I have been way too lazy about updating lately. It's not that there is much exciting to report around here - it's just that when you get out of the habit, it is hard to get back in the groove. But, I miss having an activity that is just for me. So much stuff lately is for baby K, the family, the cats, friends - you know. I was flipping through the blog and realized how fun and inexpensive all of my little cooking projects were, and how very happy they made me.
It's cool here today. The fog has not burned off, and it definitely feels like fall is around the corner. It's a good time to savor the last strawberries of the season and to start gearing up for apples and pears. I generally am not a huge berry person. I'm happy to eat them, but I don't often get thrilled about them the way I do about chocolate or peaches and plums. This strawberry shortcake recipe should change that. It's the best. It is weird and a little scary the first time you make it - but it works. I made it for two dinner parties this summer, and both times, everyone had seconds. The secret - balsamic vinegar. It makes the strawberries somehow more strawberry. It was great with local fruit, and I think it would even help jazz up sad and tired grocery store fruit as well. Please, give it a try. The shortcakes are amazing as well. I'm thinking of serving them with sauteed plums in the fall, and later with pears, or as some sort of topping for pear crisp?
2 c. flour
5 TBS sugar, divided
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c. chilled unsalted butter (diced) I cut up the butter first and pop it into the freezer until the last possible second.
1 c. chilled heavy whipping cream
1 large egg, beaten (for the glaze)
2 lb strawberries, sliced and washed well
6 TBS sugar - divided. Pay attention to how sweet your berries are!
3 TBS balsamic vinegar. You may want to start with one TBS and work up to three - I tell you it's worth it
1 large pinch freshly ground black pepper. The secret ingredient!!!
Preheat oven to 425. Grease baking sheet or line with parchment. Mix flour, 4 TBS sugar, baking powder and salt in food processor - pulsing till blended. Add butter, using pulses until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Add cream and pulse again until clumps form. Dump onto floured work surface and smush into a ball. Pat out to an 8"x4" rectangle and cut into 8 squares. Place shortcakes on prepared sheet and chill in fridge 15 minutes. Then, brush shortcakes with egg glaze and sprinkle with remaining TBS sugar - I really like using sugar in the raw for the sprinkles. Bake about 15 minutes. Cool on cooling rack.
Berries - mix the berries, sugar, vinegar and pepper in bowl and let sit. I let them sit about 3-4 hours. The recipe says 30 minutes, but I found the longer you wait, the more juice they make and the better they taste.
Serve with vanilla whipped cream and enjoy. Courtesy of Bon Appetit magazine - here is the link to their recipe http://http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Strawberry-Shortcakes-with-Balsamic-and-Black-Pepper-Syrup-359412
What are you all cooking? And, do any of you have a slow cooker? Do you use it? Do you like it? Would you recommend a brand? I am teetering on the fence, and would like some more info and guidance.