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Posts tagged ‘basil mayonnaise’

This Is Just To Say

This is just to say

I have eaten

the pluots

that were in the icebox

and which I bought at the farmer’s market just to

show you

that I should have been allowed to play “pluot” in scrabble that time you didn’t

believe me

when I said a pluot is


plum half


it’s a real word like cherry

or light

or loneliness

anyway I have eaten

the pluots

that were in

the icebox

and which

I probably should have


for after dinner

Forgive me

they were


so sweet

and so cold


My friends, do you know This Is Just To Say, by William Carlos Williams?  The original poem, before I had my way with it, is here.

Since I ate all the pluots, I didn’t bake anything with them.   But next time I come across pluots or plums, I’m going to make Molly’s (at Orangette) pudding cake of honey, cinnamon and plums, which she adapted from the book Tender.

In the meantime, here are two other recipes.  I’m dedicating them to a dude we met at a pub in Scotland while we played Scrabble.  The dude arbitrated (incorrectly) our dispute over whether “pluot” was a word.   I hope I see him someday, because I have a pluot for him.

The first recipe is for a simple poached salmon.

With tangy basil cream.

The other is for the most delicious, moist almond cake I’ve ever had.

It’s from Amanda Hesser’s book, Cooking for Mr. Latte.  The middle sinks in, but it’s supposed to.  It has a rustic look.

The recipe calls for almond paste, which makes the cake dense and creamy, and way cheaper to make than a cake that calls for lots of nuts.  (A can of almond paste should be under $6, whereas a bunch of nuts would cost way more.)

It’s great with whipped cream or ice cream, or with amaretto drizzled over the cut slices.  I just ate some for breakfast with plain Greek yogurt drizzled with honey!

Here are the recipes:

Poached Salmon with Tangy Basil Cream {Download & Print Recipe}

Ingredients: (for two)

3/4 to 1 lb. salmon fillet

1 egg yolk

1/2 tsp. salt

a dash of pepper

1/2 tsp. dry mustard

1+ tbsp. (to taste) red or white wine vinegar

1/2 c. olive oil

4 tbsp. + (to taste) sour cream

5 or so basil leaves, cut into thin strips


Make the basil cream:

Drop the yolk into a bowl.  Add the salt, mustard, pepper and 1 tbsp. of vinegar.  Whisk until blended.  Add the oil very slowly–practically one teaspoon at a time–whisking vigorously after each, until the mixture thickens and becomes emulsified.  (At this point, you’ve made mayonnaise.)  Whisk in the sour cream and the basil.  Taste and adjust the proportions to suit you. (More sour cream to make it more creamy, more vinegar to make it more tangy, more oil to thicken it.)

Poach the salmon:  Choose a shallow sauce pan that’s big enough to contain the salmon (in one layer) and has a lid.  Fill it with just enough water to cover the salmon once it’s in the pan (you can test it out and then remove the salmon.)  Salt it the way you would a pot of water for pasta, and bring it to a simmer.

Lower the fish, skin side-down, into the water.  This will lower the temperature of the water, so wait a minute and adjust the heat so that bubbles are rising around the fish in a lazy pace.  Poach with the lid askew until the fish is barely cooked through–about 8 minutes per inch (height-wise) of fish.

Carefully remove the fish from the skillet and pat it dry, removing any white stuff with your fingers or a paper towel.  Before serving, you can remove any skin on the bottom of the filet by running a knife between the skin and the meat.  Serve with the basil cream on top or on the side.


The tangy basil cream is basically a homemade mayonnaise with sour cream in it.  You can substitute lemon for the vinegar.  You can also double the recipe and save half (before adding sour cream) to use as mayonnaise on your sandwiches.  We did that.  I used some of the mayo on roasted potatoes:  I took four large red potatoes and slathered them in homemade mayonnaise.  I sprinkled them with kosher salt and wrapped each in tin foil.  I put them in a 400+ degree oven and roasted them until they were done.  (I forgot to time it!)  We ate them with the salmon and they were fantastic.

Almond Cake {Download & Print Recipe}

(from Cooking for Mr. Latte, by Amanda Hesser, reworded by me)


2 sticks unsalted butter, softened (plus more for buttering the pan)

1 c. sour cream, at room temperature

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. almond extract

2 c. flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 c. sugar

7 oz. almond paste, cut into small pieces

4 egg yolks, at room temperature

confectioner’s sugar (optional, for sifting over the cake)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter the sides and bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.

Mix the sour cream,  baking soda and almond extract together in a small bowl.  Mix the four and salt in another bowl.  In an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add the almond paste a little at a time at medium speed.  When the almond paste has all been added, beat for 8 minutes on medium speed, stopping once or twice to push the batter on the sides of the bowl down into the middle.

Beat the egg yolks in one at a time and mix until smooth.  If it looks curdled, it’s okay.  Add the sour cream mixture.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture in three parts, mixing just until blended.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.  Bake about 1 hour.  It’s done when you press the top and it returns to its shape, and also shrinks from the sides of the pan.  The center will sink in, and that’s okay.  Place on a baking rack to cool in the pan.  When ready to serve, sift confectioner’s sugar on top.  Serve with vanilla ice cream or berries.


The little guy is full of smiles and energy.

Photo courtesy of Jason at day care. We love Jason.

It makes us all want to go to sleep.

Since we’re on the subject, Scott took the 3rd through 5th photos in this post. That’s why I keep him around even though he discriminates against pluots.