Posts Tagged ‘shortcake’

Local Potluck Tuesday June 15 (and Strawberry Shortcake)

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

I couldn’t let strawberry season pass us by without the obligatory sink-full-of-berry photo, er, recipes, right?

After being told one local farm was out of strawberries, I rushed to our neighborhood farmers market first thing last Saturday to grab half a flat from Black Rock Orchard. I made a small batch of freezer jam and a pint of strawberries in vanilla syrup, a la Simple Bites, to stash in the freezer for next winter. And the remainder were set aside for Sunday evening strawberry shortcakes.

Growing up, I spent just about every Father’s Day weekend at the local grange strawberry festival — consuming and later serving massive amounts of fresh strawberry shortcake. While I’ve yet to find a berry here that rivals those from Oregon, with a little sugar, vanilla and cream a homemade shortcake is just about as satisfying. I macerate the berries with a touch of balsamic vinegar to help round out the flavor.

Recipe: Strawberry Shortcake

Berries:

  • 3 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Instructions: Combine berries, sugar and vinegar in a bowl and let stand at room temperature at least 30 minutes.

Biscuits adapted from Alice Waters via Ezra Pound Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

Instructions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix together flours, salt, sugar and baking powder in medium mixing bowl. Cut butter into small cubes, and use pastry blender or hands to work butter into the flour mixture until crumbly. Add cream and mix until just combined. Shape dough into a disc and roll out on lightly floured surface to about 3/4-inch thickness. Cut out 2-inch circles and place on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 15-17 minutes, until just slightly golden. (Makes 6 biscuits.)

To make shortcakes: Beat 1/2 cup whipping cream with 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract until soft peaks form. Split biscuits in half and place bottom half on serving plate. Top with 1/2 cup of strawberries, including a good sized drizzle of the syrup that has formed in the bowl. Place top half of biscuit on top, add a generous spoonful of whipped cream and a few more berries on top for good measure. Enjoy!

Thanks so much to our first Local Potluck Tuesday participants last week — . Please join in and share what local foods you’ve enjoyed this past week!

Local Potluck Tuesdaya few guidelines:
1. Share a relevant post — a recipe, menu or pictures of a meal featuring local foods, from the farmers market, CSA, farm stand or your own garden — using the MckLinky widget below. In the link title field, enter both your post title and your name &/or blog name, e.g., “Lemon Cucumber Salad — Colleen @ FoodieTots.”
2. Bonus points if you included your kids in picking, growing, purchasing or cooking the ingredients for the meal! (And by bonus points, I mean increased likelihood of seeing your post featured in the following week’s post.)
3. In your post, please link back to this post here at FoodieTots, so your readers can find the potluck and be encouraged to join in as well.

That’s it! I hope you’ll join in and share what you’re cooking up to celebrate our local farms and the wonderful food they provide to nourish our families.

Summer Solstice Shortcake

Friday, June 20th, 2008

Growing up, we had an annual Strawberry Shortcake Festival every Father’s Day weekend in June, at the country grange* just down the road from us. This was *the* event of the year on our dusty little mountain, with people coming from miles away (from The City, even, so you know it was a big deal) and lines stretching for hours around the grange. They had the good sense to also host a craft fair, so folks could browse as they waited in line. There was also a walk-up window when you could get your shortcake to go. From an early age, I couldn’t wait for the year I’d be old enough to be a shortcake waitress. I think the minimum age was about 8 to bus tables (you got to share the tips!) and maybe 11 or 12 to be a “real” waitress. (Apparently child labor laws didn’t apply that weekend.) Since the only menu options were cake or biscuit and small, large or family, it didn’t require too much experience. Waitresses got to wear the official strawberry aprons, sewed by the old ladies of the neighborhood, with a pocket to store our precious tips. I remember the legend of a girl a few years old than us who once made $80 in a single day. A lot when you consider tips came in dimes and quarters. (Okay, I swear I didn’t grow up in the Depression, just a rural mountain in Oregon…)

Oregon (Hood) strawberries, for those who’ve never been fortunate enough to taste them, are juicy, sweet and flavorful — a far cry from the bland California creatures found in supermarkets across the country. There’s an easy way to identify the imposters, too; an Oregon berry hull pops right out with a pinch of the stem, no silly huller required. The key to a good strawberry crop is a rainy spring (which Oregon most definitely has) followed by a dry spell to let the berries ripen. Miraculously, it almost never rained Festival weekend and the berries were at the peak of ripeness. The biscuit was actually shortcake, while the cake option was more of a spongecake. Both baked from scratch by neighborhood women in the kitchen. Others would hull, slice and sugar the berries (this was one of the few areas men were allowed to participate in), whip fresh cream, and then assemble the plate. A “small” was the size of a regular salad plate, large a dinner plate, and family size came on a platter. Think turkey platter. Something like eight biscuits piled sky high with berries and cream, it was literally a meal for a family of eight.

Needless to say, Father’s Day and strawberry shortcake is inextricably linked in my taste memories. My husband, however, is more of a chocolate dessert guy and doesn’t really get my obsession with not-too-sweet shortcake doused in sweet red berry juice, cream flowing down the sides …. sorry, tastebuds were getting carried away there. So on Father’s Day I took him out for more manly indulgences, and saved the shortcake for later in the week. Rather than forcing my culinary traditions on his day, I’m declaring a new tradition: Summer Solstice Shortcake.

Because our Virginia berries just aren’t quite as flavorful as the ones from my childhood, I like to give them a boost with balsamic vinegar. One of my favorite summer salads is strawberries with balsamic, cracked pepper, basil and honey – this take on shortcake infuses some of the fresh basil taste into a classic summer dessert.

Recipe: Summer Solstice Shortcake

Ingredients:

  • 1 recipe shortcake, using your favorite recipe.
    I used Betty Crocker’s, but I’m not in love with it.
  • 1 pt strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
    (Westmoreland Berry Farm, VA, 71 mi.)
  • 1/2 pt other berry of your choice, optional.
    Used black raspberries here. (also Westmoreland)
  • 2 T basil syrup
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1 c heavy cream (Trickling Springs Creamery, PA, 104 mi.)
  • 1 t sugar

Instructions:

Toss berries with basil syrup, sugar and vinegar and let stand at room temperature for an hour. Make shortcake (or biscuits) and cool. Whip cream and sugar into soft peaks. Assemble: slice shortcake in half, place bottom half on plate and cover in berries with lots of juice. Top with cream and top half of shortcake. Garnish with basil leaf (optional), and enjoy!

* I used to babysit the boy who won the scholarship this year!! Wow. I really am old.