01 09 10

search you little tarte

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Don't Fence Me Out

(Photo courtesy of Salt)
Sometimes something is so amusing that you forget how inconvenient or annoying it is.  That's what happened to me the other day.

It was  lovely outside, and I managed to get all my errands done early in the day.  Having a couple of hours to myself before I had to pick Kate up and take her to tennis, I decided to test out a recipe for polenta pound cake that I got from Salt (Salt).  This is a great baking blog that's worth a look.  Nina always has inspiring ideas and really delicious recipes.  I love this blog so much that I have an email subscription and you should too.  But back to the cake.  I got to work mixing and measuring and had the cake in the oven in no time.

Now I had an hour and a half to wait while the cake was baking.  No problem because there's always a lot to do around my house.  At some point, it occurred to me that the trash cans needed to be wheeled to the curb. I had plenty of time before the oven timer went off so it was a good time to get that done.

Pebbles was in the backyard enjoying the early spring sun.  I left the back door open and rolled the trash can to the sidewalk.  I closed the gate because I didn't want Pebbles to follow me to the curb.  I took the trash out and rolled the can back to the gate.

This is where it got interesting.  The gate was locked!  How did that happen?  That gate is never locked.  I looked through the slats of the gate and there was Pebbles looking very confused.  "Why is mom looking through the gate and not coming in" was what she would have been thinking, if dogs had thoughts like that.

Now I was in trouble because not only could I not get back into my house, there was a cake in the oven.  Uh oh,  What was I going to do?

I started by walking around to all the exterior doors of the house and of course they were all locked.  This was not good and the clock was ticking.  I was getting desperate.  As far as I could tell, there was only one option left.  I had to climb the back fence to get into the yard.

Now, those of you who know me know that I am not a fence climber.  Not only that, I was hardly dressed for it.  So, picture if you will, a 51 year old woman, dressed in a crisp white blouse, perfectly pressed skinny jeans, and Manolo Blahnick flat boots hoisting herself over a fence.  Thank heavens there was no one there to see it because I'm sure it wasn't graceful.

As I was teetering on the top of the fence, Pebbles decided that it wasn't a good idea that someone was climbing our fence to get into the yard.  I had become an intruder and she was barking up at me with gusto.  I'm looking down at the barking dog and the soggy leaves and mud and all I could thing was "please don't let me damage the boots."

I managed to make a somewhat graceless landing and the boots and all of my middle aged bones survived the impact.  I dodged my hysterical dog in time to hear the timer on the oven go off.

Crisis averted.  It's a good thing that the cake was really good.

Recipe:  Polenta Pound Cake
(Salt, adapted from Frank Stitt's Bottega Favorita)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

6 large eggs, separated

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 cup yellow cornmeal, plus more for dusting the pan

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup sour cream


Preheat the oven to 350F.  Grease a 9 1/2 x 3 inch round cake pan, then dust with cornmeal. Set aside.

In bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.  Transfer to another bowl and wipe out the mixer bowl.

Add the butter, sugar, and lemon zest to the mixer bowl and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy, approximately 10 minutes.  Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition.  Add the cornmeal and beat until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Beat in the vanilla extract.  Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the sour cream, starting and ending with flour.  Fold in the beaten egg whites.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until skewer comes out clean.  Cool on rack for 15 minutes, then remove cake from pan and cool completely on rack.


  1. Nadine, wonderful post and thanks for your very kind words. I am still cracking up-- I believe you and I might have been related in another life, as I had a similar incident in the manolo's; after I fell- all I cared about were the shoes!!

  2. Oh my, sounds just like something that would happen to me too! Love the recipe and the idea of cornmeal in pound cake, yum.