The Perfect Summer Party Dessert: Strawberry Shortcake Biscuits

strawberry biscuit shortcake

For this Memorial Day weekend, Mr. Foodie and I squeezed in some fun (around work :P) with our family and friends. For one of these occasions we wanted to bring a recipe I’ve been dying to make ever since I saw it while scrolling past my instagram feed: Strawberry Shortcake with Biscuits! Unfortunately I did not have time to actually *make* the biscuits, but I did pick up grocery-store biscuits, strawberries, and whipped cream so I could still make these delicious summer desserts. What better way to celebrate the “start” of summer than strawberry shortcakes?!

I realize that it is by no means a universal expectation to show up to a party with a host gift, but for some reason I’ve adopted this approach over the course of adulthood. I’ve certainly walked into parties with your standard wine/liquor/beer contribution, but I’m sure it is no surprise that my preference is always to bring food. Sometimes it’s my super addictive molasses, ginger cookies (so easy you can bake a batch in under an hour while you also shower, do hair, and apply makeup); sometimes it is my deviled eggs (inexpensive, easy, and they are always the first appetizer to disappear). But whenever I deviate from those options, I think about a few essential questions before choosing my party food gift.

1) What season is it?

Considering the season helps me determine ingredients that I will use for my food gift, certainly, but also the type of party food. For instance, if a party falls during the super-short fresh rhubarb season, nothing would stop me from making a pie or crisp. If it is a winter party, I’d be more likely to bring a heavy/hot recipe or a spiced dessert. The season also helps because you’ll want to think of whether the party will likely be outside in the sun/heat (then nix the deviled eggs or mayonnaise potato/chicken salads) or if it will be inside.

2) How will it be assembled and served?

Ideally you’re bringing a food gift that requires little to no assembly. Unless you’ve worked it out with your host ahead of time, sometimes it is a burden to show up with a complicated recipe that needs preparation, on-site cooking/baking, or requires a bunch of extra kitchen tools that your host wasn’t counting on. Does it require a lot of counter-top space to prep/assemble? Does it require fridge space? Will you need to use the stove/oven? Do you need to plug it in (for a crockpot or hot beverage)? Does it require a special serving utensil or platter/bowl? If you are still determined to bring something that requires assembly/prep, then I recommend a) giving your host some notice, b) prepping as much as you can ahead of time, and c) bringing any kitchen tools you’ll need to pull it off. I’m more likely to do this with friends I know very well. Last December, I brought the fixings for moscow mules. Ahead of time: measure the vodka, squeeze the limes, and bring a serving pitcher/bowl, and then all you need is a bottle opener to add the ginger beer at the party itself.

strawberry shortcake biscuits

We happen to live next to the amazing Wegmans grocery, so of course the biscuits were ahhh-mazing. I cut them in half, topped them with sliced strawberries that I let sit with some sugar (to get a little strawberry syrup going) and topped with whipped cream. This dessert could not be easier or more delicious. If you can slice strawberries and sprinkle sugar, you can make this. Some day we’ll make the biscuits by hand so you can see how easy that is as well, but for now, keep this party food or potluck idea as an option for your next summer party.

summer potluck dessert

For transport, we just packed the biscuits, sugared strawberries, and whipped cream in a insulated bag with an ice pack (for the whipped cream). At the party, I kept the whipped cream in the fridge until we were ready for shortcakes. This works better for smaller parties because you should eat them right after you assemble them – otherwise the syrupy strawberries will soak into the biscuit and  the whipped cream will flatten.

These are also good options for when you are hosting a summer party. You can make each component ahead of time and assemble when everyone is ready for dessert. The tartness of the berries and creaminess of the whipped cream cuts through the sweetness of the added sugar and the buttery biscuit rounds the whole thing out. It is both light and indulgent!

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Oh Rhubarb, How do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways!

freshrhubarb

Only something as amazing as seeing fresh rhubarb on the grocery store shelf could pull me out of my month-long blog hiatus to write. Not that I haven’t wanted to write! It’s just that I started a new job which has consumed even the illusion of having free time, so both the cooking and the blogging has fallen by the wayside. Until now. When I saw those long red stalks from across the produce section, I literally did a happy dance and Mr. Foodie looked on in amusement as I scooped armfuls of the glorious plant into our cart. I’m only slightly ashamed to say that I took every last one. Rhubarb season is short. Too short for my desiring heart. 

When I see rhubarb, like most people, I remember pie. But not just any pie—my grandmother’s pie. As a midwestern transplant to California, my grandma would frequently serve forth this delicious treat. I liked it better than any pie I’d ever tasted. I found the tart fruit a perfect compliment to the buttery, flaky pie crust and the light sweetness of the added sugar. For some reason, I always look for rhubarb in the weeks prior to Easter. I’m not sure why I expect it to be there. Maybe I remember eating it around Easter time? In any case, April is too early in the season for rhubarb stalks, but I look for it just the same. Apparently, growing rhubarb in one’s yard is so common in the midwest that grocery stores don’t even carry it in spring! #gardeningoals

Since I was lucky enough to catch it this year before it disappeared from the shelves, I wanted to find other uses for this delicious treat. The first thing I tried was a topping for pancakes—a well-explored subject on this blog for sure. That being said, I outdid myself with the rhubarb topping. The first time you encounter rhubarb, you might be intimidated. It looks like celery and may have either strange green claws on either end or wide leaves attached. First, discard any leaves because they are very toxic. Second, go ahead and chop off the little claws. You’ll notice the red “skin” *can* be peeled off the stalk, but why lose the beautiful red color? It’s perfectly edible. For the topping, dice up the stalk like you would a celery stalk for a pasta sauce. I used enough stalks for four cups worth. dicedrhubarb

Add two tablespoons of butter and 1/2 Cup of sugar to the pan. Cook over medium heat until the rhubarb stalks soften and the mixture resembles a compote. That’s it! Pour it on pancakes, spread it on toast, eat it with a spoon out of the jar – you’ll have a hard time stopping yourself, I promise you!

rhubarbpancake (1)

Mr. Foodie and I, of course, made the traditional two-crust rhubarb pie, but we also dabbled with a rhubarb crisp – minus the strawberries because I did not want to dilute the gorgeous rhubarb flavor. Unfortunately I did not get any pictures of these due to the over-quick consumption by friends and family (and Mr. Foodie) lol. There were other recipes I wanted to try, but I only had enough stalks to try a small experiment with rhubarb simple syrup. Just dice up two stalks, add to one cup water and one cup sugar, cook for about 20 minutes on low heat until sugar is dissolved. Strain, and add to a clear liquor of your choice. In this case, I used vodka and a splash of prosecco for some bubbles. I added sliced strawberries more for garnish than anything. It was delicious!

rhubarbcocktail

Do you have any other rhubarb recipes?! I’d love to know for next year’s rhubarb stash! For more foodie adventures, follow us on instagram @fairfaxfoodie