Monday, March 30, 2009

sparkle world

Here is an example of an issue of Sparkle World. (found at our local grocery store in town) But, see the bratz on the front of this? We don't do bratz, so if it is on the cover, it is a no go. Ditto for HSM and Hannah. But strawberry shortcake and my little ponies and puppy in my pocket I will let slide. This is hours of entertainment for M. She studies every page like 10 times, then does the crafts and games. After, she cuts things out and puts them in weird places in her room.
Don't know where she gets that trait from.
Oh yeah, me. Don't laugh when I tell you this, it is highly embarassing.
We have a rampant tiny black ant problem in our house. Personal warfare on my part. I have peppermint oiled the hell out of them and put out traps. Nothing is getting rid of them. There is an ant trail at the edge of my closet that annoys me to no end. I swear them under my breath any time I go into my closet. Today I found one on my dresser.
Then Gasped.
M's Halloween Candy.
It is in my sock drawer
I put it there to hide it after the "halloween fairy" came to our house, but just forgot about it. Well I looked at it every once in a while digging deep, but ignored it mostly, too lazy to throw it away.
The ants promised land. There were a lot of ants in my drawer today, but they are gone now. A couple of peppermint soaked cotton balls in my drawer got rid of all but a loner I found tonight.
That falls under the "stupid move" category. Not that I categorize my life, but I am a capricorn.

we have hit an all time low folks

Granted M. is not feeling stellar. And she was mighty angry when I took her Sparkle World magazine away from her in the car after she tried to slug me.
But in her angst and sheer willpower to get her magazine back she announced to me in the car....
"I wish you did not exist Mommy."
There ya have it. I kinda laughed when she said it.
Now we have gone to the dark side, there is nowhere but up.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


this is from Decor 8. love all the wreaths!

“Balance” by Royal Buffet.

It’s interesting to note that not all modern day wreaths for the home are created equal — they come in a myriad of shapes and sizes from circular to square and made from or adorned with everything you can imagine. At first you may think of evergreen or holly, but I’m certain the common silk and dried flower variety springs to mind as well. In addition to those commonly found in stores and florists, there are lots of uncommon designs that I’d like to highlight because they deserve a notice. From living greens to feathers, twigs, fresh flowers (my preference when it comes to floral wreaths — I had wreaths on our seats at my wedding), felt, bells, shells, yarn, vintage horse show ribbons, cards (love!), cork, metal, men’s ties, ornaments, eggs, buttons, paper and fabric, pretty much anything is fair game!

Mod white powder coated steel circle by Kenneth Wingard, wild twigs and feathers by Holly Ferencze, spring from SodabyAmy and a living succulents (not plastic!) via Viva Terra.

Paper wreath from The Spotted Sparrow in Germany and a gorgeous ruffled vintage French ivory wreath by Simple Joys Paperie.

The Constant Gatherer in South Carolina is a constant source of inspiration…

Inspiration from craft queen Martha Stewart online. Search her website for wreaths and prepare for projects galore!

Ribbons by Bitter Sweet Design and a simple Spring wreath made by a favorite indie designer of mine, Lobster and Swan.

Love and Happiness by Haru (I own a similar one from this Etsy seller) and a personalized baby fabric wreath (for a boy) from Holland Fabric House.

Cheerful paper flowers from Wool Paper Sugar and a doily twinkle light wreath as shown in the holiday issue of Martha Stewart Living 2008. You can make this doily wreath: DIY here

One of a kind treasure by Beach Cottage Studio and Spring Fling from Dana and Carol, first spotted today on Creature Comforts who I must credit because seeing this single wreath on her blog inspired this very round up! Inspiration is funny like that. Thank goodness for the lovely and talented bloggers out there highlighting so many gorgeous finds!

More Martha Stewart inspiration including a brilliant brown paper bag wreath (top right) via Abby Goes Design Scouting who found this in a back issue of Martha Stewart Living.

Cardboard wreaths from Cardboard Safari.

The modern “Family Ties” wreath DIY over at ReadyMade mag online and a vintage paper wire one from Great Findz.

And last but certainly not least, these intricate paper designs by Helen Musselwhite via LivingEtc.


My parents divorced after first grade. I saw my mother only twice a year until I was in middle school. I always, always felt a deep unending pain that prickled my heart until I moved to California. I don't feel prickles in my heart now. I don't feel emptiness not having a mother. I don't feel envy watching other women have relationships with their mothers. I used to, but not anymore. I have cried rivers over it, and done the work to heal the loss. Now I am just working on letting go of the judgment I have towards my mother for being such a broken person and the parallel judgments I have for myself that may remind myself of her.
But, in this I have a little girl who is asking about who my mommy is. She lists everyone in her family as we are driving in the car, and there is a big blank for her when we get to my side of things. What do I say to her? Because I think when you are almost 5, there can't be any logical reason you cut out the center of your universe.
I tell her I don't talk to my mommy because she is sick.
She thinks about this and so far it is enough.
But someday when she is older, she will realize I made a decision to cut my mother out of my life on purpose. And I don't know what comes after that. What kind of conversations that will spark. What kind of feelings she may have knowing people make those kinds of decisions. But, there is no doubt we will do that together.

Friday, March 27, 2009

going to the mall

I think we are heading down the hill (the 1hr 15min ride) to the nearest mall. Today is the day we trade in husbands new glasses for more "fashionably appropriate" ones. M. still has a small fever, but I figure all that sitting in her car seat will be restful.
My neighbors came over last night and I forced them to watch Millionare Matchmaker on Bravo with me.
Now they know I really have a shallow side.
All this fresh country air is destroying my brain cells.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


So M. is sick. She got home from school today and just laid on the floor with a blanket. Her fever is currently 102.2 and counting. I am trying not to focus on the possibility of me getting sick too. She has been moaning for at least 3 hours saying the same thing over and over again "I don't feel good". I am just sitting next to her listening to the broken record. TV when you are sick just never cuts it. But we are sitting here in front of the TV, sick and bored. I just turned on the Travel Channel and it is a show on the world's best water parks. There was a water slide in Canada they were showing that is supposedly the steepest, fastest water slide in north america. The kind of slide that would send your bathing suit bottoms far far up your butt. A Mega-wedgie slide I would not ever attempt. All of a sudden, the deathly ill rise (I jumped from the sudden life from the lifeless kid moaning next to me)
"MOMMY!! I could go on that slide"!!!!!
"You could? That really steep water slide?"
YES!! Mommy, I would just need my FLOATIES!!"
She even sat up to say it.
She is taking notes now.
"Mommy, they said those slides are in Georgia"
(did I mention she doesn't know how to swim?)
I love my daughter. Love her.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bon Jovi

There it is. That picture above. The closest grocery store to my house. It is almost a 20 minute drive from my house. And, I absolutely love it there. I can buy 90% of all things on my grocery list there even though it is the size of a 7-11 and in the middle of nowhere. In fact today I bought truffle salt there. We know everyone who works there and they take requests (now there is goat milk keifer I asked for!). I know everyone who works there mostly by name and you always, always, always see someone you know there. This afternoon I saw 4 people I know.
This grocery store has many diverse customers. A lot of alternative people. Lots of gossip gets traded here, so I try to fly under the radar as much as possible.
Today I picked up M. from school in the Westfalia. I did not have the energy transfer her carseat to my subaru. After getting in some playground time, we headed over to the store to get some shopping done. On the way over M. asked to listen to Alvin and The Chipmunks on my iPod. And it is not just a normal album, it is like the worst pop hits re-done by the Chipmunks.
"Mama, turn it up"
"Ok sweetie"
"Mama, turn it loud!!"
So I turn it up. And because of the rocking stereo system my husband put in the Westfalia (without the wife's approval) the stereo is really loud and lots of base. I could not even begin to figure out how to turn the base down.
And then the song comes on; Bon Jovi "Living On A Prayer" by the Chipmunks.
No, I don't think so
I forward to the next song
"No! Mama put that song back on!"
"Mama! that song! I like that song!!"
So I go back to Bon Jovi. We are almost there.
I see the picture in my head: mom in westfalia (aka hippy ride) with big loud base playing Chipmunks remake of a Bon Jovi song really loud pulling into the parking lot.
Any coolness I may have possesed just flew right out the window to a place far, far away.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Ok, it did reach 63 degrees today, but in my daughter's mind it was a glorious 85 degrees.
By 1pm. I was on my knees, scrubbing last summers grime out of the kiddie pool, plugging the hole with a washcloth and filling it up bucket by bucket with warm water from the kitchen. It was approximately a 40 minute process for me to "summerize" the pool.

Then her and B. got in and spent 15 minutes splashing around.

Then they got out.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Auntie rented Beverly Hills Chihuahua for M. Usually I only let her watch G movies, but is a movie about dogs, so we made an exception. And when you are 4, almost 5 (I am discovering) it is all about the "bling". Very cute, and very G rated I must say. And oh, my daughter is in her idea of dog heaven. Belly laughs abound.
Someone needs to stage an intervention with my husband and convince him a dog would make his life easier and his daughter very, very happy.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The little person got a hold of the camera!

I took this photo of M. this morning because
1. It took almost 1/2 hr. for her to choose it
2. She was really proud of it
3. I had to document it because of number 1 and 2
I love that she is all about the "wow" factor and not really about the matching factor. In her mind it just all goes together and she was almost whistling dixie with pride. There was a pile of clothes on the floor after it was all said and done, but she went to school thinking she looked like a movie star. And to me she is. My very own, non-stop movie star who pulls the one-liners out of thin air like nobody's business.
But after I took this, she got a hold of the camera and took photos of "all the important stuff in my room".
Her and I are going to SF this weekend. I am sure something funny will come up that I will report on.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

cooking video

Oh yeah...I am working on a cooking video. Zucchini Salad. I have all the video imported into iMovie and am currently trying to edit. It ain't gonna be too pretty, but I am giving myself lots of credit for trying it at all. I had about 5 good laughs at myself watching rough versions. This will be a good lesson for me not to be too critical on myself. I made the video by myself with no script. That will probably be obvious. I hope you too get a good laugh out of it.....

I'm with Stupid

This morning in bed talking to the 4yr old:

So what should we do about you saying Stupid so much?

I don't know

I have an idea. How about you pay us a quarter out of your piggy bank every time you say stupid.

No, that is not a good idea. Here is my idea. You take a toy I don't play with very much out of my room if I say Stupid.

I don't think you will stop saying Stupid if we go with that plan

Well, Mommy, I only say Stupid because you don't let me have treats every time I want one. If you let me have as many treats as I want I will stop saying Stupid. It is just too hard for my brain to stop saying Stupid.

How about you say another word instead of stupid, like "butterscotch"

No mommy, that is a cat name.

Ok, I give up then.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My vote for the best kid sandals

Salt Water sandals by Hoy are pretty fabulous. I only like the ones with the thick sole (surfer or sweetheart style), not the thin sole that are sold in so many stores because the thicker soles are less slippery. They can literally survive being immersed in water for a whole summer and look almost new. They are also easy to wipe off and clean and can be dressed up or down. Zappos sells them. Totally worth the 40$

Monday, March 16, 2009

Migraines and Microwaves

Woke up today feeling icky. Headache, nauseated, just off. Just like how the flu started last year. And D. is out of town so I am SOL. And the heater in the car was spewing a weird chlorine-like smell while driving M. to school. Lovely isn't it? And it is pouring rain. And I found this weird sore spot on my scalp I am worried about. But, I started feeling better after I forced myself to drink coffee. Now I am coming to the conclusion that perhaps I had a migraine in my sleep and still had a bit of one when I woke up. When I get migraines if I don't attack it right away with a Motrin, I get very sick to my stomach. I think I am going to pull through it. I have decided that I am not getting the flu. On to the next topic...
60 Minutes last night. Alice Waters the famous chef was featured on the second half of the show. I looked very hard for M. and I and Auntie in the clip we saw filmed. We happened to be there when Alice Waters was eating mexican food at the Slow Food Movement Festival. Shameless, I know but what the hell. Anyway, Leslie Stahl was having breakfast with Alice in her kitchen and asked where her microwave was. Alice Waters does not own a microwave. Leslie Stahl seemed flabbergasted! Ok, we do not have a microwave in our house either. Is that weird to everyone? Does everyone use microwaves? Could you survive without one? We don't have a toaster either. I use a cast iron flat skillet on my stovetop for toasting things. It works great.
I am getting ready to buy our summer vegetable share from Mountain Bounty Farm. I am going to post all kinds of recipes this summer for things in my weekly veggie box. I am doing that so maybe you too will take the plunge and support a local farm. Our farmer calculated the cost of a fresh veggie box is a little over $20 a week, which is very reasonable. It feeds our family of three for a whole week.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


We watched Religulous last night. Have you seen it? Funny. The best part was I had my husband sitting next to me narrating. He has a degree in Religious Studies, and has read the bible many times. He studied western and eastern religion full-time for four years. Of course now he is a Buddhist so go figure. He has a appetite for accepting most things. But, I think sitting and meditating for 14 days in a row can do that for you. No talking. Just sitting. Watching your mind for two weeks. For years, over and over again. That sounds really painful to me. Maybe that is why he could sit with me for 28 hours while I was in labor. He says he does zazen when he gets his teeth cleaned. Apparently there is a lot of scraping. A lot of plaque. No mercy from the hygientist. Don't know why I always chuckle at that story. I think it is because men don't get periods or cramps, or sick like moms do. Moms are on the front lines of the battle. We chauffer everyone around. We clean up the bodily fluids, take our kids to the petri dishes called pediatrician's waiting rooms. Clean dried boogars off the walls. We always know where the Motrin is. We make sure there is enough toilet paper in the house. Check to make sure the doors are locked at night. Check the voice mail. Now I know my kid's hair is not always brushed before school, but I never run out of laundry detergent and that should count for something. Right?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Favorite New Fabric

I will stop posting about other people and their cool ideas sometime in the future. Being a copy cat or a stalker of interesting things is a little embarrassing. That said, Anna Maria Horner is my new, absolutely favorite fabric designer of the moment. Her fabrics from her new line are above. And, get this; she has 5 kids and is pregnant with the 6th. Makes me feel like a lazy ball. I have one kid and I still manage to eek out complaints almost in a constant stream. Maybe that is why a full load of my husband's clean laundry is still on the floor of the laundry room waiting to be folded for 3 days.
I loved all your comments about me and my YouTube cooking video. I spent a little time on iMovie last night. I think I can. I think I can. I might call my techy film-maker neighbor and ask his lazy ball butt to help me. I decided I need a flip camera. I only have video clips I can record on my camera. If you have any ideas of what you would like me to cook for my first video, I am taking requests.
Also, went to our dear friend's 40th birthday party last night. It was fun, wild and M. was in heaven. She ran around like she was running the place. My husband too. At one point I looked over and he was swigging wine out of a wine bottle, no glass or cup in sight. I, on the other hand was overwhelmed by the amount of people there, and felt very out of my element. If there are more than 10 people I start to shut down. Then people started to dance. Oh, lordy I do not dance. Ever. But, I had three really fantastic friends there who understand my social phobias and they were like calming balm on my anxiety. Thanks ladies.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Seaweed Snacks in the Kitchen

I read GOOP, Gweneth Paltrow's blog every couple of weeks. I like to keep up with the cool and hip girl. Make sure I am not missing out something big. It sorta bugs me that it is an innate part of her to be effortlessly cool, but mostly I am happy she is in her own way making the world a better place through her blog. She announced that next month her blog will feature an interview with Tamra Davis, who is a NY super mom. She produces short online video cooking shows. She is also married to one of the Beastie Boys, and an extremely accomplished movie director and mother to two children. I went to her website and watched a couple of her videos. Of course it is totally pro; music, editing, camera angles, but just enough of the roughness to make it seem homespun. A niche. A total niche. The kind of niche that could really give the Food Network a run for its money. Immediately, I wanted to make a cooking YouTube video! I don't have a digital recorder or any editing skills, but I have a pretty kitchen and lots of good ideas. By last night I had the concept of my "show" all figured out. Easy, seasonal, budget minded cooking that is geared toward mom's who need meals that are quick.
Oh, a girl can dream right?
This one will keep my mind going for days.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Chuck E. Cheese

I bought a bag of Robin Eggs yesterday.
Thought you might want to know.
Oh yeah, and lice is back at school. Parasites suck. I mean they do suck, but metaphorically they suck too.
Millionare Matchmaker is on Bravo tonight, and since I have been in a tv depression since Top Chef and Fringe are gone, I need something to cling onto.
And M. has somehow discovered the existence of Chuck E. Cheese. "Where a kid can be a kid" she says. If I can do a sweep with Clorox wipes inside the joint I may consider it. Special occasion. Frozen pizza is only a very, very special occasion. It can't be fresh can it? Chuck E. Cheese?
I just googled it, and found a really funny article about a CEC experience in Sacramento. I am definitely not going after reading the article.
While writing this blog entry, I felt a bite of some kind on my neck. Then I felt a black bug of some kind in my hair. I pulled it out in pieces and got the magnifying glass out. Not lice, but something that bites. Something with a mandible. Something that pisses me off. I am trying to reassure myself it is not poisonous. Time to get in the shower and get the alcohol swabs out. I go through boxes of alcohol swabs. Love them. Gotta go!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Spring Salad

Meyer lemons are in season. They are less tart than regular lemons and have a rich, almost orange taste. Here is a fast salad to whip up that is very alkalinizing.
Makes one small salad (perfect for lunch!)
1/2 cucumber
1/2 meyer lemon
1/4 red onion
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
pinch salt
fresh ground pepper
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

Peel off cucumber skin, cut cucumber in half and use a small spoon to scoop out seeds. Discard seeds. Slice cucumber into 1/2 inch slices
Cut meyer lemon into very thin slices, leaving the skin on. Cut the slices in half once more
Slice red onion into very thin slices as well. Soak in a bowl of warm water for 5 min. Remove, drain water.

Add cucumber, onion and lemon to a small bowl. Add vinegar, evoo, salt and pepper. Mix and store in a glass container.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

my little lovely

D. got an email from a friend, these 20 or so questions to answer. Tonight while I was at my women's group, he did them with M. He said she was very serious about the whole thing. I get home tonight and there is a copy of it in my email inbox. Pure love was waiting for me in my email inbox. That does not happen often.
It makes every single moment worth it.
Buckle your seat belt, here we go:

These are M's answers to 21 questions:

1. What is something mom always says to you?
mmm...let me think, I don't know.

2. What makes mom happy?
When I'm doing good behavior.

3. What makes mom sad?
When I be mean to her.

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
I don't know.

5. What was your mom like as a child?
She had blond hair.

6. How old is your mom?

7. How tall is your mom?
She's the perfect size for my mama.

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
Go out and do stuff with me and play with me.

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?
Do her chores.

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
Loving me.

11. What is your mom really good at?

12. What is your mom not very good at?
Playing music.

13. What does your mom do for her job?
Teach people how to work and take care of me.

14. What is your mom's favorite food?
Maybe asparagus or broccoli or beets or a carrot.

15. What makes you proud of your mom?
When she doesn’t do things wrong.

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
I think Nancy Drew because she has the same color hair.

17. What do you and your mom do together?
Go on trips together and go to birthdays together and go buy things for each other.

18. How are you and your mom the same?
I don't know.

19. How are you and your mom different?
She has brown hair and I have orange hair and she's taller and I'm smaller and she's older. It's sad that she's older though.

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
Because she pushed me out and she was wishing for a daughter like me.

21. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?
I think maybe with me to... maybe to... I think to...maybe um... I think...I got it! It's going with me to playground and restaurant and grocery store!!!

Monday, March 9, 2009


My daughter wants a dog very very badly. Very.
Our cat has been sort of a half person. She plays with him for hours. I think he experiences near death experiences everyday while under the care of my loving daughter. But, she will not let go of the promised land of being a dog owner. My husband is flat against ever having a dog.
I am stuck in the middle.
M. requested tonight at bedtime to go outside and wish upon a star. We all went outside and M. looked up at the sky and started reciting a spontaneous poem to a star. I can't even remember exactly what she said, but ended something like this
"And please star, if you can send me a pug doggie to snuggle me in my bed, that would be wonderful. Please come to me pug"
We walked inside and D. says
"Did you put her up to that?"
"No honey, she just really wants a dog"
And there you have it. My daughter is bypassing her daddy to get a dog because that is getting her nowhere. She is starting to go to the spiritual realm to get her dog needs met.
I do want a dog. I waffle depending on the day. Whenever I think of how much we travel I am glad we don't have a dog. But mostly I would like one to. I surf to find the perfect one. I have only found two on my searches. One is available for adoption right now. I will get a picture of him. His name is Scruffy. I put his picture above.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Pirates of Penzance and other odds and ends

Yesterday aunt and I took M. to see the local production of Pirates of Penzance. It was at The Center For the Arts in town. An all kid production done by the local performing arts guild. M. absolutely loved it and talked about it for hours after it was over. It was a mom moment when I realized she could follow the story, sit through the whole thing and sense the magic of theater. Slightly bittersweet that she is growing up though.
I also looked for office space for my practice. Reality sunk in a bit more realizing that things are just more expensive than I would like. I keep seeing in my mind, a sweet little cottage downtown that has a kitchen so I can do private cooking classes. That is still unfolding, and I am excited to see how it all turns out.
The third thing is my husband never reads my blog. He is a very busy guy, but still annoying. Anyway, he lost his very stylish glasses in SF on friday night when they somehow fell out of his pocket, and went to LensCrafters on his way home to replace them. I was not there and he came home with a pair he picked out himself. I will say that one more time; he came home with a pair he picked out himself. He has 30 days to return them and pick out another pair. We are going sometime very soon to do that.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Robin Eggs

Easter has hit the stores. Now I am forced to look at the Robin Eggs Malted Milk balls. I know they are there. Smiling packages of goodness. Malt is my weakness.
When I was pregnant I recall eating a whole bag. Yes, a whole bag. In the car. Crying to my best girlfriend because my acupuncturist had just told me she thought I was having a boy.
My sister has a love of this candy too. We share that together.
So far I have resisted my urge to purchase a bag. Twice in the last 2 weeks I walked by the Robin Eggs. I wonder how long that will last.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Look How Productive I am!

Internet went out for a couple of days and I darn near lost my mind. I was fidgeting and moping and it was not pretty. Due to no internet, I bought and read The Union this morning, our local newspaper (5 wonderful pages of fluff). D. strolled into the living room saw what I had been reduced to, chuckled, and said something like "Wow, no internet again today. I bet you will be really productive".
I will show you productive.
Hand me the phone.
I am calling the internet company so I talk to someone in India. You know they really know how to solve problems over there. Really. Once they pronounce you name wrong once or twice they start cracking the problem wide open with real solutions. Really. It only took 3 calls and 1 hour of my time last night talking to "service technicians" in India last night to tell me something is seriously wrong. Lets just try it again today.
I have nothing against India. Btw. In fact M. asked tonight at dinner if we could go to India someday and see the elephants. I politely declined. She said "Why mommy? Is there something about India you wouldn't like?"
Yes. There is . Lots of parasites and things that make you really really sick.
"Daddy will go with you honey".
But in all fairness, the other gentleman today I talked to (after waiting 30 min on hold) fixed the problem. ALL THE WAY FROM INDIA!!!! I told the guy he really, really made my day. Seaweed Snacks thanks you dear kind sir.
I am back online baby!!!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Orange Polenta Cake

This month's issue of Gourmet has an amazing recipe. Orange Polenta Cake. Our friends made it and brought it over a couple of weeks ago when we all got together. We were drooling over it, asking if they might leave some pieces so that we could have some for breakfast. It was that good. So, this post is really thanking them for inspiring me to make it. And this is for you; I am trying to inspire you to make it. M. and I made this recipe but did not have all the right ingredients, so substituted blue cornmeal for polenta and used blood oranges instead of navel oranges. It turned out great! Here is why I suggest you too try this recipe.
First, the caramel top makes every bite buttery
Second, it is so unusual but the components work so well together it makes you want to keep eating it.
Third, it is not overly sweet

Tell me if you try it and let me know how it turns out!
From Gourmet Magazine:

For Cake

  • 1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup superfine granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons orange-flower water
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups ground almonds (7 oz)
  • 2/3 cup quick-cooking polenta

For Glaze

  • 1/4 cup orange marmalade
  • 1 tablespoon water

Make Caramel Orange Layer:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Lightly butter a 9-inch round cake pan, then line bottom with a round of parchment paper and side with a strip of parchment.
  • Bring sugar and water to a boil in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then wash down any sugar crystals from side of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Boil, without stirring, swirling pan occasionally so caramel colors evenly, until dark amber.
  • Remove from heat and add butter, swirling pan until incorporated, then carefully but quickly pour caramel into cake pan, tilting it to coat evenly.
  • Grate zest from oranges and reserve for cake. Cut remaining peel, including white pith, from both oranges with a paring knife. Cut oranges crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Remove any seeds and arrange slices in 1 layer over caramel.

Make Cake:

  • Beat butter with sugar using an electric mixer until just combined. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in orange-flower water and reserved zest.
  • Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. With mixer at low speed, mix almonds, polenta, and flour mixture into egg mixture until just combined.
  • Spread batter evenly over oranges (preferably with an offset spatula). Bake until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Invert cake onto a cake plate and discard parchment.

Glaze Cake:

  • Heat marmalade with water in a small saucepan until melted. Strain through a sieve into a small bowl. Brush top of cake with some of glaze. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Cooks’ note: Cake, without glaze, can be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well, at room temperature. Glaze before serving.


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