I take a break from my writing so Gunner and I can have our merienda, or second breakfast, a habit I picked up in Mexico. Mine: half an avocado drizzled with pistachio oil, sprinkled with flaky salt. (Read here about how avocados are a mood elevator.) His: a barbecued pig's ear, the last of the 4H pig purchased last summer, the ear thoughtfully saved by my butcher for a dog like Gunner.
Gunner likes to be in my way; he often gets a little scratch on his tummy with my foot as I pass by, or a rub behind the ears when I take a break.
I toast the almonds just a bit longer than usual just so I can smell them that much more intensely as I pull them from the oven, and grind them in the food processor.
It's a lot like being in love. We create our own special world, the two of us. We communicate with glances, tone of voice, touching, and in Gunner's case--lots of staring and swiping with paws. When the dog is gone, that world is gone forever, never to return, even if there is another dog that wins us over.
Just baking the cake has lifted my mood, but my appetite is still flat. I'll take the cake to dinner tonight with friends; seeing friends who know and love Gunner, having them cook me a nice meal, having a little red wine--that will be sure to galvanize my appetite.
If you haven't read Molly's blog or book, please check it out! I adore how she writes about food and life, and her recipes are keepers. She has another book coming out this year, and there is a chance--fingers crossed--that she'll be visiting our community in the near future to give a talk.
Adapted for 6500 feet; if you are baking at sea level, use the amounts in parentheses. Use organic lemon and orange since you'll be eating the rind.
- 1 organic lemon
- 1 organic orange
- 6 ounces raw almonds
- 1 1/2 cups flour--I use 1 cup all purpose flour and 1/2 cup almond flour, but you can use all all-purpose flour if that's what you have. (At sea level, use 1 cup)
- 1/2 Tablespoon baking powder (use 1 T. at sea level)
- 4 eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 1/4 cups sugar (use 1 1/2 cups at sea level)
- 2/3 cup fruity olive oil
- confectioners' sugar, for sprinkling on top
- Preheat the oven to 325ºF.
- Place the lemon and orange in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes. When done, drain and cool the fruit. Cut the lemon in half and scoop out and discard the pulp and the seeds. Cut the orange in half and scoop out any seeds, leaving the pulp intact.
- Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until they are toasty brown and smell really good. When cool, pulse in a food processor until they are the texture of coarse sand. Remove from the food processor and set aside.
- Increase the oven temperature to 355ºF (350ºF at sea level).
- Without cleaning the food processor, add the lemon rind and the whole orange. Pulse until it resembles a thick marmalade. Breathe in the citrusy aroma of the "marmalade".
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, almond flour (if using), and baking powder.
- Combine eggs and salt in a mixing bowl. Beat until foamy, then gradually add the sugar. Fold the mixture into the flour. Add the "marmalade", almonds, and the olive oil. Combine gently by hand taking care not to overmix.
- Pour the batter into a 9-inch springform pan that has been generously rubbed with butter.
- Bake for about an hour, or until a toothpick placed in the center of the cake comes out clean. Once cool, release from the pan and sprinkle with confectioners' sugar. Share.