Tuesday, June 1, 2010

'Tis the Season for Berries

When I was growing up in West Virginia, strawberries were a rare treat. Once a year, an itinerant strawberry salesman came to our front door hawking boxes of the bright red berries. My mom purchased two boxes and whipped up our annual indulgence of strawberry shortcake. We savored every morsel because we knew it would be 365 days before a strawberry would pass our lips again.

Now that I live in Southern California, strawberries appear to be everywhere - the grocery store, the farmers market, a temporary strawberry stand and the back of a vendor's truck. And, when they're in season, I can't get enough of them.

I've eaten them whole and dipped them in chocolate. I've dunked them in creme fraiche and crushed them into strawberry lemonade.

I love to eat them sliced and macerated with sugar, tossed with blackberries, a splash of cassis liquer and a zest of orange. Don't they look stunning in a blue bowl?

Life is just a bowl of berries.

I throw those same berries into a cocktail glass and make a breakfast parfait with Greek yogurt. I have a large collection of stemmed glasses and don't believe in waiting until happy hour to use them. The glasses were gifts from a group of friends who figured that the stemware would raise my spirits when I was trying to pump out stem cells for a stem cell transplant nearly three years ago. (Get it? Stemware, stem cells?) Every time I eat or drink from one of the glasses, I think of my good friends and my good fortune.


But, of course, my favorite thing is still that strawberry shortcake. This
recipe from the LA Times calls for orange zest in the dough and a splash of orange juice with the strawberries. I also added a little zest and a wee bit of cassis liquer to the whipped cream. I think it's my favorite shortcake recipe ever. It's even better than the Bisquick mix and cream from a squirt can of my childhood.

See the flecks of orange zest in the shortcake?

And the best part? I won't have to wait an entire year to eat this again.


Pasadena Adjacent said...

Can I come over tonight with a couple of friends? just kidding...really....but

Piper Robert said...

Wow wee! That looks fantastic. Bonnie and I will try your recipe for sure.

I'd almost forgotten about our annual strawberry feed. I remember Joey McIntyre telling me about going to the Strawberry Festival in Buckanon. We could only dream of something like that.

Anonymous said...

(The friend PA is referring to? That's me.)

Desiree said...


Amy said...

A little liquer really helps most dishes. :) Thank you berry much for the inspiration (yeah, I went there). I'm especially looking forward to trying out that strawberry shortcake.

Cafe Observer said...

I need this like yesterday!

Margaret said...

Wait. I thought PA was talking about me. (PS: Nice to see a post from you.)

pasadenapio said...

I consider it a curse that I'm allergic to strawberries. The taste of kiwi fruit serves as the next best thing for me.

The Food Librarian said...

Oh dear. Life with strawberries once a year?! That's a crime. :) This looks delightful. And I like the stemcell stemware! - mary

Petrea Burchard said...

No. I'm PA's friend. Me.

susiegb said...

gosh they look just totally yummy! I'm very impressed with your photography too. I'm going to start adding recipes to my blog but I'm not sure I'll be getting photos together on a regular basis! Maybe I should get you to come over and take some photos !!!

countrynmore said...

Looks fantastic and oh, so yummy. Now, I can see a use for the glasses that belonged to my mil. Great Idea! Thanks

Mary Bergfeld said...

Your shortcake sounds way better than mine :-). I would never have thought to put orange zest into the short cake. Thanks so much for the birthday wishes. Blessings...Mary

Nancy said...

Looks delicious!!! Your friends are very clever.... love the "stemware".... I'm going to remember that for friends approaching transplant!!! What a thoughtful gift!

Keep eating those berries but don't forget the whip cream. It'll add badly needed calories! love ya, n

Unknown said...

I am thrilled you are still enjoying your stemware collection.

In other news, "itinerant strawberry salesman" is how I defined my dream guy on Match.com, but so far, no luck.

Susan C said...

PA, It would be lovely to have you over for strawberry shortcake. It tastes especially good with a bottle of Prosecco.

Robert, Buchanan (or is it Buckanon) was were we went to the game farm. I think a strawberry festival may have been more than I could have handled.

AH, Yes, Plans are in the works. I'd better move fast before the end of strawberry season.

Thanks, Des.

Amy, So true about the liquor. "Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker."

CO, I need another strawberry shortcake fix too.

Margaret, Come on up! And, yes, I have been very inconsistent in posting.

PIO, A strawberry allergy? Bummer!

Mary, Yes, I truly lived a deprived childhood when it came to strawberries. :) Lucky for me, I never felt deprived because of the bounty of my grandmother's garden.

Petrea, Shortcake and Prosecco all around.

Susie, Come over and take pictures? I'm there. I'll look forward to seeing your recipes on your blog.

Hi Countrynmore, Yes! Definitely use those glasses every chance you get. Such pleasure comes from eating from beautiful objects, especially those with a history.

Mary, the orange zest definitely brought the shortcake to another level.

Nancy, Can't get enough of the whipped cream. And I'm still on a quest for calories.

Paula, Ha! I'm still looking for my itinerant strawberry salesman of love too. Your stemware idea was so brilliant and will be remembered forever.

Piper Robert said...

Actually, it's Buckhannon. As usual, a complete corruption of a word we thought we knew.

Food Gal said...

I always know when spring has really arrived -- when lovely strawberries FINALLY arrive at the farmers markets. No more having to eat boring bananas and apples all winter. Bring on the berries.