14 July 2018

Weekend Cooking: Tunisian Orange Olive Oil Cake

Tunisian Orange and Olive Cake RecipeSummertime, and the livin' is easy . . . and full of cake. Between our travels and warm-weather entertaining, we sure have been eating a lot of baked goods lately.

I've baked two small snacking cakes in the last week, and because both were hits, I want to share the recipes with you. (Plus, if I post them here, I won't lose them.) Today I'll post the first one, and next week, I'll type out the other.

The first cake recipe came from the Zingerman's Bakehouse cookbook by Amy Emberling and Frank Carollo (with photographs by Antonis Achilleos), which was published by Chronicle Books last fall.

You might remember the coffee cake recipe I posted last month (Sour Cream Lemon Poppy Seed Coffee Cake), which also came from this cookbook. I really do intend to write a full review of the book, especially because the publicist so nicely sent me a copy, but the short version is this: If you like to bake bread, sweets, snacks, pizza, and so on, you'll like this cookbook.

Zingerman's is a deli and bakery located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. My family has been to their stores and restaurant many times, though my visits have been limited because it opened years after I moved away from the area. Locally, Zingerman's Bakehouse is the go-to place for good rye bread and challah, but their stores have a national (and likely international) reputation for good food and good products.

Anyway, I love citrus, and the following recipe kept calling to me. I took it to a dinner party, and everyone liked the cake and appreciated that it wasn't overly sweet. It worked well for dessert, for an afternoon treat, and with coffee in the morning. The recipe suggests a 9-inch round cake pan, but I used an 8-by-8-inch square pan instead. (The photo is mine.)

Zingerman's Tunisian Orange and Olive Oil Cake
Makes 1 cake

  • Tunisian Orange and Olive Cake Recipe1 large seedless orange
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Wash the orange and cut off both ends. Cut the orange into quarters and put into a food processor, peel and all. Process until the orange is a pulp.

In a large bowl, crack the eggs and add the sugar. Use a whisk to combine, and then beat until light and smooth, about a minute. Add the orange pulp and olive oil and whisk to combine.

In another bowl, crack the eggs and add the sugar. Use a whisk to combine, and then beat until light and smooth, about a minute. Add the orange pulp and olive oil and whisk to combine.

In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Sift the dry ingredients into the orange mixture and stir gently until all the ingredients are combined. All the dry ingredients should be moistened.

Spread the cake batter into the pan and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before removing from the pan.
Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.

NOTE: Mr. Linky sometimes is mean and will give you an error message. He's usually wrong and your link went through just fine the first time. Grrrr.

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13 July 2018

12 New Audiobooks to Add to Your Wish List

I love audiobooks, and that’s no secret. Summertime is listening time, as I work in the garden, take walks, relax on the deck, and generally enjoy the long evenings. This year, my audiobook consumption has been depleted by travel. Still, hitting the road to spend time with friends and family and to see new places is well worth the trade-off.

Fortunately, July is a great month for audiobook fans, and it wasn't easy narrowing down my roundup to just 12 titles. The audiobooks recommended today reflect my own listening tastes and are based on both the author and the narrator. The selections are all adult fiction, and I left off the books that appeared in last week’s diversity roundup.

Grab your earbuds, charge up your phone, and get ready to be entertained. The audiobooks are presented in no particular order; all are scheduled for a July 2018 release.

  • Audiobooks for July 2018What We Were Promised by Lucy Tan (Hachette Audio; ~11 hr) read by Jennifer Lim. Publisher’s summary: “Set in modern Shanghai, a debut by a Chinese-American writer about a prodigal son whose unexpected return forces his newly wealthy family to confront painful secrets and unfulfilled promises.” Why I want to listen: I don’t know much about contemporary Shanghai, and I loved Lim’s performance of Little Fires Everywhere.
  • The Shortest Way Home by Miriam Parker (Penguin Audio; ~9½ hr) read by Abby Craden. My summary: A grad student moves to Sonoma wine country to figure out what she really wants out of life. Why I want to listen: I know Miriam and can’t wait to dig in to her debut. I've never listened to Craden, but based on audio clips, I'm willing to give her a chance.
  • It All Falls Down by Sheena Kamal (Harper Audio; ~8½ hr) read by Bahni Turpin. Publisher’s summary: “The brilliant, fearless, deeply flawed Nora Watts . . . finds deadly trouble as she searches for the truth about her late father in this immersive thriller that moves from the hazy Canadian Pacific Northwest to the gritty, hollowed streets of Detroit.” Why I want to listen: The novel has been getting high praise and starred reviews, and Turpin is usually a fantastic narrator.
  • Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik (Random House Audio; ~18 hr) read by Lisa Flanagan. Publisher’s summary: “A fresh and imaginative retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale.” Why I want to listen: I’m a big fan of fairy tale retellings and loved Novik’s Uprooted. Flanagan is sure to build a magical atmosphere.
  • Audiobooks for July 2018A Death in Eden by Keith McCafferty (Recorded Books; ~10 hr) read by Rick Holmes. My summary: The seventh book in a private investigator mystery series set in Montana and combining fly-fishing, murder, and environmental issues. Why I want to listen: I really like this series, and Holmes does a great job bringing the main characters alive for me.
  • Clock Dance by Anne Tyler (Random House Audio; ~9 hr) read by Kimberly Farr. My summary: A story of family and a woman's journey of personal growth and change by one of my go-to authors. Why I want to listen: The combination of Tyler and Farr is hard to resist.
  • Age of War by Michael J. Sullivan (Recorded Books; ~15hr) read by Tim Gerard Reynolds. Publisher’s summary: “The epic battle between humankind and their godlike rulers finally ignites in the masterful follow-up to Age of Myth and Age of Swords.” Why I want to listen: I love this adult epic fantasy series. Plus, Sullivan’s stories and Reynolds’s delivery is a match made in heaven.
  • The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley (Macmillian Audio; ~9 hr) read by Susan Bennett. Publisher’s summary: “A modern retelling of the literary classic Beowulf, set in American suburbia as two mothers—a housewife and a battle-hardened veteran—fight to protect those they love.” Why I want to listen: I'm curious about a contemporary Beowulf story, and I enjoy Bennett's narrations and never hesitate to listen to her.
  • Audiobooks for July 2018A Double Life by Flynn Berry (Penguin Auido; ~7 hr) read by Fiona Hardingham. Publisher’s summary: “A gripping, intense, stunningly written novel of psychological suspense” that focuses on the long-reaching affects of a murder. Why I want to listen: I like a good thriller, and I like the idea that this one is loosely based on a true story. Hardingham is always a pleasure.
  • Mary B by Katherine J. Chen (Random House Audio; ~12 hr) read by Marisa Calin. Publisher’s summary: “The overlooked middle sister in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice casts off her prim exterior and takes center stage in this fresh retelling of the classic novel.” Why I want to listen: I can’t resist a P&P spin-off. Calin is new to me, but clips of her work are appealing.
  • She Was the Quiet One by Michele Campbell (Macmillan Audio; ~11 hr) read by January LaVoy. Publisher’s summary: “A riveting new suspense audiobook about privilege, power, and what happens when we let ambition take control.” Why I want to listen: I admit, it's LaVoy who draws me to this book; I love her performances.
  • Girls’ Night Out by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke (Brilliance Audio; ~10 hr) read by Karen Peakes. Publisher’s summary: “A chilling novel of psychological suspense that will make you think twice about what your best friend may be hiding.” Why I want to listen: Fenton and Steinke are a reliable team and Peakes knows how to deliver up the suspense.

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11 July 2018

Wordless Wednesday 504

First Morning Glory of the Year, 2018

Click image to enlarge. For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.

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09 July 2018

Stacked-Up Book Thoughts: Science to Pop Culture

What a crazy couple of weeks! As some of you know, my very active and fun-loving mother turned 90 in late June. My brothers and I planned three full days of activities, including a half day of fishing, a visit to a historic village, shopping, and eating out. We all had a great time.

Of course, I haven’t read much in the last 10 days and I haven’t had much time to visit blogs, since I’ve had to cram full workweeks into just a few days. Can you say tired? The fun isn’t over yet, since I have another short week coming up. Life will return to normal soon, I hope.

Once again, audiobooks have saved me, especially on the long car trips to and from my mom’s house. Here are my thoughts on my recent reads.

Review: She Has Her Mother’s Laugh by Carl Zimmer audiobookShe Has Her Mother’s Laugh by Carl Zimmer (Dutton, May 29, 2018): As a former geneticist, I’m always hesitant to pick up a book that is meant to explain genetics and heredity (separate concepts) to the general population. Thus I was pleasantly surprised and pleased that Zimmer got the science right and presented it in a way that is accessible, personal, and fascinating. If you’ve sent your DNA to an ancestry company, if you’ve wondered why your brother is the only tall person in your family, if you’ve thought about IVF, or if you’ve worried about a possible inherited disorder, this book is for you. Zimmer’s approach is loosely based on his quest to understand the results of his own DNA analysis; along the way he examines the past and present cultural, political, and medical implications of genetic differences between individuals and the many avenues of current genetic research and how it affects our everyday life. The overriding message that all humans are united on the cellular level is particular important these days. I thoroughly enjoyed Joe Ochman performance of the unabridged audiobook (Penguin Audio; 20 hr, 32 min). His no-nonsense delivery and clear and expressive voice kept my attention throughout. (More on the audiobook via AudioFile magazine.)

Review: All Summer Long by Hope LarsonAll Summer Long by Hope Larson (First Second; May 1, 2018): I really liked this graphic novel (comic) about Bina and Austin who have been inseparable friends since they were babies. In the summer between seventh and eighth grade, though, things start to get weird. Austin starts to pull away and barely texts when he’s away at soccer camp. Bina, left on her own most of the summer (everyone seems to be on vacation), practices her electric guitar and hangs out with Austin’s older sister a few times. When Austin comes back home, their friendship is strained until Bina finally confronts him. This is a great story about how true friendships can mature right along with you, about how people can like each other even if they have different interests, and about the importance of following your own passions. The graphic novel is geared to middle grade readers, but the message is, actually, universal. The drawings are fairly simple but very expressive. The colors are black and golds, which didn’t initially attract me, but I quickly got used them. There are diverse characters (different skin tones and facial features), a minor LBGTQ theme, and a strong focus on the women. Recommended. (Review copy provided by the publisher.)

Review: Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren audiobookLove and Other Words by Christina Lauren (Gallery, April 10, 2018): This is a dual time-period story about the relationship between Macy and Elliot. The two meet as young teenagers and bond over their shared nerdiness. Over the years, their relationship becomes much more, until on New Year’s Eve of their 18th year, things happen, and Macy walks away from Elliot and cuts all communication. A decade later, they meet by chance, and the couple is forced to confront the events of that fateful night. There’s much to like about this novel. Macy and Elliot’s friendship had a unique twist in that it was limited to weekends, holidays, and summer, when Macy and her father stayed in their vacation home, which was next door to Elliot’s permanent family home. So, though the pair grew close, much of their time was spent apart. I especially liked Macy’s father, who, as a single parent, did his best to honor his late-wife’s wishes for their daughter. The mystery of why Macy and Elliot split is held until the end, and the plot device kept me invested. Unfortunately, the big reveal wasn’t completely realistic. I mean, what happened was realistic, but the secretiveness of it was hard to buy. Narrator Erin Mallon did a great job reading the unabridged audiobook (Simon & Schuster Audio; 8 hr 21 min). She captured the personalities and emotions of the characters perfectly. (More on the audiobook via AudioFile magazine.)

Review: Pop Culture: New York City by Bob EganPop Culture: New York City by Bob Egan (maps by Jim Egan) (Applause Theatre & Cinema; June 26, 2018): This is not your usual tourist guide to New York City. The book consists of lists and maps of all kinds of pop culture things to see in the city (mostly Manhattan but also the other boroughs). For example, with this book you'll be able to find the exact spots where album cover photos where taken, where superheroes fought their battles, where sports stars grew up, and where iconic hotels are located. If you like music, books, sports, the performing arts, television and the movies, and more, you’ll discover hundreds of sites to explore next time you’re in New York. Besides identifying film locations of your favorite television shows, you'll also find lists of bookstores and music stores, nightclubs and restaurants. Egan covers a vast range of people, places, and themes, so no matter your age and interests (classic movies, punk rock, public art, reading), you’ll find plenty of places you’ll want to visit. Check out PopSpotsNYC.com to see the author’s popular website and to get an idea of how he tracks down each location. (Review copy provided by the publisher.)

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07 July 2018

Weekend Cooking: The List Edition

As some of you know, we celebrated my mother's 90th birthday last week. It involved two travel days and three days of fun adventures. We had one day home and it was July 4 already! All of this is to explain why I haven't cooked lately, and I haven't had much time to read either. What's a Weekend Cooking host to do?

I decided that this week is the perfect time to share some food-related links I've collected. I also thought it'd be fun to give you a look at a few of the food and cooking books I have my read and review list. Maybe you'll get to them before I do.

Hope you're staying as cool as possible this summer. . . . I can tell you that our A/C window units are barely keeping up. Don't ask me about my second-floor home office!

Links to Explore

  • Ice Pops! We love homemade ice pops! I make all kinds of fruit-based pops in the summer; some are boozy, some are austere sugar free, some are rich -- all, however, are refreshing. Right now I have banana/sweet cherry pops in the freezer. Want some ideas for making your own? Martha Stewart has 40 recipes, and Bon Appetit offers a guide to all things ice pops.
  • Eat Your Veggies! We use our grill all year round (even when it's snowing), but it's a particular godsend when I can't stand the thought of turning on the stove or oven. You don't have to be a meat eater to love your grill: Delish collected 20 recipes for grilled vegetables, and Serious Eats found 18 recipes.
  • Easy Entertaining! We're mostly wine drinkers, but sometimes it's fun to offer an eye-catching and refreshing mixed drink to guests. The only problem is, who wants to play bartender all afternoon or evening? Yay for cocktails in a pitcher. You'll find 11 pitcher cocktail recipes at Saveur and 12 recipes at Town and Country.
  • Shop Locally! From May to November, we buy most of our food from local producers at one of our several farmers markets. We're experienced market shoppers, but if you aren't or just need some advice, Cooking Light has 7 excellent tips for how to shop like a pro, and Kitchn has 10 tips for proper etiquette and what to expect.
Food Books on My eReader

Some of the following books I have checked out from the library, others are review copies, and still others are in my personal collection. Some are newly published (or about to be published), and others are older. All are on my current reading list.
  • Basque Country by Marti Buckley: Cookbook of food from (duh) Basque Country
  • Milk by Mark Kurlansky: Food history
  • Bread Toast Crumbs by Alexandra Stafford: No-knead breads & how to use them
  • Cook It in Cast Iron by Cook's Country: Special equipment cookbook
  • Feast by Anissa Helou: Cookbook of food from Islamic countries
  • Sugar by James Walvin: Food history
  • Fix, Freeze, Feast by Kati Neville & Lindsay Ahrens: Freezer cookbook
  • A Bite-Sized History of France by St├ęphane Henaut & Jeni Mitchell: Food history
Note: Photo of cocktail pitcher by Tom Coleman / Saveur.
Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.

NOTE: Mr. Linky sometimes is mean and will give you an error message. He's usually wrong and your link went through just fine the first time. Grrrr.

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