I installed new under-cabinet lights today.  They are so bright against the white tile we can use them to land an airplane in the kitchen.  I’m psyched!

We had low-volt lights installed when we did the kitchen in 2001.  They worked fine until 2007 or so.  The transformer blew and then the replacement blew.  Not good.  Last year, we had them redone as rope lights.  Also not good.  They just didn’t put out enough light.  I even added to them.  Still not enough light.  Our kitchen is always dark – and even more so in winter.

So…  off to the local lighting store.  Any idea how many options one has for under-cabinet lights?!?  Any idea how much money one can spend on under-cabinet lights?!?   Holy light-bulb, Batman!  I wanted them to work on a dimmer switch, and I wanted them hard-wired.  I didn’t want to have to build anything.  We found some xenon lights that fit the bill perfectly – and fit our minimal budget.

We can see, again.  Our always-dark kitchen is now bright and cheery.  I only cursed a few times, too.

With new lights ablaze, I roasted a chicken for dinner.  I ground up a few juniper berries with rosemary, garlic, salt, pepper and just a bit of olive oil and spread it under the skin.  Into a 375° oven for about and hour and 15 minutes.  Thermometer was at 170°.

Egg noodles with pan gravy and spinach with mushrooms finished off the plate.

And Victor was so enamored of the new lights that he decided to bake a cake for dessert!

A flourless chocolate cake to munch on while watching the Oscars.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 9 large eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1/4 cup strong black coffee
  • 2 cups heavy cream, cold
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan.

Put the chocolate and butter into the top of a double boiler (or in a heatproof bowl) and heat over (but not touching) about 1-inch of simmering water until melted. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a mixing bowl until light yellow in color. Whisk a little of the chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture to temper the eggs – this will keep the eggs from scrambling from the heat of the chocolate; then whisk in the rest of the chocolate mixture.  Add the coffee and mix well.

Beat the egg whites in a mixing bowl until stiff peaks form and fold into the chocolate mixture. Pour into the prepared pan and bake until the cake is set, the top starts to crack and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it, 25 to 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes, then remove sides of pan.

Serve at room temperature dusted with confectioners’ and the whipped cream.

This is just a great cake.  Every time he makes it I’m in chocolate heaven!

C’mon Oscars!