Over the weekend, I got the chance to catch up with my best friend from high school and her parents. While we were talking with some of her parents’ friends, someone mentioned my blog. Like a good friend, Amy started talking me up. She heaped praise on my recipes and my writing, and I was starting to feel pretty good about myself. Then, also like a good friend, she called me out for not posting enough.
She’s right. I have about 20 drafts saved, but nothing has made it out of the brainstorming stage. Last fall and winter, I was in a blissful state of ignorance which seemed to hamper my ability to write with my normal self-deprecating wit. Then, I had the opposite problem. Everything I wrote was way too self-reflective and depressing and nobody wants to read 80 pages about how shitty I let some guy make me feel.
It’s taken some time, but things have finally returned to normal, and I’ve found myself back in a familiar state of mild malcontent.
I’ve been keeping busy binge watching Orange is the New Black, eating my feelings, vacationing in Mexico, running a half marathon, and awkwardly trying to date. Sometimes, when I have to carry a 40 lb bag of dog food up 3 flights of stairs by myself, I feel like crying. But most of the time, I’m too busy to cry or worry too much. Distraction can be a powerful tool. Another good distraction is strawberry shortcake. Sweet biscuits. Cream. Strawberries.
It’s not a bad life, friends.
OLD-FASHIONED STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE
from the kitchn
Sweet Biscuits (shortcake)
4 cups flour
2 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 sticks unsalted, cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 Tbsp vanilla
2 Tbsp Turbinado sugar (white or brown sugar will also work)
4 cups strawberries, chopped
2 tsp sugar (or to taste)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Using a pastry blender or forks or your hands, cut in the butter cubes to the flour mixture until bean size chunks remain. Add the cream and vanilla and continue working the mixture until a shaggy dough has formed. Place the dough on a dry, floured work surface, and form all the bits into a ball. The dough will be sticky and may not hold together very well, this is ok. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough until it is about 1 inch thick. Then, cut the biscuits using a biscuit cutter, a jar or a glass, or whatever you have around that will work. Place biscuits on your lined baking sheets and then brush with a little bit of heavy cream and sprinkle the Turbinado sugar on top.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until barely golden brown. Cool on wire rack.
While the biscuits are baking, prepare your strawberry mixture and whipped cream. You’ll want to let your strawberries sit in the sugar for about 10 minutes to bring out the juices. To make the whipped cream, whip the cream in a stand mixer (or a hand mixer will work as well) and add the sugar and vanilla. Whip until stiff peaks form.
To assemble, slice the biscuits in half. Place a spoonful of strawberries and whipped cream on one half, and put the other biscuit half on top – like a sandwich. (I like to put even more strawberries and whipped cream on top of that, but follow your heart.) These can be served right out of the oven, at room temperature or cold.