Archive for February, 2011

Mediterranean Lemon Cake

Its real name is Citrus and Olive Oil Cake, but I didn’t want to scare you in case you hadn’t noticed that olive oil in deserts is The Hot New Thing.


It’s hot all right, but it isn’t remotely new. Where olive oil is the dominant fat, it has been used in sweets for – I dunno – centuries at least, possibly a millennium or two.

lemon and olive oil cake with oranges

My new favorite cake, on a bed of Cointreau spiked orange slices, garnished with candy-ended clementines.

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Lois Dodd Show at Alexandre

Don’t miss it; it’ll dispel any late winter blues not yet banished by seed lists and garden plans. Admittedly, Lois is my dear friend as well as a major painter, but in this case that’s beside the point.

shadow of painter painting september light (Lois Dodd)

Lois in action, in more ways than one.

Whether you’re already a fan or not, you can learn a lot about how she works from this interview with John Yau (in the Brooklyn Rail), but you can also just cut to the chase and go see the show, at Alexandre Gallery in NYC until March 12.

Image: Shadow of Painter Painting “September Light,” 2009, oil on linen 32 x 50 inches

Rugelach and Heath Bar Cookies: Searching For My Valentine

rugelach cookies

Rugelach, the cookie supreme: buttery, flaky, not too sweet, and small enough so you can pretend that eating a couple won't matter.

In spite of their undoubted splendor, I won’t be making Rugelach for Valentine’s Day this year. The problem is that I made them for Valentine’s Day two years ago and got reminded how good they are.

Doesn’t sound like a problem, but as a result I started making them frequently, and as a result of that they are no longer special enough to be this year’s Home Baked Gift of Love.

Besides, getting there is half the fun if you have a lot of clippings and cookbooks – and an appreciative husband to whom failed experiments are a kind of foreplay.

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Ordering Seeds

It’s that time of year again: every morning I look at the mirror, sternly, and say “ Leslie, you cannot grow everything.” Everything meaning vegetables and annual flowers. Even I know I can’t do much about my fantasies in the tree and shrub department.

Sitting cuddled up with a big pile of catalogs and a ballpoint (felt tips bleed through) is one of the best cheap thrills going, and buying way too many seeds isn’t all that much more expensive, at least compared to the trouble you can get into at an outfit like forestfarm. But this is not about that, it’s about remembering to leave room for the seeds that plant themselves.

shirley poppies and alyssum

Although all colors of alyssum self-sow, white is not only the most prolific but also the most fragrant. The poppies are not fragrant, just about their only flaw.

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