Skip to content


August 1, 2010

Due to several factors including formatting difficulties within WordPress which, in turn, cause time issues within my life, Ola Mae’s Kitchen will no longer be available in its current form on this blogging platform.  All recipes will be carried over to the new site:
The new site will have recipes, but it is also a log of the goings on in the lives of Gordita and P-Dog (check the new site for details); feel free to submit your own photos, links, quotes, comments, and suggestions for publication on the site because if you’re reading it, you’re a part of my life.  Don’t be startled by the thematic differences between this blog and the new tumblelog; I haven’t yet found the perfect theme and color palette, but I am working on it.

I believe that this move is in the best interest of the author all visitors to this site.

Thank you for your continued support.



Orange Tea-Cake

July 12, 2010
Orange Tea-Cake. The original recipe for this cake comes from Spain and was given to cookbook author Penelope Casas by a Spanish home cook named Mari Carmen Martín. I made it several times in the traditional way–following the recipe to the letter. Each time the cake was perfectly delicious, but I felt it was too light in orange flavor. As the original recipe heading reads, “A golden, moist cake perfumed with orange….” I wanted something that not only smelled of oranges, but tasted of them as well; and I did not want to accomplish this by adding extract. What I came up with entailed a few specific changes. I added more orange zest, used Valencia oranges exclusively, made a glaze using an orange marmalade that was high in fruit content, and chose the best orange liqueur around. I also decided to make two cakes instead of one because once any of my neighbors smelled the deep orange aroma coming from my kitchen, they invariably asked me to make a cake for them. One to eat; one to give away.
  • 3 large or extra-large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Juice of 4 Valencia oranges (about 1 to 1-1/8 cup), freshly squeezed
  • Zest of 3 oranges, freshly grated
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (NOT extra virgin)
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup orange marmalade
  • 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier or other good orange liqueur
Grease and flour 2 6-cup Bundt pans. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with an electric mixer until thickened and light-colored. Slowly, one at a time and in order, beat in the sugar, orange juice, orange zest, and oil. Next, 1/4 cup at a time, beat in the flour. Toss in the baking powder and beat for just a few seconds more.
Quickly pour the batter into the pans filling each 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 20 minutes then rotate racks and continue to bake until done–about 15 minutes more or until a toothpick inserted in the cakes comes out clean and the cakes spring back to the touch. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then gently turn out on serving plates.
While the cakes are cooling, prepare the Marmalade Glaze:
Combine marmalade and Grand Marnier in a small saucepan and simmer on medium-low for 3 minutes. Brush glaze over still-warm cakes. Allow to sit for at least five minutes so the glaze soaks in.

Boiled Greens with Lima Beans

June 30, 2010

Photo courtesy: Joseph Knight

Boiled Greens with Lima Beans. Georgiaberry at Sunshine for Dinner: The Farmer’s Market That Comes To You asked me to write a recipe for her market site using summer ingredients available to her clients. After a couple of failures–one of flavor and one of texture–I worked up the recipe below. A resounding hit with my taste tester, I rarely have been prouder of a creation. I strongly urge you to try this one:

  • 1/2 pound (8 ounces) dry Lima beans
  • 1 medium field tomato, diced as small as your knife skills will allow
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion (such as Vidalia or Walla Walla), finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup (approx. 20-25 stems) finely chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of dried oregano
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 small lime, halved crosswise
  • 4 cups (32 oz.) vegetable broth
  • 8 cups fresh dinosaur kale*, rinsed and stemmed (approx. 1 large bunch)
  • 8 cups fresh flat-leaf spinach, rinsed and stemmed (approx. 1 large bunch)
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Cotija cheese**, crumbled coarsely


Preparing the beans: In a medium-size heavy-bottomed pot, soak the beans in 6 cups of water for at least 5 hours or overnight. After the soaking, drain the beans and cover again with 6 cups of fresh water. Cover and cook on medium-high heat for 30 to 45 minutes or until desired texture is reached. Any foam that forms on the water’s surface should be spooned away and discarded. Salt may be added to the cooking water after 25 minutes. Do not drain.        

 After the beans are set to soak: Combine the tomato, onion, cilantro, garlic, oil, and oregano in a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Add the jalapeño, a little at a time, stirring and tasting after each addition to make sure you don’t add too much. Slowly squeeze 1/2 the lime over the bowl, again stirring and tasting as you go. Finally, add salt and pepper in the same way as described above. Cover and set aside to allow the flavors to meld.        

Photo courtesy: Joseph Knight

During the cooking of the beans: Pour the broth into a large, non-aluminum pot and bring to a boil. Add the kale and cook for 12-15 minutes. Add the spinach and cook 5 minutes more or until all greens are tender. Do not drain.  

Serving: Using tongs or a fork, evenly divide the greens among three bowls. Spoon beans over each helping of greens.  Top each serving with the tomato mixture and sprinkle each generously with cheese. Use the remaining 1/2 lemon to add a freshening squeeze of juice to each bowl.        

Serves 3       

Note: The cooking water of the beans should be discarded, but the broth can be strained and poured into a container and stored in the freezer. Use it to enrich the cooking water the next time you make pasta or rice.        

*Dinosaur kale can also be found under the names Tuscan kale, black cabbage, cavolo nero, and laciniato.         

**Cotija cheese is a sharp, salty white grating cheese that softens but doesn’t melt when heated. Look for it in Hispanic markets. Substitutes:   Parmesan OR Romano OR anejo cheese OR feta cheese OR nutritional yeast. – Cook’s Thesaurus      


Photo courtesy: Joseph Knight

Avocado Sandwich

June 24, 2010
Avocado Sandwich 3
My go-to meal when time is short.

Avocado Sandwich. I am a huge fan of the sandwich. I can make a sandwich out of just about anything. When I was little I ate fried green tomato sandwiches, sugar syrup sandwiches, fried bologna sandwiches, and butter sandwiches. There was also the occasional Spam sandwich, cheese sandwich, or jelly sandwich. Everything was eaten on “light” bread, and there were no dressings save for Sandwich Spread or Miracle Whip on the bologna sandwich.   

 These days, I don’t get to eat sandwiches as much as I would like. The ones at the local restaurants seem too complicated–piled high with ingredients and even higher with price. I had all but given up on eating them until I stumbled across the avocado–the perfect sandwich-maker. When I was growing up, we didn’t eat avocados. As a matter of truth, I had never even seen an avocado until I was an adult; and it took me flying across an ocean, switching planes in Amsterdam, going through customs, and taking a train to a suburb of Paris to finally get me to taste one that wasn’t camouflaged as guacamole. My mom once told me that she was eating 4-6 avocados per day, but upon further investigation I discovered what she was eating was actually kiwi fruit. The avocado was so foreign to her, she didn’t know one looked like.       

Well, my French introduction led to a love affair. There is always a ripe Haas in my kitchen,  and when I buy bread I make sure it will pair well with my beloved fruit.  Here is the recipe for my favorite sandwich:     

  • 2 slices of bread
  • Spicy Mayonnaise
  • Sunflower seeds, hulled
  • 1 small, ripe avocado, peeled and pitted and sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Spread each bread slice with mayonnaise, sprinkle with sunflower seeds, and set aside. Place the avocado slices on 1 slice of the bread and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle lightly with the oil. Place the second slice of bread on top. Enjoy.

Homemade Baking Powder

June 14, 2010

Baking PowderMise en place (literally: putting in place) . Remember this phrase as it is as important to kitchen work as pots, pans, and salt. Here’s my story:

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a private showing of a favored artist’s work. As I am an avid collector of his pieces I was honored and excited to be chosen to have first choice. After spending the day taking care of personal business, I arrived home with only 45 minutes remaining before the showing. And, suddenly, I reminded myself that I am a Southern woman. Now, I’m not just Southern; I’m deeply so. I am proud of my heritage and its traditions. I still say “Yes, Ma’am” and “No, Sir.” I was raised on Sunday supper and  sweet tea, buttermilk biscuits and sorghum syrup. I believe in paper hand fans, magnolia trees, “just dropping by,” and having doors opened for me. I know that a house is not complete without a porch, and that the 4th of July is for family reunions. And when I’m tired or angry the Mississippi River, Lake Pontchartrain, and The Gulf all converge in my mouth and the sound that spews forth when I part my lips would make Blanche DuBois’ drawl sound like the Queen’s English.  Southern I am; woman I am. And NO self-respecting Southern woman would show up at an engagement empty-handed.  With this in mind, I decided to bake a cake–my famous-among-my-friends Orange Cake. I set to cracking eggs and juicing the Valencia oranges I had on hand, measuring out flour and sugar, and preheating the oven. Two-thirds of the way through mixing in ingredients, I realized I was missing the all-crucial baking powder. Had I taken the time to do my mise en place, this little fact would not have escaped my notice for so long. But there I was. What to do?

I swung open the cupboard door and tossed little jars around until I located the clear plastic bottle at the back of the shelf that held my cake’s salvation. A bottle of white powder that no baker should ever be without: Cream of Tartar. This little wine-making derivative saved my offering, and it could one day save yours. Here’s how:

  • 4 parts cream of tartar
  • 2 parts baking soda

Sift the powders together three or four times and store in an airtight container in your cupboard for 4-8 weeks. This makes a single-acting baking powder that is aluminum-free and as fresh as your 2 ingredients.

Doing the math: A “part” is a standardized measurement that you choose. If you choose to use a tablespoon as your “part,” then the recipe would be 4 tablespoons cream of tartar and 2 tablespoons baking soda. Which would give you 6 tablespoons of baking powder to use or store.

Spicy Mayonnaise

May 31, 2010
Spicy Mayonnaise in Shadows

I just keep reusing this old mayonnaise jar; it's the exact size to fit the recipe.

Spicy Mayonnaise. I really like mayonnaise. I don’t know why; I just do. It started with the “mayonnaise” of my youth – Kraft Miracle Whip, took a pit stop with Kraft Sandwich Spread, continued on with Kraft mayonnaise and almost ended after a brief vegan stint filled with Nayonaise. I tried making my own, but found I liked Hellman’s version better, and so that’s what I use today. I eat it on my sandwiches, with my fries, and sometimes right out of the jar. I have used it to bake a cake (it’s just eggs and oil after all) and even to condition my hair. But, my favorite thing to do with mayonnaise is to add heat to it–Scoville heat. Of late, the “foodie” trend has been to add chipotle, but my favorite way to spice it up is with powdered cayenne. Chipotle mayonnaise is quite delicious, but my cayenne kicks its butt in the heat category. Just imagine, cayenne pepper is 10 times hotter than chipotle which is a dried and smoked jalapeño!     Try it at least once; the process is quick. You will need:   

  • 1 cup of your favorite mayonnaise
  •  1 – 1 1/2 tsp. powdered cayenne

In a small container, stir together the mayonnaise and cayenne. Spoon mixture into a clean, small jar. Cover tightly and refrigerate.                     


Note: Cayenne gets hotter after you add it to food. So it’s better to start with a small amount. If it is not hot enough for you, you can always add more later. And, you don’t want your mayonnaise so hot that you can’t taste the rest of your meal.

Pa Tat’s Cornbread

May 1, 2010

Cornbread.  As I get older, remembering things is harder than it once was. But, there is one memory from my childhood that is still as vivid as the day it happened.  My great grandpa, Talton (Tat for short), had come in from the corn field for his midday snack. He was wearing his usual denim overalls with a striped cotton shirt underneath and once-black, now-gray work boots; his skin burned red, from both his native mother and the Arkansas sun. I was afraid of Pa Tat; he seemed so gigantic to my little self.  He often swore, always carried Skoal in his bottom lip, and spoke to me only when I did something “dang foolish” or when he needed his spit cup brought closer. On this day, however, as he sat in his rocking chair preparing to relax with his food, he suddenly patted his left thigh and held out his arm to me. Stunned but excited I eagerly leapt into his lap, nestled my bones into the crook of his arm, and fell in love. This one moment of bonding led to a lifelong idealization of what came next.  Ma Candy (Melviney to those who cared little for their lives), brought out a big crockery bowl of  last-night’s cornbread smothered in fresh buttermilk with a large spoon propped alongside. Pa Tat received the bowl, gently handed it to me to hold, and scooped up a spoonful of the contents and smacked it between his tongue and the roof of his mouth. He approved. The next spoonful he guided toward my mouth and not even my dislike of both cold cornbread and buttermilk stopped me from gobbling it up. We sat like that for many minutes until the bowl was empty. Papa patted my back; I took his cue and  slid off his lap and into the kitchen to return the dishes. Standing at the wash pan, I heard from the other room, “Youngun. Git me my spit cup. ” I had never been happier.

Check back soon for the recipe.