I don't know about some of the other business travelers out there, but the Sunday before going out-of-town on Monday absolutely sucks. It usually starts with waking up and thinking about the fact that your sorry ass is going to have to pack at some point in the day. If you're a particularly sorry, sorry ass, you still have to wash the clothes that are going in the suitcase.
Sundays before a trip always seem to be a sort of a weird day where you're thinking about what time you have to wake up. What time the you have to leave the house. (My math wasn't so good one night and I woke up and hour-and-a-half before my flight was to leave. Shaker Heights. Hopkins Airport. Twenty minutes. Amazing Race. Rapido!, Andiamo!, ¡Vámonos! Made the flight. True story.)
My answer is to all of this is to cook on Sundays. The pace and anticipation of making a delicious dinner seem to allow me to do a little laundry here and pack a few things there. By the end of the night I've have had a good dinner with my wife and most everything ends up being packed. If I'm really lucky, I've already slipped the suitcase past the dogs and loaded it in the car. [My pug Ladybug knows what the suitcase means and will not let me out of her sight once she sees it.]
With the strawberries finally ripened after the Sprwinter we had here in Cleveland, I had to make a good strawberry shortcake. A classic biscuit style shortcake is easy enough to do, but I really wanted to make something that was a little fancier than that. While not the most engrossing recipe, it was enough to divert my attention from going out of town - biscuits would have been done in no time and defeated the purpose of the exercise.
Dessert by the Yard. (Side note: Sherry will be at the star studded Five Star Sensation event next Saturday.) It's been out long enough that you can find it in used bookstores or sites like Alibris, for a pretty good price. While I don't see myself making some of the things in this book, there are a lot of fantastic recipes and interesting techniques in it.
I was drawn to her Strawberry Shortcake with Star Anise Sauce [click for recipe],because it looked like something that would hold up for more than one night. The "whipped cream" ends up being very thick and rich due to the crème fraîche and heavy whipping cream. Combined with a normal biscuit-like shortcake this would be an absolute chore to eat, but the extraordinarily light, yet firm, "shortcake" with white chocolate incorporated into it, creates the perfect counterpoint to the whipped cream. (No à la mode necessary.)
I didn't make the anise sauce because Regina's allergic to oranges. I'd actually encourage you to make the sauce just because it sounds like such an interesting marriage with the shortcake. Also, don't you think Sherry would've wanted it that way?
The recipe actually halves very well - I did it, and assure you that it's easily enough for six people. The picture shows what 1/3 of the halved recipe makes. When spreading the strawberries, don't be stingy or you'll have bunch leftover at the end.
I don't know how many more weeks we have left of strawberries here in Ohio, but I know they're numbered. Give this recipe a try before they disappear.
Looking for other desserts? Check out our Food page here with a complete listing of our past creations. Enjoy!