The Spaulding

Right after finishing college but before starting graduate school, I lived with two friends in the heart of the Fairfax District.  It was a very well rounded neighborhood complete with orthodox Jewish families, a transvestite with fantastic legs and, of course, lots and lots of “actors.”  Years after the three of us left the neighborhood, a plane crashed into the apartment building across the street.

Being  young, nubile, recent college graduates, the three of us entertained quite a bit.  At one such get together, the Spaulding was born.  Like most good cocktails, its origins are hazy though I’m fairly certain this was a an adult beverage derived from convenience.  We had vodka.  We had ginger ale.  We had limes.  We had ice.  We lived on North Spaulding Avenue between Melrose and Beverly.  A cocktail was created.

It wasn’t until at least a decade later that I realized “our drink” is really just the Moscow Mule’s significantly less sophisticated sibling.

Early in our courtship, I turned TD onto the Spaulding (he was very disappointed it wasn’t named after Spaulding Smails.  In fact I think his direct quote was “double turds.” To this I responded, “you’ll get nothing and like it”).  Despite his ire, TD liked the drink and somewhere along the way, it became our preferred party beverage.  In fact, if you happened to get married in the last 15 years or so and TD and I happened to be at your nuptials, we probably enjoyed a Spaulding or two in your honor.

I know this isn’t much of a recipe, but it’s a drink we enjoy often and a tiny bit related to next week’s post.


Foster the People, a little summer music

The Spaulding

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 4-6 ounces gingerale
  • lots of lime

Add everything in over ice.  Give it a mix.  Enjoy!


This will show those berry-American flag cakes who’s boss

So, did you volunteer to bring dessert to the annual fourth of July [insert you choice of event here]?  Did you maybe slack a little with the sign-up?  Maybe you were distracted by the return of True Blood or the College World Series.  And, in your distraction, did your next-door-neighbor or maybe your Aunt Janet steal the decorated-by-berries-to-look-like-an-American-flag cake, pie or tart slot?

Well then, I have a party cake for you.  Five words: pistachios, limes, angel food cake.

Still with me? If you’ve never made angel food cake, you need to try.  It’s really fun.  And this one starts with 10 egg whites (Hint: use the yolks to make ice cream).

A little cream of tarter will help to stabilize the meringue.

As will a little sugar.  Follow the instructions and repeat after me: one tablespoon at-a-time.

As you may have guessed at this point.  Or maybe you already knew.  Angel food cake gets its light and airy texture from a volumous and glossy meringue.  And this meringue?  Is decorated with lime zest.

The tenatious texture of the batter and the need to be really careful when transferring to your tube pan (so as not to deflate the whole mess) may have you momentarily wonder what you’ve gotten yourself into.  Not to worry.  You’ll see.

See, I told you the cake would turn out.

And here is the fun part–the cake cools…inverted.  If you are using a tube pan like I did, it probably has some handy little spikes that allow you to invert.  If not,  a bottle should work.

While the cake hangs-out, it’s time to attend to the pistachios.  I hand-shelled the ones in this recipe.  It took a long time. Then I learned that you can buy pistachio “meat” at specialty and health food stores.  I found them at Sprouts.  So, pistachios get a nice fine chop.

And then those zested limes?  The juice is made into a syrup.

And this is when the angel food cake gets dressed to party.  Paint on the syrup, smush-in chopped pistachios.  They’ll stick, I swear!

The original recipe calls for a little simple glaze, but, I love the green of the pistachios and didn’t think this cake needed anything more.

Light and refreshing with just enough zing from the lime to make you pucker a little and enough crunch from the pistachios to add intrigue.  Now, whose having us over for the fourth?


Did you know that Pandora has a Kate Spade channel?

4th of July Partay Cake

aka Lime Angel Food Cake with Lime Glaze and Pistachios, yawn

Bon Apetit, April 2010



  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups superfine sugar, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lime peel
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Lime syrup and lime glaze:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
  • 1/2 cup unsalted raw pistachios (about 2 ounces), finely chopped in processor
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Special equipment: 10-inch-diameter angel food cake pan with 4-inch-high sides and removable bottom (do not use nonstick pan)

For cake: 
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Sift flour, 1/2 cup superfine sugar, and salt into medium bowl; repeat sifting 3 times. Using electric mixer, beat egg whites, lime peel, and vanilla on medium speed in large bowl until frothy (mixture may turn neon green but color will change when remaining ingredients are added). Add cream of tartar; increase speed to high and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Sprinkle 1/3 of flour mixture over whites and gently fold in until incorporated. Fold in remaining flour mixture in 2 more additions just until incorporated. Transfer to ungreased 10-inch angel food cake pan with 4-inch-high sides and removable bottom (do not use nonstick pan); smooth top.

Bake cake until pale golden and tester inserted near center comes out clean, about 38 minutes. Immediately invert cake onto work surface if pan has feet, or invert center tube of pan onto neck of bottle or metal funnel and cool cake completely.

Using long thin knife, cut around cake sides and center tube to loosen. Lift out center tube with cake still attached; run knife between cake and bottom of pan to loosen. Invert cake onto rack, then turn cake over, rounded side up. Set rack with cake atop rimmed baking sheet.

For lime syrup and lime glaze: 
Combine sugar and 3 tablespoons lime juice in small saucepan; stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Brush syrup all over top and sides of cake. Immediately press pistachios onto top and sides of cake, pressing to adhere.

Stir powdered sugar with remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice in small bowl until smooth. Drizzle glaze over top of cake. Let stand until glaze sets, about 10 minutes. DO AHEAD: Cake can be made up to 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and store at room temperature.

Transfer cake to platter; cut into wedges and serve.


Hey sugar, how about a lime?

I decided to try this recipe just so I could have an excuse to make lime sugar.

I know, right?

I used a citrus zester because I like to live a little dangerously and risk peeling half my thumb when zesting limes.  You could easily remove lime peel with a sharp pairing knife.  I also think a microplane rasper would work as well (though it would change the texture of your final product).  Once your limes are zested and said zest is chopped, then there is grinding.  With sugar.  Sounds dirty doesn’t it?

The result is fantastic.  Lime sugar is like WD40.   One product, many uses.  Want a little extra zing to your margarita?  Rim your glass with lime sugar.  Want glowing skin?  Just add coconut oil and you’ve got a fresh sugar scrub.  I could go on for days.

In this instance however, we’re making cookies with it.  Sugar cookies to be exact.

In the original recipe, the dough is rolled into a log and chilled.  I was feeling a little frisky and decided to roll-out mine  using this fail-proof method.  One note here, this dough is much softer than a traditional cut-out cookie dough.  For this reason, chill well, cut-out quickly and then re-chill the shaped dough before it goes into the oven.

After cutting-out the flowers, I dipped each in superfine sugar for some added texture.  These would also do well iced.   They are simple but pack a nice punch of flavor.  Lovely with an iced-tea on a summer’s day.


Vampire Weekend.  To me, this band is like all the good things of summer rolled-into one.  Their music makes me want to pop my polo collar, throw off my shoes and wiggle my toes in the sand.   With one exception.  Unlike Vampire Weekend, I do give a f&*k about the Oxford Comma.  Well, insofar as I detest it.  Serial comma?  More like serial killer of my patience.  Why anyone would think it necessary to punctuate before an obviously terminal conjunction is beyond me.

Lime Sugar Cookies

Gourmet, July 2000


  • 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup lime sugar (see below for instructions)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Beat together butter, shortening, granulated sugar, and 2 tablespoons lime sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together over egg mixture, then beat on low speed until just combined.
  2. Form dough into a 10-inch log (2 inches in diameter) on wax paper, then wrap in wax paper. Chill dough until firm, at least 4 hours.  Alternately, roll-out dough between two sheets of parchment or wax paper.  Chill until firm and cut-out as desired.  Dough can be re-rolled but will need to be chilled in-between (dough is very soft).
  3. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  4. Remove wax paper and cut log into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Bake cookies 1/2 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets in batches in middle of oven 10 to 12 minutes, or until pale golden. Immediately transfer with a metal spatula to a rack set over a sheet of wax paper and sprinkle tops with remaining lime sugar. Cool cookies.

Lime Sugar

  • 6 limes
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  1. Remove zest from limes in strips with a vegetable peeler (or zester or pairing knife) and cut away any white pith from zest (pith imparts a bitter flavor). Chop zest (about 1/2 cup), then grind in a food processor with sugar until mixture is pale green with bits of zest still visible.
  2. Misanthropic Hostess note.  Now you are left with 6 naked limes that will quickly go South if you don’t use them immediately.    So what do you do when life gives you limes?  You make lime simple syrup for warm weather cocktails.  Juice your limes and combine 1/2 C of  water with 1 C of sugar in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved.  When mixture reaches boiling, turn off heat and add lime juice (and any extra lime zest you might have).  Store in a covered container in the fridge.