Fancy Footwork in the Kitchen

Hey everyone! Dennis and I have taken an interest in riding our bikes to the farmer's market recently, which as inspired me to do lots of cooking. I adore the fruits and veggies that are in season right now, so even though it gets really hot in here when I turn on the stove, it's so worth it!

A while ago I made the first in a series of awesome dinners, and I got to use some of my favorite kitchen gadgets in the process. I made a salad with some organic baby greens and edible flowers topped with herbed goat cheese and sliced strawberries. My mom got me this nifty little tool a while back:

It's like an oversized pair of tweezers and it makes it really easy to remove the strawberry stems before cutting them up. I served this with basil turkey burgers on focaccia and some sweet potato french fries. Yeah, it was awesome. For desert I made an open-face plum cake with the red and yellow dwarf plums from the trees in our yard. Lots of people have these trees and let all the wonderful little fruits go to waste because they think they're only ornamental. I used a cherry pitter to remove all the pits before I used the plums in the cake:

I was worried they'd be too soft but it worked like a dream. If you have these trees I encourage you to get out there and pick the fruits, they're so good this time of year! And if you pick too many and don't know what to do with them all, here's the recipe for the cake! It's a great batter because it has no butter, and the cake comes out perfectly moist with a crispy outside. The perfect ammount of sugar sets off the tartness of the baked plums. The recipe makes two cakes so be sure to share!

Open-Face Plum Cake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
2 cups pitted dwarf plums
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter two 9-inch square cake pans. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl combine the 3/4 cup sugar, the milk, oil, and egg. Fold into flour mixture.

2. Divide batter evenly between the two pans. Sprinkle 1 cup of tiny plums on top of each pan of batter, trying ot distribute them evenly and keeping them away from the sides.

3. Combine remaining sugar and the cinnamon and nutmeg and sprinkle over the tops of the cakes. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes.

Oh, also, I just bought myself a mandolin slicer thingy today, so hopefully I'll be whipping up a lovely batch of potatoes anna. Impossible to make it without slicing the potatoes really thin! Hope everyone's enjoying their summer!