An outsized cat, a superb dinner

Don't y'all think Nutmeg looks certain that he fits in this box? Look at his rump! The whole thing reminds me of the scene in that old Chris Farley movie where he dons the tiny jacket and sings "Fat guy in a little coat..."

I can't believe he put up with what was surely uncomfortable, just to prove this box was, momentarily, his. So delightfully cattish!

You know what else didn't really fit? The batter in this tart pan. I have made this cake, olive oil with dark chocolate, countless times and while spillage always threatens, I have never seen the likes of this torrential overflow. I mean, gah, the pan is encased. I had to pull on my Pit Mitts so as not to burn myself and pop this puppy out before it hardened onto the rim.

It recovered beautifully and tasted the same. I looovvee this cake, as you probably well know!

Dinner was fresh limas that I bought yesterday at the farmers market. Limas are one of my favorite beans. I could eat them on a weekly basis and never tire. My favorite way to enjoy them -hell, the only way I cook them?- is simply: in water, rendered bacon fat, salt and pepper. Doesn't get better.

I also pan-fried some bread that I'd baked this morning as well as some fresh peaches and sandwiched those around some freshly torn burrata, the latter ingredients also from yesterday's FM. Honey, salt and pepper et voila. Heavenly!

Robins, Med Fest

Mediterranean, folks, not meds. But first, robins. Specifically, the American robin, Robin Redbreast, Rockin' Robin, worm-plucker extraordinaire. This past week, Oliver has been working on his research project about the robin. His class is studying animals and honing their public speaking skills, so this report was to be a wonderful confluence of both goals. We all worked assiduously (because y'all, he can neither read nor spell much; I'm not doing his work for him), and I admit to having learned a few things about this common bird. For starters, the males divebomb other birds whom they consider intruders.

Anyway, at some point just yesterday, I asked Ol if he would like to wear a robin outfit during his presentation. Like maybe we could make a chubby redbreast for him. He was totally on board, so naturally I sent Tom out for a couple yards of red felt.

As an aside, why is felt so expensive? It's felt for crissakes.

Bygones. T brought home red felt, cut out a circle and while my manly trio went to J's baseball game (they won in a real upset, "see-why-you-should-never-give-up" game), I enjoyed my writing class and sewed. This is really saying something because while I am excellent at threading needles, I am not excellent at any other facet of sewing. Well, I can tie knots. But that's it.

But yesterday evening, I was damn certain that I could sew a puffy redbreast on a black tee-shirt for Ol. So I did. And he didn't seem to mind or even notice the random stitching and somewhat uncentered "breast."

And he was so proud to wear it today and he aced his presentation, and the kids pretended to divebomb each other at recess. Lessons learned, yes?

Yesterday during my writing class, Lili described a magnificent coconut cake one of her friends makes. Immediately, and unquenchingly, Laura and I started hungering for a cake of this magnitude. As it was nearly 6pm when we wrapped up, I didn't have time to make a cake so sated myself with an armload of Turkish Delight. It didn't really do the job, and all day today I noodled on cake. Cake. CAKE.

It was as if a tiny cake-maker had set up shop on my right shoulder and proceeded to spin a magical and endless tale of a life spent crafting and eating cakes. I took my own trip down memory lane: Nanny's lemon-lime refrigerator sheet cake; Gambino Bakery's Doberge cake (New Orleans; choc, not lemon); Jo's Party House cupcakes (Lake Charles, LA); the strawberry cake our lovely host served at our bridal shower; the strawberry cupcake I later discovered at Baked & Wired here in D.C.; the Texas sheetcake cupcake at Baked & Wired; the strawberry cake with whipped cream-mascarpone frosting I now make; and so one and so forth.

By early afternoon, I thought I'd run someone off the road if I didn't get a good piece of cake pronto. Concurrently, I started thinking about dinner. The boys and I bought a huge amount of spinach and some fresh and very creamy feta at the farmers market yesterday so I decided to make a phyllo-wrapped, olive oil-lovin' spinach pie in my Lodge for our main course tonight. Then I started thinking about how fantastically Mediterranean that was and how perfect for Meatless Monday. I commenced an entire, meditative consideration of olive oil and then, I just knew. I knew what my cake would be.

An olive oil cake. With chocolate, because it's that kind of a dayweek.

So Med Fest Monday it became, and all this was darn gooooood! Spinach + some radicchio and mustard greens + feta + raisins + pine nuts + shallots + garlic and so forth = good. And this cake. Mamma mia, Kim Boyce, thank you for this magnificent recipe. I sub orange zest for the rosemary, but otherwise it's brilliant. Spelt flour and dark chocolate are such a winning pair.