Two Years

Two years ago today we got hitched with some of our closest, wonderful family and friends there to share in the day and throw confetti at us. And help everything run smoothly – a trillion thanks for that.  Especially to the moms and dads. The rehearsal dinner was exquisite. The speeches were killer (both nights!). The dance floor was hot, sweaty, and joyous. The band was pure amazing. Even the grandmas were moshing, albeit in their own way, to a polka and “Yellow Rose of Texas.”  Two of the numerous uncles, one a Jesuit priest, got up to the mic and whistled and sang Otis Redding. There was a spontaneous outburst of Jets and Sharks song and snapping during picture hour. The rain didn’t matter a whit, and crammed in the back of a car with loads of tissue paper, abandoned sportscoats, umbrellas, and my huge rumpled dress, we waved to a school bus full of co-revellers en route back to the hotels. I didn’t even taste the cake. I married my best friend. It was the best day of  my life.

Because this is a (somewhat) food-centric blog, I figured I’d put up the menu from the evening. I remember the polenta as being delicious; everything else is a lovely blur.

Sashimi Tuna Cones: Spicy Ahi tuna blended with ginger and cilantro in a crisp shell
Panzanella Spoons: Cherry tomato, English cucumber, perlini mozzarella, basil and micro-croutons tossed in a light red wine vinaigrette
Water chestnuts wrapped in bacon (you have to get something wrapped in bacon. Water chestnuts were the compromise).
Crispy Eggplant with Minted Tomato Confit and Goat Cheese: Small rounds of eggplant rolled in seasoned Japanese panko breadcrumbs and fried, then topped with diced tomato, julienne of mint and a small mound of goat cheese
Tapas Shrimp: Jumbo shrimp sautéed in extra virgin olive oil, garlic and lime juice
The Love Note: A phyllo envelope of Asian pear, goat cheese and caramelized shallots
Slow Cooked Duck: Slow-cooked duck served on a corn pancake and topped with grilled pineapple chutney
Pistachio Chicken: Chunks of white meat chicken coated with pistachios and finished with Sambucca liquor

Salad of field greens with balsamic vinaigrette and toasted pine nuts
Rosemary chicken or Moroccan-style braised brisket of beef
Soft parmesan polenta and string beans with toasted hazelnuts and shallots

Prune Plum Cake

I like biting into a big, juicy plum.  That’s why those tiny prune plums never interested me.  The fruit to pit ratio just didn’t appear to justify their existence in my shopping bag.  However, multiple sightings of prune plum recipes (most notably on The Kitchn) soon got me wondering if, perhaps, I was as wrong about this stone fruit as I was about ratatouille.  Now I’m even more firmly convinced that preconceived food notions should be kicked curbside post haste when you encounter a recommendation from a reliable source, or several.

This prune plum cake was awesome. Just sweet enough, just tart enough, with a butterscotch-y flavor on the caramelized crust edge, similar to the most coveted edge pieces of my Mema/Mom’s fruit cobbler recipe. The recipe below makes a squat, somewhat dense cake, one that could easily be gobbled up in a matter of two days by two people. Should have made this YEARS ago.

Prune Plum Cake
Recipe from The Kitchn with slight edits mainly in the fat and sugar departments. The Kitchn based theirs on the “famous NYT Plum Torte”. I used a non-stick springform pan but apparently the size of the pan isn’t important (cast iron skillet, 9-inch round, square “brownie’ size, sky’s the limit).

1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons yogurt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup all purpose flour, sifted
1/4 cup whole wheat flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
1 egg
Approximately 15-20 prune plums, halved and pitted 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter and flour your choice of baking vessel (if it’s non-stick, don’t bother). Cream sugar, butter, coconut oil, yogurt, and vanilla in a bowl. Add eggs and beat well. Add flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg and beat well.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. (Note – I was a little surprised about how little batter there was, and also at the thick consistency. Don’t worry about this – it’ll turn out just fine). Place the plum halves skin side up on top of the batter, being sure to crowd the pan.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and the middle is set. Cool on a rack.