butter tagged posts

Greek Christmas Cookies: Kourampiedes

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Every country or nation that has more than 50 years exposure to Christianity will have a special dessert that made exclusively around the Christmas time. Greece is no exception, and since it had embraced christianity for almost 2000 years the number of desserts for the occasion is huge. However, the one that is closer to my heart, because is delicious and also is what my grandma used to make every christmas, is the Kourampies (κουραμπιές, koo-ra-byies) that is a crumbly almond cookie dusted in powder sugar. Simple ingredients, humble cookie and big flavor. Although the Christmas reference of the cookie for most of the people comes from the white dusting of sugar, that resembles the snow, for me it is more the relation of the humble beginnings the cookies with the humble beginnings of the Messiah.

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Lavender Rosemary Lemon cookies

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In this blog I don't usually make deserts. But when we do, they are amazing. Today I chose to make a simple cookie with big character. Cookies are not just a baked good that we eat. Making cookies is just a part of the process that makes a house a home. The moment the air is filled with the amazing aroma of the baked goods that is based on butter herbs and spices it becomes so much more homey, familiar and inviting. In this attempt I am making a somewhat odd, but familiar combination. I am inspired from the spring that finally decided to dawn up on us after a long and cold winter. I blend the aroma of spring herbs like rosemary, lavender and lemon to a cookie that has a mould texture and crumbly appearance.

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Cornmeal Muffins from the past

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Food is influenced by the times we live in. Certain times we need to change our habits due to food supply restrictions. Nowadays this happens in the winter when the watermelon supply gets short and the prices go up. And we are bumped. Awwww :-( . Did I mention that it is not even seedless? I know! Total agony. We turn to forget some other times back in the turn of the last century when war was a reality to every part of the world; from Europe to Americas and from Asia to Africa. Back then food supply was already short and the war made it even worst. Lucky people had to improvise and adjust their habits; most would just suffer.

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My Moms Cheese Pie (tyropita)

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This is the final recipe that concludes the countdown to the 100th recipe! It is my mom’s recipe that is her most famous dish. She made it thousands of times, for thousands of occasions, and thousands of people. It is based on a traditional greek pie made with various cheeses most notably feta cheese. This is a much better version, not only because it is made from the best cook I ever met (my mom) bt also because it is a much lighter in taste not very overwhelming with cheese. Additionally this is a recipe that can be made pretty much with every type of cheese you have around. Here, however, we stay with traditions the one and only feta cheese.

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Tempeh Cake

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This is the second very special post. It is one other special recipe that was made for some good friends long time ago and it was promised that will be featured on the blog. Promises in a way work like thermodynamics. They tell you if something is going to happen and in what degree, but not when. Time is the elusive dimension that although very interesting does not belong to this blog. Here we talk food… Speaking of which… This is recipe the was kinda featured before to the blog, but never full. It is based largely on the meatloaf cake that I made before for Kathryn for her birthday. This one is very particular, however. Oaklianna, a dear friend, is among the people that have the intolerance to gluten the wheat protein. Damian, her then boyfriend, had always been vegetarian and never head meat. So the plan for the alternative cake had to find another base. That base is non-other than the best thing that ever happened to soy, tempeh.

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Strawberry Shortcakes

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This is a very special post. For many reasons. For one thing this is the first of the 5 that will complete the 100 recipes on the blog. Very special. It is dedicated to my eternal second home the good old state of Florida. There were the South opened its arm and welcome me. A desert with character and the true meaning of soul food. Also it was created only days after a dream just died and took me back to square 1. Not the first time. But enough with emotions. Let ’s go together and see what makes this desert so special, so incredible and so surprisingly fresh.

Strawberry shortcake is one the most traditional southerner deserts. It combines many of the ingredients of the south, cream, butter, sugar biscuits… Oh yeah it does have biscuits. Although the name itself suggest a sort of a cake, and the recently the convenience and time efficient have actually offered the option of the cake, the real shortcake is a sweet biscuit. The biscuit is from the french word biscuit which is derived from the Latin words bis (twice) and coquere, coctus (to cook, cooked), and, hence, means “twice-cooked”. Originally the biscuits were breads that after baking were cut and baked a second time to harden. A great way to make bread last longer, especially when it is indented for long trips etc. The modernization of the cuisine and the kitchen tools in the 19th century made the second baking obsolete, since now fretted baked bread can be made everyday. The name however, caught on and it is still used. A traditional southerner biscuit is based largely on the british scone. It is a quick and easy way to create the ideal breakfast bread. I don’t think that at this point it really requires a lot of brains to add some sugar and sweeten things a little. From this point on the rest is history. A sweet southern history. So let’s get started.

So here are the ingredients of the southern delight:

Strawberries sugar: Turn your attention to the right of the photo

  • 1 lb of strawberries
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • A brandy of sort
  • 1/4 lb of sugar
  • Black pepper… What? Black pepper? Oh yeah! it is awesome!

Biscuits: Turn your attention to the right of the photo

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 4 tbsp of butter
  • 4 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/4 tbs baking soda
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup of buttermilk

For the garnish and plating:

  • Creme fraiche
  • Whipped cream
  • Berries for garnish

Start by washing the strawberries.

Remove the stem with the little piece of hard stem in the core of the strawberry.

And slice them.

I use roughly 1/5 by weight of sugar. So here we have 500 g of strawberries (after subtracting the weight of the bowl)

Cut and squeeze the lime juice.

Add the brandy. Here as you can see I use AppleJack. It is a brandy made out of apples so the fruity flavors get well very well.

Now add the sugar.

Add the pepper… I am not joking! Pepper is very good with strawberries.

And stir them well. Well but carefully. Put them in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. The sugar will force liquid out of the strawberries slowly dissolve the sugar and become a nice syrup.

While this is happening let’s make some biscuits. Start by sifting the flour.

Why sift the flour? Fro this! Especially when you make a cake type of dough where we don’t really want to mix to much these lumps will never dissolve. It is important step. Please do not skip.

Add the sugar.

Add the baking powder.

Follow with the soda…

And mix the dry ingredients together.

Measure the butter.

Cut it in small pieces.

And add it in the dry goods.

With the tips of your fingers break it in small chunks. It will resemble rice.

Add the buttermilk.

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Mix them until they just come together.

Flour your bench or board.

flip the dough and don’t worry if it is not perfect it will be like that.

Use the dough roller, roll it to a thickness of one inch. 2.5 cm for the metric mind.

With a cutter or a glass or anything that is about 2 inches wide punch out as many biscuits as you can.

Like this. Gather there remaining dough and repeat.

I usually get about 12. Like this. I know there is a runner up… I told you I “usually” make 12. Place them close to each other for more even rise. Also since they are butter made they will have a tendency to spread. Putting them close together will prevent them from spreading.

Bake at 375F (190 C).

Unitl they look GBD. Golden, Brown and Delicious.

Cool them before serving. Serving with the strawberries!!!

It is the perfect breakfast by the way.

Before we start we need to whip the the heavy cream. Add ice cold heavy cream in your work bowl.

Follow with some sugar.

Add a bit of Vanilla.

And whip. No need for mixer. You need a whisk and a little labor.

In less than a minute you have whipped cream.

And now we BUILD!!!!

Plate!

Split biscuit in half. Yes a fork is better just like on an english muffin.

Add some whipped cream on the plate to hold things together.

Add the bottom part of the biscuit.

Put the strawberries and don’t forget the the syrup. It will soften the hardest biscuits.

Top them with a bit of creme fraiché. Creme fraiché is think rich and a bit sour. It will just brink a little something to the party. Break the sweetness and brink things together.

Top it of with the over part of the shortcake.

More strawberries. Technically you can stop here, but I go one more layer.

To hold it better I add some more creme fraiche.


And more strawberries…. And syrup

Garnish with the rest of the berries.

If you have a pipping bag use it. I don’t I use the old school method with the two spoons. Move it from spoon to spoon until you shape it to what is called a canelli.

Place it on the top of the pile. And garnish with a nice mind leave.

There you have it!

I know I know you need another shot? Here… You eat with your eyes first.

Oh and one more bonus. The strawberries will get a lot of juice out within a day… What to do with it? Mix it in a shaker with ice, some vanilla vodka and some lime juice. Aaaand…

Here you have a pepper berry cocktail like nothing else!

Printable Recipe Card

Strawberry Shortcakes

From Nerd Meets Food | Desserts | American

01:45
01:00
00:45

cal Calories 218kcal

fat Total Fat 8g

High sat-fat Saturated Fat 5g

chol Cholesterol 21mg

sodium Sodium 299mg

carbs Total Carbohydrate 33g

Serving size 118g Calories from fat 71kcal Fiber 1g Protein 3g Sugar 15g
12 servings

Ingredients

  • Strawberries
  • 1 lb of strawberries
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 oz of brandy
  • 1/4 lb of sugar
  • Black pepper
  • Shortcakes
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 4 tbsp of butter
  • 4 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/4 tbs baking soda
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • For the garnish and plating
  • 1/2 cup of creme fraiche
  • 1 cup of whipped cream

Directions

  1. Strawberries:
  2. Wash the strawberries, remove the stem and slice them.
  3. Put them in a bowl and add the sugar.
  4. Cut and squeeze the lime juice.
  5. Add the brandy and freshly ground pepper.
  6. Put them in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
  7. Shortcakes:
  8. Start by sifting the flour.
  9. Add the sugar.
  10. Add the baking powder and the soda
  11. Mix the dry ingredients together.
  12. Cut the butter in small pieces and with the tips of your fingers break it in small chunks. It will resemble rice.
  13. Add the buttermilk and mix them until they just come together.
  14. Flour your bench or board and flip the dough.
  15. Use the dough roller, roll it to a thickness of one inch. 2.5 cm for the metric mind.
  16. With a cutter that is about 2 inches wide punch out as many biscuits as you can.
  17. Bake at 375F (190 C) unitl they look Golden, Brown and Delicious.
  18. Whipping Cream:
  19. Add ice cold heavy cream in your work bowl.
  20. Follow with some sugar, a bit of Vanilla and whip.
  21. Split shortcake in half with a fork.
  22. Layer shortcake, strawberries and whipped cream.


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A Kind of a Risotto… Without Rice

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Risotto is one of the most well known dishes of the italian cuisine. There are many elements involved in making risotto and frankly making a risotto quickly is like making fat free butter. But there is no reason why we cannot replicate the taste, and the texture of the risotto in an alternative dish. The two basic structural elements of the risotto texture are the chewy, but cooked, rice, and a very creamy texture. The creamy texture, although there is the addition of the a little cream, come mainly from the rice. Rice… A quintessential class of a grain that literally changed the world. A grain that for centuries has been the power of an entire continent, the asian condiment that is, and there was no surprise that it took over the world. It is a commodity became a stable item in may different cuisines. I am happy to say that we already dealt with it in this blog with rice recipes. Today we will not.

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Winter Dish: Chicken with Mushrooms and Cream

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This is a very simple dish… Well simple in the flavor and tones that it has, but not so much in the process. The star is again the gallus domesticus aka chicken. It is a hear warming dish that combines three basic cooking skills and techniques to make a unique dish. A dish that can be easily moded changed and reinvented. Chicken with mashed potatoes and cream sauce. Three items that are independent from each other and the real trick is how to bond them. You want them from a trio they are, to make them sing like a chorus. So this post is an attempt to show you how three items can be brought together under the same flavor roof.

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With...

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Savory Beer Muffins

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A few weeks ago, I was watching the modern god of cookery, Alton Brown and he gave me the idea of making a savory muffin. I tried his recipe and although it was great, I was thinking I could twist it around to make it a bit more to my taste. So this is a recipe that does not have much of an intro, just the ingredients and the execution.

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Masticha Cheesecake

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The cheesecake is indeed an american classic. I never considered myself american or even close to the culture it represents till the moment my oven rolled out one of these beauties! It is a desert that sums up the american spirit. Many reasons for that. First of all it has a bunch of american ingredients, cream cheese, Graham cookies and butter. The all american cooking fat. Also the idea of a cake that has a base that can be tailored to anything sweet and savory it is an all american classic. An all american classic. But most of all it is the basic custard filling that is the heart and soul of the american country desert cooking.

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