First Day of Summer

Aside from eating this cake, which you really should make and consume as soon as possible, what are your plans for the summer? Really, tell me. I won't get jealous. Maybe.

Here's what I am not doing this summer (so far anyway): writing about food or going to Paris. Here's what I am doing: eating daily transformative strawberry rhubarb muffins at Flour;

rowing crew early in the morning on the Charles (with the amount of times my name emerges from the coach's mouth, I'm fairly certain I suck, but it's the best thing I've done in a long time anyway); sitting on decks with friends drinking gin and tonics and rosé wine (not at the same time). Oh, and tonight I'm going on a date. I don't actually want to go on a date, but since I'm still essentially stuck where I was when I wrote about my linguini with clam sauce dilemma a year ago, I guess it's necessary to try to get unstuck. Which also means I'm going to meditate a lot this summer. So far I just carry books around by Jon Kabat-Zinn and Pema Chodron, waiting for osmosis to kick in, but as soon as S leaves for camp next week, I'm going to greet each morning with a full body scan. Really.

And, I'm trying not to spend too much time thinking how last June I was brushing up on my French and reading Hemingway and Gertrude Stein in preparation for a trip to Paris. When you think about it, Boston is really just like Paris, right? River? Check. Art? Check. Croissant? Check. We even have an old church or two. And, nobody ever gets annoyed that you only speak English. Maybe we just have to treat whatever city we're in like it's Paris and actually use the river and look at the art and eat the croissant, outside at a café if possible. And I need to write. Like I pretend that I would do every day "if only I lived in Paris." Boston has writers too. Like Louisa May Alcott and Dennis Lehane. One can certainly write in Boston if one chooses to.

I will say that I have been cooking. I sat by my grill for four hours and made this pulled pork. And last night I made cauliflower cumin fritters from this Notting Hill cafe. And this weekend I'm going to the farmer's market to get fresh berries for the buttermilk cake I showed you at the top. It will be a nice send off for S before she goes to camp and the perfect start to summer. Do tell me what you're doing. I'd love to hear your plans. Maybe.

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake
Adapted from Gourmet

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 cup fresh raspberries (or blueberries, or strawberries)

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes, then beat in vanilla. Add egg and beat well.

At low speed, mix in flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined.

Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top. Scatter raspberries evenly over top and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar.

Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool to warm, 10 to 15 minutes more. Invert onto a plate.