Orange Almond Cake

Orange Almond Cake

In the dead of winter (or what passes for it in California), nothing brings the sunshine back more than citrus. As a winter treat, Steve created this delicious cake for oranges or a mix of orange with other citrus. It’s reminiscent of Middle Eastern or northern African recipes. It can be iced (we used a simple cream cheese icing), glazed with either a cooked juice/sugar syrup or marmalade, dollopped with whipped cream, or sprinkled with chopped nuts or powdered sugar—or some combination of all.
Yes, you read the recipe correctly: use WHOLE fruit. After all, some of the most intense aroma is in the rind, and boiling removes the intense bitterness of the white pith, leaving a pleasant “edge”—almost like the flavor of an Italian aperitivo. Depending on your combination of citrus you may want to adjust the amount of sugar you use; tangerines or blood oranges may require more than a typical navel orange. If seeds are present, remember to remove them before processing the fruit after boiling.
This cake pairs beautifully with Urban Legend’s Aglow, an orange dessert wine. There’s a bit of that edge with it, too—it’s not too sweet and has notes of baking spice from fermenting the grapes with the skins and seeds (just like a red) rather than just fermenting juice.

Continue reading

Isabel’s Mango Salsa

Many of you ask about the Urban Legend crew and what they’re up to. All are healthy and making the best of keeping close to home.
Isabel loves to garden and cook. She’s been experimenting in her kitchen and shared a delightful new recipe with us that she’s been enjoying with a refreshing glass of UL’s Grenache Blanc. Now you can enjoy them together, too.

Continue reading

Black-Eyed Pea Soup

Urban legend has it that eating black-eyed peas on New Years Day brings good luck and prosperity in the year to come. In the south, a traditional meal includes the peas, which symbolize prosperity as they swell when they cook; greens, which symbolize money; pork, because pigs root forward when foraging, representing positive motion; and corn bread, which represents gold.
Recipe Notes:
If you eat pork, finely slice 3 strips of bacon, then gently saute to render the fat. Once the bacon is just starting to brown and crisp, start adding your vegetables. Omit any additional oil in the soup.

Home-cooked black-eyed peas are more flavorful than the canned variety.  Use approximately 3/4 cup of dried to start and cook according to package instructions in water or stock, for even more flavor.

Choose your stock carefully.  Many stores’ prepackaged versions aren’t very tasty. We often purchase ours from restaurant commissary stores; many don’t require that you show commercial credentials or have an account to shop. Of course, if you have the time, home-cooked stocks are best. Don’t have veggie? Chicken stock works as well.
Black-eyed pea soup regularly appears on the Urban Legend menu at our February wine club party where we celebrate both traditional and lunar new years. Adapted from the Washington Post’s Voraciously recipes, our version is vegan; if you eat pork, saute some diced bacon to start your mirepoix, the slow-cooked diced vegetables that form the base for many soups. Instead of greens, we add a tangy relish of green olives. Corn bread is, of course, a great side, but we like accenting affluence with Uptown, our luxurious Bordeaux-style red wine blend (that won’t break the piggy bank).

Continue reading

Onion Confit Flatbread

Onion Confit flatbread with Peachs and Proscuitto

Flatbreads make delicious appetizers or light dinners. One of our favorites is dressed with onion confit–deeply caramelized onions that are slowly cooked to a jam-like consistency. Savory and slightly sweet, it is a delicious foil for salty cured meats, tangy cheese, bitter greens, or sweet-tart fruit slices.
Flatbread crusts can anything from homemade pizza crusts to refrigerated or frozen ones. Thin and crispy are our favorites, but a foccacia-like base would be interesting too. Puff pastry is an option. And, if you’re eating gluten free, there are a number of frozen crusts that are delicious.

Continue reading