Second Breakfast? Just “Bilbo’s Special Ham and Eggs for Thorin”

You might assume I eat a hearty breakfast, but I can’t handle food very early in the morning. When I was around 10 years old, I gave up drinking milk, but I don’t think I’m lactose-intolerant per se. When my daughters were in school, I bought into the “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” crap, so I generally provided them with a modest morning meal right up through high school. I also ate this breakfast, but skipping the meal was never too much of a problem, however.

Then came the “Night of the Gallbladder.” This traumatic event radically changed my morning routine in a good way. Now, all I eat is a serving of fruit, 20 ounces of cold water, exactly 2 ounces of (usually) orange juice, and my medications. If I’m really in the mood for an eggy-type of meal, I have it at lunch or dinner.

SECOND breakfast? You’ve got to be kidding…

This is an excellent breakfast, brunch, or even casual supper dish, so give it a try! When you prepare these eggs, I think you will agree that there are an awful lot of eggs for one person, even if he is a dwarf. You could easily use a combination of fresh eggs and egg substitute, if desired.

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From “The Hobbit”—Bilbo’s Pantry

Finally, after much discussion of what the dwarves have planned and why they need the assistance of this burglar (I mean, hobbit, sorry…), Thorin Oakenshield imperiously states that he likes “six eggs with my ham, when starting on a journey: fried not poached, and mind you don’t break ’em.” Well, he is a king, after all. Bilbo has become so annoyed after this long evening that he decided “not to bother to get up very early and cook everybody else’s wretched breakfast.” If he did, however, he would have made this recipe instead. I certainly don’t blame him for not doing this; these dwarves have been rather rude the whole time.

And now we will leave Bag-End, and Mr. Bilbo Baggins may close the door on his well-stocked pantries. At least nothing went to waste! Next up on the agenda: Troll Treats.

“Bilbo’s Special Ham and Eggs for Thorin”

bilbosspecialhamandeggsforthorin

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 1 tablespoon packed golden brown sugar
  • ¾ pound cooked ham slices *
  • 6 extra large eggs
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon Savory Seasoning
  • ½ cup minced fresh chives
  • 5-6 ounces spreadable herb/garlic cheese (2/3 cup) **

In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter and brown sugar over medium/high heat. Add the meat and fry until a golden brown on both sides. Turn heat to very low and cover.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, and Savory Seasoning until well combined. In another large skillet coated with cooking spray, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter over medium/high heat. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet and cook over medium/high heat until just beginning to scramble, stirring occasionally and gently with a spatula. Sprinkle with the chives and add the cheese, breaking it into smaller pieces or mashing it as you mix it in. Continue scrambling until the eggs are fully cooked and fluffy. Don’t brown them (though if you do, they’re still quite edible). Adjust seasonings, if desired. Serve alongside the ham and accompany with items such as toast, biscuits, scones, or English muffins. Keep leftovers covered in refrigerator. Serves 3-4, or perhaps just one terribly hungry dwarf…

* You may use a few slices of Canadian Bacon or even thin pork chops here, instead of the ham. Allow a few minutes extra cooking time for pork chops.

** Boursin cheese is great here; just use a 5.2 ounce package, any flavor.

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Bryan Cranston’s Underwear and “Bag-End Biscuits”

After a frenetic binge-watch of Breaking Bad (only my second viewing) and after seeing most of Malcolm in the Middle, I’m convinced that Bryan Cranston is the man I’ve seen most often in his underwear, with the exception of two other men. So—Cranston ranks number three.

Of course, my husband is the number one wearer of underwear in front of me.

Number two was my father. He was of the boxer variety (Bob and Bryan being of the brief variety). My dad would actually step out of the house (or even the occasional motel) to go pick weeds in the front yard. Maybe nobody noticed him sitting cross-legged in the grass in his relatively dingy t-shirt and boxers. On his feet, he would only be wearing socks, never slippers or sandals or shoes. Maybe nobody minded… I’ve assumed that, because the neighbors never called the police to report there was a strange man sitting in front of his house, pulling weeds, in his underwear. Or gosh, officer, there is this strange man walking around the parking lot of the Denver Motel 6, looking at license plates… no, he’s not doing anything weird, he’s just… in his underwear… and some socks…

(He liked to “chase plates.” Mom and dad would drive around, and he would observe license plates. A good day was seeing maybe 25 plates other than New Mexico. Canadian and Mexican plates were a welcome bonus. Hawaii and Alaska always elicited the response, “well, they’re a long way from home.” Dad gave up driving when it became clear he was an exceptionally nervous driver, and better off only being a passenger.)

My sister, mother, and I never really knew why he perpetually went out into his perceived yard (even if that yard was the parking lot of a Motel 6) only in his underwear. He was a peculiar person in many ways, but I’ve assumed since he was brought up in an incredibly repressive household, he figured he could finally be free (at least in this particular way) after he married and moved away from his parents.

Nevertheless, dad was also an intelligent man; he loved sports, yet never played much as an adult. He loved music, yet only played piano briefly as a youngster. He was generous and sensitive. He had a quirky and dry sense of humor. He also believed that if he belonged to a religion, it would be “cookie-ism.” He never let his diabetes get in the way of his sugar worship, however. These cookies would have been right up his alley.

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Did you know that Tolkien fanatics established a special holiday just to read the works of the Professor? The Tolkien Society started this event way back in 2003, and it is held every March 25. It’s a good day to re-read a favorite short story, such as the delightful Leaf by Niggle. Or you could give up binge-watching OITNB and give The Hobbit a quick read.

I know I’m late for it this year, but this little post was something I prepared for the day a couple years ago and it goes along very well with these delicious cookies, which turned up in my original cookbook at just this place in this chapter. You’ll just have to mark your calendars for next year!

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From “The Hobbit”—Bilbo’s Pantry

For a typical Tolkien Reading Day, I like to picture one of my favorite hobbits, Mr. Bilbo Baggins, reading his “morning letters.” He’s about to enjoy his day (his less noisy and more green day) when this incredibly annoying wizard intrudes, whose only mission seems to be destroying Bilbo’s cozy, complacent world.

After this encounter, I like to imagine Bilbo escaping into his comfortable and luxurious Bag-End bachelor pad (well, “scuttle” is the word Tolkien uses…); relieved that he can now spend his afternoon reading about Tookish adventures, certainly not participating in any such nonsense.

It’s a good thing he’s already baked some delicious biscuits to nibble on. Little does he know, he better enjoy them now, because those uncivilized and rude dwarves are going to take over his pantries tomorrow…

“Bag-End Biscuits”

bagendbiscuits

  • 3 large oranges
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon soft salted butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar

Using a microplaner or fine grater, remove as much of the zest from the oranges as you can. You should have at least 3 tablespoons; set aside. Cut oranges in half and juice them. If necessary, strain the juice; reserve ¼ cup and save the rest in a small bowl.

Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray or grease lightly. In a large bowl, cream the 1 cup butter, sugar, and 2 tablespoons zest. Add the flour and the reserved ¼ cup juice; mix well. On a lightly floured surface, pat and roll out the dough to a 6″ by 12″ rectangle, about ½” thick. Cut into 1″ by 2″ pieces. Carefully place on the baking sheet. Bake 16-20 minutes, until the cookies are just slightly brown on the bottom. Cool on pan for 2 minutes. Carefully place them on a rack and cool 1 hour.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon butter, remaining zest, and 2 tablespoons juice. This should have the consistency more of an icing, not a glaze. You might add a smidge more juice if you think it is too thick. With a recessed or bent spatula, spread about a teaspoon of icing on each cookie and leave on rack over the baking sheet for about ½ hour to set. Keep covered at room temperature. Makes 36.

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Crooked Cleopatra and “Gandalf’s Cold Chicken and Pickles”

I just finished reading Stacy Schiff’s Cleopatra. It was okay; I gave it 3 stars on Goodreads, then put it in my book bag as a donation to wherever, since I don’t plan to read it again. My takeaway was this:

1. Politicians were incredibly corrupt.

2. The 1% ruled the world and didn’t give a shit about the remaining 99%.

3. A truly powerful woman will certainly not be a saint, but she will undoubtedly engender all sorts of opposing, distorted, and often blatantly mendacious stories about her conduct. These will generally be written by men who are threatened by her very existence. Cleopatra had a virtual squadron of conservative male writers who gleefully set about writing whatever they could to bring her “reputation” down.

Hmm. This sounds familiar.

Nihil sub sole novum.

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From “The Hobbit”—Bilbo’s Pantry

I guess (mostly) all of us have a sweet spot for Gandalf in our hearts. He’s wry and witty; magical and majestic—the archetypal wise old man. If you had to hang out with such a person in real life, however, he might be kind of annoying. He’s certainly annoying to Bilbo, who later has to console himself with some biscuits (check out my next post). Gandalf rather condescendingly asks Bilbo to “Put on a few eggs (future post!), there’s a good fellow!” then requests “cold chicken and pickles.” Next thing you know, he’ll be patting Bilbo on the head. Insufferable, don’t you think?

You can use chicken (or leftover Thanksgiving turkey) from your own roast or use prepared grilled chicken strips. As you can see below, this is a low-carb recipe, unless you make a sandwich out of it all.

“Gandalf’s Cold Chicken and Pickles

gandalfscoldchickenandpickles

  • ½ cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seed
  • ¼ teaspoon celery seed
  • A pinch of salt
  • ½ cup English (seedless) cucumber, peeled or not; sliced thinly
  • ½ cup radishes, sliced thinly
  • ½ cup celery, sliced thinly
  • ½ cup carrot, peeled and sliced thinly
  • ¼ cup red onion, cut into ¼” slivers
  • ½ pound cold cooked chicken
  • ¼ cup light sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon coarse ground mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt

In a 1½ quart saucepan, combine the first 5 ingredients. Bring to a boil and stir just to dissolve the sugar. Turn off heat and add the 5 vegetables. Cool ½ hour. Put in a covered 3-cup container and refrigerate for 1 hour; stir a couple of times. Drain to serve.

Shred, slice, or dice the chicken. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Adjust seasonings, if desired. Dollop sour cream sauce on chicken or combine as a salad. You may serve this plain with the pickles on the side or as a sandwich with the pickles as a relish. Cover and refrigerate leftovers separately. Vegetables look best the first day; the color fades afterwards. Both keep about 3 days. Serves 2-4.

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Out of the Closet and “Over the Hill and Across the Water Salad”

Yes, I came out of my closet and concluded that I hate all of my clothes.

ALL of them, every single item.

Pretty much every item.

Well, I guess I can live with a few pieces…

I suppose this stems from a rather chronic dissatisfaction with my body in general. But perhaps this is how every woman feels? Nora Ephron felt bad about her neck and I can certainly sympathize, especially now that I’m past 50. She also could remember nothing and I’m sympathizing with her here, as well… I’m not sure whether the whole body acceptance movement is working or not. I mostly feel okay with being 30-35 pounds overweight (at the moment… or is it closer to 40? Guess it depends on the weekend binge…), but I wish I could fit my fat hips into a pair of real jeans (not jean-leggings, though I do like those) that fit my skinny legs. I mean, I have the hips of a size 14-16 and the legs of a size 8-10. It’s annoying.

Body acceptance. I could accept my body just the way it is but then my doctor will tell me to lose 50 pounds, because 30 isn’t enough. I could get my neck tightened, get some liposuction, lift my boobs… Or I could ADD 12 years to my age, as Téa Leoni suggested she does on a recent Late Show with Stephen Colbert. People will think I look fantastic!

I know I (most likely) won’t do any of the procedures listed in the previous paragraph. I just wouldn’t want to spend the money on any of it, I’m too lazy, and I really don’t like to volunteer for any sort of surgeries. I’m not sure if I’ll even bother to dye my hair back to brown, when I turn gray—too messy to do yourself; too time-consuming and expensive to bother getting it done. The only thing I’ve added to my mostly non-existent beauty regimen is to paint my nails more often after I noticed my nails getting kind of ridgy-looking. And why do you get ridgy-looking nails? Because you’re getting older. Alas. I also moisturize more than usual, but that’s probably only benefitting the body butter industry, not necessarily my skin.

Well, if that’s all I can manage doing, then maybe I’m more comfortable with my physical appearance than I thought. It’s not like I’m posting selfies on Twitter or anything.

I know Bob will read this and say, “Why don’t you go out and treat yourself to some new clothes?” However, the only thing worse than looking at your tired old clothes is going shopping for new ones.

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From “The Hobbit”—Bilbo’s Pantry

As promised, here is a healthy salad for Bombur. A nice short post this time, with relatively few ingredients—perfect for summertime!

I’m imagining that Bilbo’s father liked to dabble in gardening and specialized in salad creations, so I’ve imagined this salad was one of his specialties. Bungo Baggins built Bag-End for his lovely bride Belladonna Took…and very little is otherwise known about him. In Letter 214, Professor Tolkien mentions that Bungo became “‘head’ of the family of ‘Baggins of Hobbiton'” at the ripe age of 70, but he died rather prematurely at age 80 (prematurely for hobbits, that is); his mother Laura Baggins (née Grubb) apparently didn’t want to surrender her position too soon. It’s a little reminiscent of the current situation in England with the queen, perhaps…

Dried cranberries or blueberries will work, too. Make your cheese extra stinky with a Bleu, or make it mellow with some Feta, if desired.

“Over the Hill and Across the Water Salad”

overthehillandacrossthewatersalad

  • 5-6 cups light green lettuce, torn into large pieces (such as Bibb, Boston, Butter, or living lettuce)
  • 2 ounces sliced almonds, lightly toasted
  • ½ cup dried cherries
  • 2 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled into small bits
  • 1 cup celery, cut diagonally into ¼” slices
  • ¼ cup almond oil
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon mayonnaise
  • ½ teaspoon Savory Seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, almonds, cherries, cheese, and celery. In a shaker jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the remaining ingredients and shake well. Adjust seasonings, if desired. Pour over the greens and toss. Serve immediately. You can make the dressing in advance and mix your greens, but don’t toss together until right before serving because these types of lettuce are fragile. Not recommended as leftovers. Serves 4.

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Massacres happen; blog plans change.

Scheduling your blog posts is a smart idea. I only discovered how to use this lovely WordPress feature recently and it has changed my life for the better. However, you might be about to post something that touches on tragic events. This is the first time I’ve encountered this problem.

My next post is cheekily titled “Out of the Closet (blah, blah, blah, a Hobbit recipe)” and was scheduled to post on this week. Then Orlando happened. I figured my closet metaphor, which is actually about my closet, needed to be postponed.

Now, I’m not one to write poetry like the oh-so-talented-and-delightful Lin-Manuel Miranda; I don’t have speechwriters helping me articulate my feelings like President Obama.

These mass shootings have just become so commonplace. I’m UNcomfortably numb about them. Here’s MSNBC with more serious music and graphics. Here’s my fringe-y Facebook friends talking about how guns don’t kill people. Here’s more useless thoughts and prayers. Here’s more anger. Here’s more questioning about whether you are safe anywhere.

Do I think the Second Amendment should be repealed? Even if I did, it will never happen, but it sure could use some severe editing.

Do I think the gunman was perhaps trying to get out of his own closet, but found himself rebuffed at all turns? Well, it doesn’t matter what issues he was facing; any angry American man can externalize his problems easily in this country. And now he can attribute it to ISIS, an organization which is proving to be quite adept at social media marketing.

Perhaps that was a rather sexist comment in the preceding paragraph, but I can’t think of any women at the moment who went on shooting rampages…

And so, we go on. Who will be targeted next week?

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Doomsday Approacheth and “Bombur’s Pork-Pie”

Recently, I had a dream/nightmare wherein our new president was named Donald Trump. For some reason, he was in bed, eating some meat loaf.

Why meat loaf? I think somewhere along the line, I had heard a report that his son-in-law had wondered why his father-in-law would even want to be president because of all the work involved. He pictured dad usually sitting on the couch in the evening, eating something pedestrian like meat loaf. Sort of… low-energy…

Well, who knows how this year will turn out. I’d like to give him the benefit of the doubt, but it’s difficult, given his mercurial personality.

I woke up severely troubled…

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From “The Hobbit”—Bilbo’s Pantry

Poor Bombur. All he gets is abuse for his physical condition. It’s downright tragic that he is a victim of body-shaming.

I suppose I would say he is one of my favorite dwarves merely because of his appetite and his oh-so-apparent love for food and drink. He is described as “immensely fat and heavy” and he suffers throughout the entire story of The Hobbit. In the film versions, he is definitely a portly fellow, but he sure can move. He is sort of reminiscent of Peter Griffin or Homer Simpson, you know, fat but incredibly fit and mostly able to keep up with all the other spryer dwarves. In this YouTube clip, you can see he actually is the fastest runner (and don’t ask me why the folks who posted this went with Chariots of Fire music at the end instead of just keeping the original soundtrack):

I suppose I would also say he is one of my favorites because I can completely relate to his physical issues (which means I’m moderately fat but also relatively fit, though this is limited to regular types of working out—I don’t foresee jumping around barrels and killing orcs in my future…). Yes, he asks for a pork-pie, but he also requests a salad (which will be my next post), so he must be trying to eat relatively well…

“Bombur’s Pork-Pie”

bombursporkpie

  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dry thyme (or 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced)
  • ¼ cup cold salted butter, cut into ¼” bits
  • 3 ounces cold lard, cut into ¼” bits
  • 7-9 tablespoons ice water
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1 pound pork tenderloin, cut into ½” cubes
  • ½ cup dry white wine, such as Chardonnay
  • ½ teaspoon Savory Seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon dry thyme
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen corn
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen lima beans (or peas)
  • 14-ounce can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour or Wondra
  • 1 extra large egg
  • 1 teaspoon water

In a large bowl, combine 2¼ cups flour, cornmeal, 1 teaspoon each of salt and dry (or fresh) thyme. Add the ¼ cup butter and lard and combine. Add ice water by tablespoons and combine well. Divide into a ⅓ and ⅔ portions and flatten into round disks. Put in covered containers or cover each with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.

Meanwhile, coat a medium deep skillet with cooking spray, then sauté the 1 tablespoon butter, onion, and the pork over medium/high heat just until there is no longer any pink color. Add the wine and cook over high heat until it is almost dry. Add all the remaining ingredients down to the flour or Wondra. Bring to a boil, then cook uncovered over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Let stand; it should still be moist and saucy. Adjust seasonings, if desired.

Preheat oven to 375°. On a floured surface, roll out the large disk to a 13″ circle and place in a 9½” glass pie dish. Pour in the stew. Roll out the smaller disk to about 12″ and place on top. Trim edges, fold over and crimp decoratively, reserving scraps. Cut a small X in the center. With pie crust scraps, cut small decorations. Whisk together the egg and 1 teaspoon water. Brush top of pie with egg wash and apply decorations—egg wash these as well. Bake 30 minutes. Brush top of pie with egg wash and bake another 16-20 minutes, until golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting. Serve hot, warm, or even at room temperature. Cover and refrigerate leftovers; reheats well. Serves 6-8.

Vegetarian OptionReplace the lard in the pie crust with vegetable shortening. Keep everything the same, except replace the meat with 3 cups of assorted diced vegetables and add an extra tablespoon of flour to thicken the sauce. Good choices would be summer squashes, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, or just additional onion, corn, lima beans, and/or peas. Green chile? Yes, please!

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Mom, Monty Python, and “Belladonna Took’s Lemon Cake”

My mom occasionally liked to see films at our local art cinema, The Guild. One day she took us to see And Now For Something Completely Different, starring a band of relatively obscure Brits collectively known as Monty Python’s Flying Circus. I was ten and my sister was seven. It was 1972—why wasn’t she taking us to see some Disney film, like Napoleon and Samantha?

Thank goodness she didn’t. In the end, my mom didn’t always appreciate the Pythons, but my sister and I were hooked. We spent our teen years quoting Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Between comfy chairs, hedgehogs, silly walks, and killer rabbits, we would often find ways to integrate Python quotes into our daily lives.

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My modest collection—“That rabbit is dynamite!”

Can I quote all the lines in The Holy Grail? I could come very close, if it’s on. And it is on, about once a year. Was Graham Chapman the first man I ever saw naked on screen in The Life of Brian? Maybe… I’m pretty sure he was. Do I still bother people with obscure Python quotes? Sometimes—let’s face it; the Pythons are an acquired taste, and you have to know your audience.

Have I based friendships and boyfriends on whether they understand Python references? Or Star Trek, or Tolkien, or Star Wars references? Yes, I have.

Thank you, mom, for skipping Napoleon and Samantha.

I can hardly wait to expose my grandsons to this crazy Python world…

This was mom’s favorite cake, out of all the recipes I tested before she died on May 17, 2012.

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From “The Hobbit”—Bilbo’s Pantry

Various other pesky dwarves call out for “more cakes—and ale—and coffee, if you don’t mind,” so Bilbo brings out what I imagine would be one of his mother’s special recipes. In my original cookbook, I envisioned this lovely lemon cake as a recipe handed down from Bilbo’s mother, hence the name. I have pictured it with coffee below; some desserty, chocolatey ale might complement the cake, but I’m doubtful (mainly because I’m not the most avid beer connoisseur, but try it and let me know…).

Belladonna was the ninth child (of 12) of Gerontius (The Old Took) and Adamanta Chubb. She married Bungo Baggins and their only child was Bilbo. This seems to be her only claim to fame, though, in the beginning of The Hobbit, Gandalf pardons the somewhat rude Bilbo, “for your old grandfather Took’s sake, and for the sake of poor Belladonna.” Did Belladonna suffer from some unknown tragedy? Or is Gandalf merely commenting on the fact that Bilbo turned out to be so different from his apparently fun-loving, firework-enjoying relatives? Regarding his Tookish relatives, even Bilbo comments that “life used to be quite inter—(he is so obviously going to say interesting, but his fustiness prevents him).” Is she “poor Belladonna” because her son turned out to be such a stick-in-the-mud?

Oh well, children often become their parents, or they react to them by becoming their opposite, you know what I mean? But let’s assume that Bilbo’s mom was a good cook—she’s bound to have had a few delicious recipes on hand.

“Belladonna Took’s Lovely Lemon Cake”

lemoncakeslice

  • 1 giant lemon (or 2 medium lemons)
  • About ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon 1% milk, room temperature
  • ¼ cup soft salted butter
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 extra large egg, room temperature
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon soft lemon curd
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 9″ heavy aluminum cake pan with cooking spray or grease lightly. Lightly flour bottom of pan. With a fine grater or microplaner, scrape as much zest as you can from the lemon; you should end up with 1-2 tablespoons—set aside. Then squeeze the lemon and measure out about ¼ cup of juice into a 2-cup glass measure (remove any pits, of course). Add ¾ cup milk to this, or enough to measure 1 cup total. Add the zest and vanilla; whisk and set aside (it will most likely appear curdled—don’t worry).

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and egg until thoroughly combined. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 1 tablespoon poppy seeds. Add to butter mixture alternately with the lemon/milk mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients; mix well on medium speed;scrape down sides. Spread in prepared pan and bake at 350° for 33-37 minutes, until cake tests done in the center. Cool in pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around edge and turn out onto the rack, bottom down—cool one hour.

Transfer to a serving plate and split in half horizontally; carefully set aside the top layer. Mix up the 1/2 cup lemon curd and gently spread on the cake. Replace top carefully. In the same bowl you mixed the flour in (don’t bother washing it out), whisk together the 1 tablespoon lemon curd and 1 tablespoon milk, then add the powdered sugar and whisk until fully combined. Spread this evenly over the top—it’s okay for some to drizzle over the sides. Sprinkle with the ½ teaspoon poppy seeds. Cover and store at room temperature or refrigerate. Serves 6-8.

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