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    Strawberry Shortcake

    While we’re not quite at that time of year here in Maine, it is that time … STRAWBERRIES! I love strawberries just hulled and sliced with a bit of sugar and balsamic vinegar. Though I have made Dark Chocolate Strawberry Ice Cream and Strawberry Limeade, if I had to add strawberries to a recipe, my all time fav would be Strawberry Shortcake.

    When Fantastical Food Fight announced April’s spatula down to be Strawberry Shortcake I was delighted! I changed up my Grandmother’s Biscuits a tiny bit to make them sweet, not savory and simply sliced up some strawberries and let them macerate for a while.

    Traditionally you would serve these beauties with whipped cream. I have not been able to bear the sight of schlag on my food since … well, let’s just say, Vermont, a loss of power, whipped cream and a pumpkin pie. Gives me the willies just thinking about it!

    Hopefully by the time you read this any threat of snow will be gone … I’m pretty sure I heard that rotten weatherman say the dreaded S word this morning!

    Biscuits:

    • 2 C all-purpose flour
    • 1 T baking powder
    • 1/2 t salt
    • 3 T sugar
    • 1 stick butter, chilled
    • 2/3 to 3/4 C half and half

    Strawberries:

    • 1 quart strawberries
    • 1/3 C sugar
    • 1 T Balsamic

    If you want the ooky whipped cream:

    1 1/2 cups whipping cream for topping, or non-dairy whipped topping

    NOTE: Try to use the best balsamic possible. Not everything you buy in the supermarket is anything close to traditional balsamic. If you want to treat yourself to something wonderful, try the Traditional Balsamic from Fiore. Their products are really great … stay tuned for an ice cream with their Amarena Cherry Balsamic!

    Rinse the berries under cold water; drain well. Hull and slice the berries; place in a bowl. Sprinkle with the sugar and balsamic; cover and let stand at room temperature for about 1 hour.

    Whip the cream (sweeten with 2 or 3 tablespoons of sugar, if desired) until it holds a soft peak. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

    Preheat the oven to 425.

    In a food processor combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar and pulse to mix. Cut butter into about 8 pieces and add to the mixture. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal, but with few pea-size chunks of butter left in the mixture. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and make a well in the center. With a fork stir in the cream, just until dough is moist.

    NOTE: Be very careful not to overwork the dough. The dough doesn’t hold together well at this point, but let the dough stand for a minute, and magic happens.

    Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Fold the dough over on itself (knead) 2 or 3 times, until it is holding together and is less sticky.

    Gently pat the dough into a 6 by 12-inch rectangle about 3/4-inch thick and cut into 8 (3-inch) biscuits with a floured round cutter. Transfer to a buttered foil-lined cookie sheet. Brush on a little milk or cream and sprinkle tops with some sugar, if desired. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until risen and golden brown.

    Split each biscuit horizontally. Top with about 1/3 cup of berry mixture. Replace the tops and top with a tablespoon or so of berries. Serve with whipped cream for topping.

    Serves 8.

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    Vegan Stuffed Shells #SundaySupper


    It’s been way too long since I’ve been able to or had the head to join the Sunday Supper Movement. This week’s theme is Cheesy Dinner Ideas brought to us by Em. In this new(ish) wave of healthier eating, there are more and more vegans and vegetarians following our blogs. While this doesn’t follow the strict definition of cheesy, these stuffed shells are close enough – and delicious enough – for my vegan.

    Learning to adjust one’s culinary brain when one of your children announces they’re a vegan – or even a vegetarian – is not easy. So now there was a vegan AND a vegetarian AND a dyed in the wool carnivore. How is a girl to cope?

    I’ve learned to start with a base – in this case the marinara sauce and the cooked shells – and then split into two meals. In this case, only the stuffing for the shells. Side by side, the Dear One was hard pressed to know which was which. Taste? Not too bad. I think the seller for me with this recipe was the tofu being ground up. I am not a big tofu fan, but bring ground up and mixed with the rest of the yummy ingredients was a game changer.

    There had been a love hate relationship – mostly hate – with Nutritional Yeast. I have to admit that this hate formed without ever tasting it. It turns out it’s full of B vitamins, folic acid, selenium, zinc and protein. Hmmmm …. well, it’s good for you. But the name is so unappealing. I tried it sprinkled on popcorn and I was hooked. I sprinkle it on eggs, have used it in a vegan form of pesto, popcorn … if you haven’t tried, do.

    Scroll to the bottom of my post and stop by the other blogs in this week’s Sunday Supper Movement!

    • 1 t vegetable oil
    • 6  garlic cloves , minced
    • 8 oz. baby spinach
    • 1 t salt
    • 1 vegan egg
    • 2 t Nutritional Yeast
    • 12 oz. Onederful® Tofu, drained
    • cooking spray
    • 12 Jumbo Pasta Shells, cooked
    • 16 oz. Marinara Sauce
    • Canola oil (as needed)

    NOTE: There was no opposition to an egg, so I used a fresh egg. I have used Follow Your Heart vegan eggs with no trouble.

    Pre-Heat over to 400

    Heat a sauce pan over a medium flame and add 1 teaspoon of oil. Add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the spinach and half the salt. Cook until the spinach is wilted.

    Place the sautéed spinach mixture in a strainer so the extra liquid can drip out. Set aside,

    Add the tofu to a food processor and pulse several time to break the tofu down to small crumbles.

    In a large mixing bowl, mix together the crumbled tofu, drained spinach, egg, nutritional yeast and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

    Lightly spray a baking dish with the cooking spray. Pour half the marinara sauce on the bottom.

    Fill the shells with the stuffing mixture. Add shells to the baking dish.

    Pour the rest of the marinara sauce over the shells.

    Bake uncovered for 8 -10 minutes, uncovered.

    Serve immediately.

    Cheesy Dinner Ideas

    Cheesy Appetizers and Sides

    Cheesy Main Courses

    Sunday Supper MovementThe Sunday Supper Movement is committed to bringing our readers delicious recipes that encourage them to gather and eat together around the family table. Search for your favorite ingredients on our Sunday Supper website. Also check out the Sunday Supper Pinterest boards for plenty more ideas and inspiration.

    Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

    Oven-Roasted Fiddleheads with Capers and Lemon #SundaySupper

    Another Sunday … another Sunday Supper Movement. This week hosted by Christie at A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures. Stop by and check out her blog … scroll to the bottom and check out all of the Healthy Green Recipes for St. Patrick’s Day.

    I will admit from the outset, that this recipe has been sitting on my to-do list since last spring. I’ve just had a hard time sitting in front of this computer and writing. Seeing this week’s theme jolted me into, Come on, girl, get off yer are and write. So here I am.

    Besides, it’s cold here in Maine. I am longing for springtime. Remembering this recipe and the lovely spring day I found these green beauties makes me warm and happy. Perhaps by you, the little fiddleheads are pushing through the ground as you read.

    Fiddleheads are the young unfurled fronds of ferns that pop their little heads out of the ground in the spring. Usually an Ostrich Fern. You harvest them in the spring before they unfurl and are close to the ground. This involves a lot of tramping around – well, treading lightly around the woods, peering on the ground for these little prized gems. Usually under or near trees, so they’re in a cool-ish, damp-ish place. You cut close to the ground and try not to take too many from the same cluster so as not to kill the fern – we’ll want more next year, right?

    They are high in omega- 3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and high in iron and fiber and potassium.

    They are fiddly to clean – hahaha, get it? Fiddleheads? Fiddly? – oh, I crack myself up. Cutting off the bottom, peeling the brown papery stuff and soaking, and soaking, and soaking.

    But once soaked they look like this:

    Cool, right? And a little weird.

    I wanted the preparation method to be light as the flavor of the Fiddlehead is delicate. They taste like spring-time, a little grassy, a little nutty, a bit like an asparagus. and I think a bit like an artichoke.

    • cups fiddleheads
    • tablespoons capers
    • tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    • tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/4teaspoon sea salt
    • 1-2 thin lemon slices

    NOTE: I left the capers out. Someone here has an issue with capers. I’m not quite sure what or shy, but for marital harmony, I left them out.

    Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

    Wash fiddleheads thoroughly, in at least 2-3 changes of water. Trim away any brown, woody ends of fiddlehead stems.

    Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and blanch fiddleheads for 5 minutes. Drain and plunge into an ice water bath to stop cooking.

    Drain thoroughly and toss with lemon juice, olive oil, capers, salt and lemon slices.

    Spread onto a parchment lined baking sheet and roast for 8-12 minutes, until lightly browned and crisp around the edges.

    Healthy Green Foods for St. Patrick’s Day

    Healthy Green Main Meals

    Super Green Side Dishes

    Sunday Supper MovementThe Sunday Supper Movement is committed to bringing our readers delicious recipes that encourage them to gather and eat together around the family table. Search for your favorite ingredients on our Sunday Supper website. Also check out the Sunday Supper Pinterest boards for plenty more ideas and inspiration.

    Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

    Blueberry Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate and Chocolate Sauce #SundaySupper

    Done

    It’s been far, far too long since I have felt technologically suited for a Sunday Supper posting. Now that my computer is back, I am thrilled to be able to participate again!

    This week’s challenge hosted by Stacy of Food Lust People Love and Tara of Noshing With the Nolands? Share recipes with ingredients that are hunted or foraged.

    Now, I know, many of you won’t think of blueberries as being foraged. But, follow along …

    Beautiful summer day. The Dear One and I are tired of being in the garden every day (and, trust me, the garden nightmare dream hadn’t yet begun).

    Let’s do something fun, says I.

    Hey, great idea, says the Dear One. I have just the thing. Blueberry picking!

    Now, I’m not quite sure what sort of romantic notion I had in my head about blueberry picking, but, trust me, after this that notion was dispelled!

    We get in the car and we drive. And drive. And drive. Long, winding rural (what is more rural than rural?) Maine roads. We’re either headed for something that will be a lot of fun … or he’s taking me out into the woods to kill me!

    We turn off a main(ish) road and onto a dirt road. Now we’re going deeper and deeper into the woods. I realize I am a simple city girl, but even I know blueberries don’t grow in the woods! The theme from Deliverance is dancing through my head.

    We pass a ramshackle house with at least a dozen kids outside and dogs and cats and cars in all array of decay. Thinking to myself, this isn’t going to end well for me! I had lines from Eddie Izzard and his wonderful bit about the Druids and Stonehenge running through my head, “I don’t even know where I live now!” The children asked if we needed blueberry rakes or boxes (ah, we’re in the right place) and to just keep going … and going … and the road is becoming more and more narrow … and going. And SUDDENLY this tiny narrow “road” opened up into acres upon acres of blueberry fields.

    Blueberries

    WOW!

    Shirtless, shoeless, (dirty) bearded man ambles over to the car explaining where to pick and points further down the road.

    Pull over, hop out of the truck (yes, I said truck), grab some buckets, the blueberry rake (of which we have just one) and take off.

    Blueberry rake

    For those of you that don’t know … and, really, unless you live in rural Maine or New Jersey, why would you know? .. this photo is of a blueberry rake. It looks like a dustpan with a comb attached to it. You bend over, scrape it through the low blueberry bushes and pull up. You pick dozens of blueberries at a time. It’s fantastic.

    Drawback. We have one. Apparently, it’s one of those tools that fall under the ‘MAN’ category. Much too much for you to handle, little lady … HARRUMPH! I’ve decided to go with the Dear One being chivalrous. Yes, that must be it. I walked around taking pictures. Picking blueberries by hand. And just looking around.

    I think it’s better to pick them by hand. A lot of them get smushed with the rake and a many more leaves and twigs end up in your buckets.

    Now, a little blueberry trivia (bet you didn’t know there was such a thing) … those big fat blueberries you find in the supermarkets, mostly from New Jersey, are high bush blueberries. The tiny ones, often the ones you find frozen, referred to as wild blueberries, and mostly from Maine, are low bush blueberries. These were low bush blueberries.

    Blueberry fieldThat’s the Dear One out in the middle of the field raking away. I believe I was sent back to the car to fetch water.

    Completely exhausting, back breaking. Messy. You’re turning violet, Violet, colored fingers. Even with the down side, we now have 10 1-gallon freezer bags filled with wild blueberries in our freezer downstairs. There were more, but Smoothy Girl breaks into it, I’ve made this ice cream, muffins, drinks, etc.

    Would I do this again? Oh, hells yeah!

    This ice cream is great to make … NO EGGS. It’s very easy to put together. A little cooking of the blueberries, a bit of blitzing in the blender, mix, cool, voila! The color is fantastic. The taste amazing. Next time, at the suggestion of my pal Lisa, I may add some sort of crumble to the top before serving. I suppose making it a deconstructed blueberry pie! Even the picky people have been digging into it!

    I do think the chocolate sauce is unnecessary, but it don’t hurt!

    Try this with a scoop of blueberry ice cream, a scoop of chocolate ice cream, some of the chocolate sauce and frozen blueberries!

    Ice Cream

    • 1 1/2 C heavy cream
    • 2 1/2 C Maine wild blueberries (like Driscoll’s)
    • 1 C sugar
    • 1/8 t salt
    • 1 C whole milk
    • 1 T fresh lemon juice
    • 3 ounces bar dark chocolate, chopped into small chunks (or 1/2 cup of mini semi-sweet morsels)

    Dark Chocolate Sauce

    • 2 C heavy cream
    • 2/3 pounds (11 ounces) dark chocolate chips or bar chopped into small pieces
    • 2 1/2 T light corn syrup

    Ice Cream

    Mix blueberries, sugar, and salt in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool 20 minutes. Puree in a blender. Stir puree together with heavy cream, milk and lemon juice. Chill in refrigerator overnight. Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. Swirl in dark chocolate by pouring small chunks into machine during last 5 minutes of freezing.

    Dark Chocolate Sauce

    Bring cream to a boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate and corn syrup. Let sit until chocolate melts, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir until smooth. For warm ice cream topping, allow sauce to cool 10 minutes before serving. Otherwise, allow sauce to cool to room temperature.

     

    Check out these recipes from this week’s Sunday Supper Movement … On the Hunt!

    Spread it on Thick

    Nibbles and Sides

    The Main Event

    Sweet Treats

    Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 p.m. ET.  Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

    Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

    New York Crumb Cake

    Ready

    Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr once said “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” … “the more things change, the more they stay the same”.

    Not that I’m one to argue with a dead, French journalist, who coined one of the most used sentences … well, EVER …

    BUT, for me, truth be told, the more things have changed, the more different they have become.

    I was born in New York City. Grew up in New York City. Grammar school and high school in New York City. Up until November 2013, I had never lived further than 10 miles from everyone to whom I’m related – except my sister Maria who abandoned ship to marry a great guy and now lives in Oswego, IL.

    I worked for my Dad for around 30 years as a paralegal and office manager.

    I had GREAT gal pals.

    November came along and EVERYTHING changed. I moved from the hustle and bustle of New York City to the calm and quiet of Bar Harbor, Maine (well, except for July and August when town is over run by tourists). Am no longer (mostly) working for my Dad, have new jobs, added some new gal pals to my beloved inner circle, live in a beautiful home surrounded by beautiful gardens, with the MOST incredible man.

    I decided as I was packing my boxes that I no longer wanted to be a paralegal. I didn’t want a 9 to 5 office grind. If I was going to change everything about my life, I may as well change everything about  my life.

    BUT WHAT DO I WANT TO BE WHEN I GROW UP!?

    Well, who knows?! (and I refuse to grow up …) But I do know it HAS to involve food! At the moment, I’m working at Reel Pizza Cinerama – truly one of the coolest places EVER! I began my own summer based cooking business – The Maine Ingredients – which truly struggled its first summer. I even picked up a few shifts as a sous chef in a friend’s restaurant – Sweet Pea’s Cafe.

    A little restless. A little bored. Feeling a little sorry for myself.

    AND THEN! … an email from my friend Jennifer Steen Booher, whose photographs are the coolest I’ve ever seen (check them out on Quercus Design) arrived. Her daughter Tabby wants to cook, bake, be in the kitchen. They tried a cooking camp and it was a massive FAIL. Would I consider coming over and teaching Tabby and a couple of friends the way around a cake tin? WOULD I? HELLS YEAH!

    We had a blast! We made pretzels and scones and bread and blueberry muffins and quiche and lemon meringue pie (which I had personally never made either and was knocking knees that it would work out – and it did!) and sticky buns and this New York Crumb Cake.

    Jenn wrote a great piece about our time in the kitchen – check it out – and check out hr fabulous photography!

    Thank you, Jenn for sharing your kitchen and daughter with me! Thank you Tabby, Anna, Irene, Geneva and Carolyn for making the lessons so much fun and for turning out some fabulous baked goods!

    I’m hoping others will see this and Jenn’s piece on her blog and want some lessons too … if you do you can reach my by email themaineingredients@gmail.com or 207-801-0302!

    See, the more things have changed, the more they have changed and the better they have become!

    Makes one 9-by-12 1/2-inch cake

    • 2 T canola oil, plus more for pan
    • 4 C all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
    • 1/2 C granulated sugar
    • 2 1/2 t baking powder
    • 1/2 t salt
    • 1 large egg
    • 1/2 C milk
    • 2 t pure vanilla extract
    • 1 C packed light-brown sugar
    • 1 1/2 t ground cinnamon
    • 1 C (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
    • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

    Place rack in center of oven, and heat oven to 325°. Lightly brush a 9-by-12 1/2-inch baking pan with canola oil, dust with flour, and tap to remove excess. Set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together 1 1/2 cups flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a second bowl, whisk together egg, milk, canola oil, and vanilla. Using a rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients into egg mixture.

    Batter in pan

    Spread batter evenly into prepared pan, and set aside.

    In a medium bowl, combine remaining 2 1/2 cups flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Pour melted butter over flour mixture, and toss with a rubber spatula until large crumbs form.

    Adding crumbs

     

    Sprinkle crumbs over batter.

    Transfer pan to oven, and bake, rotating pan after 10 minutes. Continue baking until a cake tester comes out clean, about 10 minutes more.

    Cooling

    Transfer baking pan to a wire rack to cool.

    Dusting

    Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Using a serrated knife or bench scraper, cut into 3-inch squares. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.