New Year, Same Me and Rosemary and Orange Magdalenas
Recipes for brothy soups, kale salads, and hearty grain dishes have smacked me in the face at every turn ever since the ball dropped on New Year’s Eve. To my horror, one of my favorite baking and pastry bloggers even posted a recipe for chicken soup.
I love a piping hot bowl of miso soup (especially when it precedes a platter of hamachi sushi partnered with a generous dollop of brilliant wasabi). Kale in any form–roasted chips or shredded with apples in a salad–tickles my food fancy. And hearty grains have been a part of my regular diet for years now.
My growing resentment is rooted in the stark contrast between these “healthful” foods and the butter-laden ones I spent the last two weeks indulging in. I’m a big fan of grapefruit, but I can’t pretend to be excited about it for breakfast when I’ve been feasting on shortbread with my coffee for days on end. It’s bad enough that I’ve had to say good-bye to mid-week, mid-day champagne toasts (for now). And while my ill-fitting jeans say otherwise, I simply can’t muster up the gumption required to jump on the detox bandwagon this year. Yes, it’s hard to resist the New Year’s hype and the promise of a New Year and a New You. Last year Greg and I jumped on the wagon with a thud, ringing in 2011 with a raw food cleanse. Raw food, of course, equaled cold food, and suffice to say that cold salads and lukewarm tomato sauce in January can do more harm than good specifically to your relationship with your mate. We lasted four days on cold soups before throwing in that towel of good intentions.
This year I’m not buying the hype. Several of my close friends and family members were touched by sickness and tragedy as 2011 drew to a close, which suddenly made many of my New Year’s resolutions seem downright petty. New Year, New You? I’m not sure I want a new me. Arguably the old me isn’t perfect and has ample room for improvement. But instead of changes, drastic or otherwise, what I really need is to embrace the imperfections and the old me. Living on shortbread and champagne is sadly unsustainable. And for me, so is living on a daily dose of pink grapefruit. What I’m really seeking is the balance between the two. We’ve returned to our go-to, pre-holiday breakfast of peanut butter and a smidge of jam smeared on homemade whole grain toast. I’m saving my grapefruits for a new marmalade recipe I’m itching to try. For dinner we’ve eliminated the meat centerpieces and “roast beasts”, instead warming our spirits and over-stretched tummies with steaming bowls of garlicky cannellini beans and broccoli raab with a few chunks of Italian sausage thrown in for good measure.
These lovely magdalenas (Spanish “cupcakes” typically enjoyed for breakfast) are another nod to balance. They’re light and slightly sweet. And they’re made with olive oil rather than butter. Magdalenas are also small, which makes them the perfect guilt-free sweet to enjoy as you continue to ween yourself off of salted caramels and fudge.
Here’s to a peaceful, prosperous, and healthy new year rich with good tidings, good friends, and good food. Cheers!
Rosemary and Orange Magdalenas
Magdalenas are considered by some to be the Spanish cousins of the famed French madeleines. Country of origin aside, the biggest difference is that magdalenas are made with olive oil while madeleines are made with butter. I’m an equal opportunity baker: I baked my mini Spanish cakes in a French madeleine pan.
2/3 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange blossom water
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced
zest of one orange
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan
A madeleine pan or mini muffin pan.
- In a small bowl whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder.
- Beat in honey, vanilla, orange blossom water, rosemary, orange zest, and olive oil. Gently fold in dry ingredients.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Coat the insides and rim of a madeleine pan with olive oil.
- Fill the cups of your pan almost full with batter. (Each cup of my madeleine pan holds one tablespoon of batter.)
- Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cakes spring back when pressed lightly. Invert immediately onto a dry, clean towel. (If you turn them onto a wire rack, you’ll likely end up with some unsightly dimples on your delicate treats.)
- Cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.
In a large bowl whisk the eggs and sugar until pale yellow and thick. (I used an electric mixer with a whisk attachment.)
Makes 12 magdalenas.