We celebrated my father-in-law’s birthday tonight with a special dinner at our place. While prepping the dinner Jason and I opened a chilled Scott Cellars 2005 Pinot Gris which we shared with our guests when they arrived. Scott Cellars is a tiny winery – they produce only about 900 cases a year. I met the winemaker, Peter Scott Fraser, when we were both pouring wine at a charity event. I traded him a bottle of Consilience Santa Barbara County Petite Sirah for one of his Scott Cellars J Cuvee (a lovely fruity blend of Zinfandel and Syrah, named after his wife) which I fell in love with after one taste. Alas, I digress. The Pinot Gris is not subtle nor delicate, it is balanced with a crisp richness that I enjoy in white wine. Dinner was salmon with a lemon dill sauce and roasted root vegetables (pearl onions, garlic, parsnips, potatoes, beets) with a lovely Alma Rosa 2005 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir (90 points from Wine Spectator). The owners of Alma Rosa, Richard and Thekla Sanford, are friends with my in-laws, so we thought it might be fun to drink Alma Rosa wine tonight. The Pinot, with its subtle floral aroma and deep cherry and earthy flavors, went really well with the fish. I also made a “three hole chocolate cake”, using a recipe from my Mom. Since this cake doesn’t call for any perishable ingredients (like milk or eggs), my Mom would bake it whenever the roads were closed (we were snowed in often during the winter and couldn’t get to the supermarket). Here is the recipe in case you are jonesing for chocolate cake.

3 Hole Chocolate Cake
1.5 C flour
1 C sugar
3 TB cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
6 TB salad oil
1 TB cider vinegar
1 TB vanilla extract
1 C cold water

  1. Sift the first 5 ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, salt) together into a large bowl
  2. Make three holes (depressions) in the sifted ingredients
  3. Pour salad oil into hole #1
  4. Pour cider vinegar into hole #2
  5. Pour vanilla extract into hole #3
  6. Pour 1 C of water over all
  7. Mix it all together with a spoon or wire whisk until very smooth
  8. Pour into an 8″x8″ pan
  9. Bake at 350F degrees for 30-35 minutes

Sometimes when the cake was still a little warm from the oven, Mom would put a simple glaze on it. With that said, the cake is great without the glaze. Here is the recipe for the glaze:
1 C powdered sugar
1 TB butter
1.5 TB cocoa
A few drops of vanilla extract
Milk (add just enough to make the glaze spreadable)
Mix the glaze ingredients together and then spread over the cake. Enjoy!