Saturday, June 20, 2009

stepford-wife style

last saturday afternoon it was gloomy and cold (did you know tomorrow is the first day of summer? i sure didn't), so i decided to surprise jon when he came home from work, stepford-wife style: with a cheese board and some champagne cocktails.

this strawberry-prosecco concoction is the essence of warm breezes and blue skies. almost enough to make it feel like spring.

the strawberry muddle
adapted from bon appetit, july 2009

(makes 6)

1 1/2 cups chopped hulled strawberries
6 tbsp. agave nectar or simple syrup
6 thin lemon slices
ice cubes
1 750-ml bottle chilled prosecco

divide strawberries among six glasses; add 1 tbsp. agave to each and mash with a spoon. add lemon slice to each and mash to release juice. add several ice cubes to each glass, then fill with prosecco. cheers!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

a little mood lift

a few weeks ago jon and i welcomed summer with a beer and some barbecue chicken sandwiches. it appears we were a little hasty pulling out the brooklyn summer ale, as it's been rainy and gross in new york ever since. [case in point: i'm about to drown my sorrows and my sniffly nose in a bowl of instant ramen.] and if the gloomy faces of my fellow commuters are any indication, i think it's time for a little mood lift.

this cake, which i found in the wonderful june issue of gourmet, isn't a fancy dessert. it's kind of flat and squishy and plain, the kind of cake you can whip up in ten minutes with two bowls and a wooden spoon. but when you bite into one of the luscious, juicy raspberries, it's exactly what you were looking for. try it, you'll see.

raspberry buttermilk cake
gourmet, june 2009

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tbsp. sugar, divided
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk (i used 1/2 cup regular milk with a squeeze of lemon juice)
1 cup fresh raspberries (about 1 small carton)

preheat oven to 400 degrees F. butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.

whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. in separate bowl, beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar until fluffy, about 2 min., then beat in vanilla and egg. stir in the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour. mix until just combined. spoon batter into cake pan. scatter berries evenly over the top, then sprinkle with the remaining 1 1/2 tbsp. sugar.

bake 25 to 30 min., or until cake is golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.