Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake

The year after we graduated from college, I brought my group of friends…which included one certain future Husband, home to the Cape.

My dad, naturally, found it to be the perfect time to enlist the boys into helping him chop wood, telling them “any day you get to use a chain saw, that’s a good day.”  It’s a wonder the Husband stuck around.

And yet, I feel the same way about my standing bowl mixer, which I wrestled out of its storage place to make this lemon poppy seed pound cake in celebration of our book club anniversary.

look at that gorgeous mixer in the background. just look at it.
look at that gorgeous mixer in the background. just look at it.

Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake

for the cake

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened, plus LOTS of butter for greasing the pan
  • 2 cups cake or all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 eggs, yolks separated from whites
  • about a teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 small container of poppy seeds (about 1/4 cup)

for the glaze

  • about 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
  • juice from the other 1/2 lemon
not pictured: my hands, which had to be used instead of this spoon.
not pictured: my hands, which had to be used instead of this spoon.
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Seriously butter a 9×5 inch loaf pan.  And then butter it again, because this pound cake likes to stay in there.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg in a small bowl; set aside.
  3. Use your mixer (yay!) to cream the butter until smooth.  Add about half the sugar, mix through, add the other half.  Beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time.  You’ll need to scrape down the sides of the bowl so everything mixes through.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients…and here’s where it gets less fun: by hand.  You might actually need to put your hands in the bowl and smoosh the ingredients together.  Add the lemon juice and lemon zest.
  5. In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks.  Fold them into the rest of ingredients, gently, along with the poppy seeds.
  6. Pour into the loaf pan and bake for about 70 minutes.  In the meantime, make the glaze by whisking all of the ingredients together in a small bowl.  Let the cake rest about 5 minutes before extracting from the pan.  Let cool completely before glazing and slicing.
just add a candle, and it's party time.
just add a candle, and it’s party time.

Fiesta Friday: Roasted Eggplant with Yogurt-Tahini Sauce and Crispy Chickpeas

First off, a very, very happy first-ever block party to Angie and the crew over at The Novice Gardener! I am not a regular over there, more like a creepy neighbor, looking over the fence.  So this time, I’m actually bringing something.  And it’s delicious and totally not creepy.

We ate this recipe, inspired by the Smitten Kitchen, for dinner, but made with smaller eggplants, this is a delectable, decadent appetizer.  (As the Husband said, right after he finished his eggplant off, and right before he heated up some leftover pizza, “this might be too much veggie to be dinner.”)

all lined up.
all lined up.

Roasted Eggplant with Yogurt-Tahini Sauce and Crispy Chickpeas

for the eggplant & chickpeas

  • 2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas, rinsed, drained and patted dry (really, you just need one can, but if you’re like me, you’ll eat so many of these as they’re coming out of the oven that if you want enough to actually eat with your eggplant, you should make two cans)
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • generous handful each of smoked paprika and garlic powder
  • 1 or 2 large eggplants, or 3 small, Italian-style eggplants

for the sauce

  • 3 heaping tablespoons tahini
  • about 2/3 cup plain greek yogurt (I supplemented with a bit of light sour cream)
  • juice from 1/2 lemon, plus a bit of freshly grated zest
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt & pepper, a touch of crushed reds, if you please
  • 3-4 tablespoons parsley, divided
these are the healthiest things you'll ever become addicted to.
these are the healthiest things you’ll ever become addicted to.
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil, spread out the chickpeas, drizzle about 2-3 tablespoons olive oil all over.  Toss chickpeas evenly with salt, pepper, smoked paprika and garlic powder.  Bake for about 30-40 minutes; make sure to give them a toss at least once or twice so they don’t burn.  Dust with another quick pinch of salt as they come out of the oven.
  2. On another baking sheet, spread out another layer of aluminum foil, and spray with a bit of olive oil.  Cut the eggplants in half and spray both the tops and the bottoms with a bit of olive oil.  Arrange cut side up and season generously with salt and pepper.  Roast for 15 minutes and then flip.
  3. As the chickpeas and eggplant cook, make the sauce.  Whisk together the tahini, yogurt, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, salt, a few grinds of pepper, a tablespoon of parsley and a touch of crushed reds.
  4. Serve the eggplant, cut side up, topped with sauce, the crispy chickpeas, and a bit more parsley.
appetizer or dinner, it doesn't matter.  just eat it.
appetizer or dinner, it doesn’t matter. just eat it.

The Verdict

This. Was. Awesome.  As appetizers go, this IS a dish for which you will need a knife and a fork, but hey, that’s a small price to pay.  This does not reheat well, as the eggplant gets a bit mushy…so invite all your friends!  And thanks, Angie, for inviting us!

Recipe Redux: Martha’s Pasta with Sausage and Fennel

I’ve been wanting to try this recipe from Martha ever since my chef-alicious sister posted it during her guest blog.  Sausage + fennel = one happy stomach.

prep work requires wine.
prep work requires wine.

The ingredients and the instructions for Rigatoni (well, Farfalle) with Sausage and Fennel are all on Kathryn’s post.  A few editorial comments:

  • Use less pasta (maybe half a box, especially if you’re only serving for two people), more fennel (the full bulb) and more carrots (one or two more).  The veggies get a bit lost in the pound of pasta.
  • Add a clove or two of minced garlic while you’re browning the sausage, and season the mixture with black pepper.
  • In fact, while you’re seasoning the sausage, a handful of crushed reds probably wouldn’t hurt (if you’re into that kind of thing).
  • While the pasta cools, tossing it with arugula will up the healthy quotient and give it a nice peppery taste.
well done, martha!
well done, martha!

The Verdict:

With a few tweaks (sorry, Martha), this is really, really good.  Well worth your while and your wine.