Heavenly Halloumi and how to have it. What the heck, you ask, is halloumi? It is a goat-sheep’s milk cheese that has been brined. You can find it at stores that specialize in Middle Eastern products and better cheese markets (think Murray’s or Whole Foods). And it is divine. The best way to eat it is to drain and pat it dry, slice it, brown it on a non stick pan or grill, top it with a pepper jelly or a fig jelly or even honey, slice it into cubes, and skewer. You can even have slices for breakfast topped with syrup and maybe some nuts. Store uncooked leftovers in water until ready to use again. Cyprus is home to this cheese, so for the not so faint of heart, maybe a glass of arak or Pernod to go with it, but I just drink wine. Color optional.

Anyone who knows me knows I don’t bake. It isn’t that I don’t, I just can’t. It is easier for me to bone a duck than bake a cookie. Too much stress and tension in all that measuring. Give me some fruit in a martini glass topped with ice cream and I am in dessert heaven. But, this little sweet is a joy–easy to put together, can be made in advance, and requires no measuring cups or spoons. Checks all my dessert boxes. Here we go. You will need strawberries–larger is better, a container of mascarpone cheese-softened and drained of any liquid, a tablespoon of honey, a tablespoon of Drambuie, a pinch of salt and pepper and container whipped cream–I used Land o’ Lakes Sugar Free Heavy Whipped Cream. Top and core the strawberries–make enough of a hollow, you are going to fill them. Set them aside. In a bowl, mix the mascarpone cheese, the honey and the Drambuie until well blended. Add the salt and pepper. Drain off any liquid. Taste. Now fill a piping bag (or a plastic bag with a small hole cut in a corner) with the mixture. Pipe the mixture into the little hollows of the strawberries to the top of the hole. You can store at this point and refrigerate any leftover filling. When ready to serve, squeeze a bit of the whipped cream all over. You can finish with mint, or chocolate dust, or powdered sugar or sprinkles, you get the idea. If you want it non-boozy, leave out the Drambuie. If you don’t like Drambuie, add another liqueur. Make a lot. They go quick.