Fresh Strawberry Biscuits!

What do you do when the world gives you too many strawberries? First, you say “Thank You World!” because really, what a terrible problem to have… too many strawberries! Oh, the horror!

Strawberries

Second, you make these biscuits! They go together so quickly and easily you’ll find yourself making them often. They are especially good for those few extra berries you need to use before they spoil!  You can swap out the strawberries with blackberries, blueberries or raspberries!  Even peaches would be delightful!

Strawberry biscuits

These biscuits are bright and beautiful and with the recent bombings at the Boston Marathon, I needed my world a little brighter today.

Strawberry Biscuits
(recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
1 cup chopped very ripe strawberries
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.

In a large bowl, whisk together your flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add butter and cut it in to the dry ingredients with a pastry blender, until it resembles a coarse meal. Stir in the strawberries carefully, so they get coated in the flour mix. This keeps them evenly distributed in the dough later when you add the liquid. Speaking of liquid… add the heavy cream, then gently fold all the ingredients together. You don’t want to overwork the dough, so don’t worry if everything is completely worked in. It will be.

Generously flour your counter or cutting board, then transfer the dough to the board. Flour the top of the dough and with your hands gently press the dough into a 3/4-inch thick rectangle. Using a 2 1/2-inch biscuit or cookie cutter (or even the top edge of a drinking glass) cut circles out of the dough. Press straight down without twisting (this makes for nice layered edges) as you cut. Carefully transfer the biscuits to prepared baking sheet, leaving a few inches between each one.

You can re-roll the scraps of dough, and continue cutting circles, but don’t worry if the dough appears very wet. The strawberries will have already started to release some of their juice. That’s ok though! They’ll still turn out beautifully.

Bake the biscuits for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly brown at the edges. Cool in pan for a minute, then transfer to a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Strawberry Biscuits

I made a quick strawberry butter to slather on top of these beautiful biscuits. Just mash up 1/8 cup of strawberries into 4 TBLS soft butter, then freeze for about 20 minutes. (You can do this while the biscuits bake.) It’s a tiny detail that will make a world of difference in flavor.

When I took them to work they disappeared rather quickly and I’m betting they’ll do the same thing at your house! Enjoy my Foodie Friends!!

Follow That Chef – Gwen Kenneally

Meet Chef, Cookbook Author and Food Writer Gwen Kenneally!

Gwen was the featured Chef for The Gourmandise School’s “Follow That Chef” this week! We met in our usual spot at The Santa Monica Farmers Market. Our group was very small and we had a wonderful time chatting as we strolled around. Gwen is so personable! We felt comfortable with her right away!

Gwen found some fantastic heirloom tomatoes for her peach salsa! They were just as delicious as they are pretty. 🙂

Gwen cut up some fresh peaches, heirloom tomatoes, ginger, torpedo onions, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar and combined them to make a fresh summer salsa!

Also on the menu were asian inspired turkey burgers! Gwen filled them with ground turkey, dried cherries and ginger!

Gwen said she would normally grill these beautiful burgers (and I imagine they would be fabulous that way too!) but she fried them on the stove top instead. She suggested a slather of mustard to enhance the flavor of the burger.

Along with the salsa and turkey burgers, Gwen steamed baby purple artichokes. After they were steamed, she sautéed them in butter, onion and garlic!

These were fantastic!

We also munched on three different types of fresh goat cheese paired with french bread baguettes!

The entire time Gwen was cooking, she was chatting about her life, laughing with us and sharing great tips! She’s got a fun new cookbook called “Sweet and Savory!” I think it’s a perfect title! I can’t wait to try her Lemon Rosemary Risotto!

When everything was ready, it was time to eat!

Homemade Tortilla Chips with fresh Summer Salsa

Bread and cheese

Steamed and sautéed Purple Artichokes

Asian Turkey Burgers

It was a FEAST!

I have to tell you though, the best part, was meeting Chef Gwen! She is so down-to-earth and friendly. Food is obviously something she loves to share with others and it shows! Thank you Gwen for a fun morning and a great food demo! Thank you too, for being so patient and understanding while I took pictures. And more pictures. And more pictures. And maybe just one more picture. 🙂 You can find Gwen writing for “The Daily Find“, on her blog “Back to the Kitchen” or at her Catering Business, also named “Back to the Kitchen

A big thank you also to The Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories for hosting these wonderful events!

Till next time, foodie friends! xoxox ~ Sara

Foccacia Recipe

So many of you have asked about this, I thought I’d share so everyone can learn to love (and make repeatedly) this wonderful bread!  You can have this bread on the table in less than 30 minutes, just be sure to pre-heat your oven first!

Ingredients

2 cups flour

1 cup lukewarm water

1 tsp dry yeast

1 tsp sugar (only if baking right away!)

1 tsp salt

Olive oil for the pan

Yep!  That’s it. Four ingredients and warm water.  Here’s what I used:  (Ohhhh shameless product plugs!)

Directions

Pour the water into a bowl and add the (sugar – if you are baking right away), salt and yeast.  Let the yeast foam up and then leave it alone for five minutes!  This is what it should look like:

Don’t worry about the clumps.  It’s My Imperfect Kitchen, remember?  😉  I promise it won’t hurt the taste of the bread.  Pour the flour into the bowl and mix well.  It should look like this:

At this point you can cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise for 2 hours, or even overnight.  For you morning people, you can put this together, then throw it in the oven (Make sure the oven is OFF) to rise all day while you are at work.

To those of you saying “Wait?  I added sugar!  You said you could make this in less than 30 minutes?  Who wants to wait TWO HOURS for bread to rise?!?”  To you, I say AMEN!  We’re going to mix this up and toss it in the oven right now!  The rest of you can follow along when your dough has risen to perfection.

Pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees.  You want your oven nice and HOT.

Use an 8×8″ pan OR a metal pie pan.  Just be sure it’s an 8″ pan.  I’ve found the 9″ pans make the bread too thin.  Coat the bottom (don’t be shy about this step) with olive oil and dump the bread dough into it.  (Do not add any flour and don’t knead the dough – you will want to keep those lovely air bubbles!)  Drizzle more olive oil over the top of the dough.  Using your fingers (or let the kids do it!) spread the dough to the edges of the pan and poke holes into it.  You want to see the bottom of the pan!  This will give the olive oil a place to settle in and will let your crust be crisp, with that traditional Foccacia look, but still soft and yummy in the middle.  Like this:

Now, top it with any ingredients you’d like.  Tonight, I used Italian Seasoning, Parmesan cheese, basil, Sea Salt and Red Pepper Flakes.  It looked like this:

Bake at 500 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on it.  There should be enough oil in the pan so you can slide it out easily when it’s done.

Ta-DA! So delicious and so easy!  Now you have bread to go with your dinner and your house will smell fabulous! You can also serve the bread as an appetizer to dip with olive oil and balsamic vinegar!  You can also cut it in half horizontally and use it to make an Italian Sub Sandwich.  Imagine ham and salami, layered with basil, fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and spicy peppers! Mmm-Mmm, I’m getting hungry!   Here is what we are having for dinner tonight:  Beautiful Foccacia, Baked Rigatoni with Spicy Italian Sausage and Roasted Zucchini!

 

Enjoy your bread!

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