Summer Strawberry Cake

May was an unusually cold month. I’m so happy the weather has warmed up. The temperatures have been in the 90’s F/ 30’s C for the past week. Call me crazy, but I’ll take a sweltering heat over blustery frost any day. This week, in an attempt to cool off, the hubs and I headed down to the swimming pool and did a couple of laps and splashed around. Something about being in water always makes me insanely hungry, even if I just splash around in the pool. So when we arrived home, my husband whipped up a delish and quick meal of whole-wheat and quinoa pasta with sautéed mushrooms, lemon, onions and cream. It was so good and we were so starved that no pictures were taken.

After dinner, we went outside to sit on the terrace. While outside, we started to smell the most delicious aroma of baked apple pie. This made me crave baked goods and I couldn’t shake the urge to bake. What else is any sane person supposed to do on one of the hottest days of summer, but crank up the oven? I quickly found a seasonal dessert recipe on Smitten Kitchen and off I went, stirring, mixing and pouring, to make this beauty (pictured below). So worth it!

If you love strawberries as well as the crunchy and buttery taste of shortbread cookies, then this recipe’s for you. It’s essentially a large shortbread cook with strawberry jam. The original recipe calls for way more strawberries than I had on hand. I was still rather pleased with the results.

What you need.

  • 12 – 15 Strawberries (or double it for strawberry packed goodness), stem removed, halved
  • 6 tbsp (85 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

How you make it.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C) and butter a 9 inch (spring-form) round baking dish.
  2. Cream butter and sugar, add in egg, vanilla and milk.
  3. Mix dry ingredients and add them into batter.
  4. Pour mixture in prepared dish.
  5. Place strawberries cut-side down on top of the batter (they’ll sink in as they bake)
  6. Bake 10 minutes and then reduce heat to 325 (160 C), bake another 45 – 55 min. Allow to cool on a wire rack before serving.

Serve with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or au naturale. I think I’ll try this with blueberries and strawberries the second time around. Enjoy!

Rosemary Salmon with Quinoa and Mango Salsa

This recipe is simple, healthy and protein-packed. It combines mildly sweet, savory, nutty and tangy flavors. It’s a nice meal to enjoy on a warm summer evening.

What you need.

  • quinoa
  • salmon
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • mango, diced
  • avocado, diced
  • diced red pepper
  • red onion, minced
  • parsley (or cilantro)
  • fresh lemon juice

How you make it.

  1. Start off by cooking your quinoa, according to instructions. (For nice fluffy quinoa, cover the pot with a top and simmer on low).
  2. While your quinoa is cooking, prepare your salsa. Mix mango, avocado, red pepper, onion, herbs and lemon juice (1 TBSP for 2 servings)
  3. Season your salmon with thyme, salt and pepper. Place butter in a pan and melt, throw in rosemary sprigs, add salmon on top of rosemary and cook on medium-high until 1/2 way cooked and golden brown. Flip salmon and do the same for the opposite side.

Enjoy!

Rosemary Zucchini Goat Cheese Pancakes and Balsamic Reduction Sauce

My Mom is visiting me at the moment. It’s been great having rotating cooks in the kitchen. Among visiting some of our favorite local spots in Switzerland, recently we traveled to Morocco for one week. During our trip, I unfortunately caught a slight case of food poisoning, after eating chicken from a small restaurant. After this experience, the sight and smell of any type of meat makes me slightly nauseous and sick. I’ve never been a big meat-eater as is, but for the time being, I’m avoiding it until the desire to eat it returns, if it ever does.

Despite my little incident, the trip was fabulous. Morocco is one of my favorite countries to visit, the landscape is so diverse and the people are very warm and welcoming. We spent a lovely evening in an old fortified mountain town, Ben Ait Haddou.  Our riad hosts were so wonderful, we didn’t have to leave the hotel for entertainment. They served us a 4 course dinner consisting of: cucumber, tomato, onion, lemon and olive oil salad served with Moroccan country bread, followed by a chicken and vegetable tagine, full of yummy goodness, a lovely plate of the sweetest watermelon I’ve ever tasted and of course the customary mint tea – infused with thyme. After stuffing us to our capacity, the hotel owner serenaded us with traditional Berber music and then handed out drums to everyone and that’s when the party started. We danced, sang to songs we didn’t understand and laughed until the wee hours of the night. Unfortunately, I was too busy chomping away to snap pictures of the food.

Now that I’m back home, I’m just having fun testing out some new and interesting veggie recipes. I recently found a recipe that combines some of my favorite things, savory and sweet, breakfast type food at dinner time. This was a big hit at the dinner table. It’s light enough for a nice summer dinner, simple enough to prepare in under 30 – 40 minutes and fancy enough to impress your friends at your next dinner party.

What you need.

Salad + Dressing

  • your favorite salad ingredients. I used: oak leaf lettuce, apples, carrots, mixed nuts and raisins
  • 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp of brown sugar

Pancakes

  • 100 g flour (app. 1 c)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 – 2 sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 150 ml (app. 3/4 c milk)
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • Olive oil
  • 1 small zucchini sliced slightly thin
  • 50 g (1/2 c goat cheese)

How you make it.

balsamic reduction

  1. Make your salad.
  2. Heat the balsamic on medium, once it decreases to about half the original amount, add your brown sugar.
  3. Stir frequently until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Once cool, drizzle over your salad (and pancakes too if you’d like).

Pancakes

  1. Mix flour, baking powder, a pinch of salt and rosemary in a bowl.
  2. Mix milk and egg in another bowl, make a well in dry ingredients, pour in, mix. Place the batter in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
  3. Slice up zucchini, cook in olive oil and butter until slightly brown (about 3-4 minutes on each side).
  4. Add your goat cheese and zucchini to the batter, folding the ingredients in carefully.
  5. Using a ladle or big spoon, scoop mixture in an oiled pan on medium high heat. Cook about 3 minutes on one side or until bubbles start to appear, flip and finish cooking.

Serve these pancakes right away, warm and with dip them in your salad sauce for a savory and sweet treat. This recipe makes about 6 medium-sized pancakes, so enough for 2 people.