Strawberry Shortcake, Bourbon Cream, and a Late Mother’s Day

Strawberry Shortcake with Bourbon Whipped Cream

Strawberry Shortcake with Bourbon Whipped Cream

Strawberry Shortcake, Bourbon Whipped Cream, and a Late Mother’s Day

If you’re anything like me, you’re really good at one thing: being a bad daughter. Mother’s day was over a week ago, so this post AND her mother’s day present (separate items – I don’t consider a post a “present”) are over a week late. But if your mom is anything like mine, she’s really good at a lot of things. Including enjoying presents and posts even if they’re late.

My mom is the reason I started to cook. She had the fantastic rule that every kid had to either help make dinner or clean up afterwards. I chose cooking and grew up learning my mother’s (and grandmother’s) recipes. Choosing to cook was a decision I’m glad I made. I mean, WHY would you ever want to clean up if you could cook? My brother and sister would say it’s because the clean up took waaaaay less time than the cooking, but their not the smart one’s in my family (heh, heh, did you get my joke? I know my mom did). 

This post is an ode to my mother, who made me my first strawberry shortcake. This is similar to her shortcake with a few twists. First, I will take any excuse to add bourbon to a recipe, including “hey this would taste better if I was drinking bourbon.” Second, a little lemon zest because why not. And third, some cream cheese frosting because we’re not here on this post to make something healthy (sorry, Paleo fans). On to the instructions. Oh, and hey mom – thanks for all of the cooking and baking lessons.

We’ll start with a little bit of sugar and a lot of glitter.

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We’ll find some super ripe organic strawberries from the Farmer’s Market.

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And we’ll bake up some incredibly delicious shortcakes!

Strawberry Shortcake with Lemon Zest, Bourbon Whipped Cream and Cream Cheese Filling  

For this recipe, I’ve included an option in the shortcake to add an egg. The egg will make the shortcake fluffier and more cake-like for those of you who like that texture and a taller shortcake. I prefer the flatter, more “cookie”-like version myself. The photos I took are sans-egg.

Ingredients

For filling:
1          quart strawberries (about 4 cups sliced)
1/4c    sugar

For shortcake:
3c          flour
1/2c      sugar
2tbs      baking powder
3/4tsp  salt
1 1/2     stick butter (yup) COLD and cut up into small pieces
1c          heavy cream + 1/3c heavy cream for basting
1            egg, beaten (optional – add if you like a fluffier consistency but I prefer the more shortbread-cookie consistency)
1/2c      buttermilk
zest of one lemon (for inside the shortcake) + zest of 1/2 lemon (to top the shortcake)
dusting sugar (Gllllittteerrrr! Or, what I call glitter from the William’s Sonoma sugar collection)

For bourbon whipped cream:
Note: I have one rule about adding alcohol into recipes. Whatever you think is enough: double it. This is already doubled so if you prefer less of a bourbon flavor or no bourbon flavor, you can half the bourbon. Or zero it out (but then everyone will cry and be sad that you made your whipped cream no fun).
1c          heavy whipping cream
2tbs      powdered sugar (or more if you like things sweeter)
3 tbs     Bulleit Bourbon

For cream cheese frosting:
4 oz      (1/2 of the small containers) cream cheese
1/4c      sugar (or more if you like things sweeter)

First, make magic with strawberries (aka “macerate)

Cut up strawberries into slices (they’ll lay better when you put together the shortcake), mix in sugar. Leave in refrigerator for about 30 minutes to macerate. Maceration is a process whereby the added sugar draws out liquids from the strawberries and softens the fruit. And it’s a fun word to say. Maaaa’-ser-ate!

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Look at me! Maceratin' and stuff.

Look at me! Maceratin’ and stuff.

Then, make sum shortcakes…

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix in the cut up butter with your fingers until the mix resembles a flaky consistency like oatmeal. Here are some pictures of that…

Keep the butter COLD so it's flaky in the dough. Flaky butter = flaky shortcake!

Keep the butter COLD so it’s flaky in the dough. Flaky butter = flaky shortcake!

Mix until it looks like oatmeal! Your fingers will be nice and buttery/floury.

Mix until it looks like oatmeal! Your fingers will be nice and buttery/floury.

Next, add in buttermilk, 1 cup cream, zest of 1 lemon and (optional!) egg. Mix until incorporated, but do not overmix, as you’re trying to keep all that buttery flaky goodness intact. Chill for about 30 minutes so that it’s easy to handle. Now you’re going to “roll” out the dough into 1/2 inch thickness on a heavily floured surface. I don’t actually roll, rather, I kind of smoosh and spread it into 1/2 inch thickness. Use a heavily floured biscuit cutter to shape each biscuit. Then, using a silicone basting brush, baste with the remaining 1/3 cup of cream. Lastly, sprinkle with remaining zest of 1/2 lemon and glitter. Bake for 15-18 minutes until golden brown on top.

Here are some fancy pictures of those steps.

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Everything must be heavily floured because this shiz is stickaaay!

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Zested, glittered, and ready to go in the oven!

While baking, make cream cheese frosting & bourbon whipped cream

Cream cheese frosting – this one’s easy. Microwave cream cheese for 10 seconds to soften. Mix in sugar. Taste and add in sugar to desired amount. Then probably taste some more.

Bourbon whipped cream – also easy! Using an electric mixer, beat cream and powdered sugar on HIGH until soft peaks form and whipped cream holds to the beater. Basically, until it looks like whipped cream. BE CAREFUL. Beat on high, but watch the mixer. Over beating separates the liquids from the fats and creates butter, which is delicious, but not what we’re going for here. Gently mix in the bourbon and (optional) more powdered sugar to taste. After adding the bourbon you may need to mix on high a few seconds longer.

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Soft peaks will form and whipped cream will hold to beater when ready

Soft peaks will form and whipped cream will hold to beater when ready

Assembly

Finally – the assembly! Cut the shortcake in half, spread on cream cheese frosting, arrange strawberries flat, add the other shortcake, more strawberries, whipped cream, drizzle some strawberry juice on top. I mean you know how to do this, right?

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Now sit back and enjoy the compliments you will receive from your family & friends for this delicious little treat! And don’t forget – call your mom and thank her for all the things she taught you while you were young.

Strawberry Shortcake

 

Tonight’s Dinner: Fish, Beets, Turnips and Boxing

 

Seared sea-bass with champagne beurre blanc, truffled parsnip puree, beet strawberry turnip green salad

Seared sea-bass with champagne beurre blanc, truffled parsnip puree, beet strawberry turnip green salad

Tonight’s dinner starts with boxing with Kendra, has an pigeon capture in between, and ends in #seabassparsnipsstrawberriesandtruffleandwinethankyouverymuch. It was a very eventful evening! Kendra and I decided we’d challenge ourselves with Intermediate Boxing at the Polk Street Boxing Gym (don’t be impressed – I’m terrible and hid in the back) and then we assisted in the capture and release of a pigeon who was attempting to have coffee at the Blue Fog Market. Since it was such a big night and I literally saved the life of the rare and valuable street pigeon, I felt I deserved some delicious and semi-buttery food tonight.

Tonight’s dinner consists of:

Truffled Parsnip Puree 

4 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 tbsp Greek yogurt
1 tbsp truffle oil
salt & pepper to taste

Boil parsnips in salted water until fork-tender (about 15 mn). Puree in a food processor with remaining ingredients and salt & pepper to taste. The best finishing salt here is Fusion Truffle Salt, which you can order online here or find in Washington specialty grocery stores.

Beet, Strawberry and Turnip Green Saute

Beet, Strawberry and Turnip Green Saute

Beet, Strawberry and Sauteed Turnip Greens

This was an idea I came up with after having a much more complicated (and, if I have to be  honest, tastier) version at Verbena SF. Their version is an incredibly delicious and delicate version involving juicing beets and using in-house fermented mushrooms. My version is the much easier version. While I recommend you go to Verbena for their beet & strawberry salad (and everything else on their menu), I recommend you cook this easier version.

3 beets, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces, olive oil, salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 bunch turnip greens, stems removed & lightly salted
1/2 pint strawberries, cut into quarters
1 tsp basalmic vinegar
Salt
Squeeze of lemon

Roast beets in olive oil, salt and pepper in oven at 450 degrees for approximately 30-45 minutes or until tender. I usually wrap them in aluminum foil for easy cleanup and great steaming.
Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat and add turnips. Mix quickly until wilted and remove from heat. Add strawberries, balsamic vinegar and salt and mix until ingredients warm slightly. Finish with a small squeeze of lemon.

Seared Sea Bass with Champagne Beurre Blanc

Seared Sea Bass with Champagne Beurre Blanc

Seared Sea Bass with Champagne Beurre Blanc

1 tsp grapeseed oil
1 tsp butter
salt & white pepper
1 filet of sea bass
1/4 cup dry white wine or brut champagne
1 tbsp butter, COLD, cut into small squares
lemon zest
small bit of parsley, finely chopped
finshing salt

Ok, here’s where I get really controlling and tell you some instructions over and over until you listen. I’m not trying to be controlling (I am), but there are three steps to perfectly searing fish. Ready? Ok!

1. Dry, Clean & Seasoned
Salt & pepper your DRY, CLEAN fish and set aside for about 10 minutes. If it’s not dry and clean, water will get into the pan and steam, not sear your fish. And if it’s not salted beforehand, it won’t be seasoned all the way through the meat.

2. Freaking Hot Pan
Heat the grapeseed oil and 1 tsp butter in a pan until HOT. I mean like REALLY hot. I mean like put the burner on almost high, wait until the butter turns a flaky brown color and then wait some more. If the pan is not smoking it will not sear the fish like you want. I can not emphasize this enough. HOT HOT HOT. Like, worried you’re going to set off the fire alarm ok? Got it hot? Ok. NOW you may proceed post my controlling rant.

3. No Touchy
Add fish to freaking hot pan and NO TOUCHY. Don’t move it. Don’t shake or try to flip. Fish immediately sticks to a pan but once seared it will released because, duh, it’s all seared now. Let the fish sit about 5 minutes and shake the pan gently. When the fish moves on it’s own, flip, sear for another 5 minutes and shake again. If the fish is over 1/2 inch thick, turn down the heat and cover for another 5 minutes.

Wait until the pan is HOT HOT HOT and smoking before adding fish or it will not sear!

Wait until the pan is HOT HOT HOT and smoking before adding fish or it will not sear!

Remove fish from the pan and return to high heat. Add champagne and reduce (let steam off) until liquid has reduced in half. Add small bits of cold butter a little at a time until the sauce tastes slightly buttery. Season with salt.

Finish fish with lemon zest and chopped parsley. The best finishing salt here is Jacobsen Pinot Blanc Flake Salt from Oregon, which is spendy but worth every single penny.

Hope you enjoy tonight’s dinner! Let me know if you have any questions, corrections, or general comments on the meal. And yes, if you look at the first photo, I did enjoy this with two glasses of wine.