Olive Oil Cornmeal Cake

This cake actually made its appearance a couple of months ago, but I kind of forgot about it. Not because it wasn't memorable, but because I forgot I took any picture of it. I'm happy to share it today because it brings back some wonderful memories of the end of summer, spending time with friends, and eating outdoors on a beautiful late summer night. This simple cake is an elegant ending to any meal. The flavors of the olive oil and the wine really shine through, but in a subtle and wonderful way. They add such a unique flavor that, combined with the slightly gritty texture of the cornmeal, perfectly finish off a relaxing evening. 

I really enjoyed the wine in this cake, but I'd like to also try it with the orange juice. I didn't end up using the orange zest when I made it, but if I ever make it with orange juice instead of the wine I would definitely add the zest. I also wondered if buttermilk would work instead of the wine or orange juice, just as something different. I might give that a shot some time. But then again, I liked the wine so much, I might not try anything else!

Olive Oil Cornmeal Cake
From Martha Stewart

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar, plus 1/3 cup for topping
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (or orange juice)
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange (optional)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush bottom and sides of an 8-inch round cake pan with oil; line bottom with a round of wax or parchment paper, and brush paper with oil.

In a large bowl, whisk together oil, eggs, 1 cup sugar, and wine until smooth. Add flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and orange zest; whisk gently to combine.

Pour batter into prepared pan; sprinkle top evenly with remaining 1/3 cup sugar (topping will be thick). Bake until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan and a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.

Cool in pan 20 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake; invert cake gently onto a plate, and remove parchment paper. Reinvert cake onto a rack to cool completely. Serve with orange segments, if desired.

Chicken Braised with Bacon, Onions and Riesling

Sometimes a nice simple, yet elegant chicken dish just sounds like the perfect thing, this was the case last week Sunday. While searching through my many recipe ideas I stumbled over this lovely looking dish. Chicken, wine and a few vegetables, put them all together in one pot and braise. Half an hour later you have a pot full of tender chicken floating in a flavorful sauce surrounded by tender vegetables. Add a salad and some nice crusty bread to soak up all of that delicious sauce and you have a winner. So simple yet so good!

The only thing I change in this recipe was adding a package of mushrooms. I love mushrooms in just about everything and I thought that adding mushrooms to this dish would be perfect, and I think I was right. It was just the right touch. Other than that I pretty much stuck to the recipe. There was one sad moment at the end of dinner when I realized that the 4 thick and smokey slices of bacon and the fresh thyme I bought especially for this meal were still sitting on the counter in their bowls, I completely forgot to add them in at the end! I was so disappointed, I'm sure they would have just elevated this dish all the way to the very top. But alas, it was not to be this time. I guess I'll just have to try it again sometime.

Browning the chicken

Such a pretty sight

Dig in!

Chicken Braised with Bacon, Onions and Riesling

Adapted from 

Williams Sonoma


  • 12 red or white boiling onions 
  • 1 chicken, about 4 lb, or 3 chicken quarters
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more, to taste 
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste 
  • 4 thick-cut bacon slices 
  • 12 small carrots or 3 or 4 large carrots cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1/2 a large onion, minced 
  • 10 ounce package of mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 Tablespoons brandy 
  • 2 cups Riesling 
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature 
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme 


Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the onions and cook until the skins loosen, about 2 minutes. Drain the onions and rinse under cold running water. Slip off and discard the skins.

Cut the chicken into 9 pieces, then season with the 1 1/2 tsp. salt and the 1/2 tsp. pepper.

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, fry the bacon until crisp and browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain, leaving the fat in the pot.

Increase the heat under the pot to medium-high. Working in batches, add the chicken, skin side down, and cook, turning once or twice, until lightly browned on both sides, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer to a platter.

Add the onions and carrots to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and cook for another minute or two. Carefully add the cognac and reduce the heat to low. Using a long-handled match, light the cognac and let the flame burn for 30 seconds, then cover to extinguish the flame. Uncover, add the Riesling and bring to a boil over high heat. Return the drumsticks, thighs and wings, and then the breasts to the pot. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 35 minutes.

In a heatproof bowl, mash together the butter and flour to form a thick paste. Gradually whisk about 1 cup of the hot cooking liquid into the flour-butter mixture, then stir this mixture into the pot. Simmer until the chicken shows no sign of pink when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife near the bone, 5 to 10 minutes more. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Crumble the bacon and sprinkle the bacon and thyme over the chicken.

Transfer the chicken to a warmed deep platter and serve immediately.

Skillet Rosemary Chicken

If you are looking for a simple and elegant meal that is healthy and delicious, I have the recipe for you. This skillet dish is quick and easy but still super flavorful and impressive looking. It also includes some of my favorite things; rosemary, red skin potatoes, and mushrooms. Trust me, it's a winning combination! I think rosemary is my favorite herb, it is just so yummy! I love it with potatoes, and I love it with chicken, so this dish combines all of that into one pan for a complete meal that everyone will love.

I've made this dish several times now and have found that I really love the mushrooms so I always add extra. If you like mushrooms too, I encourage you to add a few more than the 10 ounces called for. A few extra potatoes never hurt either, if you have room in your pan that is. One word of caution, the original recipe called for the juice of two lemons which I found a bit overpowering. I love lemon, but the juice of two lemons was just too much. I suggest using just one lemon (or not juicing the two lemons too vigorously), but you can adjust to your taste however works best. I also found that adding a splash of white wine was an excellent choice, I think adding wine is always delicious!

Skillet Rosemary Chicken

Adapted from: 

Minimally Invasive


  • 3/4 pound -1 pound small red-skinned potatoes, halved, or quartered if large
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, plus 1 1/2 tablespoons leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Juice of 1 lemons (squeezed halves reserved)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4-6 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs or 3 chicken leg quarters
  • 10 ounces cremini mushrooms, halved (or more if you like mushrooms)
  • splash of white wine


Preheat the oven to 450. Cover the potatoes with cold water in a saucepan and salt the water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until tender, about 8 minutes; drain and set aside.

Pile the rosemary leaves, garlic, 2 teaspoons salt and the red pepper flakes on a cutting board, then mince and mash into a paste using a large knife. Transfer the paste to a bowl. Stir in the juice of 1 lemon and the olive oil. Add the chicken and turn to coat.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, skin-side down, cover and cook until the skin browns, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken from pan; add the mushrooms and potatoes to the skillet followed by a splash of white wine. Place chicken over mushrooms and potatoes and drizzle with any marinade remaining in the bowl.

Add the rosemary sprigs and the squeezed lemon halves to the skillet; transfer to the oven and roast, uncovered, until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is crisp, 20 to 25 minutes.