Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Strawberry Short Stacks

There's no picture with this post for at least two reasons. The second reason is that I'm experiencing some, hopefully temporary, computer difficulties, so getting pictures online might be tough for a period of not less than half a day and not more than forever. But the more important reason is that I don't have a good picture of the strawberry shortcakes that I made last night. And the reason that I don't have a good picture is that I didn't take a picture of the finished product. And the reason that I didn't take a picture of the finished product is that it looked awful. And the reason that it looked awful is that last night I decided to try out my cream whipping gadget for the first time. It seemed easy enough. I put some cream and a bit of sugar and a smidge of vanilla extract in the stainless steel canister (which I'd had in the freezer for a while), then I screwed on the top and shook the cream to mix it and put a NO2 canister in the appropriate place, then I pressed the lever, and then the cream whipper projectile vomited unwhipped cream all over my shortcakes.

Perhaps I should take a look at the instructions.

Oh well. The shortcakes were delicious, though A. said that hers was difficult to eat. What she meant was that the shortcake was on the wide side, and I hadn't used a big enough plate, so there was some difficulty in keeping the pieces of strawberry from tumbling off the plate onto the chair. I did think that she would probably have found it less difficult to eat if she'd been sitting at the dining room table instead of lounging on the comfy chair in front of the television, but it seemed wiser to keep that observation to myself.

Anyway, A. and I were having a rather informal evening. V. is in Puerto Rico for a conference, and after I'd picked A. up from her mother's, we'd gone to Costco to see what looked good. A. said she'd like some Caesar salad, so I got a six-pack of Romaine. The strawberries looked pretty good, so we got the giant clamshell four-pound pack of those. I also picked up a couple of loaves of what they call their artisan bread, which they unfortunately tend to wrap before it has fully cooled, so they lose some of the crispness of the crust, but they sell it the same day they make it, and it's pretty good, especially if you toast it. Other purchases included a large wedge of Delice de Bourgogne (French triple creme cheese. So bad for you. So delicious. It exists so that you can say you're eating cheese when you're essentially eating butter. See also: St. Andre.), a quart of heavy cream (that's the size it comes in!), two dozen eggs, and two very large bags of chocolate chips (one for me because I'm out; one for A. because she makes cookies and sells them at school for spending money).

When we got home, I started on the salad and on the batter for the shortcakes. As I've probably said before, everyone has his or her own recipe for strawberry shortcake, and they're all good as long as the strawberries are good. (Last night's strawberries were not the best strawberries ever, but they were yummy. Which is a good thing since I've still got a lot of them left.) I don't have an entrenched recipe for strawberry shortcake, so I thought that I'd try a variation on the cake pancakes that I made this past weekend. That would be the next post down, so if you want to try to make what I made, you would take that recipe, and cut everything in half except for the butter, which you would reduce by a fourth. I also left out the vanilla, but I leave that up to you. Finally, I half melted the butter and I made the batter in the blender. You just kind of dump everything in the blender and turn it on. I used a scant quarter cup of batter for each pancake, but next time, I'll probably use less. I think about an eighth of a cup of batter would make just the right size.

I cut up strawberries into chunks until I had about two cups, and I sprinkled about a quarter cup of sugar (ok, Whey Low, which is also what I used for the mock Dobos torte; plain white sugar will give you the same results, but plain white sugar eaten late makes me grumpy the next day, and the Whey Low doesn't, though I could just be imagining that) and let the berries macerate while I was cooking the pancakes. I used three pancakes for each of us, and they were assembled thus: pancake, berries, pancake, berries, pancake, berries, projectile-vomited unwhipped, sweetened cream.

I can't give you my recipe for Caesar salad, either, because the dressing was unaccountably bitter, and I had to add some honey to it, and that is just wrong, wrong, wrong, though the salad was still pretty good. I have no idea how the dressing came to be bitter. It's true that I didn't taste the lemon juice after I'd squeezed it from the lemon, and it's true that I didn't taste the egg after I'd coddled it, but the olive oil wasn't bitter, and the only other ingredients I used were salt and pepper, so the bitterness makes no sense to me. Aside from the dressing (which I made as if I were making mayonnaise, which I sort of was) and the Romaine, the only other ingredients were grated Manchego (lots) and the croutons, which I made by putting a drizzle of olive oil in the pan, adding a shake of garlic powder (I know, I know, but it was all I had), cubing a few slices of the Costco bread, and cooking the bread in the skillet until it was nice and brown. Those were some tasty croutons.

You will note the absolute lack of anchovies in my Caesar salad. Caesar didn't put them there, and neither do I. Ever. I have gone on about this at some length in the past, so I'll spare you any further reprise of that particular rant.

Caesar salad and strawberry shortcake may not seem like a balanced meal, but A. was very happy with it, and she'd had plenty of protein earlier in the day. I may or may not have gone back later in the evening and toasted more slices of the bread in a bit of olive oil and garlic powder and then spread them with some of the Delice de Bourgogne, but if I did, there were no witnesses. If a man pigs out in the den and no one is there to smell the triple creme, did he really overeat? People have been pondering that question for millennia: I can hardly be expected to answer it for you today.


Blogger goblinbox said...

Triple-cream cheese is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

1:04 PM  

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