Sunday, June 7, 2009

Strawberry Shortcake

I really love traditional Strawberry Shortcake. I don't think I ever had it this way until Becca made it for dessert one night when we had dinner with her and Shane. Growing up, Strawberry Shortcake was always made with Angel Food Cake, which is also good. However, I really love this recipe that comes from the Joy of Cooking.


Pre-heat the oven to 450.

Sift together in a large bowl:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar

Cut in, using a pastry blender or 2 knives, until the size of small peas:
4-6 Tbsp chilled butter
(it needs to be really cold butter, I take a cube of butter out of the freezer and only leave it out a few minutes before using it. I also do this part in my food processor to make it easier).

Make a well in the center. Add all at once:
3/4 cup milk (For added riches, use half-and-half instead of milk)

Stir just until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Knead gently and quickly, about 8 to 10 times, Roll out with a lightly floured rolling pin (or pat out with your hands) to 3/4" thickness. Cut into squares and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Brush the tops with a little milk and sprinkle sugar over the top. Bake until lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes.

Strawberry Filling:
Wash, pat dry and hull strawberries. Crush one-quarter of the berries in a bowl with a potato masher or fork. Slice the remainder. Combine the sliced and crushed berries and add sugar to taste.

To assemble, cut each biscuit in half horizontally. Place one half on a plate, spoon the berry mixture over, and top with the other half of the biscuit. Spoon a generous dollop of whipped cream (it must be real whipped cream!) on top and serve.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Something about food...

Good, wholesome food makes me incredibly happy. When I cut into a juicy watermelon, I am immediately taken back to childhood summers. Last week, I cut up some basil from by garden and was overwhelmed with the beautiful smell and the memories of summers past. Food is a part of my good memories. Food brings us together and makes us happy. I am passionate about good food. Because of this passion, I have to adhere to a basic rule - you must always cook and bake with the foods of the season. I can't bear to make something in the winter that calls for fresh strawberries or tomatoes. Strawberries remind me of spring, and I can't be eating them in the dead of winter -that would be like playing Christmas music in July. Tomatoes belong to late summer and into the autumn. Chocolate, citrus fruits, and nuts get my mind twirling with ideas of winter desserts. Juicy peaches and crisp apples are the best in autumn desserts. A raspberry tart would be perfect for a late summer dinner party outdoors. Although I have only been to Nantucket once and have never picked any berries there, I imagine picking blueberries in the middle of the summer and taking them back in a basket to my summer cottage. I have found that Europeans respect the foods of the seasons more than we do. I'm not sure why. Why is it that Europeans always have to out-shine us in the food catergory? That's okay - it just makes me love the different countries of Europe that much more. Oh, I love their love for food. And I'm grateful for all those of you out there who inspire me with your love of food. So here's to summer and all the fresh foods we can eat this season!