I live in a rosemary factory.

D and I decided to give up the plot in our community garden. It’s sad to see it go,  but honestly, it’s been nice to not have the obligation of driving several miles each weekend to work the soil, as pleasant and rewarding as that was. Our lives are a little busy right now, something had to give, so it’s bye-bye garden.

We were able to transplant the sage, lavender, and arugula into containers outside our apartment, and since we had barely planted anything for the winter at all, nothing else was too great a loss. Except the rosemary.

palmful of dried rosemary

We had two four-foot-tall rosemary plants that were strong and gorgeous. I nearly couldn’t bear cutting them down. Instead, I cut them into 2-foot sprigs (more like branches, but whatever) and took a huge armload home with me to dry. That bushel of rosemary was painstakingly rinsed, branch by branch, and then draped inside a boat frame that hangs from the ceiling. (If you know me, then you may know that my life partner has been building a canoe… for four years.  I’m finally grateful that he hasn’t finished it.) It smelled like a pine forest for three days, and two weeks later, the rosemary was ready to harvest.

orange rosemary olive oil cake

Except, do you know how much dried rosemary comes from a bushel of branches? Out of four branches, I got two cups of dried rosemary. No one needs two cups of dried rosemary, least of all me and my 700-square-foot apartment, and I have (approximately) 300 more branches to go. Surprise! Everyone’s getting rosemary for Christmas!

I’m now on a mission to put rosemary into as many things as possible. If you’ve never thought to include rosemary in a dessert, fear not! The combination of this aromatic herb and some sharp citrus is a clear winner.

orange_rosemary_cake 032_ed

Orange Rosemary Olive Oil Cake
Adapted from Patent and the Pantry
Makes one 9 x 4 loaf cake

You will need:
4 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
Grated zest and juice of 1 small navel orange
1/2 cup regular or extra-virgin olive oil (or use canola oil)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbps. dried rosemary, chopped, plus more for decoration

Preheat oven to 350. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper, or grease it.

In a medium-sized bowl, beat the eggs about one minute, until frothy. Add sugar and beat another 3 minutes, until pale yellow. Add orange zest and juice and beat again for 30 seconds.

In a separate, larger bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and rosemary. Add egg mixture and stir until just combined. Pour batter into loaf pan and sprinkle with more rosemary, if desired. Bake 45 minutes, or until golden brown and a skewer comes out with small crumbs attached.

Cool completely before serving.

orange rosemary olive oil cake

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