Saturday, Spring Strawberries, Buttered Toast and My Week in Photos

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Wouter, who is Dutch, introduced me to this style of eating small, sweet strawberries on toasted bread with butter.

Not really a recipe, here is what you do to for the best Saturday, May 17th,  breakfast ever…..

1. Wash 1 pint of small, local, sweet strawberries under cool running water. Remove caps & put into a bowl, cutting larger berries in half. Sprinkle berries with a bit of turbinado/raw sugar. Crush a few berries with a fork. Let sit while you make toast.

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2. Slather toasted bread with softened butter, top with berries & another light dusting of sugar. This simple way of eating berries allows them to retain their flavor without being overwhelmed by other ingredients. It is just magical. Thanks Wouter.

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Get a little closer…..here….have a bite.

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“A Little Gallery of Images from my Week”

Saturday, May 10th, morning with previous week's NYT Corssword puzzle & cinnamon roll from "flour.sugar.eggs" Nashville
Saturday, May 10th, morning with previous week’s NYT crossword puzzle & cinnamon roll from “flour.sugar.eggs” Nashville
Vintage French Linens, Saturday, May 10th, shopping at Antique Mall for Props
Vintage French Linens, Saturday afternoon, May 10th, shopping at Gas Lamp Antique Mall for Props
May 11th, Sunday Mother's Day Brunch
May 11th, Sunday Mother’s Day Brunch
Early Monday morning, May 12th, strawberries from our garden
Early Monday morning, May 12th, strawberries from our garden
Wednesday, May 14, walk  around neighborhood, sign at corner of Monroe & 6th, Historic Germantown, Nashville, TN
Tuesday, May 13, walk around neighborhood, sign at corner of Monroe & 6th, Historic Germantown, Nashville, TN
Thursday, May 15, Prop Shopping after photo shoot with Paul, Ashley & Haley from Chicago. Mexican Silver knives & forks & odd spoons.
Wednesday, May 14, Prop Shopping after photo shoot with Paul, Ashley & Haley from Chicago. Mexican Silver knives & forks & odd spoons.
Thursday, May 15th, Blueberry Lemonade Ice Cubes, Photo Shoot
Thursday, May 15th, Blueberry Lemonade Ice Cubes, Photo Shoot, Relish Magazine
Thursday, May 15th, Photo Shoot Strawberry Tarts for Relish Magazine
Thursday, May 15th, Photo Shoot Strawberry Tarts for Relish Magazine
"Love Corn", Photo Shoot, Cutting Corn from Cob Demo, Relish Magazine
“Love Corn”, Friday, May 16th, Photo Shoot, Cutting Corn from Cob Demo, Relish Magazine
Saturday, May 17th. Strawberries on Buttered Toast with Turbinado Sugar.
Saturday, May 17th. Strawberries on Buttered Toast with Turbinado Sugar.

Life is short, make every day count. Have fun, work hard, sleep well and eat good food.

 

“Sunday Morning Spring Strawberries, Butter & Sugar on Bread…Breakfast”

It is so fine to have a special seasonal treat on a lazy Spring Sunday morning while working on the New York Times Crossword puzzle with a friend. This was one such morning and Wouter made us a favorite treat that his mother made for him using sweet, small strawberries as they come into season.

At first I thought “how fattening”, “how decadent”, but I, in my infinite quest to try new combinations of familiar foods, succumbed and had one of the most deliciously indulgent breakfasts. My crossword working buddy Terry Martin and I gobbled up these little treats on bread as it might be our last meal.


Wouter’s Quick and Easy Recipe for “SMSSBSB” Breakfast

1. Cut up fresh, small strawberries into thick slices. (Don’t even try this with the strawberries from the supermarket with the white centers! It will not taste the same.)

2. Take slices of a good whole grain or white bread and smear each slice lavishly with softened butter such as Kerrygold.

3. Cover butter with slices of berries and then using a fork slightly mash to gently release juices.

4. Sprinkle teaspoons of raw or turbinado sugar over berries and eat.

During local strawberry season, wherever you live, treat yourself and try this regardless of any diet or food issues you might have. This is Dutch Soul Food and should be enjoyed at least once by all.

As an afterthought I do think next time I will have a glass of chilled Prosecco, Cava or Champagne while gobbling these little open-faced berry sandwiches.

  

Yum!

“Victoria Sponge & Strawberries”

“Old Fashioned Victoria Sponge Cake with Tennessee Strawberries”

This Saturday I bought a few pints of fresh picked Tennessee Strawberries at the Sylvan Park Farmer’s Market. This year’s crop is especially abundant and sweet. These small juicy  berries call out for a light sponge cake &  freshly whipped cream slightly seasoned with vanilla & sugar. I don’t often make desserts but as we were going to a dinner party and I was asked to bring dessert I wanted to make a special treat that would be a take off on the classic strawberry shortcake, but lighter. This dessert is easy to make from start to finish and is a stunner. It’s like eating air with a dash of sweetness.


To make a simple light sponge cake you will need the following:


2 sticks butter softened to room temp, use a little to grease cake pans (JD’s Dairy butter worked great for this cake.)

1 cup superfine sugar

4 eggs

(I used fresh local eggs from McDonalds that I purchased at the Sylvan Park Farmer’s Market as well)

1 3/4 cups self-rising flour & a pinch of salt (White Lily Flour is a good choice)

2 tbsp warm water

1 cup whipping cream + 1 tbsp sugar + 1 tsp vanilla

2 cups local, sweet strawberries, rinsed, hulled and sliced

1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar for dusting top of cake

To Make the Cake:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Grease two 8 inch cake pans with butter & line bottom of each with a circle of wax paper.

3. Using a hand mixer cream together the butter & sugar until well mixed. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

4. Sift flour &  salt over the creamed mixture. Add warm water & beat together until well mixed. Batter is a thick, light & creamy texture.


5. Divide cake mixture evenly between the two cake pans. Bake for about 18-20 minutes, or until cakes are done in the centers. Remove from oven.  Turn cake layer out onto cooling racks until completely cool.

6. Using a serrated knife split each cake into two layers. Use three for this cake. Wrap &  store 4th layer for later in the week when you want to make strawberry shortcakes for two.

7. Whip cream with sugar & vanilla. Place one layer on cake stand or cake plate & cover with half the sweetened whip cream. Top with half of the strawberries.

8. Add 2nd cake layer and press down slightly. Spread remaining half of whipped cream over cake & top with remaining sliced berries.

9. Place 3rd cake layer on top of berries pressing down slightly. Dust top with confectioner’s sugar. Place in refrigerator to chill until ready to serve. This cake is best assembled a couple of hours before serving. Serve cut into wedges with additional dusting of confectioner’s sugar if desired.


This type of cake was originally called a “Victoria Sponge Cake” named for Queen Victoria. It sounds fancy, looks fancy but is one of the easiest desserts to make to show off Spring Strawberries.

A bit about Victoria Sponge Cake & Self-Rising Flour from Wikipedia:

Victoria sponge

The Victoria sponge cake was named after Queen Victoria, who favoured a slice of the sponge cake with her afternoon tea. It is often referred to simply as sponge cake, though it contains additional fat. A traditional Victoria sponge consists of raspberry jam and whipped double cream or vanilla cream, just jam is referred to as a ‘jam sponge’ and most certainly not a Victoria sponge. The jam and cream are sandwiched between two sponge cakes; the top of the cake is not iced or decorated.

Self-Rising Flour

Leavening agents are used with some flours, especially those with significant gluten content, to produce lighter and softer baked products by embedding small gas bubbles. Self-raising (or self-rising) flour is sold premixed with chemical leavening agents. The added ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the flour which aids a consistent and even rise in baked goods. This flour is generally used for preparing scones, biscuits, muffins, etc. This type of flour was invented by Henry Jones and patented in 1845. Plain flour can be used to make a type of self-rising flour although the flour will be more coarse. Self-raising flour is typically composed of the following ratio:

  • 1 cup flour;  1 teaspoon baking powder;  a pinch to ½ teaspoon salt
  • “Pick Your Own”

There are lots of farms in Middle Tennessee where you can pick-your-own berries for freezing, making jams & jellies or for creating your own desserts. Just go to the website listed below to find a farm near you.

http://www.pickyourown.org/TNmiddle.htm

eat more cake…….