Saturday, July 6, 2013

Strawberry Shortcake with Balsamic Glaze

I hope everyone's having a fabulous 4th of July weekend. I can't think of a more patriotic southern dish than shortcake. I mean southern ladies practically make biscuits in their sleep. And it's almost red, white + blue with the hand-whipped cream,  fresh strawberries and sweet balsamic vinegar... ok I'm drooling again. Let's get on with the recipe (which I adapted from Southern Living btw). 

What You'll Need:
1 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 3/4 cup flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup butter, cut into small pieces
2 eggs
8 ounces sour cream
2 teaspoons real vanilla
1 cup whipping cream
4 cups fresh strawberries

What to Do:
Boil balsamic vinegar and brown sugar in a non-reactive pan. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the vinegar is reduced by half and it has a slightly syrupy consistency. It should coat the back of your spoon when it's done. Cool the glaze. The glaze will thicken as it cools. If it's too thick, re-heat it and add a few tablespoons of water. Set aside.

Mix together flour, 1/4 cup sugar and baking powder. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter. If you don't have a pastry cutter, here's your excuse to buy one. Or use 2 forks. Mix together eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla and sour cream. Add wet ingredients to the flour mixture until just incorporated.

Grease two baking sheets with butter and drop 1/2 cupfuls of batter onto the sheets (this recipe makes about 12). Bake at 450 for about 15 minutes or until golden on top. The biscuits will be pretty dense. Meanwhile, whip the cream with two tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Chill the whipped cream until your biscuits are done and cooled slightly. 

To assemble, cut biscuits in half and top with strawberries. Add whipped cream and drizzle balsamic glaze over the top. Eat immediately :)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Greek Inspiration

One of my friends in elementary school came from a big greek family. We used to make up plays in Greek and she even roped me into dancing at the Greek Festival one year. I thought I was so cool. That might explain my love of greek food. So when Patricia Moore-Pastides, wife of USC president Harris Pastides, came out with a greek cook book, I was super excited. In fact, I think I received at least 3 signed copies for Christmas that year.  It's a delicious collection of flavorful greek recipes and they're all pretty healthy too.  This recipe is an adaptation of her chicken stew, kotopoulo kapama.

What You'll Need:
1 onion, quartered
4-5 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 pound chicken
1/2 pound red potatoes, quartered
1 can artichoke hearts
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Juice and zest from one lemon
Salt, pepper, paprika, cumin
Olive oil

What to Do:
In a large saute pan or dutch oven, brown the onions and garlic in olive oil, being careful not to burn the garlic. Set aside. Season chicken with salt, pepper, cumin and paprika (use hot paprika to give it a kick). You can use white or dark meat, bone-in or boneless- it all works well. I think a combination of white and dark meat gives this dish a nice flavor. Brown chicken over medium-high heat.

Add uncooked potatoes, garlic, onions and vinegar to the pan. Fill the pan half way with water, just covering the potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Simmer partially covered for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes are done. Add the artichoke hearts and lemon at the very end. 

Even though it's hot, the bright, lemony flavors of this dish remind me of summer. This would be great to make in the crock pot as well. Enjoy!