Grilled Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

skirt steak 2

Monday afternoon, 4:25, John Coltrane on Pandora radio, icy glass of Walla Walla rose wine at my elbow, (can’t make my computer put an accent mark on the e in rose) 86 degrees outside and Drew walking around the house trilling on an imaginary trumpet. Perfection. Or at least darn close.

The only thing that would make it anymore perfect, this grilled skirt steak with Chimichurri plunked down in front of me. The whole thing. Every glorious, juicy, crusty bit. Slathered in garlicky, fragrant Argentinian goodness. Sigh. Not going to happen today.

Tooth throbbing from morning session at the dentist.  He and I are becoming BFF’s.  His good news for the day? All of my 500 silver filled cavities need replacing. Aging is not for sissies. Realize sissies is a word old people use.

skirt steak 2

Plan for tomorrow? Make this again and devour it. With a martini, or two.

Toss some tomatoes in olive oil, garlic, sea salt and thyme in a baking dish. Roast the heck out of it, serve it along side my steak and raise my glass to my new BFF.

skirt steak 3

Recipe found over at the Issaquah Press.

Tomato Basil Tartine

Tomato Tartine 1

Despite having just returned from vacation, I’m finding myself a bit tired and worn out these days. Maybe it’s the heat that has me in a languid, sort of semi-sleepy state, or it’s just the slowed down summertime pace of things that I’m finding it hard to snap out of. Or maybe it was the wine I had with my lunch yesterday… Whatever it is, this feeling infects my days and is now beginning to effect my activities in the kitchen and even to a certain extent my time spent blogging.

Tomato Tartine 2

I’m looking for quick, easy to throw together dinners, and lunches that are simple and don’t require me to prepare loads of ingredients and spend crazy amounts of time in the kitchen. I broke out my slow cooker the other day and plunked in ingredients for Kalua Pig, and yesterday, carrying along in the same vein, I slow braised a brisket. I often think slow cooking is perfect for summer, counter to popular convention, it’s just easy and fits the vibe of taking things down a notch.

Tomato Tartine 3

A tartine, (small open faced sandwiches) definitely fit the definition of easy and unfussy. This one in particular is my absolute favorite and is so simple I hesitated to even share it here. It hardly feels original when you look at the ingredient list, but let me just say that now is the perfect time to be bewitched by this sandwich and it’s beautiful simplicity. Tomatoes are entering their peak, basil is fresh and abundant and well I love this sandwich so much I just had to.

It goes without saying that each individual element of this tartine is important. Be sure to get the best quality tomatoes you can afford, heirlooms are pretty much worth the splurge here, buy only crusty bread (I used a poppy/sesame seed sourdough) and be sure to get your hands on some flaked sea salt. Maldon is my favorite and pretty much sends this recipe to delicious heights.

Generous amounts of butter on top of crispy fried bread rubbed lavishly with a garlic clove or two make this simple dish so amazing. When my mouth is full and I’m single-mindedly devouring this I often wonder how something so basic can be so crazy good. That thought is precisely where the beauty, the magic, lies. However small the effort to make this you will be infinitely glad you did.

  • Tomato Basil Tartine
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
2 10 5

Ingredients

Servings:

Instructions

  1. Preheat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Generously utter both sides of the bread and place in the skillet once hot.
  2. Proceed in batches if all the bread won't fit. Flip the bread once it's toasted and is brown on one side. Once toasted on both sides, remove from the skillet and divide amongst two plates.
  3. Rub each piece of toast with a garlic clove on each toasted side. Pile the tomatoes and basil on top. Serve with a sprinkle of sea salt.
  4. You can also add a drizzle of balsamic glaze or olive oil if you desire.

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Elotes Pizza + A Revolutionary Pizza Cookbook Review

Elote Pizza 2c

There’s something pretty amazing about corn in all it’s summer glory, smothered in a creamy sauce, fresh herbs, cheese and butter, am I right? What is amazing on it’s own in this case translates itself to one brilliant pizza. If  I’m honest, any pizza that also has loads of  cilantro, cotija cheese, a squeeze of lime and sprinkling of chili salt  is going to be my friend.

Elote Pizza 2b

This recipe, found in the newly released, Revolutionary Pizza: Bold Pies That Will Change Your Life… And Dinner by Dimitri Syrkin-Nikolau of Chicago’s famed Dimo’s Pizza has kind of revolutionized the way I’m looking at pizza these days. The book full of unique and mind blowing recipes for pizzas named, “Vindaloo”, “Build Me Up, Butternut”, “Blueberry Chipotle Figs”, “Chicken N Waffles”, “Poutine” (OMG!!!) “Falafel” and “Rodeo Burger”, has some serious chops.  Short of a visit to Chicago, I have every plan to immerse myself in the Dimo’s experience and think I’ll be making more than my fair share of these lovelies this summer.

The beauty of the book lies in it’s simple yet super creative use of toppings and is so approachable that anyone, regardless of your skill in the kitchen can make a pizza that leaves you gobsmacked at the first bite.

cover

I strongly urge you to get your hands on it and get crackin in the kitchen this summer. Pizza is quite simply a food for all seasons, and if it’s too hot where you are to turn on your oven, move it on outside to the grill and get your grub on. The only trouble you’ll have is seriously choosing which of these pizzas to make first.

  • Elotes Pizza
Servings
4

Ingredients

Servings:

Instructions

Dough Instructions
  1. Prepare the dough first. In a mixer combine the water, salt, sugar and oil. Whisk together by hand. Add in the yeast and quickly whisk, then immediately add the flour. Mix a medium speed using a dough hook for 10 min. until dough ball forms.
  2. Add a small amount of additional flour if the dough is too sticky. Cut the dough into two equal sized portions and knead with your hands about 10 times to get out any air bubbles. Shape into a ball as you knead, the surface should be smooth.
  3. Set aside and cover it with a moist towel. Repeat with the other portion. Let rise for a minimum of 2 hours. They should rise to twice their original size. Use one of the portions to make the pizza and refrigerate, freeze or make another pizza with the remaining dough. Shape and stretch dough into a 12-14 inch round and place on a pizza peel lined with parchment. Preheat your oven with a pizza stone at 500 degrees, while making the toppings.
Pizza Instructions
  1. Grill the corn until it blisters about 10-15 minutes total. Let cool and cut off the cob.
  2. In a food processor combine the creme, lime juice, 1 of the cilantro bunches and chili salt.
  3. Sprinkle the cheese over the pizza evenly then spread 1/4 to 1/2 of the sauce over the top depending on how saucy you like your pizza.
  4. Distribute the corn evenly. Carefully move the pizza from the peel to the preheated stone and bake for 10-12 minutes until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly.
  5. Remove from the oven, drizzle over extra sauce and the melted butter. Scatter the remaining bunch of cilantro over the top, with the cotija cheese, more chili salt and an additional spritz of lime if you desire. Slice and serve.

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Recipe adapted and printed with permission.

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

Salted Watermelon, Tequila + Basil Granita

Watermelon Tequila Granita 1

It’s hot! And it’s definitely time for something easy to make that’s cool, refreshing and makes you feel like a rockstar in the kitchen. Granita is one of those stupid easy recipes that gives so much bang for the proverbial buck that when you make it you’ll wonder why you haven’t made it before. At least that’s what I was wondering when I made this. I mean, really what’s not to love about a dessert that you throw into a blender, pour into a pan and freeze?

Watermelon Tequila Granita 2

watermelon

I decided that rather than make just a basic granita I needed to kick it up a notch and add some tequila. Not much mind you, just a enough to make it slightly more grown up and to complement the fresh lime flavors in the recipe. As soon as it was ready, I scooped up a generous portion, sprinkled some sea salt over the top and garnished it with some basil. Basil and watermelon are a fantastic combination together and while it may not sound like it would float your boat, believe me it’s pretty amazing and definitely worth a go.

Watermelon Tequila Granita 3

I hope you give this a try. Granita is just so refreshing, and this version has just the right amount of earthy, complexity that makes you think of nothing else while you devour it. Here’s to summer and singleminded eating.

  • Salted Watermelon, Tequila + Basil Granita
Servings Prep Time Passive Time
6 15 minutes 4 hours

Ingredients

Servings:

Instructions

  1. In a blender, combine the watermelon, sugar, tequila, lime juice and lime zest. Blend on high until smooth. Pour into a 9x13" baking dish and freeze for 1 hour. Stir the mixture with a fork and place back in the freezer. Repeat this procedure every hour 3 more times until the granita is frozen.
  2. Serve with a sprinkle of salt and small basil leaves for garnish.

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Strawberry Blueberry 4th of July Pie

photo-16

If ever there was a time to make a pie the 4th of July definitely is it. We love this pie so much and have been making it or a version of it for a number of years now. Fairly straightforward, it consists of homemade blueberry and strawberry pie filling in a butter crust. It’s a little bit more time consuming than a regular pie, in that you must cook and cool the filling before assembly, but the extra time is definitely worth it for the charming result.

The cooked filling is necessary for the pie to retain it’s separation, but I’m not a huge fan of pure cooked filling pies so I add a few fresh berries to each of them before pouring them into the pastry case. In order to delineate the blueberry from strawberry sections, just use a folded piece of aluminum foil when adding the fillings, then remove the foil when you add the stars and stripes. Typically if I’m making this pie, I go to the extra trouble to make two of them and as berries usually go on sale around the 4th, it’s fairly affordable to go that route. These pies also freeze beautifully before baking if you want to make them ahead of time.

4th of July pie how to

4th of July pie how to 2

And because there are so many other wonderful 4th of July ideas and recipes out there, I thought I’d include a few here that I am currently crushing on.

From Heather Christo: These Salted Watermelon Margaritas made up in a pitcher for your guests would make any party an instant success.

These great 4th of July party and recipe ideas from Alexandra Hedin.

And pretty much all of these amazing recipe ideas from the lovely and talented Kate over at Diethood.

Gorgeous Moroccan Fish Skewers from Emily over at Jelly Toast.

And because,  Ancho Lime Chili Pops from Southern Souffle.

Beer Battered Onion Rings from Joy the Baker… GAH.

And my new most amazing way to eat all that gorgeous summer zucchini, Garlic Scape Pesto and Zucchini Pasta with Peas and Mint from one of my most favorite blogs, Dishing Up the Dirt.

However, whenever you celebrate have a happy and wonderful 4th!

  • Strawberry Blueberry 4th of July Pie
  • Recipe for 2, 9"pies
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
16 60 60-70

Ingredients

Servings:

Instructions

For the blueberry filling:
  1. In a large saucepan combine 1 C. of the blueberries and the sugar over medium heat. Stir until the sugar is melted and the blueberries are liquid. In a separate bowl combine the cornstarch and the cold water and stir. Add to the blueberries and stir until combined and the mixture is thick.
  2. Set aside and allow to cool. Add the remaining 3 C. of berries, the lemon zest, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir thoroughly and set aside. Prepare the strawberry mixture.
For the strawberry filling:
  1. In a large sauce pan combine half of the berries, 1 1/2 lbs. with the sugar over low heat. Simmer until the mixture is liquid. In a separate bowl combine the cornstarch and the cold water and stir until dissolved. Add to the strawberries and stir until the mixture is thick.
  2. Set aside to cool. Add the remaining 1 1/2 lbs. berries and stir to combine.
For the pastry:
  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour and the salt. Pulse briefly. Add the butter and pulse until it resembles coarse meal. With the food processor running, slowly drizzle the water into the work bowl. Process an additional 10 seconds.
  2. Dump the mixture onto your work surface and press it together. Divide in half and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 1 hour.
  3. Roll half the dough into a large 12" circle and line the pie pan with the dough. Place a piece of aluminum foil that is folded in half in the left upper quadrant and fill in the remaining 3/4's of the pie with the strawberry filling. Add the blueberry filling in the remaining space. Remove the foil, then roll out the remaining half of the pastry. Cut 5 stripes with a knife (approximately 3/4 of an inch wide). Lay the stripes over the strawberry section, cutting ends so they fit. Using a sharp knife or star cookie cutters, cut stars to fill blueberry section.
  4. Don't worry about things being perfect. Part of the charm of this pie is it's handmade, rustic appearance. Repeat the dough recipe and use the rest of the filling for pie #2.
  5. At this point you can freeze the pie, or if you'd like to bake, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Combine the egg and milk in a small bowl and brush on top of the pastry part of the pie only. Sprinkle with sugar. Place them on a baking sheet and bake at 400 for 15 minutes. Lower heat to 350, and bake until bubbly.
  6. Allow to cool slightly and serve with ice cream if desired.

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Dark Chocolate, Honey and Fig Cupcakes

Chocolate Honey and Fig Cupcakes

I spied some figs for the first time at the market over the weekend and it was all I could do to refrain from purchasing a massive amount of them. My mind immediately went back to this glorious Fig, Almond and Marscarpone Tart I made last year. Figs are really truly such a luscious fruit, when they arrive on the scene each summer I get a bit ridiculous about them.

The heights of my ridiculous behavior have lead me to purchase another fig tree in the hopes that I can coax it to produce in our temperamental climate. A girl can hope right? I’ve often been frustrated with my attempts in the garden and I am always in awe of successful and proficient gardeners. The level of patience and commitment required to grow and nurture food and flora is astounding to me. My little tree did manage to survive a very cold Pacific Northwest winter so fingers crossed, the tiny fruits now forming will gift me with some delicious rewards come August and September.

Chocolate Honey and Fig Cupcakes 2

Speaking of figs in September, I’m hoping that I get the chance to eat some figs in a most wonderful and special place this fall. I have had the very good fortune and great honor of being selected as a finalist in the DaVinci Wine Storyteller Experience! I cannot tell you how fantastic this honor is and the list of fellow bloggers, photographers and writers all vying for this opportunity is nothing short of amazing. To be included in this very talented group of folks is very, very humbling. And wonderful.

Each year DaVinci wine selects Storytellers from around the U.S. to travel to Tuscany to participate in the grape harvest each Fall. As you can imagine this experience not only involves a great wine experience but a great culinary one as well. Storytellers are given the opportunity to learn first hand from winemakers and chefs and to experience the beauty of both disciplines complimenting each other.

Finalists are selected based on number of votes, so if you are at all inclined I would be most grateful if you would head on over, using the link above and cast your vote. You can vote more than once (just only one time per day) wink, wink. You have until the end of July and you must vote from your computer only, no mobile/handheld devices. You must also be of legal (U.S.) drinking age. I would so very much appreciate your vote!

Chocolate Honey and Fig Cupcakes 3

Ok, now about these cupcakes. Figs, honey and chocolate are nothing short of magical when they meet, eaten in their purest form together or combined in a delicious baked good well, you really cannot go wrong. I used my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe, a deliciously decadent honey buttercream and topped them off with a light honey drizzle and of course a beautiful fig. I hope to make a few more fig related recipes this summer so stay tuned for more figgy goodness.

Here’s the link one more time for you to vote for the DaVinci Wine Storyteller Experience! Thank you Friends!

  • Dark Chocolate, Honey and Fig Cupcakes
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
36 30 20

Ingredients

Servings:

Instructions

To make the cupcakes:
  1. Combine the beer and butter in a medium sauce pan over low heat. Once the butter is melted and mixture is slightly simmering, whisk in the cocoa. Set aside and allow to cool for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile in a mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, soda and salt. Whisk to break up the lumps and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the eggs and sour cream, mixing until well incorporated. Slowly add the cooled stout mixture while the mixer is running on low.
  4. Once combined begin adding the dry ingredients in 3 additions, and mix until just combined. Allow the batter to rest for 30 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line your muffin tins with cupcake liners and place the tins on baking sheets. Using a large ice cream scoop, fill the liners 1/2 to 1/3 full.
  6. Bake for 17-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes then turn out onto counter for additional cooling. Once completely cool, frost with Honey Buttercream and garnish.
To make the frosting:
  1. In a large mixing bowl combine the butter, honey, salt and extract. Using a handheld mixer whip until all the ingredients are incorporated. Gradually add the icing sugar, sifting with each addition, (about 1 cup at a time).
  2. Once completely combined, scoop frosting into a large pastry bag fitted with a wide round tip and ice or spread over cooled cupcakes with a spatula.

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**Cupcake recipe adapted from Trophy Cupcakes**

Strawberry Apricot Crumble

Strawberry Apricot Crumble 1

“The garden paths were lit by colored lamps, as is the custom in Italy, and the supper table was laden with candles and flowers, as is the custom in all countries where they understand how to dress a table, which when properly done is the rarest of all luxuries.” Alexander Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo

This my friends is summer. Long, lazy days, delicious fruit on the vine or tree warmed by the sun and dinner eaten outside under the stars. Simple pleasures easily had no matter where you may live.

Strawberry Apricot Crumble 2

I’ve always thought that no matter where I am I should take the time to enjoy my meals. A thought that fails in practice more often than it succeeds, but I vow this summer to change that. Food eaten purposefully, slowly and with attention/intention is much more filling for the soul and spirit than food that is consumed on the fly. I may not always be able to eat my dinner under the stars but I am going to try at the very least, no matter where I am to slow it down, pay more attention and just be present.

A dessert just like this, a simple crumble is to me really the essence of summer living. Easy to prepare, full of the gorgeous bounty of available summer fruits and just what you need to round out that particular dinner under the stars, or the one consumed on the front porch or under the tree on a blanket in your yard. A perfect way to slow things down.

Strawberry Apricot Crumble 3

The recipe for this crumble can be found over at The Issaquah Press and is a riff on this one I made last fall. It has a generous browned butter hazelnut topping that does all kinds of magical things to the jammy, sweet fruit tucked in underneath. Infinitely easy to pay attention to and infinitely deliciously summer.

Espresso + Almond Praline Ice Cream

Espresso Almond Praline Ice Cream 1

One of the most fun and rewarding things about food blogging is the mail. Both varieties, email (i.e comments) and snail mail. It’s a bit like Christmas morning, every morning when I get up and check my inbox for comments. It may seem a bit on the ridiculous side but blogging can be a bit of a lonely endeavor sometimes so when someone takes the trouble to stop by and read my blog and leave a comment I get a little giddy.

When the mail arrives, usually without fail, each week there is often some product or cookbook that comes to my door. You’ve probably noticed, companies both big and small, and cookbook editors love to have bloggers use their products or work from their latest books then have them share their experiences with their readers. I’m sure my FedEx man thinks I have an online shopping addiction. I really must make the effort to greet him when he comes by next so I can explain. At the very least I should bake him a plate of cookies to thank him for braving the drive up our steep winding hill so often.

I feel a little bit guilty when he comes, there really is almost no room for him to easily turn around, for some reason there are a bajillion small rabbits always lurking on the road for him to maneuver around and our massive dog always greets him with snarls and wolf like growls. Throw in our neighbors free range chickens and ducks and well, you get the idea. He deserves 5 dozen cookies at least.

Espresso Almond Praline Ice Cream 2 Espresso Almond Praline Ice Cream 3

Recently I was fortunate to receive Patricia McCausland-Gallo’s Passion for Coffee Cookbook in the mail. Written by food writer, nutritionist, pastry chef and participant in Michelle Obama’s Chefs Move! To Schools program, Patricia hails from Colombia and knows a thing or two about coffee.

The book is chock full of recipes both sweet and savory that highlight coffee in all it’s delicious incarnations. Balsamic coffee reductions, check. Coffee Creme Charlotte, Rum and Coffee Cheescake, Tamarind Spiced Chicken Breasts and Cornish Game Hens with Blackberry Coffee Sauce? Check, check, check and check.

Espresso Almond Praline Ice Cream 4

Seeing how it’s summer and all my brain can seem to think about is ice cream, I chose to make this delicious, no cook Espresso + Almond Praline recipe. No cook, means faster time to the ice cream maker and freezer so ultimately faster time to my mouth. No eggs means that the texture is more along the lines of a gelato, firm but definitely no less delicious.

Espresso Almond Praline Ice Cream 5

Flecked with an easy to make almond praline, this recipe has a definite creamy, almondy juxtaposition going on that’s divine. I used a instant espresso powder for an extra strong, slightly bitter hit, but if you prefer a more mellow coffee flavor, just stick with the milder versions of instant coffee and you should be good.

If there was a way I could make this for my FedEx man I would, although somehow I think it would be too difficult for him to maneuver his truck with a dripping ice cream cone in hand. Not probably the best way to win the guy over. I’ll definitely have to rethink that one. Until then I have an appointment with a cone.

Espresso Almond Praline Ice Cream 6

  • Espresso + Almond Praline Ice Cream
Servings
6

Ingredients

Servings:

Instructions

For the Praline:
  1. Line a small rimmed baking sheet with parchment or a silicone liner. Set aside. In a heavy saucepan combine the sugar and the water. Stir until most of the sugar is wet, then set the spoon aside. Do not stir the mixture from hear on out. Swirl the pan if you need to combine ingredients. Heat over medium high until the caramel begins to turn a medium brown. Swirl continually at this stage then remove from the heat. Pour in the almonds and carefully stir to combine. Moving quickly, pour onto the baking sheet and allow to cool and harden.
  2. Once cool, place in a large plastic bag and use a rolling pin to break the praline into small pieces. Set aside until needed.
For the Ice Cream
  1. Combine all of the ingredients except the praline in a blender. Blend until combined and the sugar has dissolved. Place in the refrigerator until thoroughly chilled.
  2. Pour ice cream mixture in to the ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturers instructions.
  3. Once frozen, scoop the ice cream into a loaf pan filling it halfway. Sprinkle half of the praline over the mixture and gently swirl it into the ice cream. Place the remaining ice cream on top, then add the remainder of the praline. You can either swirl it into the top or just leave it as is.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze overnight.

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Recipe printed with permission

California Walnuts Virtual Salad Party and Grilled Shrimp and Walnut Salad

Shrimp and Walnut Salad 1

I was recently asked to participate in the California Walnuts Virtual Salad Party and I have to say I was nothing short of thrilled to be a participant this year. The idea for the party, ask 25 bloggers to make and share recipes from some fantastic chefs, all the while sharing our thoughts on them, then in turn encourage our readers to make their own wonderful walnut salad creations.

Seeing as how I am all about salad everything these days this task was definitely a welcome one. This salad, comes from Mollie Katzen and is an adaptation of her Grilled Shrimp Salad.  It’s a bit of twist on the classic Crab Louie. It’s a lightened up, up to date version that uses readily available shrimp, and a dressing made with combination of greek yogurt, light mayonnaise and cocktail sauce.

Shrimp and Walnut Salad 2

Instead of the usual romaine lettuce, I mixed things up a bit by using spring and micro greens and made sure there was lots and lots of toppings. This kind of salad is just perfect for really hot summer days when the thought of going to the effort to cook anything is just more than you can handle. Toss a few shrimp on the grill or in the grill pan, cut up the ingredients and you’re golden. I think some pan seared scallops would be an amazing addition/substitution too. The dressing recipe is delicious, but might not make enough to generously cover your salad. Feel free to double the recipe if you’re a dressing person.

Need some summer salad inspiration? Be sure to head on over to the California Walnuts site and check out some of the really amazing recipes created by chefs Aida Mollenkamp , Joanne Weir and Mollie Katzen along with all of the other lovely creations submitted by some great bloggers. Definitely drool worthy!

  • Grilled Shrimp and Walnut Salad
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
4 30 minutes 5 minutes

Ingredients

Servings:

Instructions

  1. For the shrimp: Combine the lime juice, garlic and olive oil in a large non reactive pan. Add the shrimp and marinate for 1-4 hours. Place the walnuts on a small baking sheet and toast in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes or just until toasted and fragrant. Set aside and allow to cool.
  2. Meanwhile make the dressing: Combine all of the ingredients in a small jar and whisk to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Heat a grill pan on medium heat and grill the shrimp just until pink and opaque. Set aside, and assemble the salad. Place the lettuce on a large platter, top with all of the ingredients and serve the dressing on the side.

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Recipe printed with permission. This post is an unsponsored post. All opinions expressed herein are my own.

Cardamom Strawberry Shortcake Cake

Driscolls Strawberry Shortcake Cake 1

It’s only fitting that June is the month for strawberries.  Everything is fresh, new and colorful and the promise of a beautiful summer lies ahead. I’ve always thought that berries were Natures way of showing off a bit. Berries and flowers; Two long awaited and much appreciated gifts from the earth. It’s equally fitting that June 14th is National Strawberry Shortcake Day. It’s a perfect way to celebrate the season of gorgeous weather, delicious produce and hopefully slower, more relaxing days.

Whenever June rolls around it’s all I can do to wait for my little postcard to arrive from the nearby strawberry patch telling me that the berries are ripe and ready for the picking. It’s almost as if things aren’t official until then.

I’ve yet to receive my little card of happiness, but until I do, I’m going to content myself with some of these gorgeous strawberries from Driscoll’s Berries. Each year I make at least 3 or 4 batches of shortcake, each with different berries as the summer progresses and as each come into season, but I have to say the classic, strawberry variety is my favorite.

Driscolls Strawberry Shortcake Cake 2

 

In order to mix things up this year I decided to make things simple for myself and rather than roll and cut cakes, I created one large loaf cake to split in half and fill with vanilla flecked whipped cream and berries. My fall back spice to shake things up for this cake? Cardamom. I’ve yet to be disappointed with it’s addition to anything I’ve baked and it has an amazing way of accenting the deliciously sweet and light flavor of the berries.

This recipe is similar to a Norwegian Blotkake, a light airy sponge filled with whipped cream and berries served pretty much all summer long and really for any celebration.  The whipped cream is also a bit sturdier than the typically plain variety due in large part to the small addition of some gelatin. It gives the cream some structure and helps it hold up a bit longer in the fridge.

If you’re at all interested in checking out some really gorgeous Strawberry Shortcake recipes, head on over to Instagram or Twitter and search for #driscollsberry and #strawshortcake.  The Driscoll’s site also has a gorgeous shortcake recipe from the spectacular Dorie Greenspan; a little bit of a French twist on the American classic.

 

Driscolls Strawberry Shortcake Cake 3

 

 

 

  • Cardamom Strawberry Shortcake Cake
  • This recipe makes 2 loaf or 2 round cakes.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
12 30 25

Ingredients

Servings:

Instructions

For the cake:
  1. Flour and grease 2 loaf pans or two 8" round cake pans. Set aside. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and sift to remove any lumps. Set aside
  2. In the bowl of a mixer, beat the sugar and the eggs until airy and light lemon in color. Set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan combine the milk and the butter over low heat until warmed and the butter has melted. Add the cardamom and the vanilla and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes for the spices to infuse.
  4. Slowly pour the hot milk mixture into the bowl with the eggs and sugar. Be sure to have the mixer running on low while doing so. Stir until thoroughly combined and then begin adding the flour in 3 additions.
  5. Pour the batter into each pan, set on a rimmed baking sheet then bake for 25-30 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then remove from the pan to cool further on a wire rack. Once cool, slice the cake in half horizontally and begin to prepare filling.
For the filling:
  1. In a small heat proof bowl, combine the gelatin and 1/4 C. of the whipping cream. Let soften for 5 minutes. Place the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water and stir until the gelatin has dissolved completely. Set aside and begin whipping the remainder of the cream.
  2. Whip the cream until slightly thickened, then add the powdered sugar and the vanilla. Whip until soft peaks form then gently fold in the slightly cooled gelatin mixture.
Assembly:
  1. Slice 3/4 of the berries for the filling, then halve 5-8 berries for decorating the top of each cake. Spread a small amount of the whipping cream on the bottom layer of the cake, then layer each cake with berries. Place large dollops of whipping cream on top of each layer of berries, then place the top of each cake on top of the filling.
  2. Spread the additional whipped cream onto each cake, then place the halved berries decoratively on top.
  3. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Cakes are best eaten the day they are made.

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The berries for this post were generously provided by Driscoll’s. This post is an unsponsored post and all opinions expressed herein are my own.