Strawberry Shortcake Forever

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I was born on Fathers Day almost 40 years ago. (I have 26 more hours of being 39. And I'm happy about turning 40. It's much better than the alternative.) So Fathers Day and my birthday have always had blurred lines.

The night after I was born, my dad stayed up wallpapering the closet that became my nursery on Walnut Street. My mom loves to tell that story. Of course my newborn self didn't give a burp about wallpaper. But my anxious, first-time-father needed something to do, so that's what he did. He's been thinking about me and creating loving spaces for me every since. I love you, Papa.

And every birthday I had under my parents' roof, my mom made me strawberry shortcake. We used to go berry-picking in the fields, and my mom has stories of me getting sick with all the sweetness, parking myself betwen the rows and not contributing one single berry to the bucket. And every year, she'd say, "Do you want something different for your birthday this year?" Nope. Strawberry shortcake forever.

Loretta and I went picking this morning at Bellingham Country Gardens. Bellinghamsters, get thee to Kelly Road! What an absolute treasure. Especially Lily, the resident pooch, and Sam, the farmer who showed us around and let me take his photo.

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A light mist, no-spray berries.And my companion? This miracle of a girl who came from my body and from her amazing father. Yancey appreciates that I don't talk a whole lot about him on this blog. So I'll keep it brief and just say that I married a marvel of a man who loves me, loves his children, and models every day what it's like to love life, be curious, and be tender. It's so easy to celebrate him on Fathers Day.

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And guess what we're having for breakfast? Strawberry shortcake. It can certainly be construed as breakfast--not that much different from biscuits and jam. Here, I've combined the strawberries with some raw, macerated rhubarb, but you can leave that out. And I am still in love with this shortcake recipe. Just the right density and sweetness, comes out of the pan in perfect wedges.

Strawberry shortcake (and the love it's made with) forever.

Shortcake with Strawberries and Rhubarb

Make this shortcake
Whip some cream
Very thinly slice two stalks of rhubarb, combine them with 1/4 c. sugar, and let them macerate for 30 minutes. Combine the rhubarb with sliced strawberries and maybe a little more sugar, and serve with the shortcake and whipped cream.

Strawberry Lime Popsicles

strawberry popsicle

Go berry-picking in the Lynden strawberry fields--the same ones you grew up picking in, dirtying your jeans and drinking warm soda at lunchtime. This time, take your children, who have no idea how completely these smells transport you.

When you get home, wash and stem an overflowing quart of strawberries. Put them in a blender or food processor with 1/4 c. sugar, the juice of two large limes, and a splash of water to loosen things up. Blend until very smooth, then pour into a popsicle mold. (I ordered mine on Amazon for about $12 and I love it. The popsicles pop out perfectly every time.) Freeze until firm, 2-3 hours. Makes six. (And makes you the block's most popular mother.)

Strawberry Hazelnut Salad with Sesame Dressing

Strawberry hazelnut salad

Oh, how I love June strawberries. I've got my kids trained, too. Driving through town this week, Wyatt said, "Mom! Pull over! There's a strawberry stand!" We've just been eating them fresh--out of hand, over yogurt, in smoothies. They are so yielding and RED. The very definition of red.

I had lunch alone today. Yancey and the kids were running errands, which seems like all we do lately. Run errands, unpack, take yet more $%# to Goodwill, and sign paperwork. We are awash in paperwork over here. Turns out, if you sell and buy a house in the same month, the entire universe requires your signature. So we have disclosed and been disclosed to, locked in interest rates, and become best friends with our insurance brokers. I'm not complaining--all of this is a giant gift. But I'm ready for things to slow down.

And lunch alone at home is my favorite, as you probably know by now. I like it better than making mac and cheese for kids (surprise) and even like it better than going out. I've never lived alone (What?! Yes, it's true) so I have to fake it every once in awhile and please just myself.

In this case, it was bounty from Joe's Garden--pointy spinach leaves, big leaves of Italian parsley, sweet shelling peas, toasted hazelnuts, sheep's milk feta, sliced strawberries.  For the dressing (this serves one), mix 1 Tb. of honey, kosher salt, pepper, thinly sliced green onion, sprinkle of sesame seeds, and 1/2 Tb. of red wine vinegar. Whisk in 1 Tb. of sesame oil and 1 Tb. of olive oil, and add more of anything to taste. Happy Alone Time!

 My big girl