Monday, March 22, 2010

A Rainy Weekend

Another weekend of terrible weather in the northeast. Torrential rains and high winds wreaked havoc on the area with fallen trees and downed power lines making travel difficult at best. We were lucky to never have lost our lights or our heat, so it was a good time to at stay home and catch up on a few things that had gotten away from us.

Sunday afternoon J and L stopped by and decided to stay for a while to watch a movie with us.

When it became evident that we all wanted to eat, ingredients were easy to gather, and water was put on to boil.

Broccoli florets were tossed with some olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and salt then put to roast in a hot oven. I soaked some very thinly sliced red onion in ice water while I made a salad of escarole and baby spinach, then I dropped the orecchiette into the waiting pot of boiling water. I drained and dried the onions, tossed them into the greens and then dressed them with a lemon mustard vinaigrette.

The cooked pasta was quickly dumped into the waiting bowl and tossed with 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, the roasted broccoli, a couple of handfuls of toasted walnuts and enough hot pasta water to marry everything. While John poured the red wine, I tasted for seasoning and sprinkled the pasta with freshly grated Parmagiano. Dinner!

I have had some unsuccessful baking projects lately, but this almond torte was a hit.

Kath of The Ordinary Cook was hoping I would post the recipe. Here it is.

Almond Torte from Everyday Food, March 2010

1 1/4 cups (6 ounces) whole natural almonds, toasted
1 teaspoon cornstarch
4 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, blend almonds and cornstarch until finely ground, about 15-20 seconds,

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla and salt until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes. Gently fold in almond mixture.

In another bowl, whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold one-third of whites into almond mixture; then fold almond mixture into remaining whites just until combined.

Pour batter into a 9-inch springform pan. Bake until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in pan.

Note: There is no mention of greasing the pan in the recipe. Make sure that the cake is thoroughly
cooled before removing springform pan. Next time I would consider using buttered parchment
on bottom of pan to make removing cake from bottom a bit easier.


  1. The Almond Torte looks delicious and so does that bowl of pasta. I will be using this recipe as it has no flour so ideal for my gluten free sister. I hope the weather is better for you. We are having an absolutely gorgeous warm spring day here in England (most unusual!).

  2. I'm always waiting for the moment when it's evident that we all want to eat. I can always eat :)

    Btw, I made Mario Batali's orange and olive oil cake this weekend. It was a miss. Very dry. I wanted so much for it to work.

  3. Kath--I hope that you enjoy the cake.

    Tracy--What's up with these olive oil cakes? I'm thinking that if they are baked just a tad too long, they dry out.

  4. I love the sound of the pasta - lots of my very favourite things here - delicious.
    Almond torte sounds great too, I have a similar recipe bookmarked so maybe this is the nudge I needed.

  5. Rachel--Do try the cake, I bet you'll like it. I must try your chocolate tart--it looks fabulous.