Tag Archives: summer

strawberry shortcake

More summer strawberry recipes!

My sister always had strawberry shortcake birthday cakes when she was little, and I have had a soft spot in my heart for it ever since. I have made this recipe so many times because it’s easy, comes together quickly and is always a huge hit at parties and dinners. I like to slice the strawberries first because the longer they sit in sugar, the softer and more juicy they get, and the strawberry juice is so good when it soaks into the cake layers. This recipe has you make one layer and then slice into two, but if you need it bigger you can always double the recipe and make 2 layers into 4. I like to make the whipped cream nice and fluffy and serve the cake stacked up tall on a cake stand. It will impress your friends and the leftovers taste even better the next day (although good luck having any left over)!

strawberry shortcake

Adapted from Martha Stewart

ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (from a 1/4-ounce envelope)
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter bottom of an 8-inch round cake pan, and line with parchment paper. Butter and flour paper and sides. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs and yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. With mixer on low, alternately add flour mixture in 3 parts and milk in 2, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined. Spread batter in prepared pan.
  3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes; invert onto a wire rack to cool completely. Using a serrated knife, split cake in half horizontally; place bottom half, cut side up, on a serving plate.
  4. Make topping: In a large bowl, combine strawberries and 1/4 cup sugar; set aside.
  5. Using an electric mixer, beat cream and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a large bowl until very soft peaks form. Continue to beat until soft peaks form (add cream of tartar if necessary).
  6. Arrange half of strawberries over bottom cake layer; top with half of whipped cream, leaving a 1-inch border. Cover with top half of cake, cut side down. Top cake with remaining whipped cream, leaving a 1-inch border. Refrigerate cake and remaining strawberries separately, at least 1 hour (or up to 1 day). Just before serving, spoon strawberries over cake.

summer potlucks ūüôā

Bon Appetit!

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summer dining: greek style mixed grill kebobs and pine nut orzo salad

It is hard to believe that it’s June already, and summer is just around the corner! Summer has always been my favorite season for a multitude of reasons: my birthday, no school, picnics,¬†barbecues, swimming in outdoor pools, running and biking along the Hudson, lightweight colorful dresses, fresh and simple outdoor meals, farmers market trips, the list goes on!

Today I am going to share with you a delicious meal that is a perfect excuse to dust off your grill and outdoor dining set and invite some friends over for an al fresco dinner!

greek style mixed grill kebobs and pine nut orzo salad

Sourced from Rachael Ray, Serves 4

Ingredients for kebobs:

  • 4 cloves garlic, grated or minced
  • 4 sprigs fresh oregano, leaves stripped and finely chopped
  • 6 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves stripped and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup green olive tapenade
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 lemons, juiced and 1 zested
  • 1/3 plus 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds firm white flesh fish, halibut or swordfish, cut into 12 (2-inch) chunks (I used shrimp instead)
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 12 (2-inch) chunks
  • Black pepper
Ingredients for orzo salad:
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 cup feta cheese¬†crumbles
  • 8 Greek hot peppers, for garnish
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives,¬†for garnish
  • 2 tomatoes, diced, for garnish
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced, for garnish

Directions:

Preheat grill pan or outdoor grill to medium high. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water to prevent burning.

Place a pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil for the pasta salad. When the water boils, salt it and cook the pasta to al dente.

While the pasta cooks, in a small bowl combine the garlic, oregano, rosemary, tapenade, red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon lemon zest and the juice of 1 lemon with about 1/3 cup olive oil. 

Place the fish and chicken in separate shallow dishes or bowls and season with salt and pepper then divide the dressing between the bowls and coat the fish and chicken evenly.

Skewer the fish and chicken on metal or soaked wooden skewers.

Grill the chicken 10 to 12 minutes until firm and juices run clear, and the fish for about 6 to 8 minutes, turning the kabobs frequently.

Drain orzo and combine with pine nuts, onions, parsley, feta crumbles, the juice of 1 lemon, about 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.

Serve the orzo salad with 3 pieces each of chicken and fish along side. Garnish plates with a couple of hot peppers, olives, tomatoes and cucumbers on each plate.

I didn’t get a picture of a finished plate because it was so delicious that we dug in immediately, but you should be able to get an idea from the pictures I took while cooking that this was an absolutely delectable meal. The shrimp/chicken were packed with flavor¬†from the tapenade, fresh herbs, spices and lemon juice, and the orzo salad was so light and fresh from the cucumbers, feta, tomatoes and had a nice crunch from the pine nuts. That salad alone would make an excellent addition to any picnic.

Bon appetit!