Mr. Wonderful has arrived…and he’s a keeper!

White Cake with Strawberry Freezer Jam

Mr. Wonderful White Cake with Strawberry Freezer Jam

I made this cake a month ago, but summer is flying by so quickly, it feels like it was just last weekend! Yesterday I was actually surprised to see all the “back to school” stuff at the stores and then it hit me that it’s nearly mid-August. Summer, where did you go?

Luckily in times of crisis (and yes, summer ending is a crisis!), I find it’s best just to enjoy the moment and eat some cake…especially if it’s this cake. I made this berry-licious treat for my family reunion and let me tell you, it was gone so fast I barely got a piece. I think that’s the ultimate compliment, right?

Not only is this cake perfect for a summer get-together, but it’s also crazy easy to make. Seriously. I took the train to Tacoma, not arriving until 9pm and the reunion started the next day at noon. I had an idea of what I wanted to make, something sweet involving the jar of homemade strawberry freezer jam that I had brought along, but I didn’t really have a game plan.

On the trip up, I kept telling myself, just make it easy. Go to the store and buy a cake mix. No one will ever know and, as long as it has sugar in it, no one will care. But I remembered that I had seen a simple white cake recipe (hilariously named Mr. Wonderful White Cake) on one of my favorite blogs, food for fun, so I figured I’d give it a try.

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Hey there little lassi, come say hello to me…

Strawberry Coconut Lassi

What you should be drinking right now!

It was an absolutely gorgeous weekend in Portland. I spent about three hours on Saturday sweltering in my sunny backyard, working up the motivation to run some errands. While I waited for my lost ambition to find me, I made this delicious concoction: a coconut-milk twist in the Indian treat, the lassi.

I’ve never actually had a lassi before (and upon writing this discovered it’s pronounced luh-see which makes the title of this post little weird) but I can say this version was pretty magical. I got the recipe from my beloved magazine Bon Appetit, where a whole mouth-watering section of the newest issue is dedicated to strawberries.

I literally couldn’t wait to blend one up and the ingredients list is so short, I happened to have everything on hand to make it. Well almost everything, but happily buttermilk can be faked with milk and a squeeze of lemon juice!

Strawberry Coconut Lassi

What can go wrong with strawberries and coconut milk?

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Pythons and Shortcakes: A Very Martha Memorial Day, Part II

I wrote about the savory part of our Memorial Day meal earlier this week — now it’s time for the sweet!

Homemade Strawberry Shortcake

The Best Strawberry Shortcake: fresh berries, whipped cream and strawberry ice cream all on a homemade shortcake!

I mentioned that my husband was determined to prepare the quintessential all-American BBQ for Memorial Day. This included a gigantic smoked beef brisket with all the classic side dishes. Once we had everything figured out, we came to dessert, which seemed like an easy choice. After all what’s more American than strawberry shortcake?

* Okay, okay, fine — apple pie is probably more American, but shortcake has to be right up there!

We also knew we wanted to do it all from scratch, homemade shortcakes, fresh whipped cream and local strawberries macerated in sugar. Simple stuff. But my husband was also bound and determined to take it one step further by making a batch of strawberry ice cream.

He used the recipe for “Here’s your damn strawberry ice cream” from Humphry Slocombe’s Ice Cream Cookbook, which if you haven’t bought it yet, is totally worthwhile. The recipes are great but the commentary is downright hilarious. This is the first recipe we’ve made from it and my husband said the only adaption he had to do was add more red wine vinegar because our berries were too sweet. Chalk that up to another reason to love Oregon!

Anyways, he brought home a pint of the ice cream which I immediately had to taste for…quality control purposes (yeah, we’ll call it that). Upon the first bite, I can attest it was nothing short of amazing. Super creamy and full of berry love.

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Tales from the Garden: The first berry blush

My friend DB recently gave me some of his amazing strawberry plants since the starters I bought three years ago never produced a single berry. I was hopeful that his would be more successful and they are definitely off to a great start!

Strawberry ripening

One strawberry is already starting to ripen!

First berry blush

I’m so excited!