I remember reluctantly coming back from a 3 week trip to Barcelona just over 2 years ago and staring out at this very view. The world seemed so vast; and time was unforgiving. I imagined the British sailor guy I had met with his other UK sailor friends (they were the crew to a Saudi prince's yacht) about to embark on a cross-Atlantic trip from the port of Barcelona to Miami and how different their world was than mine. I remember thinking about that although I briefly contemplated taking on the gig of a yacht chef, I'd be too seasick and thus miserable to think about the fact that I'd be absolutely scared shitless to sail through a mid-ocean storm.
I flew back to come home for Christmas, to join my family. It's so strange that a simple flight can transport you between two places where you have two entirely different lives. I came back a little bummed and a tad numb and just remembered staring into the Pacific on a clear Sunday- just as I did last week- thinking about how big the world really is; how many options we have, and how much sexier it felt to live in Europe. I then flashbacked to my first kiss: me, my friend's older marine brother, Catalina Island, screwdrivers, boats, hangover/seasickness. The best and worst first kiss story ever...like ever.
I'm sure it goes without saying that I'm a total beach girl. But what I think people don't know is that although it's surely about the sand, the water, all of that...it's mostly because I see the ocean as a well of thoughts. It's as if I can throw out whatever's on my mind into it, and just let it be. And although it may sound odd, there's something clarifying- even riveting- to think of myself as a dot in the world and acknowledge that at that very moment, I am standing at the edge of it. It puts things into place I suppose, but maybe and probably that's just one of my many idiosyncrasies. Hmmm.
Well, what does that have to do with this almond cake? Everything! Ok, not a whole lot, other than I brought these over to the beach last Sunday to share with my family. It was one of those clear days that provided more clarity than I had a couple of years ago, but this time I had guilt free cake!
Have I mentioned my affinity for almond flour? It allows me to justify my sweet carb fix of waffles, cakes, muffins and all of their relatives.
These are slightly adapted from Roost, a gorgeous blog. Caitlin focuses on a grain/sugar/processed food free diet and has some super solid almond flour recipes!
(My one recommendation with these is to not invert them long before serving since they can get soggy). Ya know it.
I'll be looking out at this view again for the Super Bowl, most likely with a beer belly and a plate of man food.
INGREDIENTS: (makes 9)
Slightly adapted from Roost blog
- 3 cups almond flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ cup ghee, melted (or butter or oil of your choice)
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup of fresh apple juice (orange is great too)
- 3 pears of choice (I used red and green bartletts), thinly sliced (a mandolin works great!)
-Preheat oven to 350F. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Combine wet ingredients and pour into dry, mixing to incorporate. Set aside.
-Slice pears on mandolin (cut from the sides) and set aside.
- ½ cup honey
- ½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped and pod discarded
-Mix the vanilla seeds with the honey until incorporated.
-Pour 1 teaspoon of vanilla honey into 9 wells of a greased muffin pan.
-Now place a few slices of pear on top the vanilla and pour batter over the slice pears, filling each well to the top.
-Bake at 350F for 20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown, they will bake like muffins. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
-Cut off the tops with a serrated knife for a cleaner appearance when plating. Also, don’t invert too early before serving since the vanilla honey will make the cake soggy.