I could not figure out what to do with the delectable slices of Pear Cake that I brought home from this wonderful Sunday supper - eat them slowly, a little bit at a time, and make them last as long as possible? Or, eat them all up, a snack full of love, as soon as it was tea time on Monday afternoon…?
We were delighted to be invited for dinner on Sunday, by a dear friend. As someone who cooks on most nights, I love it when someone else makes me dinner. It’s such a treat.
And, in this friend’s home, it’s not just about the food - which was fantastic, by the way - but it’s the way the table’s set, the lamps and candles are lit, a record is playing in the background, water’s ready to pour from a recycled glass jug, and special cocktails are being mixed. We sat for three and a half hours, enjoying food, company, conversation, and truly, it banished any possibility of oh-it’s-almost-Monday blues.
To start, we enjoyed a Kale Salad. The dressing was made of the juice of 1 1/2 lemons (or more to taste), olive oil, red pepper flakes, crushed garlic, salt, and pepper, and tossed together with 4-5 cups fresh kale, torn into pieces, and grated Pecorino cheese.
A celebration of the spring garden, our main dish was roasted asparagus, served alongside a Thai Red Curry-flavored couscous, topped with a summer vegetable medley - three leeks, chopped, sautéed for 15 mins in olive oil, kernels from two ears of fresh corn, one cup of edamame, one avocado, diced, sliced cherry tomatoes, and one bunch of fresh basil, lightly sautéed, all mixed together with lemon juice, crushed garlic, and salt to taste.
I was already in food heaven, and then she brought out dessert. A pear cake, made with dried lavender - moist, fragrant, fruity, with just the right amount of sweetness. Oh, I wish I had more.
Pear Cake with Lavender
- Serves 6
- 1/2 cup light-brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cups vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup applesauce
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 fresh pears, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1/2 cup not-too-finely chopped pecans
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon ground dried lavender
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Put the sugars, vegetable oil, and dried lavender in a mixing bowl, and beat until very well blended. Add the applesauce. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt, and gradually add to the sugar and oil, mixing just until well blended.
Stir in the pears, pecans, and vanilla, and pour into a oiled 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
Bake in the preheated oven until a skewer or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 1/4 hours (begin checking after 50 minutes). Remove from the oven, and allow to cool in the pan.
Serve with vanilla or coconut ice cream.
What’s your favorite recipe combining fruit and herbs?