Lemon Yogurt Cake with Ginger Thyme Syrup

For Easter I was invited to my friend Cecelia’s friend Lois’ house. I’ve spent holidays with Lois and her motley crew before, so I knew exactly what I was walking into.

Lois the type of lady (hi, Lois! I know you’re reading this!) that I want to be when I grow up. She knows how to cook a damn good meal, she can entertain a group of 20 and when she finally settles into a chair near you she’s lovely to talk to – smart and graceful and full of wisdom.

I had asked my friend Cecelia if I should bring anything to Easter, knowing that if I did I’d want to impress. It was just a matter of what to make. I wanted something simple (for the sake of my sanity and busy schedule) and¬†worthy of an Easter dinner (meaning, probably not simple). I went straight to my file of bookmarked recipes in my Google Reader looking all the way back to late 2009. March 2010 delivered just the recipe I’d been looking for: a simple lemon yogurt cake, kicked up with a ginger thyme syrup.

Now. Never mind that I burnt the syrup the first time I tried making it and had to soak and boil my poor pot three times before all that hardened sugar came out. That was just me not paying attention in the kitchen (hm…what is that smokey smell coming from behind me?).

The cake itself was easy peasy and despite the nearly hour-long baking time, came together quite quickly. The syrup, the second time around of course, was equally easy but required a lot of standing, stirring and close care and watching.

Let’s talk about that syrup. It does absorb into the cake, like the recipe says, quite nicely. But I don’t know if I’m totally sold on it for my second go at this recipe. I am huge fan of a nice lemon glaze¬†which I think would go quite nicely drizzled over this cake. Being that it already is a moist cake with a strong crumb (meaning, it makes a large crumb that doesn’t fall apart in your fingers), I don’t think you really need a syrup to make it more moist. On the other hand I don’t think a cake can ever been too lemon-y. So next time I may go for a lemon or ginger glaze. And some chopped thyme leaves sprinkled haphazardly all over the cake.

No matter what you do with this cake, it’s perfect for dinner parties, BBQs or midnight munching with a girlfriend.

Enjoy!

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Cilantro Garlic Yogurt Sauce & Grilled Chicken

Finally, folks! Here is the first in a series of long-awaited Beach Trip Cooking Posts! Oh yayer! I know you’re as excited as I am!

Before we left for Rehoboth Beach, DE (over a week ago now) I had grandiose plans for laying out a menu for each day, shopping ahead of time, marinating meats over night, bringing an ice-pack bag for delicate foods or spices from my own cupboard.

Yeah none of that happened. Work was crazy, The BF moving in cause mental havoc I couldn’t overcome and I was just tired. We left for the beach on a Wednesday and I’d had a friend staying with me until the Sunday before. It was just. Too. Much.

Fast forward to Wednesday, the day we were set to leave. Of course the day before you’re supposed to be out on vacation it’s like the whole world voms in your Outlook Inbox! So in between meetings, prepping documents and taking phone calls I hopped on Epicurious with a vague idea of what I’d like to cook. This, our first recipe in the beach installment, was born of me wanting to marinate chicken in a greek yogurt sauce.

If you’re anything like The BF you are totally weirded out by the idea of a) marinating in dairy and b) grilling dairy. Well, I wasn’t and so off we went. (Ever heard of buttermilk chicken? Yeah.) I didn’t want a predictable tzatziki, and the abundance of cilantro at the markets has really inspired me lately…so when I found this recipe I was done looking.

It was easy enough to pull together, and very refreshing. As a marinade…eh…it’s a toss up. I’m not sure the meat gained too much from marinating it in the sauce except for an occasional note of charred cilantro, but it was a nice thought. What it was good for was dipping the grilled-to-perfection chicken in after the fact!

If you are using the sauce as a marinade, like we did, be sure to reserve about 3/4 cup for dipping the chicken or veggies later! This leaves you enough sauce to marinade up to four thick chicken breasts. I went for boneless, skinless.

Enjoy!

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