Thursday, June 24, 2010

Cherry on the Cake

I always work weekends. I just prefer them. This week I found myself with Friday off and a late check in on Saturday morning. My friend Ujwala was in town so we decided to have dinner together. I spent the entire day making cherry jam, so dinner had to be relatively easy. I drove to Whole Foods Market and preceded to walk the aisles looking for inspiration. I decided on Little Neck Clams with Pascal's compound butter,  (It's a delicious blend of garlic, ginger, cilantro and parsley). Fresh mozzarella with roasted tomatoes and fresh basil.
Whole Foods had fresh wild caught halibut on special, I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it but I thought it would make a nice light entree. The green beans were fresh and a deep green, I bought a pound. Since I 6 pounds of cherries for jam, I saved about 1/2 cup to make Lynn's Easy Yogurt Cake. Lynn at Autour de la Table d'Hote swears you can make a sweet or savory cake with this recipe.
My friend Randy suggested Mama Watt's recipe for halibut, a blend of bread crumbs, parsley, a touch of garlic piled on top of the fish and roasted until done. When Uju walked in she suggested adding lemon zest. Sounded good to me, I then add lemon juice and olive oil. The fish became a community affair.
 We ate a wonderful dinner, drank lovely wine and talked until 11 PM. I wasn't inclined to take photos, I just wanted to relax and enjoy the evening. So these few pathetic snaps will have to suffice.
The weather was perfect for dining al fresco. Even the mosquitoes kept to themselves.

Mama Watt's Halibut and Breadcrumbs

1 cup breadcrumbs
handful parsley chopped
1 clove garlic minced
zest and juice of 2 lemons
a dab of olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Mix alll the ingredients and mound on top of the fillets. I roasted mine for about 15 minutes on 400 degrees F. Depending on the thickness of your fillets it may take less or more time. You want the fish moist and flaky so remove it from the oven before it has a chance to dry out.

Cherry Yogurt Cake
I actually made tartlets with this recipe.
1 cup plain Fage Greek Yogurt
1 cup sugar

2 large eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon Kirsch
1/3 cup butter, melted, or organic safflower oil
1/2 cup fresh cherries, pitted and halved

1 2/3 cups self rising flour

Pinch of sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

Grease a 9 inch spring form pan.

Beat yogurt and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add eggs one at a time, continually beating. Blend in almond extract, butter and rum. Add flour and beat on high of 30 seconds to develop the cake's texture. According to Rose Levy Beranbaum, this is a must!

Pour into the prepared pan. Bake 35-40 minutes, until golden and a Cake Tester, inserted in the center, comes out clean. 
Garnish with Almond Whipped Cream

Almond Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup superfine sugar

Add all ingredients to a bowl and whip until soft peaks form.   

I'll write more about Pascal's terrific and flavorful almond butter and the cherry jam next!

All text and photos are sole property of The Gypsy Chef 


  1. All looked and sounded great..halibut is a wonderful fish to broil or bake!

  2. I am mad about cherries... lovely little cakes and the almond whipped cream is a brilliant idea. It sounds like you had a marvelous party... what a lucky guest you had!

  3. Always an inspiration dear Pam!!

  4. Hi Pam! Thanks for sharing and your pics are great - droolable!

  5. Oh, Pam, this dinner looks so awesome. I'm sure Ujwala was pleased. I wish I could get fresh seafood that was not farmed, but, being that the gulf of mexico is an oil bath right, it's not likely.

  6. BD, I agree, you can do anything with halibut.

    Deanna, I love cherries also. I am forever finding new ways to eat them. Uju is a marvelous cook and always feeding me. It was nice to return the favor.

    Lynn, No my dear, you are the inspiration!

    Stella, Shame on BP. Sorry you folks down south are getting such a raw deal. I read the other day it would be washing up on the Long Island beaches this winter.

  7. What a menu, Pam! I love fresh halibut and you've prepared it in the most delicious way. Fresh cherries are on my market list this week and I can't wait to try your lovely cherry yogurt cakes.

  8. Good for you, making all that cherry jam. YUM!

    And what an interesting cherry cake recipe! I love that you made little individual tarts with it. The almond cream on top was the perfect finish. Lucky Ujwala!

  9. Fabulous menu and I love those little cakes....
    I will have to try them soon!

  10. How funny! Your cake is very similar to a cherry cake I made a few days ago! Your dinner sounds fantastic and I bet your friend had a great time eating and enjoying the company.

  11. Your dinner sounds heavenly and i certainly wld not have bothered to take pictures. love teh cherry cake. I shd really make that for my blog :)) I will.

  12. I'm not sure which looks more delicious to me, the gorgeous halibut with breadcrumbs (brilliant, by the way) or the lovely cherry cakes. Beauitful dinner!

  13. This all looks so good. Love that cherry cake.

  14. Pam, I love this little cake. Our cherries are just now in, but I'm waiting for the griottes (sour Morel cherries) before I get out my jam making stuff... I think I'll save some for this cake, though...

  15. Hi Pam, what a delicious meal! I bet you all had a great time there. Btw, can't find your new post....your girl graduation! Congratulations, She looks stunning. I'm so proud of her and so do you huh! Hope you guys are having a fabulous time.
    Best wishes,

  16. You fashioned a really lovely meal. I especially love the recipe for halibut.I'm really happy to hear your dinner was successful. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  17. Me encantan todas sus recetas y, con su permiso me quedo ojeándo. Me hago su seguidora.
    El paste, exquisito y el fletán se ve divino.