Strawberry Summer Cake (Sheet Pan Variation)

9 tablespoons (125 grams) unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
1 1/2 cups (300 grams) plus 3 tablespoons (40 grams) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup (175 ml) milk, whole is preferred but all varieties have worked
1 1/2 teaspoons (8 ml) vanilla extract
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/4 cups (295 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 pounds (680 grams) of the freshest, even a touch overripe, strawberries, hulled and halved

Heat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
Lightly coat the sides and corners of a 9×13-inch cake pan with butter or nonstick spray, and fit the bottom with a rectangle of parchment paper. In a large bowl, beat butter, salt, and 1 1/2 cups of the granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, yolk, and vanilla and beat until combined. Add milk and mix until smooth. Sprinkle baking powder evenly over batter and beat into batter for 20 seconds longer than will seem necessary — this ensures it’s perfectly distributed. Scrape down the bowl. Add flour and beat or stir until just combined.

Spread batter in prepared pan. Arrange strawberries cut side down, as snugly as you can get them to fit. If you have extra, nudge them in anyway. Leave no strawberries behind. Sprinkle with remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar — it will seem like a lot but helps the strawberries get jammy and gives the cake a great texture.

Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out free of wet batter (gooey strawberries are a given and doesn’t mean it’s underbaked) — about 45 to 48 minutes. Let cool in pan on a rack. Cut into squares and serve as is, or with lightly sweetened whipped cream, if you’re Deb.

Do ahead: Cake even better half- to a full day later, when the strawberries marry with better with the cake. I like to leave the cake uncovered at room temperature so it doesn’t get sticky on top.

Strawberry Summer Cake

6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for pie plate
1 1/2 cups (188 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 cup (200 grams) plus 2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup (118 ml) milk
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
1 pound (450 grams) strawberries, hulled and halved

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter a 10-inch pie pan or 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. (This cake does not work in a standard 9-inch pie pan; it will overflow.)

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl.

In a larger bowl, beat butter and 1 cup sugar until pale and fluffy with an electric mixer, about 3 minutes. Mix in egg, milk and vanilla until just combined. Add dry mixture gradually, mixing until just smooth.

Pour into prepared pie plate. Arrange strawberries, cut side down, on top of batter, as closely as possible in a single layer (though I had to overlap a few to get them all in). Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over berries.

Bake cake for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 325°F and bake cake until golden brown and a tester comes out free of wet batter, about 50 minutes to 60 minutes. (Gooey strawberries on the tester are a given.) Let cool in pan on a rack. Cut into wedges. Serve with lightly whipped cream.

Do ahead: Cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days, loosely covered, but good luck with that.

Notes:
The batter can be dropped to 2 tablespoons less sugar (i.e. 7/8 cup sugar instead of a whole one). But the sugar on top. It contributes to the berries turning into jam.

Basic Pizza Sauce

4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 (14.5-ounce) can whole or diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, plus more to taste
3/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Chop garlic in food processor. Pulse the garlic 2 to 3 times in a food processor until coarsely chopped.

Purée the sauce. Process the ingredients until they’re completely puréed, stopping the motor and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Use the pizza sauce. This sauce is ready to be used as is — no cooking required. Just spoon it onto a round of pizza dough and use the back of the spoon to smooth it out. This amount of sauce makes enough for 8 medium pizzas, depending on how much sauce you like on your pizza.

Refrigerate or freeze the sauce. Refrigerate unused sauce for up to 1 week.

Basic Steamed Eggs

3 eggs
Water (same volume as eggs)
Vegetable or chicken stock (same volume as eggs)
Salt, to taste
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Chopped scallion

Crack 3 eggs in a liquid measuring cup and note the volume.

Pour the eggs into a large bowl, add salt, and beat for at least 1 minute.

Now measure out water at the same volume as the eggs, and add it to the bowl.

Do the same with the broth. Whisk in the sesame oil, and make sure everything’s well combined.

Place 4 empty ramekins in a steamer over high heat. Be sure the water will not bubble and touch the ramekins during steaming.

Once the water boils, turn the heat down to a slow simmer. Then, divide the egg mixture into the ramekins, pouring it through a fine mesh strainer.

Cover the steamer, turn up the heat to high, and steam for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes have elapsed, shut off the heat but keep the steamer covered. Let stand for 14 minutes

Steamed Eggs with Crispy Pork

For the meat & marinade:
4 ounces ground pork (110g, can substitute ground chicken or beef)
1 1/2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine
1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon ginger (minced)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
For the egg mixture:
3 eggs
water (same volume as eggs)
vegetable or chicken stock (same volume as eggs)
salt (to taste)
1 teaspoon sesame oil

To cook the ground meat:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 scallion (finely chopped)

Marinate the ground meat:

Combine the ground meat with all the marinade ingredients. Stir until the meat has absorbed any standing liquid. Marinate for 15-20 minutes while you prepare the egg mixture.

Make the egg mixture:

To make the egg mixture, crack 3 eggs into a liquid measuring cup and note the volume. Pour the eggs into a large bowl, add salt, and beat for at least 1 minute.

Measure the same volume of water, and add it to the bowl. Do the same with the stock. Whisk the mixture all together along with 1 teaspoon sesame oil, and make sure everything’s well combined.

Steam the eggs:

Place a heat-proof shallow bowl in a steamer over high heat. Be sure any water in your steamer will not be able to bubble up and touch the bowl during the steaming process.

Once boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer. Then, pour the egg mixture into the heated bowl through a fine mesh strainer.
Cover the steamer, turn up the heat to high, and steam the eggs for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes have elapsed, shut off the heat, but keep the steamer covered. Let stand for 14 minutes with the lid firmly covered. Cook the meat during this time.

Brown the meat:

Heat a wok over high heat until it starts to smoke. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Brown the marinated meat over high heat until any liquid has cooked off and the bits of ground meat are crispy. Avoid stirring too much in order to give the meat a chance to brown and crisp.

Add in the chopped scallion, mix well and turn off the heat. Once the steamed eggs are done cooking, remove from the steamer, top with the cooked meat, and serve!

Stir-Fried Green Beans

For the pork & marinade:
8 ounces ground pork (225g, can substitute ground chicken or beef)
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons ginger (minced)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch

For the rest of the dish:
3 tablespoons oil (divided)
1 pound green beans (450g, chopped to ½-inch pieces)
2 tablespoons garlic (minced)
1/2 red bell pepper (diced finely)
4 red chilies (chopped, optional)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt (a pinch, or to taste)
2 tablespoons water

Combine the ground meat with all the marinade ingredients. Stir until any standing liquid has been absorbed by the meat. Marinate for 15-20 minutes.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok over medium heat. Add the chopped green beans. Stir and spread the beans into a single layer. Cook for 30 seconds. Then stir and repeat the spreading step several times until the green beans are slightly charred, wilted, and cooked through. Turn the heat lower if needed to avoid burning. It takes about 5-8 minutes to cook the green beans this way. (To speed up the cooking, add a few drops of water each you stir, to create some steam.) Transfer the cooked green beans to a dish and set aside.

Now add 1 tablespoon oil to the wok, with the heat turned up to high. Add the ground meat and brown it. Don’t stir too much; give the meat a chance to brown and crisp. Once the meat has browned, reduce the heat to medium.

Next, add the garlic, bell pepper and chilies. Stir-fry for 1 minute. Add in the cooked green beans, 1/4 teaspoon sugar, r, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon light soy sauce, ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper, a pinch of salt (to taste), and 2 tablespoons water. With the heat all the way up on high, stir-fry for a final 10-15 seconds and serve.