Strawberry Buttermilk Cake (Variations with Other Fruits)

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine salt 1/4 tsp less if you using salted butter
6 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1 large egg at room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1 lb strawberries hulled and halved
Confectioners’/icing sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 F. with rack in middle of oven. Grease a 9-inch deep dish pie pan, 9-inch round baking pan or a 10-inch top diameter cast iron skillet. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3-5 minutes. Add the egg, buttermilk and vanilla and mix until blended, about 1 minute. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture, mixing just until combined.

Remove bowl from mixer and use a spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl well, mixing in any stray flour. Spoon the batter in to the prepared pan and smooth the top. Arrange the strawberries in a randomly in a single layer on top, with the cut side down.

Bake the cake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 325 F. and continue baking for 50-60 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool slightly, then serve warm, with a dusting of confectioners/icing sugar and a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if you like.

Notes: Change it up with other fruits as they come in to season.

No buttermilk? Make your own by adding 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice to a scant 1/2 cup regular milk. Let stand for 10 minutes and use in this recipe.

Okra Stew

2 medium red onions, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic
8 teaspoons olive oil
1 quart vegetable stock
5 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon freshly sliced ginger
4 cups chopped okra
Fresh chopped cilantro for garnishing
4-6 whole orange or yellow chili peppers (optional)

In a large pot, simmer the onions, garlic and olive oil on medium heat for 10 minutes, or until onions are translucent.

Add the vegetable stock and tomatoes. Stir to combine and let simmer for a few minutes.

Add the cinnamon sticks, ginger and okra.

Cook for 10 minutes, remove from heat and garnish with cilantro.

Serve with warm couscous and chopped chili peppers on the side, if you prefer a little heat. Serves four.

Serve with Sticky Cinnamon Couscous:

1 cup of whole-wheat couscous
4 teaspoons olive oil or ?1?4 cup ghee (for a richer version with healthy fats)
2 cinnamon sticks
2 cups vegetable stock
Salt and black pepper

In a pot, add the vegetable stock, olive oil or ghee, and couscous. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Bring to a boil, add cinnamon sticks and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from the heat when most of the water is gone and the couscous is sticky and moist. Serves four.