Strawberry Shortcake in a Jar

It’s almost summer, you know what that means?

Summer means that everyone and their mother is making strawberry shortcake.  Why don’t you take a ride with me on the strawberry shortcake wagon, but with a twist of Foodologie.

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That’s code for take something sweet and put it in a jar.  I love things in jars…

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Pies in Jars

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Birthday Cake in a Jar

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Coconut Curry Stew in a Jar

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Cocktails in jars: Strawberry Basil Gin and Tonic

The list goes on really.  But aside from the hipster-y “cute” factor of a jar, I find them to be extremely functional.  They’re sturdy and portable.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dropped jars, thrown them into bags.  They just don’t break.  It’s great.

So let’s go back to strawberry shortcakes.

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They’re one of those appealing desserts because they’re simply delicious.  Everyone seems to have a way to make them.  Some people use biscuits, some use pound cake, others use angel food cake.

I like to use plain yellow cake (specifically this recipe for Moist Yellow Cake from Epicurious).  It’s lighter than pound cake but denser than angel food cake.  It’s really just all sorts of amazing.

Here’s what you need:

That’s a pretty short list of ingredients for such a fantastic dessert.  The beautiful thing about making them in jars is that they’ll pretty much look cute no matter what you do.

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Wash and slice your strawberries.  Remember these are going in jars, so you want to cut them into small pieces.  Toss with sugar and lemon juice.  I eyeball the sugar, about 1/4 cup for every cup of strawberries.  If you like them sweeter, add more sugar.  Remember this is all about how it tastes best for you. Let the strawberries sit (macerate, if you want to get technical) for 15-20 minutes so they let out all those wonderful juices and you get strawberry saucy goodness (yes, saucy goodness is a legitimate culinary term).

Next whip your cream.  I don’t like mine too sweet.  I add a few tablespoons of sugar for each cup of whipped cream, and about 1/2 a tsp of vanilla.  Once your whipped cream is mixed, transfer it to a ziploc bag.

Now you can assemble.  Take your cake and break it up into little chunks. Place some in the bottom of your jar, next put a few spoonfuls of strawberries in there, press down with a spoon.  Next the whipped cream.  Cut off a corner of the ziploc bag so you have a piping bag of sorts.  Pipe some whipped make sure to get it one the edges so it looks nice.  Then repeat (be sure to press down the cake so more fits in there!).  Depending on how big your jars are and how thick your layers are, you might be able to do 2 or 3 layers.

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Serve or put a lid on them and take them to go!

I wish I had eaten these on a picnic in a park or on the beach, because that really would have added to the full effect of it all.  They’ll just have to go on the menu for my next picnic.

What’s your favorite summer dessert?

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Pie in a Pretzel Crust

This blog post was original a dramatic complaint about how my life isn’t perfect.  I just re-read it, and I feel dumb, capricious and immature.  Because I realize all the things I worry about are trivial.  There are far more serious things in life than the fact that I have a pile of student loan debt, a mean comment from a reader or a little bit of back pain.

Last week, I thought I was having a terrible week.  Things kept going wrong, or so it seemed.  But I was wrong.

This week is far more terrible, because terrible things didn’t happen to me.  They happened to my loved ones, and that is a million times worse.

So in those moments when I feel like my life is crumbling, like a pie crust that doesn’t have enough water to help it stick together, food is important.  Those moments are when pie is essential.

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Really though.

Even if you don’t eat it, because by now I know turning to food when things aren’t going well is wrong, make the pie and give it away.

Give it to a loved one who isn’t having the best day, or a friend you haven’t talked to in a long time.

Pie doesn’t heal all wounds, but it helps.

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Pie in a Pretzel Crust

1 1/4 cup of pretzel crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter, smooth natural
4 oz cream cheese, softened
7 oz sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
1/2 cup + 3 tbsp strawberry jam

First make your crust by mixing together pretzel crumbs, butter and sugar.  Press into a 9” pie dish and place in the freezer until ready to use.

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Next, beat together peanut butter, cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk.  Beat 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream until if holds firm peaks.  Fold whipped cream into peanut butter mixture until combined.  Set aside.

Beat remaining 1 cup of whipped cream.  Once it start to form peaks, add in 3 tbsp of strawberry jam.  If you want to avoid clump, blend your jam before adding it to the whipped cream.  Set aside.

Next assemble the pie.  Spread half of the jam on the bottom of the pie crust.  If it’s hard to spread, feel free to add a little water or blend it to make it smooth.  Next spread on half the peanut butter mixture, then another layer with remaining jam. Top with remaining peanut butter mixture.  Transfer whipped cream to piping bag and pipe strawberry whipped cream onto the pie, alternatively you can just spread it.

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Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight and serve cold to someone special.

This is comfort food to the max, because sometimes we need a little comfort and a big hug.

Strawberry Basil Gin & Tonic and The Weekend

After a long week, sometimes you need a drink.  This week was pretty rough.  On Thursday, I pulled a muscle in my lower back while working out.  Someone suggested I have a drink to relax the muscles.  Worth a try.

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I’m not a big drinker, but I love a good gin and tonic.  And you know me, I love to spice things up.  So I decided to give give it a few little tweeks and this is what I came up with:

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Strawberry Basil Gin and Tonic

2 oz gin
2 strawberries, sliced1-2 basil leaves, chopped
4-6 oz tonic water
twist of lime

Muddle together the strawberries and basil.  Add the gin and mix together.  Pour over ice.  Squeeze in some lime juice, top with tonic water and serve.

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Serving it in a mason jar is totally ok.  This is about relaxing.  Mason jars are laid back.  They’re also for hipsters or people who are too cheap to buy real glasses.  Glasses are also allowed.  They’re fancier.

Either way, get your sip on.

So that was Friday.

Saturday, I met up with Allie from Sweet Potato Bites.  We realized we live like 2 miles away from each other and thought we should probably meet up for a doughnut.

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Because that’s what foodies do.  So we headed to Sidecar Doughnuts and I had a tasty yeast doughnut with chocolate and salt.

Sooo good.  Allie was awesome!  I’m excited to have made friends with a cool blogger.  After our 2 hour chat session, I headed to a thrift shop where I bought exciting things for my upcoming Chicken and Waffle party.

You heard that right.  Chicken and Waffles party.  It’s going to be epic.  I’ll tell you more about it when it rolls around.

Sunday, was also awesome.  Well that’s today.  Jesse and I are celebrating our 1.5 versary, because we’re cool like that.    So we had brunch at Public Kitchen in The Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood.

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I bought a Travel Zoo deal for brunch for two.  While it was nice scenery, and the bathrooms were awesome…

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Brunch was meh.  It ended up costing $55 for a glorified continental breakfast.  It probably doesn’t help that I don’t really like buffets.  I’d much rather just get a plate of food.  Jesse and I both don’t eat enough to feel like buffets are worth it.  Nothing was omg-amazing-must-have.  But oh well.  It was still a nice time.

After brunch, we headed back to OC.  Jesse needed to work and I did arts and crafts…

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Now we’re enjoying cucumber-basil water and trying to figure out what to have for dinner (or am, while Jesse works).

Overall, it’s been a great weekend.  Can’t complain, not even about the fact that my back hurts.  Maybe I need another drink? What do you think?

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie (…with a touch of Bourbon)

Some people have 4th of July traditions. Not me.  Every 4th of July is different over here.  Last year, I went to Morro Bay with my sister and her friends and hung out on a boat.  That was awesome.

The year before, I went to Burlington, VT with some friends and hung out on a boat on Lake Champlain.

Also awesome… boats were becoming a trend, no complaints there.  This year was much more low-key, but equally fun.  I’ll spare you the rant about how unfortunate it was that 4th of July fell on a Wednesday this year.  Instead, let’s talk pies.


Pies feel super American to me.

You know what else feels super American? Rhubarb.

It’s probably not, but I wasn’t introduced to rhubarb until I lived in Central NY, now it feels like a hidden secret that the middle of America let me in on.  It randomly came in one of my CSA shares, and I had no idea what to do with it.  But after an apple-rhubarb crisp making adventure, I was hooked.  Ever since I pretty much think it’s the most amazing, tangy tasting vegetable on Earth.

The best part:  It’s a vegetable that gets turned into dessert.  I can get behind that.

So randomly one day last week I saw rhubarb at the grocery store.  It sparked an idea in my brain as I had coffee on Wednesday morning…  Like all good baking ideas, it was to impress a boy.  I bet he’s never tried rhubarb.   But let’s be honest, rhubarb can be intense so I went the traditional route and paired it with strawberry.

I was right.  He had never had rhubarb.  But for someone who shares my affinity for putting lemon on everything, I knew the tangy-ness was going to be a hit.

So the next time you want to feel patriotic and/or impress someone, make this pie.  It won’t disappoint… I should also warn you that like all other things, I put bourbon in this too.  Bet you didn’t think those would go together, right?

Yeah they totally do.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with a Touch of Bourbon

Single Pie Crust:

175g All Purpose Flour
1 tbsp Sugar
pinch of Salt
1 stick of Butter, cold
2 tbsp (maybe more) Ice Water

Filling:

2 heaping cups fresh chopped rhubarb (about 1/2 pound)
3-4 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp bourbon/whiskey
1/4 cup flour

Crumble Topping:

1/2 cup Flour
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
2 tbsp White Sugar
pinch of Salt
3 tbsp Butter
1 tbsp bourbon

Prepare pie crust by combing flour, sugar and salt.  Using your fingers, break the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles very coarse crumbs (even pea sized is fine).  Add ice water and bring it all together into a ball using your hands.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate a few hours.  You can make this up to two days in advance.  I actually had one freezer, already in the pie dish, stored in a ziploc bag, for about a month or so (making this whole pie making business wayyy easier).

Pre-heat your oven to 350F.   Prepare the filling.  Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside while you make the crumble topping, by combining all the ingredients and breaking up the butter with your fingers until you get a coarse texture.

Pour filling into prepared pie pan (note: if you have an enormous pie dish, you might want to do more of the filling, the pie dish I used is way smaller than other glass pie dishes I own, so be warned), top with crumble topping, place pan on a baking sheet and put it in the oven.  Bake for about an hour (mine took about 1 hr and 10 minutes) or until juices are bubbling like woah (that’s really the best way to describe it).

Once the pie is golden, gooey and ready.  Allow it to cool completely.  Then serve.

This one was a winner.  Not to mention the crumble topping gives it a nice crunch and you don’t have to worry about rolling most crust for the top or taking on the lattice.

I might have to make it again, it might just happen, because in addition to July being the month for Independence Day, it’s also birthday month.  You know what the mean?  Pie and cake-making must happen.

Any suggestions for pie/cake flavors I should try out?

Last Minute Valentine’s Day Solution/Chocolate Covered Strawberries

It’s February 14th.  Suddenly you realize.  Oh shit, it’s Valentine’s day.

Maybe you’re not a planner like others, but don’t worry, I’m not judging.  I have a solution for you.  Forget the fancy dinner.  My quick fix only involves one quick trip to the grocery store and a microwave.

Your Shopping List:

  • Fresh Strawberries
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Oil
  • Bottle of Champagne or Sparkling Wine
  • A Can of Whipped Cream

This is what you’re making.

Ladies or gentleman will love it.  They don’t have to know how easy it is, and who doesn’t love something homemade?

Plus chocolate covered strawberries are sexy.  True story.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

1 package of strawberries
1-2 cups chocolate chips (depending on how many strawberries you use)
1-3 tbsp oil

Clean the strawberries and leave them in the fridge to chill.  Put chocolate chips in the a bowl.  Microwave for 30 seconds.  Stir, microwave again, stir again until chocolate is melted.  Stream in oil as you stir.  Add enough so that it’s slightly runny.

Dip the cold strawberries into chocolate.  Lay on a piece of parchment paper.  Repeat until all strawberries are coated.  If you’d like you can add sprinkles or drizzle with melted white chocolate. Refrigerate about half an hour (or until chocolate is hard, or in a pinch, stick them in the freezer).

Serve them to your honey along with the champagne/sparkling wine, turn the lights down low if you want to get into it.

They’ll eat it up (literally and figuratively) and you’ll save some dollas.  Don’t worry, we’ll keep that between us.

See, Valentine’s day doesn’t have to be so bad.

What about the whipped cream, you ask?

I’ll let you figure out what to do with that…