Sunday, March 14, 2010

Birthday Party

Yesterday was Jacquilyn's birthday, so we had a little birthday party! We had dinner reservations at Quartino for a group of 6, but the gang came over to our apartment for snacks before dinner and for dessert afterwards.

I didn't want to put out too much food, and I wanted to avoid meats and cheese because Quartino has a great antipasto selection. I just served pita chips with chipotle veggie hummus, and some French bread with a dish of olive oil with sea salt and fresh rosemary.

For dessert, I made a lemon olive oil cake. I first fell in love with olive oil cake a couple years ago at Bar Stuzzichini in New York. They have an orange olive oil cake, and I think they served it with a scoop of ice cream...maybe almond ice cream. Can't remember. I had it again at Scarpetta, one of my absolute favorite restaurants ever. Their spaghetti with tomato and basil is to die for. Ok, I'm getting off subject. They have an olive oil cake with mascarpone cream, citrus salad, and tangerine sorbet. Olive oil cake is fluffy but still nice and moist, and the citrus flavor is really delicate. I like to serve it with whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream. I think a flavored ice cream would probably overpower the citrus.

I know making a cake with olive oil sounds weird, but I promise - it doesn't taste like olive oil. I used 2% Greek yogurt for my cake, I like the thick texture of it. I think this recipe is off the NPR website but I can't be sure, I copied it into my cookbook a long time ago.

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup plain whole milk yogurt
finely grated zest of 3 lemons
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 325 degrees with rack in center. Lightly oil a 9-inch springform pan. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. With an electric mixer beat eggs and sugar on high for 5 minutes, or until pale and thick. Add yogurt and zest, beat to combine. With mixer on medium add oil in a quick, steady stream. Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour mix. Whisk batter by hand to make sure all ingredients are mixed. Bake 40-45 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. Bake until edges pull away from pan.

And the finishing touch on dessert, a nice little bowl of Cadbury Mini Eggs :)

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