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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Everything Happens Twice...

Back in University, a classmate once told me that often, random events happen twice in a short amount of time. For example, you bump into someone you haven't seen in a while, twice in the same week. And for some reason that got stuck in my head (I wished I'd kept more valuable information, but well, at least there's something I remember from my youth!). And I tend to think about it often. Especially when things happen twice...
During my semester at Tel-Aviv University (and before I'd met the authoress of the above-mentioned theory), many, many years ago, I got into the wrong bus twice during the same week. The first time, not knowing what to do, I waited until the last stop and even this day, I have no idea where I ended up being. The driver told me he was done for the day, parked the bus and left. I didn't know what I was supposed to do. It was dark, empty and I realized I was completely alone and no one knew where I was. I was lost. I felt the tingling in my eyes as I was about to cry. I then realized I couldn't afford the tears. I needed myself in there. Weeping wasn't going to do anything for me. I grew up a bit that night...Eventually, I found a cab after an hour and a half. I almost kissed the driver who agreed to take me all the way back into the city. That same week, despite the previous experience, I managed to get in the wrong bus again. First, I denied it to myself. It couldn't happen twice, and especially after just having gone through it! I couldn't be that dumb, could I? So I wasted more time and more stops in the wrong direction pretending it was all in my imagination. Then I faced the truth, got off and made my way back full of shame.
The other day in my yoga class, a woman was telling how twice that week, she had showed up the wrong day at her doctors' appointments. One of those times she waited to be called in for two hours, until she realized she wasn't going to be called in until the following week. I felt so bad for her (I could relate, as I recently showed up the wrong day to see my ophthalmologist, but only once). A couple of hours later, that SAME day, I arrived to my childrens' school for "security patrol" duty.
I signed in, got a walkie talkie and a neon orange net vest. With all the gear and the responsibility on, I started followed the assigned route. Phew...after an hour of walking around on alert, looking for anything suspicious, my job was done. It was over now, until next year. I came back to the security guard to return the equipment and he sweetly told me: "you might get a laugh about this, but..." (he was smartly preparing me so I wouldn't cry instead), "your patrol isn't scheduled until next month." 
So now, the showing up on the wrong date happened twice the same day and now I'll have to show up for patrol twice within a month.
But don't feel bad. It's not all sad and bitter. There are also some sweet things that happen twice within a short span.
One Friday morning I started craving rosemary-olive oil cake like a madwoman (nope, not pregnant). It had been a while since I had last baked it. I would usually use Mario Battali's delicious recipe from his Babbo cookbook (here's a link to the recipe). However, this time I wanted something denser and moister (I know I sound like a maniac, but for some reason I really wanted that cake). I stopped at the store right after school drop off and bought some fresh rosemary, even if I knew I wouldn't be able to figure out a recipe and actually bake it that day. I had guests coming over the next day and I still had a lot to cook...
That afternoon, I brought the kids over to my friend T's for a play date. She was having company that evening and had a cake in a covered pedestal crowning her table. I peeked in and she said it was her olive oil cake. Ahhhhh! Twice in a day!!! "It's really easy to make," she assured me. "It's like a pound cake, but I make it with olive oil." She printed me her recipe and when we got home, I chopped my rosemary, prepared the rest of the ingredients and substituted for whatever I didn't have. I just used a bowl and a whisk. After an hour in the oven (and while finishing up the remaining lunch items for the next day), both my daughter and I dug in (on Sunday she gulped down a total of 3 slices for breakfast...). Satisfying that craving felt like putting down a fire. It was sweet, and twice in the same weekend...
It happens, that maybe that particular cake craving, was a very wise way of my body finding a solution to all my twice-repeated stupidity. According to (one of my very favorite nutrition-ingredient websites), "rosemary contains substances that are useful for stimulating the immune system, increasing circulation, and improving digestion." And...not only that, as the pine-scented herb was used in "ancient Greece by students, who would place rosemary sprigs in their hair when studying for exams." In those days, rosemary was thought to stimulate and strengthen memory. They seem to have been up to something, as modern research has shown rosemary "to increase the blood flow to the head and brain, improving concentration." How's that? Maybe if I eat rosemary twice a week, I might not have to go through all those duplicate humiliating and time-consuming events anymore!

ROSEMARY-OLIVE OIL CAKE (inspired by T's, although a bit modified...I just can't help it)

You can use the lemons and the left-over rosemary to season chicken, fish or pasta, and then you'll use the same ingredients TWICE in one day.

  • Vegetarian (contains eggs and honey)
  • Free of: refined flour nor refined sugar, wheat, dairy, soy and nuts
  • NOTE: substitute spelt for gluten free flour mix if needed. Or substitute eggs for 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons ground chia mixed with 1 1/2 cups of water, if desired.
  • I used orange blossom honey to keep it going with the citrus flavor.

3 jumbo (or 4 large) ORGANIC eggs
3/4 cup (5 oz) extra virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling the pan
2/3 cup (6.5 oz) orange blossom honey
1 1/3 cup (5.5 oz) whole spelt flour
1 1/4 teaspoons non-aluminum baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/3 cup (4.5 oz) unsweetened apple sauce (or orange juice)
1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
zest of 2 lemons

Preheat oven to 325 F. Oil a 9-inch round baking pan, and cover bottom with parchment paper (I used a Bundt pan, but I DO NOT recommend it, as the cake got completely stuck to it). Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, oil and honey until mixed.

Add in spelt flour, baking powder and salt and whisk until incorporated.

Pour in apple sauce (or juice) and sprinkle in rosemary and lemon zest. Whisk a couple of times until rosemary is evenly distributed in the batter.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40-60 minutes. Cake is ready when it bounces back when gently pressed in the middle or once a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle of the cake.

Don't even think of using this kind of mold. This is how it stayed until I had to butcher it!

 Let cool for about 10 minutes and un-mold.
Let cool completely and serve.
Cake freezes really well for up to 1 month if double wrapped in plastic.

Serves 6-8


lisa Ryans said...

I love this blog together with the recipe in it. I truly admire this article so much that I’ve even enjoyed myself. I will try the dish any time of the week. I’ll do it with the cuisines I’ve got from . I can’t wait!!

Alexandra said...

Thank you, Lisa. I'm glad you enjoyed it!