Dinner extravaganza and the world’s best lemon cake!

Before we get to the food, a better picture of my first Sorbetto! It is making it’s debut at work today pained with dress pants from Loft, a a light pink cardigan from Old Navy and white sandals from Target. It’s a little cool today but the hot pink in the top matches my hot pink pedicure. I couldn’t resist.

 

So to thank my lovely boyfriend for driving all the way up to see me on a weeknight, I decided to make a rather extravagant dinner. Now, I usually cook nice meals for us on the weekends, but during the week I don’t do much special for just me. Honestly, probably 3 out of 4 nights I have a chicken breast with brown rice and edamame. It’s super easy and I’m not sick of it yet.

Anywho, Tuesday night was much more elaborate. I attempted to make not just a nice dinner, but a cohesive one. With a salad/vegetable, starch and protein. AND dessert.

So here’s the menu:

Snap pea, radish and feta salad

20120328-224249.jpg

Potato, apple and onion gratin

20120328-224217.jpg

Panko-crusted pork chops

20120328-224238.jpg

Lemon yogurt cake

20120328-224400.jpg

And it was a hit!

The first three were all added from Bon Appetit recipes.

The salad was a snap and I forgot to take pictures. Essentially, you just trim the peas and then cut them in half on the diagonal. Add thin slices of radish and crumbled feta. Dressing was super simple, but I left out the sumac the recipe calls for because they only sumac I know of is the poisonous plant. I’m too poor to bother with obscure ingredients I will probably never use again. Anywho, the salad was delicious (the boy even had seconds!) but was not so good the second day. It may have been better had I not already dressed it. Oh well, lesson learned.

The gratin was just about as simple. Thin slice the onions and cut down in butter. Toss with thin sliced potatoes and apples. Bake. I halved the recipe, but forgot to change the time which may be why it looks a little overdone. Or because I don’t have a glass dish and cooked it in a metal one instead. IDK if that makes a big difference or not… This gratin has no cream or cheese but still feels really rich. It kind of melts in your mouth – so good!

20120328-224158.jpg20120328-224209.jpg20120328-224217.jpg

The pork chops were not quite as successful but still good. The comments on the recipe said the red wine vinegar was too strong, so I used apple cider vinegar since that’s what I had on hand anyway and thought it would be milder. For some reason apple and pork just seem to go anyway. I also lightly rinsed the chops after they marinated to make sure they weren’t too sour. The vinegar ended up being pretty light but I’d rather have that than have it be too strong. After they marinate just dredge in flour, egg and the panko herb mixture. The crust was super delicious but it didn’t stick very well. I’m not really sure why that was. Also, you definitely want to be sure to pound them thin as the recipe suggest. Otherwise they don’t cook through all the way. I had to pop two of them in the oven for a few to get them cooked all the way through.

20120328-224225.jpg20120328-224232.jpg20120328-224238.jpg

The pièce de résistance though was the cake. It’s from a rather old Barefoot Contessa cookbook that was SO overdue to the library (which is really sad because I live across the street). It’s a yogurt cake, so there is no milk or butter.

Ingredients:
1.5 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
3 extra-large eggs
2 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

For glaze:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
*I’m not sure about the amounts for the glaze. That’s what I wrote down but I needed WAY more lemon juice to get it the right consistency. Just add until the glaze becomes thin enough to stir smooth, but not runny.

Oven at 350, grease and flour loaf pan

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into one bowl. Whisk yogurt, 1 cup sugar, eggs, zest and vanilla into another bowl. Slowly whisk dry ingredients into wet. With rubber a rubber spatula, fold the oil into the batter making sure it’s all incorporated (just keep stirring!).

20120328-224325.jpg20120328-224310.jpg20120328-224317.jpg

Pour batter into pan and bake for 50 min. Cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. When cake is done, let cool 10 minutes. While still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mix over cake and let soak in. Cool. Top with glaze (just mix confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice and stir until smooth).

20120328-224336.jpg20120328-224400.jpg20120328-224408.jpg

Let me just say that this might be the most popular thing I’ve made. Pat was flipping over it and everyone at work raved as well. According to Pat, it’s even better the next after its been in the fridge for a day. I didn’t have anymore (not after so much indulgence and no gym the night before).

I highly recommend it and will definitely make it again!

PS: How do you make those gray border/boxes around the pictures go away? They’re driving me nuts and messing up my photo setup…

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: