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Sometimes a girl just needs to wallow in romance. I am not talking about a card and dinner on Valentine’s Day, which is hardly refutable, but let’s talk about the other 364 days of the year – sheer opportunity to live out LOVE.

There is no denying that one’s interpretation of love evolves with time. Certainly, romantic love changes over the years. At first, it manifests itself as being demonstrative, often extremely physically and even somewhat financially driven – dinners, movies, gifts. Then it grows into friendship kindled by passion, and it becomes stolen glances, laughter, unexpected smiles, a graze of a hand, deep kisses that take your breath away, your favorite latte, a walk on the beach, a whispered thought, pajamas tucked into your suitcase with a note, and all of your other bucket list wishes. For as much as I am a realist, I am a believer in the good and a dreamer that love will find a way. Love in all of its glory…just spending time together and not sharing your time becomes a gift.

So where did I pull my inspiration from this week? – cinema, family, and friends! I watched a movie that ignited my love of love and that desire to recapture that compelling feeling of wanting and needing to feel and experience deep emotion.

Call Me by Your Name is a thought-provoking, passionate movie, that admittedly caught me by surprise and sparked my thoughts about the many types of complex love – first love, parental love, marital love, young love and desire, passionate and erotic love, mature love….L-O-V-E. Undeniably, it was an arousal for the soul.

In one of the movie’s loving parental moments, the lead character’s father speaks to him about the loss of love, and truthfully explains that embracing the ‘suck’ of painful moments is worthwhile: “Our hearts and our bodies are given to us only once. And before you know it, your heart’s worn out. And as for your body, there comes a point when no one looks at it, much less wants to come near it. Right now there’s sorrow, pain. Don’t kill it and with it the joy you’ve felt.” It is worth wading into desire, the movie suggests; it’s the only way to be alive, both in the good parts and the painful ones. This couldn’t be more true because good without bad lacks measurement. Sweet without salt is also not as powerful. Opposites attract in nearly every situation – food/love/emotions. And sometimes we need to be reminded to see and embrace this delicate and powerful balance. To live and to feel alive sometimes is about finding that line between the two opposites. Awareness.

With love in my heart and on my mind, I’ve been reaching deep to get to a place where I can find my stride again to love and nurture my cooking vibe. The vibe is there, it’s just a bit time constrained, so again hope prevails and is ever more present when I am surrounded by my family and friends. Their love of eating inspires my creativity.

The tart strawberry flavor pairs well against the palate of the buttery vanilla cake dough. Even the textures are complimentary with the soften baked fruit juxtaposed against the firmly crusted cake. It is the type of dessert that can easily be eaten as breakfast.

Scrumptious Summer Strawberry Cake


6 TBS unsalted butter, softened

1 ½ cups flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

½ cup milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved

whipped cream (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch pie plate.

Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on high speed approximately 3 minutes until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium-low, mix in egg, milk, and vanilla.

Reduce speed to low and gradually add in the salt, then baking powder. Mix in the flour and combine well. Arrange strawberries on top of the batter, cut side down, as close as possible.

Bake cake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees. Bake until cake is golden brown and firm to the touch, approximately 50 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve.

Cake can be stored for up to 2 days at room temperature.