Positano is a wonderful town on the Amalfi Coast
Jim and I and Tim and Anne spent a week there in a villa on
It's in this 1890s picture
which was our souvenir of our visit
And you can see our "house"
It hangs in our guest bath downstairs and I smile every time I see it
and think of that wonderful week we spent on the sun-filled Italian coast
When you google Positano, this is the picture that often comes up
The same hillside -- 100+ years later
And there, is our villa, it's a pink one
Almost straight across from the Cathedral
Down by the water, looking up at our villa
Positano was a magical week and when friend Denise asked me to teach a
cooking class at Beaux Arts, I immediately thought of recreating some of that
magic during January's dreary days
I came late to Italian cooking -- other than spaghetti and meatballs
For as a child whenever we went to an Italian restaurant that's what we ordered
And it (spaghetti and meatballs) is the very first dish I ever cooked
the recipe from the Betty Crocker cookbook
In my young mind I thought it was delicious
But having spent over a month in Italy
(and a week each in Positano and Sorrento)
And attending a cooking school or two,
I learned that Italian food was not just about meatballs!
Last night was
An Evening in Positano
We started with a tossed salad and bread
For most in most restaurants in Italy, a salad was a first course
I "upped" the game by making my balsamic vinaigrette with
a 25 year old Balsamic.
It was truly a gift to my glass for that vinegar is definitely dear!
I then demonstrated how to make a fabulous Ragu Bolognese
I'm not a big fan of "meat sauces" but I do love this Bolognese
And I make it often
The base recipe came from Gina Stipo
And it is really good!
I chose to serve it with penne pasta
For in a mixed crowd I'm not big on long noodles!
And it wasn't a mere taste -- it was a serving
And some even got seconds!
For dessert, I chose a lemon olive oil cake
Because the other half of the vacation in that part of Italy
was in Sorrento -- the lemon capital of Italy
It's an easy cake and probably the best lemon cake I've ever had
I did up the lemon-ness by using lemon rather than plain yogurt
It's a great cake for dessert and for tea
And it would be a good cake with a glass of Vin Santo!
I promised the class that I would post the lemon cake recipe
Everyone clamored for it!
I think, however, in honor of Denise and her wonderful Beaux Arts Center
that I shall rename it -- from plain old "Lemon Olive Oil Cake" to
"Beaux Arts Lemon Olive Oil Cake"
BEAUX ARTS LEMON OLIVE OIL CAKE
1 2/3 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 c. yogurt (I used lemon)
1 T. grated lemon peel (I just used the peel of one lemon so perhaps it was a bit more or less)
2 T. lemon juice (I did measure -- the juice from that vested lemon)
2 T. olive oil
1 c. powdered sugar
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar until light and creamy. Add olive oil, yogurt and peel and mix. Mix flour, baking powder and salt together and then add to the mixing bowl.
Pour into a greased and floured cake pan (I used both 8 inch and 9 inch -- the 8 inch is a bit taller -- the 9 inch would serve more) and bake in a preheated 350 oven for 30 to 35 minutes.
Mix the olive oil, lemon juice and powdered sugar together. I had to add water to get it to a glazing consistency. When cake comes out of the oven, let cool about 5 minutes and then pour glaze over the top. Top with additional grated peel.