Fragrant Orange & Almond Cake from Ashley, Meta Street Cafe
In recent years, my family has asked me what I want for Christmas. I tend to ask for cookbooks, & cooking tools these days. It seems that my heart’s desire is to cook & share food, bake cakes. The following cake recipe is reminiscent of marzipan, almond paste. It becomes more pudding-like the more the almonds are ground before mixing. A Middle Eastern cake recipe, it includes classic California produce. This cake comes out moist, crunchy, & fragrant, and embodies holiday textures & tastes.
2 large oranges
2 cups whole almonds
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
olive oil for pan
Wash and boil oranges whole in a saucepan filled with water. The water will boil down, so check and replenish it often. After two hours of boiling, let the oranges cool and remove the pulp. Blend it in a food processor or adapt recipe for mixing ingredients in a bowl.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Oil a pan with a removable base.
Add the eggs to the food processor and pulse. Add almonds and pulse until they are coursely ground. Add sugar, & baking powder. Mix thoroughly and pour into the pan. Bake for one hour and check with a toothpick or sharp knife to come out clean.
Recipe from Food52 Genius Recipes: 100 Recipes That Will Change the Way You Cook by Kristen Milgore
Heart’s Desire, A Christmas Vignette by Ashley, Meta Street Cafe
We finished the turkey, mashed potatoes, and sliced green beans with almond slivers when Papa handed me an envelope, my name written on it, with, nearly, a few hundred dollars inside. I hadn’t been sure how much there would be, but I hoped it was enough to buy a record player with a tape deck in it. It was Thanksgiving Day and my grandfather had given each family member an envelope filled with total contributions from the rest of the family. With the money in the envelope received at Thanksgiving, we were to purchase our heart’s desire for Christmas. We could buy one big gift for ourselves, or many small things, but we were to wrap our gifts and keep it a secret until Christmas. Christmas Day we were to open our gifts and display our heart’s desire for our family.
Sitting beneath the Christmas tree, smelling the popcorn strings my sister and I strung with needles and thread weeks before, warm candy canes hanging from the branches, I unwrapped my heart’s desire and did reveal a record player with two tape decks that Christmas day. My new, state-of-the-art electronic device was the size of an ice chest, but it would tape songs off the radio or from records, and make copies, tape to tape. For years, my sister and I made and gave “mixed tapes” to friends, DJed school dances, and played music at my 14th birthday party two weeks before Christmas. Boys and girls from my class at school danced under mistletoe, balloons, and streamers to Prince and Men at Work. We traded tapes with friends, brought music to summer camp, and sleepovers. My heart’s desire was shared well for many years.