Last weekend I was at the Portland farmer’s market downtown and bought a BEAUTIFUL half flat of organic strawberries. The strawberries were from California (I prefer Oregon ones) but that was fine, I had red gold in my hands! There is nothing like red ripe strawberries to make me totally dork out and do the “strawberries are here!” dance then turn the kitchen into a strawberry wonderland.
Strawberries are an ancient fruit that many cultures have danced over for thousands of years. They are native in the Northern hemispheres but the modern strawberry was developed from plants born right here in North America. The first written history on this adored plant is by a Roman Senator in 224BC and from there on out they are a popular subject to (droll) write about. When the European invaders, I mean settlers, came to America they were astonished at all the strawberries growing in the new world.
Not surprisingly, the strawberry is woven through many Native American tales as the berry that brings peace to the home and village with its bright color and sweetness. They would take the wild strawberries and mash then up, add cornmeal and cook them on the fire. (Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the ancestor of the strawberry shortcake.) The settlers waxed poetically about these humble cakes.
I recommend only buying organic strawberries as conventional ones are sprayed with up to 300 types of anti-fungals, pesticides and herbicides. We aren’t the only ones who love these sweet nuggets so the commercial farmers fight back with chemicals. Conventional strawberries are listed second (with apples being first) as the most “dirty” produce. They are literally poisonous like Snow White’s apple. Please don’t be tempted by the witch of modern chemicals and buy conventional strawberries.
I couldn’t help myself, I had to do strawberry shortcakes for the recipe to share today. I mean, there is no other way to better enjoy the season’s best. These sweet little nuggets have a couple of interesting ingredients that you wouldn’t normally think would be good together but they add a depth instead of detract. Take a walk on the wild strawberry path and be amazed!
- The shortcakes
- 1⅓ cups of almond flour
- ½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons of coconut flour
- 1½ teaspoons of baking powder
- ½ teaspoon of baking soda
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 2 eggs
- ⅓ cup of coconut milk
- The zest of one lemon or ½ of an orange
- The juice of one lemon or ½ the orange
- 2 teaspoons of pure, preferably homemade vanilla
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, melted
- ½ cup of honey
- The strawberries
- 2 pounds of organic strawberries, washed and sliced
- A few tablespoons of coconut sugar, depending on how sweet the berries are
- Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (I used white balsamic)
- A few cranks of black pepper or a large pinch
- teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
- Gently mix your lovely fresh red ripe strawberries with the sugar, balsamic vinegar, black pepper and vanilla. Let them set for about 30 minutes to marry the flavors.
- Heat up the cook fire (the oven) to 350 degrees and get out a couple of medium sized bowls. (I have a stand mixer so I use that bowl for one of my bowls) In one bowl combine all the dry ingredients, almond flour through salt, and whisk it up till it is well mixed and happy. (I used aluminum free baking powder so I have to carefully look for clumps of that when I do this. Aluminum is used as an anti-caking agent)
- In the other bowl add the eggs; mix well, then the rest of the wet ingredients while mixing till everything is frothy and mixed well. With the mixer going medium speed or so, add the dry ingredients to the wet, in a slow steady stream and mix only till just mixed. Let the batter sit for a few minutes to allow the coconut flour to “plump” up as it is a thirsty flour. Get out a baking sheet, oil it slightly and put a sheet of parchment paper on it.
- I used a large ice cream scoop to scoop out the batter and plop on the baking sheet. Flatten the biscuits a bit with your hands as these biscuits do not spread much. Tuck in the oven for about 20 minutes till they are just starting to brown and spring back when touched. Cool completely before serving with sliced strawberries and coconut whip cream or coconut Bliss ice cream.