This is an easy and fluffy strawberry mousse, perfect for this weekend’s celebrations! Let’s officially kick off this first unofficial weekend of summer with something full of strawberry flavor. This recipe is easy but let me warn you, it uses about a million dishes and requires fine tuned multi-tasking skills to pull it off easily! That’s why there’s only one picture in this post, there was no room for picture-taking with things boiling on the stove and things whipping in my stand mixer! It only took about 20 minutes to make and then it was quickly put away in the refrigerator so it was worth all the dishes!
Summer is coming, and while other people get ready by doing things like tanning, or perhaps setting up outdoor furniture, or maybe even switching out their wardrobes, I’ve started off my prep this year by making fruity ice cream. Because along with summer clothing, I should be prepared for summer desserts, right?
The inspiration for this ice cream recipe actually came from the frosting I made for my last post. The flavor was so ridiculously fresh and strawberry-y, I wanted to replicate it again. The method of reducing the strawberry worked perfectly in this ice cream – the mixture of intense strawberry flavor and cream created a rich, fresh, and super fruity dessert. I added in some graham to make the ice cream a little more fun and spicy, and while it’s definitely delicious, it’s not a requirement if either graham, or extra baking, isn’t your thing.
Remember the other cookbook I told you I got for my birthday a couple of months ago? Well, I couldn’t forget to tell you about it because it is so beautiful! Just like The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book, it is filled with mouth-watering recipes and equally tempting pictures!! This delightful cookbook is Huckleberry.
I had a jar of Strawberry Vanilla Jam that a dear friend made me with the strawberries from her garden and as soon as I saw the Walnut Jam Scones I knew this jam was destined for this recipe. Of course I adapted it, mostly because the recipe called for me to freeze the scones for 2 hours before baking and I didn’t want scones two hours later. As with any baked good, I wanted them now.
I know I’ve discussed this on the blog before – fruity desserts aren’t my thing; mostly, I think of it as a missed opportunity to be eating chocolate, caramel, or peanut butter. I did experience some personal growth in the past few years when I developed a deep love of pies, but you still don’t find me ordering any fruit-related desserts when we’re out at a restaurant.
And then a few weeks ago, Brandon came home with a few cupcakes from one of those fancy-pants cupcake shops. One was all fruit flavored, so I rejected it outright – but he also picked out one just like what I’ve made here for the blog – peanut butter cake with a strawberry frosting. It was a gorgeous cupcake, for sure, but the cake itself – while tasty enough – didn’t taste much like peanut butter. And the frosting just wasn’t great – it had that artificial tang.
So! Enter a baking challenge. Plus, it does involve peanut butter so it’s not entirely off base for me. The cake recipe comes from Sara Moulton, who’s a reliably good baker and the cakes came out exactly how I wanted them to – rich in peanut butter but not dry. The frosting was the surprise hit – sweet and richly filled with strawberry flavor. A perfect cupcake for springtime!
Strudel and I had no trouble agreeing that May should be Strawberry Month! We decided it back in March and have been anxious for it to arrive. I love strawberries and get so excited when they start to show up in the grocery stores in season! I received two new absolutely lovely cookbooks for my birthday back in early March and couldn’t wait to make something out of them.
The first cookbook, The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book, is magnificent. If you collect cookbooks like I do, you’re going to want to add this one to your collection! I want to eat each and every pie right out of the pages of the book. The recipes are unique and the photography makes my mouth water!
I’ll tell you more about the second cookbook another time. Let’s make a pie…
- 30% washing dishes
- 20% chopping
- 15% stirring
- 10% fretting if I’ve over-cooked dinner
- 5% staring lovingly at my tangerine-colored Kitchen Aid and/or flame colored Le Creuset
…and definitely a solid 25% roasting vegetables.
In fact, when I think about my interests (hiking, gardening, eating pickled foods) it’s absolutely possible that roasting vegetables could technically be considered a hobby of mine. Simply based off of the amount of time I spend finding happiness in veggies cooked in high heat, I think this is a real possibility.
I love roasted veggies so much that when someone tells me they don’t like a certain vegetable (say, broccoli or a brussels sprouts) I just assume they’ve never had it roasted. Because as far as I’m concerned, it’s impossible not to love.
So to close out”go-to foods” month here on S&S, I bring you the single most used method of veggie cooking in my house: high heat. I use this method for tons of veggies, but here we’ll talk through: broccoli, brussels sprouts, asparagus, cauliflower, carrots, and wee potatoes.
Next to Yak, my other “go-to” protein is Rotisserie Chicken. I love that grocery stores roast chickens. The BEST idea grocery stores came up with next to the self-scan!
Need a quick Chicken Salad? Throw on some roasted chicken.
Need a quick Chicken Stir-fry? Slice up some roasted chicken.
Need some super fast soup when a foot of snow is falling outside your window? Chop up some roasted chicken!
While you’re at it…boil the carcass and you have the best chicken stock at your fingertips.
Many years back – when Brandon and I still lived in Denver – we flew to Washington for the holidays. We met up with Brandon’s sister, Brianna, at the airport (she’d just flown in from Texas) and together we rented a car and started the 2ish hour drive from the SeaTac airport to Anacortes, where Brandon’s folks live. We’d gotten in fairly late, so by the time we got on the road we were all pretty hungry and definitely tired. Despite my secret desire to make an emergency stop for rations at Taco Bell, we were anxious to be done with the drive and decided power through, sans dinner (I also *might’ve* also been too embarrassed to suggest a run to that particular border).
When we arrived around 11pm, soo hungry!, Brandon’s mom, Ruth, had the table set for three. At each place setting was a lovely Niçoise salad, which included – I was utterly blown away by this – edible flowers (this was before I had a garden, so I didn’t even really believe people grew their own food – I can’t help it, I’m a city person at heart!). I remember thinking the salad was perfect – hearty enough to be filling, but not so heavy that I went to bed feeling stuffed. And the salad dressing! It was a pop of tangy flavor that went perfectly with the eggs, tuna, tomatoes, green beans, and of course, the nasturtiums.
Obviously, after carrying on about the amazing dressing, Ruth kindly provided me a copy of the recipe, and I learned that she’d actually made it up herself. Since then, it has easily become our go-to dressing; I probably make it about 80% of our salad-eating times. Despite having strong flavors – lemon juice, ginger, sesame oil – it’s surprisingly versatile and is well matched to most salads. However, the Niçoise is definitely a favorite way to use the dressing.
Strudel and I decided “go-to” meals would be fun this month. When I think of “go-to” meals I think of simple. I spend part of my Sundays prepping food for the week, this way when I come home from work each night I have chopped vegetables, grated cheese and portioned protein ready to cook quickly.
A fellow blogger and friend, Erica, is amazing at this weekly prep and making inspiring meals, check out her blog for new ideas. I have “go-to” spices, proteins, vegetables, nuts and cheese and I decided to incorporate all of them in this one recipe.
One of my “go-to” proteins is Yak. Much like bison, the meat is lean but juicy and flavorful and high in protein. I buy large quantities of ground yak meat yearly at the National Western Stock Show that is here in Denver every January. Bow Creek Ranch brings their yaks and their tasty meat to this show from Kansas and I stock up for the year, (this year I bought 35 pounds).
So it’s only after I planned, baked, and started to prep this post that I realized I was posting a challah recipe on Easter Sunday. I beg ignorance, since it’s not my holiday, though knowing this in advance will save me from wondering on Sunday why it’s so hard to get into a brunch place.
I feel very fondly about this recipe – it’s from the Cook Street School of Culinary Arts, where I took a 3-series artisan bread class so many years ago and – most importantly – where I met my friend Streusel. We made this very lovely challah in the 2nd class, and while I’ve had plenty of challah in my life, I particularly liked this one because of it’s soft, every-so-slightly sweet inner bread and assertive (though not crusty) crust.