Monday, February 22, 2010

Olive oil

I enjoy several food blogs, including Sweet Amandine by a young woman named Jess who has a way with words as well as recipes. I was intrigued by the recipe in this post entitled "Piece of Cake" since the main ingredients are citrus, eggs, and olive oil. I had just pulled the last blood orange from the tree in the garden, as well as a handful of perfect Meyer lemons. It was a chilly Friday after work, and guests were to come for a late supper. I suggested that since we were going to the fish market, perhaps we could stop at the local grocery for a grapefruit - the only ingredient not on hand for this unusual recipe. At the fish market were lovely pieces of sole for John's perfect sole meuniere.

As promised in the cake recipe, this luscious confection is light as air, a lovely yellow, and has a perfect crumb. Sometimes it is best not to name all the ingredients in the title of a recipe. Who would want to make an olive oil and grapefruit cake? I suspect that the grapefruit and the fruity olive oil are what gives this cake such a distinct "long finish". The flavor lingers long after the cake is gone. We served it with a tiny glass of Sauternes left in the refrigerator from Thanksgiving. I wondered if the wine would hold up from such long cold storage, but it seems to have maintained its special qualities.

I thought of using some of the local (about one mile away) olive oil from a friend's olive grove, but decided to use a very fruity Italian oil since this was a dessert cake.

Ah, chilly winter, candlelight and seasonal fruits!

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Haint Blue number 2

I've been looking up at porch ceilings for many years. Growing up in the south, I found that porches are ubiquitous. Some have upholstered furniture, some have the requisite wicker furniture, some have swings, gliders, rockers or benches. A porch must be wide enough (six feet minimum) to sit and to allow one to get into and out of the furniture. After looking at porches for many years, I realized many in the south have blue ceilings - "haint blue" ceilings, that is. I find it interesting that haint blue is almost as ubiquitous as the porch itself - even being found on the ceiling of this 1892 Queen Anne Victorian in Napa. (A previous post shows the original paint hidden under the layer of stucco applied in the 1930's.)

We love our porches in Napa. My neighbor started a tradition last summer of inviting friends and neighbors every Sunday afternoon for a sit on her porch. What a lovely tradition!

Both of these houses were designed by Napa Architect Luther M. Turton.

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