What happens when life takes a tumble and suddenly the Christmas season takes an unexpected turn? Joan decided that since there wasn’t any stress at this time of year, it would be a good idea to stir things up. Quick recap: fall on wet pavement, broken patella, surgery, pain, soft cast, immobile … ah, isn’t life a surprise? One second up, next second down.
It’s been a crazy week, but she’s doing great — such a trouper (also a “trooper” — we looked it up!). Of course, there were definite challenges. Holidays, like time and tide, do not get put on hold: family was arriving, tree needed trimming, meals needed preparing. So, in the true spirit of the season, friends and family members stepped up to help make the house merry and bright. And as for food, once again the signal went out and the Girlfriends Catering Company answered the call …
Carol brought over a fabulous lasagna, adapted from an Ina Garten recipe; Rhona made comfort food, using the meat loaf recipe from Joan’s very own La Cucina Marinello cookbook, along with a very photogenic olive oil cake she made from Rick Tramonto’s recipe in Osteria. It all helped to sustain the patient and her caretakers so they could enjoy the holiday season despite the wrinkle in plans.
Merry Christmas to all… and to all, please be safe!
- ¾ cup olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan
- 1 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
- Juice and finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
- 5 large egg yolks
- ¾ cup plus 1½ tablespoons sugar
- 4 large egg whites
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Position the oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease a 9-inch springform pan with olive oil. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment or wax paper. Oil the paper.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk the flour with the lemon zest and set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks and ½ cup sugar on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes, or until thick and pale. Reduce the speed to medium and add ¾ cup of olive oil and the lemon juice, beating until just combined.
- Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture until just combined and set aside.
- In the clean, dry bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with the salt on medium-high speed until foaming. Add ¼ cup sugar, a little at a time, beating continuously, until the egg whites just hold soft peaks.
- Fold a third of the whites into the batter to lighten it, and then fold in the remaining whites.
- Transfer the batter to the pan and tap it on the countertop to release any air bubbles. Sprinkle the top of the cake with 1½ tablespoons of sugar and bake for about 45 minutes, or until puffed and golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and release the sides of the cake. Let the cake cool for about 1¼ hours, until room temperature.
- Remove the bottom of the pan and peel off the paper. Transfer the cake to a serving plate.
As per our tradition, on New Year’s Eve we will choose a name at random from anyone who comments on this or our recent Hanukkah post and the winner will be sent one of our favorite cookbooks!