May flowers are all abloom in our beds. Somehow pretty flowers and delicious cooking go hand in hand. I have always loved gardening and the wonderful results a little "tlc" brings forth from the earth--both with flowers and vegetables. Here in our climate zone in New Mexico, at 5000 feet altitude it is now considered safe to plant tomatoes and popular garden vegetables directly in the earth. I have pushed it a few times, wanting tomatoes to be ripen earlier and they have frozen.
The brilliant colors of our iris and roses are such rewards. We had fun sharing them with our very small weekend class this past weekend--I am attaching a photo of their great cooking. Our next weekend classes are set for September 16 - 18 and November 4 - 6
The next two, day classes for May have been mistakenly showing as Sold Out--but they were not and were never opened for registration--a surprise to me when I was told that was the case, just the other day. The next two classes feature New Mexican traditional cooking and are Red and Green Chile Favorites on May 19 and Take a Tortilla and... on May 26.
Due to lots of family visits and our Oaxaca tour, we only have two June classes set. They are Fun Party Appetizers on June 2 and Creative Grilling on June 30. The July and fall day classes, plus the week long will be set very soon.
You may purchase a Gift Certificate for any amount above $25.00 by calling me at 505-243-2622. We will prepare a professional looking certificate and forward it to you electronically. Or, you may purchase any of the classes or Gift Boxes online, and just tell us whom you wish it emailed to or sent to.
A family favorite for the spring is Strawberry Shortcake made with my Father's Mother's shortcake, which I have shared before. Strawberries have been so wonderful, I thought I would remind you of it. Adding a bit of Lavender Sugar made by putting lavender buds in sugar makes the whipped cream extra special.
WELSH STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE
I have tried every conceivable cake for a shortcake and none ever come even close to this, especially when baked shortly before serving and really good vanilla is used, such as good quality Mexican vanilla. Use a mixer to combine the ingredients for a fluffy textured cake. This recipe is originally from Wales and has been passed down through the generations on my Father’s Mother’s side, some of whom came from Wales. The original recipe was very crude—calling for butter the size of an egg, a teacup full of this and that.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Temperature: 376 F
Baking Time: 25 minutes or until done
½ cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla
1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Butter and lightly flour an 8 x 8 cake pan. Place the butter, cut into pieces in the mixer bowl. Mix on medium speed until light and fluffy.
2. Scrape down the sides and add the sugar and combine well, then turn to medium high speed to add air. Add the egg and combine, then beat at the highest speed until light and fluffy.
3. Combine the flour with the baking powder and salt, then add about 1/3 of the flour mixture to the mixer bowl and 1/3 the milk. Combine the ingredients, then beat briefly using medium speed. Repeat until the ingredients are added. Add vanilla and briefly mix.
4. Pour batter into pan, spooning it into the corners of the pan. Bake until golden and pulling from the edges, about 25 minutes. Cool on a rack until ready to serve.
Strawberries and Cream for the Shortcake
1 quart fresh strawberries
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup vanilla sugar or sugar with ½ teaspoon Mexican vanilla
1. Stem and slice the strawberries before serving. Sprinkle the 1/3 cup sugar and stir and set aside.
2. Either before the meal or just before serving, place the cream in a chilled bowl and using a chilled beater blade or whisk, beat the cream until fluffy, then sprinkle on the sugar. Beat until stiff. Fold in the vanilla and serve with the cake and berries.
3. For each serving, place a square of cake on the plate, cutting the cake into two layers. On the bottom layer, place berries, then top with the whipped cream and some strawberries. Top with the top slice of the cake, more whipped cream and berries. Serve.