Thursday, April 30, 2009
I don't normally cook with the smaller canned white beans (though I'm a huge fan of dry cannellinis for soups & stews), but I'm not one to waste food so I thought I'd give them a try today. After draining the brine and rinsing them well, I tried a couple and found their flavor to be very smooth & pleasant, perfect for the avalanche of other vegetables that would soon be joining them. I'm fairly certain you can make this dish with any combination of fresh, crunchy veggies, but this particular combo was just lovely. A simple dressing of olive oil and freshly squeezed key lime juice was all this salad needed to lightly enhance the flavors of all the vegetables. Served on a bed of baby lettuce, this has spring & summer written all over it.
But the very best part – aside from the fact that this cost about $1.15 per serving – is how incredibly healthy this is! I walked away feeling ridiculously energized and a bit smug about how low-cal my lunch was compared to my coworkers who were having a heavy Ceasar salad. I did a quick calorie count look-up online and found that this is just a mere 200 calories per serving! I couldn’t believe it, even though I was aware that this sort of meal wouldn’t be too high in calories. And the amount of fiber & vitamins you get out of each serving is another reason to celebrate. Who says you can’t eat healthy food for under $2?
White Bean & Veggie Salad (serves 3; total cost per serving: $1.15)
2 c cooked white beans (cannellini or Navy beans work great for this)
1 medium carrot
½ red bell pepper
½ medium cucumber
2-3 green onions
2 c baby lettuce mix
3 T olive oil
Juice of 4 key limes (lemon or regular lime will do if you don’t have access to key limes)
Salt & pepper to taste
Chop all the veggies into small cubes and place in a bowl. Add the white beans. Whisk together the olive oil, key lime juice, salt, and pepper and pour onto the salad. Toss together gently so that everything is uniformly coated. Serve over a bed of crispy baby lettuce, and enjoy!
If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you've already noticed I have a penchant for picante and I was craving something nice & hot (on the Kimberscale). Since I was going for something similar but way different from the PE Beijing Beef flavorwise, I wanted to add a lot of heat to this dish but serve it with something healthy with cooler flavoring. When I checked out what I had left in the kitchen, I noticed an orange, one of those little cans of mandarin oranges, some lonely looking brown rice, cilantro that really needed to get eaten.... surely this had to come together nicely with a little effort. And so it did, with the help of a lot of cayenne & crushed red chilies, and the knowledge that brown rice can be kinda pretty, too.
As always, when I cook with citrus I try to make sure the juice I use is from the actual fruit, not from a carton or bottle. This is easy for me because I hardly ever drink anything but water so I never buy juice or sodas, but it is ever-so-convenient to just use a bit of Minute Maid when recipes call for OJ. Try not to fall into that trap; the flavor just isn't the same as what you'd get out of a freshly squeezed orange (no offense to pasteurized juice! Just not the same when cooking). In terms of the mandarins, they're more of a garnish than an ingredient; however, if they're nice & chilled, they provide you with a nice respite from all the heat of the chile & cayenne (which I learned from experience), so feel free to load up; they're delicious with the sauce! As for the basil-cilantro brown rice, this is a easy way to add some interesting flavor to an otherwise simple tasting food. This would go well with a nice Thai curry, some marinated tofu steaks, flavorful chicken, or just about anything. Keep this one in your recipe arsenal because you should be able to use it year-round.
Spicy Orange Beef over Basil-Cilantro Brown Rice (serves 2; total cost per serving: ~ $3.25)
4 beef medallions (or any small cut of tender beef)
1/2 c honey
1/2 c soy sauce
Juice of one medium orange (1/2 - 2/3 c)
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1 1/2 t crushed red chile flakes
1/4 black pepper
Basil-Cilantro Brown Rice
1 c brown rice
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Anyway, here is the accompanying shot to the Black Bean, Chicken, and Mango Stew I posted way back in November. I had it for dinner a couple nights ago and had almost forgotten how good it was! It's definitely fun for the palate, what with all the wonderful flavors. And it's good for you. This is definitely earning the Kimberly's Non-Diet label. A guilt-free dinner, indeed! And rather pretty, too. :)
Next up: the Long Lost Photo of Farro & Red Beans with Caramelized Onions.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Bring several cups of salted water to a boil & add the agnolotti. Cook for about 7 minutes, drain, add a couple glugs of olive oil to prevent from sticking, and set aside. In a medium saucepan, heat the cream and butter together until the butter is completely melted. Add the asiago cheese in small handfuls, whisking well to make sure the cheese melts evenly. When all the cheese has been added, heat for another 2 minutes over medium heat until completely heated through (sauce might bubble a bit; that's okay, just don't let it get to a full boil to prevent from sticking/burning). Add plenty of fresh ground pepper and stir well. Finally, add the mushrooms and remove from heat. The mushrooms will be cooked by the heat of the sauce.
In a bowl or separate saucepan, combine the agnolotti and the sauce with mushrooms. Add the fresh spinach and stir gently to combine. The spinach will wilt slightly in the sauce but not be completely cooked (i.e. mushy). Sprinkle extra grated parmesan or asiago cheese, serve with a salad, and enjoy!
Monday, April 20, 2009
My current tomato crush is on the tiny heirloom tomato mix that Trader Joe’s has been offering lately. Grape-and-cherry-tomato-sized and all shades of red, orange, yellow, and green, these little guys are bursting with flavor and so beautiful they would go with just about anything. Since I’ve also been craving some gnocchi (I currently have no patience to make my own, but someday soon I will), I thought a light flavorful sauce made from these tiny heirlooms would be a lovely complement to these wonderful little potato pillows. A welcome change from the heavier, cream-based sauces usually used on gnocchi, this seemed to be the perfect dinner for a warm spring day when paired with a nice salad and served with some chilled white wine.
If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s in your neck of the woods or a farmer's market that will sell the small heirlooms, don’t fret. Use a couple of large heirloom tomatoes (try to mix up the colors a bit for sauce aesthetics) and you’ll be set. Don't be afraid to almost overdo the garlic on this one; it does nothing but bring out the flavor of the tomatoes and adds a delicious aroma to the entire dish. And feel free to lay on the herbs heavily, too! Gnocchi is hearty and can absorb a lot of flavor, so go for it! Because you'll be using plenty of herbs and not a lot of salt, as well as fresh produce, this is definitely in the good-for-you category. But as always, the best part of this dish is the price. Even using fancy-schmancy tomatoes, this dish still goes for about a mere $3/serving or so. Adding salad & wine, you still have a delicious meal that costs less than your average fast food "value" combo. Gotta love that!
In a large pan heat the 2-3 T olive oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic & shallots and cook for about 1 minute, or until very fragrant. Add the tomatoes and cook for about 1 minute. Next, add the salt, pepper, and herbs. Cook over medium heat for about 4 minutes, until the tomatoes release most of their juices. Add the white wine and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Do not overcook! Texture is key in this dish, so you want to make sure that you have sauce, but a lot of chunky tomatoes.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Sunday, April 12, 2009
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Anyway, just wanted to check in with everyone and let you know Poor Girl is back in the kitchen! I'd love to hear how all of you spent your Easter and what kind of yummy brunches & dinners you had, so feel free to post your Easter (and Passover... can't forget about Passover!) stories. See you tomorrow with the new recipe!
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Because our group was large and we just kinda dropped in, it took them awhile to get us situated. Though I was busy socializing with my fellow choristers, I didn't fail to notice the quick, yet subtle moves of the staff trying to get our table settings & other pre-meal accoutrements ready. Bussers, servers, and our hostess rushed about quietly to make sure we had everything we needed before taking our drink orders. Being a real stickler for service, this pleased me very much and I knew we'd end up having a good experience. After our drink orders were taken (dirty vodka martini w/2 olives for me, though their wine selections looked just lovely), I set at the task of perusing the menu. Printed twice daily, according to our server, this large sheet offered so many delicious-sounding choices that I felt sorry for myself and my lack of decision-making capabilities. I can't even decide what to eat at Subway sometimes; how was I to decide between Roasted Trio of Beets with Goat Cheese & Balsamic Reduction and things like Thresher Shark Tacos or Seared Ahi Tuna Nicoise Salad? Having to stick to a budget (though I must confess right now that Poor Girl was VERY irresponsible yesterday and spent way more than she should have. The martinis were just that good!), I knew that dishes like the Grilled Shrimp Brochette or the San Francsisco Style Seafood Stew ($14.95 and $15.95, respectively) were out of my league if I was also to have dessert & drinks, so I carefully scanned the menu for less expensive options.
I let out a small cry of joy when I saw the Capitol Specials section at the very bottom of the menu. There, in a little box, were listed three very tasty sounding options for a mere $7.95! Now THAT is Poor Girl-friendly! The choices were not boring either: Atlantic Salmon Burger w/Lemon Dill Aioli on Toasted Ciabbatta; Cajun Shrimp Skewers served over Mascarpone Polenta & Tomato Broth; and the Chowder Bowl, the Seafood Corn Chowder in a Sourdough Bread Bowl served with Mixed Field Greens in a White Balsamic Vinaigrette. Any one of these dishes would have definitely pleased me, but to know that I could have this kind of fare - at a nice restaurant, and not just at my own home - for just $7.95 almost made my toes curl! Though I've been craving salmon and was toying with the idea of having the salmon burger, I was intrigued by the idea of Mascarpone Polenta, and my server's confident recommendation of the Cajun Shrimp Skewers that would be served over said polenta cemented that decision. I eagerly awaited my order as I ate their delicious bread and sipped my very well-balanced martini.
You all know how much I love beautifully presented food, so when my elegant square white plate of lunch arrived, I wanted to flog myself for not having my trusty camera with me (I normally carry that thing everywhere but hadn't expected we'd be going out to eat and left it at home). The meal could have tasted like a stale bag of Doritos and I still would have loved it, it was that beautifully presented. Six very healthy sized shrimp, dusted with just the right amount of Cajun spices, skewered with red & green peppers and onions, lay on a pool of delicate mascarpone polenta and were generously topped with a gorgeous tomato relish. After taking a couple of photos with my phone's camera (so unfair to the food, but it's all I had), I set about removing my shrimp & veggies from their skewers before eating (I'm rather accident-prone and always fear I'll poke out an eye with a skewer whilst eating, so I get them out of the way as soon as possible). The flavors were incredible and absolutely perfect for a spring meal. The shrimp were perfectly seared and the Cajun spices brought out their natural sweetness; the tomato relish added tangy pizzazz; but the mascarpone polenta was phenomenal! Light, creamy, and deliciously different, it was the perfect accompaniment to the stronger flavors of the shrimp and tomatoes. The folks at the end of my table seemed to be enjoying how much I was loving my dish, but it was because it was that good, not because I'd already had a strong martini on an empty stomach. Incidentally, I almost forgot about the 2nd martini because I was so in love with my lunch! The meal was satisfying without being overly filling, and I would definitely have it again, if I knew what day it would be served.
I did notice that the rest of the food on our table was also gorgeous and looked very tasty. Jonathan had the Albacore Sashimi with Hot Chili Oil, Soy Sauce & Crispy Onions, as well as fresh oysters; Debbi had their Deep Fried Calamari w/3 Dipping Sauces (a very generous amount of calamari at that); Damien had the Grilled Tuna Steak Sandwich w/Caper Aioli & Fries; Jenn had the Atlantic Salmon, Cedar Plank Roasted w/Northwest Berry Sauce on the side; Reena had the Salmon & Penne Pasta (I think); and at the opposite end of the table, the Canadian Black Mussels Steamed in Chimichurri Broth that Rex & Dr. Bob were sharing smelled so amazing I wanted to crawl over the table to ask for one. As you can tell, none of these dishes is boring and seeing as it is all fresh seafood, you can see why I never came in before; it's delicious, but so out of my league with my current budget! However, I have been to many seafood restaurants in my not-so-financially-strapped past, and I must say that the lunch prices (as I'm sure dinner is slightly more expensive) were very reasonable for the quality and quantity of food served.
Music-talk, more drinks, and a whole lot of laughing later, we were asked if we wanted dessert. Since Lola was sitting near Rex at the opposite end of the table, the dessert she & Jonathan had decided they'd split was all hers. He and I decided to split the Chocolate Bag, and oh! I'm so glad that we did. A delicate "bag" of white & dark chocolate was filled with a semi-sweet chocolate mousse, fresh blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries, and the freshest of whipped creams. Served on a lovely translucent green plate drizzled with a raspberry coulis, this was the perfect dessert to follow my incredible lunch. The berries were of the best quality and I was happy I didn't have to fight Jonathan for the strawberry because he was more in love with the blackberries and the strawberry was one of the sweetest I've ever had. The chocolate mousse was rich, not too fluffy, and just the perfect combination of sweet & bitter, juxtaposing the sweet berries beautifully. I could not have been happier with this dessert.
I let Stewart (or Stuart... I didn't get the proper spelling of his name), our excellent server, know that I truly enjoyed my first experience at McCormick & Schmick's and that I'd be writing a very positive review here on PGEW. I was pleased to know that he knew of me from last month's article in the Sacramento News & Review and he told me a friend of his was encouraging him to start his own video blog about living on a budget. I hope he does! He left to tend to other folks and I went back to the rest of my martini. A few minutes later, a very tall chef was brought to my side and introduced to me as Chef Lamar, or in Kimberland, my personal hero that day. Chef Lamar is the Executive Chef at McCormick & Schmick's in Sacramento, and he very graciously talked with me for a few minutes, as I raved about the amazing food he had created for us. Chef Hazel is apparently the dessert chef, and I hope they let her know how much I enjoyed her lovely dessert.
It was lovely to meet the man behind the food, and after signing up for their email club ($10 discount certificate will be mine shortly!) and receiving their happy hour specials (which Jonathan had raved about earlier... 1/2 pound cheeseburger for $2.95! Flash Fried Clam Strips for $1.95! Unprecedented!), I let them know quite honestly, that I would definitely be back. It is not a place I can visit everyday, of course, but it really pleased me to know that even at slightly higher end establishments, a Poor Girl can still eat. It has taught me - and hopefully you, too, dear readers - that you cannot judge a restaurant by its dark wood and crisp white tablecloths. There are hidden gems of discounted specials everywhere if you just look hard enough (and if you split dessert with someone else). And I now know of a new treasure chest to find these gems, right in my neck of the woods.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
It’s different for everyone, of course. For those with larger families, buying in bulk at places like Costco or Sam’s Club can save quite a bit of money. There is enough food for everyone, and many things that won’t be used immediately can be vacuum-sealed for later use. For smaller families or single folks like me, however, buying in bulk can be more of a hindrance than anything else. Giant containers of ketchup and packages of 24 rolls of paper towels wouldn’t fit anywhere in my apartment and would take me forever to get through (though I do wish I could have an endless supply of paper towels), so I try to buy what I need, while making sure I have certain bare bones staples always at my disposal. But no matter what your buying habits are it’s important to read prices & labels carefully to make sure you really are getting the best deal.
Take the infamous Club Card Specials that most large chain grocery stores offer. Some of these deals can be really amazing, like 10 items for $10, or 2 for $5, etc. But what if you don't really need 10 of a certain item? If you only need 5 of that particular product, just buy what you need; just because the price tag says you can get 10 items for $10 doesn't mean you have to buy all ten! This is marketing at its finest, tapping into an American's almost genetic need for a "good deal". Sure, it's a good deal, but if you're trying to stretch your dollars on a certain grocery trip, it won't work if you play into said marketing ploy. HOWEVER..... pay close attention to the fine print on that sales tag if you do just buy what you need; not all stores will allow you to have the discounted price unless you buy the advertised lot, so you end up paying more because you're charged the regular price for each individual item. Also check the dates of these sales. Sometimes they last for several months at a time, so you can plan ahead when making your shopping list; other times, they last only a few days.
Another thing to check when reading sale labels is whether or not it's actually a "sale" or if the advertised reduced price is only valid after a mail-in or online rebate. This happens more often at drug stores, but I have seen it at grocery stores as well. Our busy minds being programmed to skim over labels & ads, we tend to go blind at the fine print, and we miss a lot that way. You may be thinking you have this fabulous deal on something, but will be very unpleasantly surprised at the cash register when you're charged regular price and are given some sort of voucher to submit so that you can get your money back 6-8 weeks later. If you can wait for your rebate, by all means, go for it! Deals are great! But if you're looking for immediate savings, be sure that that's what you're getting.
Similar cautions apply to coupons as well. Be sure to read whether the coupon is a manufacturer's coupon or a store coupon only. Check the expiration dates (those with none are the best!) and read the offers thoroughly. If you can only save $0.75 on TWO items that cost $3.95 each, you're saving money but probably not that much. It might be better to go with the store's sale progams instead. Of course, if you shop for many people and go to the store armed with an arsenal of coupons, these miniscule savings add up. And it is definitely possible to combine coupons AND store sales, saving you even more money. Again, you have to read everything carefully and make sure these types of discounts will still apply.
Though I mentioned that for someone single like me, it's not always a good idea to buy larger, bulk priced items, that doesn't always apply. If you read the breakdown of prices on the price tags of each item, many times the larger amounts will cost less than the smaller ones. For example, a small 8 oz. bottle of salad dressing could cost you $0.30/oz, whereas the larger bottle could be twice the size yet only cost $0.20/oz. You'll be paying more up front, but you will have more product for less and it will last you longer. This sort of ties into my next point of store brand v. national brands on sale. Sometimes the most intuitive choice is not always the best one. I usually have no problem buying store brand items because they tend to be of the same quality and same ingredients as national brand names, and cost much less. However, some sales make it so that the national brand items cost less than the store brands for the duration of that sale, so unless you're completely boycotting a certain company, by all means, take advantage of the sale!
I could go on for days about this, but just wanted to touch upon some of the more important points about savvy shopping. Remember: buy what you need, just make sure you read everything carefully so that you make the best, informed decisions that will save you money. Happy Shopping! :)
Monday, April 6, 2009
That being said, I'm definitely not above wines like Trader Joe's good ol' Two Buck Chuck (Charles Shaw), or other "value" wines. Boxed wine I will definitely pass up, but I'm realistic and know what I can and can't afford. Sutter Home, Charles Shaw, and a few others have suited me just fine over the years, and will probably continue to do so until I can finally afford that incredible Zinfandel from Ledson Vineyards. Honestly, if I knew more about how to review a wine, I would give some recommendations on some rather delicious wines for under $7. If you're interested in these, shoot me an email and I'll tell you about some of my favorites.
Someday I'll post a more traditional recipe, and I'm definitely looking to duplicate the amazing - albeit heavily spiked - version that they offer at Iberia Restaurant, but with a spring storm scheduled to ruin the rest of this week, I thought it'd be nice to post a reminder of the warm weather that will stick around at some point in the future.
Since for me it's more about the combination of flavors as opposed to focusing on the wine itself, I have absolutely no problem using Two Buck Chuck for this, making this completely affordable. Honestly, I would feel terrible if I used a $40 bottle of wine for sangria, but that's just me. Another TJ's product I make use of for this recipe is the Mangolicious fruit blend (mangos, raspberries & blueberries) because of its wonderful combination of fruits. You can definitely use fresh fruit, but you'll need to ice your sangria very well to enjoy its flavors to their fullest. I like the idea of mangos and berries together, and you can easily find these in most frozen food aisles of supermarkets. I add a little pineapple, some orange slices, a bit of ginger ale, and I end up with a delicious, lightly fizzy serving of fruit with my wine. Talk about multitasking. :)
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Saturday, April 4, 2009
My original idea was to just make some yummy spiced carrots and toss them into some quinoa. But my love for aesthetics being what it is, I couldn't just stop at such a lifeless looking dish. A few additions for color & texture here, some spice adjustments there, and I felt a lot better about this new little concoction I was making. This is great over some fresh greens, or would make a fabulous accompaniment to some Moroccan or Indian flavored chicken. It is healthy, light, and aromatic, making it a perfect spring dish. It also looks fabulous, so if you're into entertaining, this will look simply lovely on the table.
Of course, the best part about this healthy little meal is that it costs next to nothing to make. Though I've always been good about cooking relatively healthy on a budget, I am still amazed at how easy it can be to enjoy truly good-for-you food without having to pay an arm and a leg for it. Gone are the days of having to buy overpriced deli salads that may or may not contain the ingredients they claim to have; through this blog I've discovered how deliciously creative I can get with "nut & twig people" food (as one of my friends used to call it before I fed it to him and he liked it). And with my strong desire and determination to get rid of the rest of this winter weight - not to mention my poor excuse for an income - this ability couldn't come in more handy! Seriously, where else can you get some exotic sounding quinoa dish for under $4/serving? Nowhere but one's very own home. Which pleases me even more, because unfortunately, Sacramento is lacking in more healthy restaurant options. And now for this interesting little recipe...
Orange-Scented Quinoa with Spiced Carrots (serves 2 as a main dish; Total Cost per serving: ~ $3.50)
1 c quinoa (will yield roughly 2 c cooked)
1 c water
2 medium carrots, diced
1/4 small, sweet white onion, diced
Juice & zest of 1 orange
1/8 t cinnamon
1/8 t cumin
1/8 t curry powder
1/4 t balsamic vinegar
1/2 t honey
Dash of salt
1 T olive oil
1/4 c raisins
Small handful of cilantro, finely chopped
Combine cinnamon, curry powder, cumin, balsamic vinegar, honey, and a small dash of salt in a bowl and whisk together until well combined. Add the diced carrots and stir until well-coated. Allow to sit for a few minutes so that the carrots absorb the flavors of the spices.
Rinse the quinoa very well and cook in 1 c water and about 1/2 c freshly squeezed orange juice (if you have any remaining juice, set aside for later) along with a 1" piece of orange peel. While the quinoa is cooking, chop the onion & cilantro and set aside. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is thoroughly heated, add the spiced carrots and cook quickly until carrots just become tender. They should still have plenty of crunchy texture and not be mushy at all.
When quinoa is finished cooking, drain any excess liquid (if any) and remove the orange peel. Add the rest of the orange zest and spiced carrots with their juices. Next, add the diced onion, raisins, and finely chopped cilantro. Mix together until everything is uniformly combined. Check for seasonings and adjust accordingly. If quinoa seems a bit dry, add any remaining juice. Serve by itself or as a side with some flavorful curried chicken, and enjoy!
Friday, April 3, 2009
~ The spanakopita I promised to post about last month is still coming; I am just waiting for a specific recipe from my friend’s adorable Greek mother before I try to make my own version. Though I have every confidence in my spanakopita-making abilities, I’d love to try a traditional recipe instead. Either way, it will definitely make an appearance this month.
~ Several of you have written requesting photos of the two lonely recipes that have been neglected by my camera: the Black Bean, Chicken, and Mango Stew, and the Farro & Red Beans with Caramelized Onions recipes. It just so happens that I’m having an extremely bare bones couple of weeks ahead of me and I’m down to those exact ingredients, so those will be appearing shortly for all of you to reference. Thanks for your patience!
~ Another reader request last month was for cheap, healthy, homemade granola. This works out beautifully for me since I have been craving the same thing for the past few weeks, so I’m up to the challenge! Store bought granola tends to be either stale or high in fat, so a homemade option is always nice to have. Look for it towards the latter half of the month (Easter is going to be keeping me SUPER busy with the Cathedral Choir! Oh, the life of a soprano…)
~ I don’t know about you but I adore crepes. I haven’t had them in quite some time and between the withdrawals and a recent viewing of Talladega Nights where they went on for awhile about the deliciousness that is the crepe, I’ve decided it’s time to whip up a batch or 3. Look for both sweet and savory versions in the next couple of weeks!
As always, these are just some of the things I plan to do during each month. Sometimes it doesn’t work out that way because of scheduling conflicts or random ideas that pop into my head. There will always be something tasty to read about & try, and be sure to stay tuned for another $25 Shopping Cart this month. Happy April!
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Though I always make mine with fresh strawberries, I tend to use a shortcut and make it with pound cake or the synthetic, Twinkie-tasting cakes they stock next to the strawberries at the grocery stores. While it tastes just fine that way and definitely satisfies my shortcake craving, it’s just not the same as having the real thing. I have been trying to get back into baking and thought it would be fun to start off with something simple like making actual shortcake from scratch – but dessert shot sized. I envisioned my usual parfait-style shots, but with tiny, shot-glass sized shortcake biscuits. I couldn’t help but imagine how cute that would be and just had to try it over the weekend.
I figured if I was making the shortcake from scratch and would be using fresh strawberries, I would go for broke and make my own whipped cream. Cool Whip is fun, but it just didn’t seem right to use it with all this homemade goodness. It may sound like this is a lot of work for dessert shots but it really wasn’t that difficult. Shortcake is ridiculously easy and quick to make: the strawberries take care of themselves, and a few pulses with a hand blender is all it takes to turn cream into fluffy clouds of deliciousness.
I adapted the shortcake recipe from a Southern food website and don’t have much to note except that you can’t overwork your dough. I was very careful with mine, but if you do over-knead your dough you run the risk of having a very solid, hockey-puck-like result. If you’re new to making shortcake from scratch, also remember that you don’t have to make it super-sweet, especially not for a strawberry shortcake recipe. The natural syrup the berries create will be more than enough sweetener for these tiny treats. This shortcake recipe is easily doubled, so if you plan on making a lot of these, you’ll be fine.
Lastly, have fun making these! Use more whipped cream if you can’t get enough of it, or if you’re a straight berry-lover, fill your shot glasses with just one shortcake biscuit and a ton of berries. These would be perfect for upcoming spring parties, bridal showers, or baby showers, or just to keep on hand in the fridge for a quick dessert.
Old-fashioned Strawberry Shortcake Dessert Shots (Makes 12-16 shots; Total Cost per Serving: $0.40-0.50!)
1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 T baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 1/2 T sugar
1/2 stick (4 T) chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 to 1/2 c milk
2 c sliced strawberries
1/3 c sugar
1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
1 T sugar
Preheat oven to 425°. In a large bowl, combine the sliced strawberries & sugar and set aside. The strawberries will react with the sugar to release their own natural syrup, so you really don’t have to do much more with them until it’s time to assemble your shots.
In another large bowl (or food processor if you have one), combine the dry ingredients for the biscuits and mix until combined. Using a hand mixer on low speed, add the butter to the flour mixture and mix until you end up with a coarse meal. Some larger pieces of butter are okay to have in the mix at this point. Add the milk slowly and mix with a fork until the dough begins to moisten. Don’t overmix!
Transfer the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead gently, maybe 3-4 times, until the dough holds together on its own. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it’s about ½” thick. With a cookie cutter (or the smaller end of your shot glass), cut out tiny little shortcakes. You should be able to make at least 16 1 ½” biscuits. Place the biscuits onto a foil-lined cookie sheet, sprinkle with some sugar (if desired) and bake in the oven for 8-11 minutes or until a light golden brown at the top. Remember, ovens vary, so to be on the safe side, check on these after about 8 minutes to make sure they don’t burn.
While the shortcake biscuits are baking, make the whipped cream by combining the cream & 1 T sugar in a bowl and whipping until light & fluffy. Be careful not to overwork this either; if you whip too much you’ll end up with something closer to butter than whipped cream!
Once the biscuits are done, allow to cool on a rack for a few minutes. Assemble your dessert shots parfait-style, layering a biscuit, strawberries, and whipped cream in whatever order you wish. If your biscuits are a little big, feel free to cut them to fit your individual glasses. Garnish with whipped cream and more strawberries, and enjoy!