Strawberry Shortcakes

One of my friends who lives in Berkeley decided to come home for a surprise visit this weekend. In turn, we assembled a last-minute dinner party to celebrate her return. Naturally, I wanted to make something for dessert. But, I was completely indecisive and wanted to make something that wouldn’t take too much time or effort. It wasn’t until I woke up to an intensive bout of sunshine Saturday morning that I felt compelled to make a spring-inspired dessert (fingers crossed that the sunshine continues!). So, while perusing through possible spring desserts, I finally settled upon Strawberry Shortcakes.

Step 1: Create Dough with Butter,
Sugar, Salt, and Milk

Step 2: Drop Dough Onto Greased Pan;
Spread Whipping Cream and Sugar On Top

Step 3: Combine Strawberries, Fresh
Lemon Juice, and Sugar (Let Sit for 1.5 Hours)

Step 4: Bake Dough and Slice Each In Half

Step 5: Use a Mixer to Create Whipped
Cream With Heavy Whipping Cream and Sugar

Step 6: Assemble Whipped Cream,
Cakes, and Strawberries Together

This recipe was definitely quick, easy, and a nice change from the usual dessert rotation. Although it is a rich dessert, I want to experiment with making miniature Strawberry Shortcakes for next time.

All in all, the dinner party was so much fun. I love catching up with friends over a nice dinner, dessert, and wine.


Classic Sour Cherry Pie with Lattice Crust

I became highly intrigued when I found this recipe for a Classic Sour Cherry Pie With Lattice Crust. Sour cherry “season” is technically in the summer; however, this recipe just looked too good to pass up. Since I couldn’t use fresh cherries, I had to utilize the options of either canned sour cherries or frozen sour cherries (the grocery store by my house only carried canned sour cherries). Using canned sour cherries was definitely not ideal; however, I was pleasantly surprised by the result. If using canned sour cherries creates a delicately tart, yet flavorful pie, I can only imagine what using fresh sour cherries would produce!

Step 1: Create Crust by Blending Butter, Flour,
Sugar, Salt, and Ice Water Together

Step 2: Roll Out Dough and Place in
Pie Dish; Cut Lattices

Step 3: Mix Sour Cherries Together With
Sugar, Lemon Juice, Vanilla Extract,
Cornstarch, and Salt; Place Filling in
Pie Dish and Alternate Latices Over Top

Step 4: Bake for 1 Hour and Enjoy!

I’m still in the process of perfecting the art of making pies. This time, the crust browned extremely fast during the first few minutes of cooking. Although it tasted delicious, I still need to practice how to perfectly brown the entire crust and lattices (instead of just certain areas).

Nonetheless, this was an amazing pie recipe that is definitely served best with ice cream. The sweet flavors of the vanilla ice cream create a nice contrast in comparison to the tartness of the sour cherries. I definitely will look forward to making this in the summer for future picnics and get-togethers!


5 Things in February

February has been quite the surprising month. Basically, the weather couldn’t seem to make up it’s mind and teased everyone with bouts of sunshine and plummeting rain, I became addicted to the HBO show The Wire, and have started to widen my vocabulary through increased studying for the GRE test. I also celebrated many birthdays of friends and family and listened to both lovers and haters of Valentine’s Day on February 14th. All in all, it was a great month. But, I am definitely looking forward to March which brings St. Patrick’s Day, March Madness, and hopefully more sunshine!

The following highlights just a few of the many sparks, laughs, and tidbits that kindled my interest in February:

1. Summer Skirts & Hats — Yes, it is technically still winter; however, I am completely sick of the dreary and gray weather. All of the clothing stores I frequent have already started sporting spring trends on their websites and stores. It’s tempting me too much! So, while on the hunt for some new boring black pants, I managed to become sidetracked by a bright colored skirt at H&M and a summery hat from Urban Outfitters. For now, I’ve hung both on a rack for a quaint reminder of warm weather to come!

2. Jerky — A large group of my friends ventured to the Oregon coast this past weekend to celebrate a friend’s birthday. For the trip, my friend’s boyfriend happened to purchase some beef jerky as part of an impulse buy while stocking up on groceries for the trip. At the time, he deemed this purchase to be a smart choice; however, upon first bite, he was completely aghast by the bland taste and texture of the $4.99 jerky. After witnessing this terrible incident, we all were scared to buy beef jerky again.

Picture this: a run-down road-side tent selling beef jerky conveniently placed next to a Dairy Queen out in The-Middle-of-Nowhere, Oregon. Sketchy right? We spotted this stand on our return trip home from the Oregon coast. After careful consideration, we decided to abandon our fears of beef jerky and try the stand. The 6 foot 5 inch scruffy man working the tent proceeded to explain his business to us and assured us we wouldn’t be let down. And let down we were not. I’m glad we trusted his roadside stand and I just wish there were more of these stands so others can experience authentic jerky over store bought jerky any day!

3. Reo’s Ribs — 2,500 miles. The previous figure is the approximate distance between the Northwest and New Orleans, Louisiana. Although the distance is vast, I hope to someday find myself  enjoying the sights, sounds, and tastes of the South. Until then, I can only dream and occasionally try Southern-style restaurants in the Northwest. Now, that’s not to say that the places I’ve tried here haven’t been great, because I’ve definitely enjoyed every sip, bite, and calorie of it. But, I’ve longed for a true Southern restaurant. Well, last week, I fully achieved this desire through Reo’s Ribs. We went there for my brother’s birthday and were treated like family. In fact, upon being seated, the waiter reached out his hand to introduce himself to each of us. He entertained us with stories of the South and gave my brother a free Red Velvet Cake for his birthday. Besides the fact that the food was phenomenal, the hospitality and aura seemed to help transport us to the South. Although I quickly awoke from my teleportation, I plan on visiting this place again sometime soon. Oh, and by the way, did I mention that the owner is Snoop Dogg’s uncle? Pretty darn cool.

4. Personalized Birthday Cake — I’ve helped celebrate many birthdays of friends and family this February. Especially amongst my friends, funfetti seems to act as the “go-to” cake to eat for birthdays. So, with that request, I made a funfetti cake for a friend for her 23rd birthday. In typical fashion, I couldn’t just frost it and add candles, I had to add some type of frosting decoration!

5. Painting Pottergy — Although my artistic flair for painting is definitely lacking, I do enjoy painting at pottery places. The place I visit always has a new piece of interesting pottery to paint everytime I go. I happened to make a typical plate the last time I visited; however, next time I want to paint a “spoon rest.”

[Don’t make too much fun of my plate — the big blob is supposed
to be pasta — it didn’t quite turn out like I thought it would… oops!]

To recap: February was an oddball month, but wouldn’t have been complete without spring/summery temptations, random jerky stands, traditional Southern food, birthdays, and the occasional adventure of painting!