procrastinating.  Which led to “Maybe I’ll just skip this week’s recipe” which finally became “Oh, hell, if I don’t like it, I can always have my husband leave it in the kitchen at work.”  (His office kitchen shares similar properties with piranha-infested rivers in the Amazon.  Mainly that anything left there is pretty much a carcass within an hour.)

So I made it.  And I’m really glad I did.

Normally I don’t tweak the Tuesdays with Dorie recipes.  I’m nervous about my improv skills in the kitchen, and I like to see how the recipe’s supposed to work before making any changes or additions.  For this one, though, I decided to vary it up.  A few years ago I came across a recipe for lavender pound cake.  I’ve yet to make it, but every year when Spring rolls around it pops into my head.  Hmm.  Lemon.  Lavender.  Why not?  I minced up a tablespoon and tossed it in with the sugar.

While mixing the batter, I started to get a bit doubtful.  My kitchen had developed the faint whiff of a L’Occitane store.  And (having had the unforgettable experience of getting my mouth washed out with soap when I was little) it wasn’t exactly making my tastebuds water.  Luckily the finished product did not taste like hand soap.

It’s light.  It’s refreshing.  It’s simple yet elegant.  It will make you want to invite Mr. Darcy over for a cup of tea.  But then again, when would you not want to invite Mr. Darcy over for tea?

Thanks to Truc at Treats and Michelle at The Beauty of Life for hosting this week.  You can check out their blogs for more details on the recipe.

Tuesdays with Dorie: Pizza Rustica

“I thought you said we were having pizza.”  My husband cast a rather dubious look at his plate.

“It is.  It’s Pizza Rustica.”

“What’s that?”

“I’m not sure.  I think it’s kind of like an Italian quiche.”

“Hmmm.”  He sniffed at his fork.  Took a bite.  And eventually went back for seconds.

That’s all you need to know.

For any history buffs out there, Pizza Rustica (sometimes also called Easter pie) is a savory Italian pie typically served at, you guessed it, Easter.  If you’re not into history, it’s a sweet pie dough filled with a mixture of cured meats, cheese, cheese and more cheese.  Oh, and there are a couple of eggs holding all that cheesy goodness together.

All I can say is, if you’re going to break your Lenten fast, this is the way to do it.  I found some recipes that call for up to six different types of cheese and almost as many cured meats to be added to the mix.  I guess this is the reason Italy was the “Eat” portion of Eat, Pray, Love.

The most surprising thing about this dish is the sweetness of the dough.  As my husband remarked, it’s like eating “scrambled eggs wrapped inside a sugar cookie.”  Don’t let that description put you off.   The taste experience is a little like drinking a nuanced glass of wine.  The first thing you notice is the light flavor of the ricotta.  Then the proscuitto leaps out to provide a wonderful salty depth.  And as you finish the bite, you’re left with the sweet finish from the dough.  (Alright, pretentious metaphor over.)

Like the Irish Soda Bread recipe I’m kind of amazed at how good this was for only using a few simple ingredients. I was worried it would  be a bit bland because of the lack of herbs or seasonings, but didn’t find that to be the case at all.  Of course, when you’ve got that much cheese, how can you really go wrong?

If you’re looking for something a little different this Easter, try this.  It would be a delightful addition for brunch.  With that nice glass of wine, of course.  🙂

Thanks to Emily at Capitol Region Dining and Raelynn at The Place They Call Home for hosting this week.  You can check out their blogs for more details on the recipe.