Although the growing availability of organic food and the popularity of farmers’ markets throughout the United States has rapidly spread over the past two decades, it might not be so if it weren’t for Nora Pouillon. Born in Austria during World War II, Nora realized the value of fresh, wholesome food early in life. It was a lesson that would shape her career—and give her an abundance of courage and vision to work toward establishing a better future for ourselves, our children, and our planet, one meal at a time.

“To me, healthy means that we aren’t spraying toxic chemicals on the food we eat, we aren’t dousing agricultural workers with those poisons, and we aren’t depleting the earth with chemicals. Healthy means that we are nourishing the soil with compost, we’re keeping the water clean, we’re preserving the earth for future generations, and we are treating nature and our bodies with respect, not reckless disregard.” — Nora Pouillon

From Nora Pouillon’s kitchen

The bright citrus notes of the cake combine with the sweet earthiness of spiced fruit and wine to tantalize the taste buds.

Directions:

Lemon Poppy-Seed Cake
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Toast the poppy seeds for 1 minute in a dry sauté pan, shaking and stirring the pan so as to not burn the seeds. Allow to cool.

2. Put the eggs, sugar, and oil in the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment. Mix until smooth, about 2 minutes. You can also mix by hand with a whisk. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds, and mix for one more minute or until well combined.

3. Add the milk and lemon peel and mix one last minute. Scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl to make sure the batter is thoroughly combined.

4. Oil an 8-inch springform pan. Pour the cake batter into the pan and bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake sit in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out on a cake rack to finish cooling.

Prune-Port Compote

1. Pour the port into a medium, nonreactive saucepan and add the cloves, lemon peel, cinnamon stick, cardamom, and ginger. Bring to a boil. Add the prunes, reduce the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes or until the fruit is soft.

2. To serve, ladle some of the juice from the compote into shallow dessert bowls, then set a piece of poppy-seed cake on top. Add 3 or 4 prunes to each bowl.


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