Saturday, February 14, 2009

will you help celebrate the napa farmhouse 1885 first anniversary? there is meyer lemon cake!

o.k...there is cake...but you have to make it. the recipe is listed at the end of this post.... today is valentine's day (happy v-day everyone)...but it is also the one year anniversary of this blog. sounds cliche, but i really cannot believe how quickly the time has passed. when i first started blogging i did not have a clear purpose...i just started telling stories about my post-corporate life. as the time passed, the emphasis focused on cooking and eating...using the best possible quality ingredients...and not messing them up with overly complicated recipes...broken record, i know...but my motto "the ingredients really do make the difference" is the theme for this blog...

what i did not expect was the many comments, emails, suggestions, ideas and tips that would come from readers...nor the many regular visitors who have provided tons of support for both my blog and my new business. i think these connections have been the greatest benefit of this process...also, since i love to ramble on, this gives me an outlet so i do not bore my family and friends to death hearing my stories over and over...

while each blog post has been meaningful to me...certain posts have resonated more than others with readers...and have showed up countless times in internet searches...i thought i would celebrate my one year anniversary with a recap of the most requested posts...all in one place for future readers...
hands down, the number one search has been about fresh figs...and my post do you like fresh figs? is read daily. the questions range from "what do i do with figs?" to "do you peel figs?" to "what do figs taste like?" and there are frequent requests for recipes using figs. i have listed a few additional fig recipes in other posts and, since my tree fruits twice each year, plan to write many more stories about figs...there seems to be a major interest in this topic.
a very close second in terms of popularity is my post about popcorn and olive oil...creatively called :) popcorn and olive oil? ....this story gets numerous hits every day with people asking the question..."can you use olive oil when popping popcorn?" the simple answer is yes...but the story was about my family's tradition of drizzling extra virgin olive oil on popcorn...instead of butter...and sprinkling the best grey salt you can find over it all. easy, quick and delicious...and everyone goes nuts over this when i serve at parties...i told the story of making this for the napa valley wine auction a few years ago...was a hit...and the company i represented "stole" the idea and now packages the ingredients as a gift, what a complement!!...try this "recipe"...the secret (as always) is the ingredients...fresh organic popcorn, best quality extra virgin olive oil for drizzling, a good evoo for the popping...and really good grey sea salt as the final touch...
i had such fun last summer participating in the martha stewart, everyday food food fest. my friend deb...who was an edf editor, but has since been promoted to executive editor of martha stewart living magazine (congrats deb!!)...started an 8 week blog-a thon focusing on a different summer fruit or vegetable each week. i had a blast with each post...and the recipes for pears, so what do you do with 30 pounds of pears? , for winter squash, is it time for winter squash yet? and, of course, for tomatoes, is it tomato fest time yet? are requested every day.
i think the concept of making soft boiled eggs is intimidating for many people...i wrote a story last fall that was really about my newly discovered love of writing...but my realization that my style...which is a very basic form of story a far cry from truly brilliant writers...and i used the author toni morrison as an example. i thought it would be fun to compare and contrast i took a classic passage from one of my favorite of solomon...and listed my recipe for soft boiled eggs...then toni's. i expected numerous comments regarding the writing ...what i got...and still do daily...are requests for instructions as to techniques for soft boiling eggs...try the egg recipe...more importantly...enjoy toni morrison's beautiful words in soft boiled eggs, anyone?
i could go on and on...talking about recipes for persimmons, or recapping my 30 day thanksgiving series (thanks to all the guest bloggers)...or showing all the photos of mose that have been requested by readers( you will see him peeking at the lemon cake in a few photos today)...but this post would be longer than the preceding 70 posts together (70!!) unless i stop now...
if you are a new reader...welcome..and if you go back to the first few posts you will hear more about my story... for regular readers please keep the comments and emails coming...i so enjoy meeting all of you.
but i promised to help celebrate this anniversary, i am posting my new meyer lemon cake recipe. i have been making this cake for years, but it is "new" because i made this one with agave nectar...i have been experimenting with agave nectar a lot it as a substitute for white sugar...and will write about it the interim..enjoy this very, very intensely lemony anniversary gift to you...

meyer lemon cake
1/2 c fresh meyer lemon juice
3/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
3 eggs, room temperature, separated
1 tbsp finely chopped meyer lemon zest
1 2/3 c unbleached flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

preheat oven to 325 degrees. lightly oil(i use olive oil) and flour a 9-5-inch loaf pan and set aside.
add the lemon juice, agave nectar, olive oil, egg yolks and lemon zest to a medium mixing bowl and stir together. in a larger mixing bowl, sift the dry ingredients together. in a third bowl, beat the egg whites until you get soft peaks. stir the lemon juice mixture into the dry mixture just until all ingredients are not over mix. gently fold the egg whites into the cake batter until thoroughly combined. pour batter into prepared loaf pan.

bake until tester inserted in center of cake comes out clean..approx 45 minutes. cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes...then turn out of pan and place on wire rack. place lemon slices on top of cake and drizzle with glaze. keep on rack until completely cool. (note, i add a plate under the rack to catch glaze drippings)

meyer lemon glaze
1 meyer lemon, thinly sliced
1/2 agave nectar
1/4 c fresh meyer lemon juice (about 2 med lemons)

place all ingredients in small saucepan. cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, 10-12 minutes or until mixture has thickened slightly. cool about 10 minutes before using
enjoy!...and let me know if you try the cake...
diane padoven
napa farmhouse 1885™
"live a green life of style"™
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Sarah J. said...

Happy Blogoversary!! Thanks for sharing this great cake recipe. Considering making it for our DoLeaf team meeting next week. :)

Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary. It was through your excellent fig post that I first "met" you - so pleased I did.

You asked how different our Limoncello recipe was from yours. Apart from the fact that our crop isn't nearly as large as yours, we use 100% pure alcohol which, I understand, is illegal in many of the States and we don't put in rosemary -although might try that this year!

(As it happens, I'm coming up to my 1st anniversary too and my very first post was on - you guessed it - Limoncello!)

This is an excellent site - I look forward to this year's posts.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your one year anniversary! I especially enjoy reading the comments from "Snickers" and "T.P.P". Furthermore, Mo rocks!!! The photo of him looking at the lemon cake...awwwwww! He must be a goooodddddd boy! I heard somewhere that he really enjoys the beaches in S. Cal. Hmmmmm.

napa farmhouse 1885 said...

hi sarah j. and welcome! thank you for the anniversary congrats..and i am intrigued to hear more about your "doloaf" team.

Mary said...

Congratulations and Happy Anniversary! You set such a great example for blogger wannabes like me. I can't seem to focus on a theme. I experimented with a couple; even posted them but I quickly lost steam. Perhaps our new chocolate chip orange cookies (the start of our new vegan cookie line) will inspire me to start a blog for real!

Anyway....enough about ME...congratulations and happy anniversary again! Keep up the fascinating work!

napa farmhouse 1885 said...

hi sally...hope all is well in of the best benefits of this blog is "meeting" people like you. i look forward to our continued dialog...through both my blog and yours..this year...happy first anniversary to you, too..


napa farmhouse 1885 said...

hi anonymous..yes, mosey loves playing in water...pools, lakes and the ocean...the dog park in huntington beach, ca is one of his favorite places. we hope to visit my sister soon...she lives near mose can spend his favorite "day at the beach and then get spoiled by auntie kathi"

Dianne said...

Happy 1st anniversary!! And many more! :)

Jen said...

aww man!....I was hoping you were going to send me some e-cake!

Linda Lou said...

Congratulations on your anniversary--this recipe for the lemon cake looks amazing, always looking for recipes that involve desserts...and I am a better cook than baker, but I prefer to eat dessert! Last night it was roasted banana gelato with nutella drizzed over it!

Scintilla @ Bell'Avventura said...

Hello! You have a very first time reader here but I'll certainly be back for more.
I wanted to try the lemon cake but I'm sure that I won't find the Agave ingredient here. Could it be substituted with anything similar?

sanju said...

Happy Anniversary

i liked your site and will add yours to my blog list in my blog here

Please include mine also in your blog list.


napa farmhouse 1885 said...

hi mary and dianne..thank you both so much for the good wishes!

Vicci said...

Send the cake! :)

Actually, a friend sent me 6 Meyer lemons and I may use a couple to make this cake, it looks so wonderful. I am very, very jealous of your plethora of these fruits-- here they are incredibly expensive (and I don't want to know what my friend paid to have these sent to PA from CA!).

I will let you know when I have tried this... yum.

Courtney said...

how much sugar can I use in the meyer lemon cake if I don't have any agave syrup? i have a bunch of meyer lemons from my granmother's tree and would love to putt hem to good use.