Simple and simply delicious, this cake is adored by everyone! Perfect for a light dessert, at tea time or even for breakfast, this cake is moist, full of fruit and not too sweet. Use the freshest and sweetest strawberries available and try it with a dollop of Crème Fraiche
1 cup sugar, plus additional 1 tablespoon for topping
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 quart of fresh strawberries, rinsed, dried, stemmed and cut in half.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a round 9” cake layer pan.
In a stand mixer or with a handheld mixer, cream butter and 1 cup sugar together on medium speed, until creamed, about 3 minutes.
Beat in eggs thoroughly, one at a time and then vanilla Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the creamed butter mixture, ¼ cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Pour batter into prepared cake pan.
Arrange strawberries in a circular pattern in two rows on the cake batter with the tips pointing towards the rim of the pan.
Sprinkle strawberries with sugar and bake until cake is set and light golden, about 50-55 minutes. The fruit will sink into the batter.
Cool pan for 10 minutes on a rack. Carefully, run a knife around the side of the cake and unmold. Allow cake to cool on a rack and serve at room temperature.
Baguette slices lightly toasted with garlic and topped with pan seared artichoke hearts, olive oil and mint reminds me of a small dish I once had at a wine bar in Rome. This is the perfect last minute snack when friends drop by for a glass of wine.
1 small baguette, sliced thinly into about ¾’’ slices
4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled, 1 chopped finely, 1 left whole
1 can of quartered artichoke hearts, drained well
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tbs fresh mint leaves, chopped finely
1 cup freshly grated parmigiano cheese, grated on a rasp or microplane grater
Spread drained artichokes on a clean kitchen towel and blot with paper towels to dry as thoroughly as possible.
Heat a stainless steel sauté pan on medium heat with 2 tbs of olive oil until oil is hot and shimmering, but not smoking.
Carefully place the artichokes in the hot pan and season with salt + pepper. Allow artichokes to brown before turning, cooking until they are colored, brown + crisp looking. Add chopped garlic clove , stirring constantly so that garlic does not burn, but softens. Allow artichoke mixture to cool. When cool enough to touch, roughly chop the artichoke hearts on a cutting board and transfer to a bowl .
Add half of cheese to chopped artichokes reserving balance for garnish and taste for seasoning, adjust if necessary and sprinkle with mint, reserving a small bit for garnish, stirring to combine.
Place bread slices on a sheet pan lined with foil. Using a silicone brush, lightly brush bread with 1 tbs of olive oil. Toast bread slices until lightly browned and toasted or alternately, grill bread slices until golden brown with grill marks on the grill.
Allow bread to cool until you can lift a slice without burning your fingers and then rub each slice of toasted bread with the peeled whole garlic clove.
Top each toast with a teaspoon of artichoke mixture, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with cheese and more mint.
Serve immediately. The artichoke mixture can be prepared earlier in the day and reserved covered on the counter top, assembling the toasts when ready to serve.
Grilling ripe peaches adds smoke and the flavor of caramel, while concentrating the sugar in the fruit. A quick, healthy, Summer dessert, prepared just before grilling dinner only needs a small dollop of yogurt to add some elegance. May be served warm or at room temperature.
2 tbs butter, melted
4 ripe peaches, halved and seeded
1 tsp sugar
1 cup of Greek yogurt
1 tsp honey
½ tsp vanilla extract
Julienned mint for garnish
Mix yogurt with honey and vanilla and combine well. Keep chilled until ready to serve.
Heat grill to medium high heat, oiling grates well to prevent fruit from sticking.
Using a basting brush, baste peaches lightly with melted butter and sprinkle with a light coating of sugar to taste. The riper the peach, the less sugar needed.
Grill peaches for 2 minutes per side until marked by grill.
Allow to cool slightly and serve garnished with a dollop of cream or yogurt and mint. May be served at room temperature.
Fontellina is the chic Italian restaurant/beach club seaside in Capri. Spend the day there lounging on the rocks in the sun, swimming in the inky blue Mediterranean Sea, eating the divine food and drinking their famous “Sangria”. La Dolce vita starts and ends here!
1 Bottle of chilled dry white wine (I like Pinot Grigio)
4 Ripe peaches, each peeled, pit removed and sliced into 8 slices
4 Ripe plums, each peeled, pit removed and sliced into 8 slices
4 Ripe strawberries, hulled and sliced into quarters
15 Seedless white grapes, sliced in half
2 Mint Sprigs
Ice for serving
Place all ingredients in a large glass pitcher and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 4 hours.
Stir Well, serve over ice in a wine glass and enjoy
Bright emerald green and bursting with clean, fresh mint flavor, this soup is so simple and like a breath of new spring air. Serve it warm on a chilly night or icy cold as a warm weather lunch.
1 tbs vegetable oil
2 scallions, trimmed and chopped
1 small bag of frozen baby peas
12 fresh mint leaves
3 cups of water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tbs Crème Fraîche stirred together with salt to taste (for garnish)
Heat oil in medium sized pot on medium heat.
Sauté scallions, seasoning with salt and pepper, stirring often for several minutes.
Add peas, mint, water, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, or until peas are cooked but till bright green.
Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Carefully transfer mixture to a blender. Blend carefully, allowing steam to escape, stirring and scraping blender container as necessary.
Continue to blend until all ingredients are well pureed. Add some additional water if necessary to thin the soup.
Taste for seasoning, adding additional salt and pepper to taste.
Serve immediately or allow cool, refrigerating and serving the next day.
Garnish each serving of soup with a dollop of Crème Fraîche.
Note: Be extra careful when blending hot ingredients in a blender to allow some hot air to escape while blending ingredients, by slightly moving lid to a side position or removing the center plastic part of the lid and covering with a towel so the ingredients don’t splatter. Neglecting this step can cause a hot explosion.
Warm slices of garlicky, charred, juicy steak sitting on top of cold crisp greens, herbs and ripe tomatoes all dressed with a spicy red wine and Dijon vinaigrette could be Summer’s best salad
(4) 6-8 oz individual filet or ny strip steaks
2 tbs dijon mustard
¼ cup dry red wine
1 garlic clove smashed or pressed
2 tbs chopped italian parsley
Pinch kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
4 cups mixed greens for salad
2 red ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 scallions, chopped finely
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp red wine vinegar
Pinch kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup chopped fresh herbs (parsley, chives, mint
For the marinade, mix dijon mustard, red wine, garlic, parsley, salt & pepper until combined.
Place steak and marinade in a zip lock baggie, squeeze out excess air, and seal bag well. Move steaks around in bag to distribute marinade evenly around meat. Marinate for several hours, removing meat from the refrigerator 1 hour before grilling.
Make the vinaigrette. Mix dijon, red wine vinegar, salt & pepper together well, and then add olive oil slowly in a stream, mixing well until emulsified. Stir in fresh herbs (reserving a small amount for garnish), tomatoes and scallions and set aside until ready to compose dishes.
Pre-heat grill to medium high heat. Remove meat from marinade and pat dry. Grill for approximately 5 minutes per side for medium rare.
Remove meat from grill and let stand for 5-10 minutes to rest. Alternately, steaks may be pan sauteed or broiled.
Toss salad greens with reserved vinaigrette, tomatoes and scallions. Place a serving of salad on the center of each plate. Slice steaks thinly across the grain and lay slices decoratively over salads and serve.