Toronto and Montréal

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A year and a half ago after the election (it feels like so much longer), I told everyone that I was going to flee to Canada. There was a flight leaving for Toronto next to my flight back to St. Louis and I joked that I was going to sneak onto the plane. I also had friends who “escaped” to Montréal in the days following the election and I was jealous. I wanted to get away from the political madness and see cities that I’d only heard about. It wasn’t until this past week that I finally did.

I went to Vancouver about ten years ago but I’d never been to eastern Canada. The two are completely different. Vancouver has more of a Pacific Northwest vibe, similar to Seattle and Portland. Toronto and Montréal have more of a metropolitan feel. Toronto in a lot of ways feels like Chicago, and Montréal reminds me of Europe. There are pros and cons to all three cities.

One of the biggest pros of Toronto and Montréal is the food. I was in Toronto for my friend Allison’s wedding but I managed to find times to explore the city and try some delicious food. In Montréal, I was all by myself so I spent most of the time scoping out good places to eat and shop.

I’ve included a few of my favorite places in a roundup below.

Toronto

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Blackbird Baking Co.

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Blackbird Baking Co. is a magical place where every pastry and loaf of bread you’ve ever dreamed of sits on shelves, waiting for you to devour them. I had a hard time narrowing down my choices but I finally settled on this chocolate poppyseed knot. Part-doughnut, part-pastry, part-heaven, is the only way I can describe it.IMG_3918

FIKA Cafe

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When you’re strolling around the Kensington Market neighborhood, stop by FIKA Cafe for coffee and lunch. The Swedish-inspired cafe specializes in toasts and pastries. I got the smashed pea and mint toast with a side of the best potato salad I’ve ever tasted. I don’t even like potato salad that much but this one sold me.

Bang Bang Ice Cream & Bakery

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I broke my no-waiting-in-line rule for Bang Bang Ice Cream & Bakery but it was SO worth it. The ice cream shop lets you create your own ice cream sandwich based on flavors it has on rotation. I got two blueberry cookies with caramel corn ice cream in between and it was heavenly.

Soufi’s

IMG_3996If you get hungry browsing Queen Street West, stop by Soufi’s for lunch or a quick snack. I got flatbread with labneh and mint and Balouza, or Syrian pudding with pistachios. The restaurant also has good coffee. I got mine with some orange blossom water.
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Montréal

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Larry’s

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I stopped at Larry’s my first night in Montréal. I hadn’t eaten all day and I was new in town, so it felt a little like showing up to a friend’s house and hoping that they would feed you. Luckily, Larry’s obliged. I got a cherry blossom cocktail recommended by the bartender and a few small plates including Jerusalem artichokes with za’atar, honey-glazed carrots, and strawberry shortcake for dessert. It was a perfect introduction to Montréal food.

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Restaurant Manitoba

IMG_4202For forward-looking Canadian cuisine, head to Manitoba. The restaurant serves dishes based on local ingredients. Everything is fresh, flavorful, and immaculately presented. I got sea snails with leeks, smoked egg yolk, and ash, and smoked mussels with tomatoes. They were both delicious. I also enjoyed a conversation in French with my neighbors, an older couple who seemed to find me amusing.

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St-Viateur Bagel Shop

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I woke up my first morning in Montréal excited to try an authentic Montréal bagel. I might get some flak for this but I have to say, New York bagels are better. Don’t get me wrong: Montréal bagels are good. They’re just not the chewy, fluffy, halos of goodness that you can get stateside. Still, if you want to try a Montréal bagel head to St-Viateur for the best ones in town.

Le Bilboquet

IMG_4203Le Bilboquet was one of my favorite food spots on this trip. The shop serves French-style ice cream. It took me back to the days when I lived abroad and I’d visit the neighborhood ice cream shop at least once a week. I got the maple syrup flavor and it was divine.

Les Co’Pains d’abord

IMG_4313For an authentic French breakfast, look no further than Les Co’Pains d’abord (translated: “Friends first”). I went there two mornings in a row. The first morning I ordered my favorite pastry, a pain aux raisins, and a chocolatine. The second morning I got a “Jésuite,” or Vienna-style pastry with cream and chocolate. All three were delicious and reminded me of pastries that I ate in France. Also, the service was friendly and welcoming. IMG_4361

Marché Jean-Talon

IMG_4322If you love food, I’d highly recommend taking a stroll through Marché Jean-Talon. It’s Montréal’s big farmers’ market and it’s full of every food you can imagine. Browse the produce and stop at the crêperie to get an authentic French crêpe. I ordered one with a Montréal twist, a ham, cheese, apple, and maple syrup crêpe served on a buckwheat crust. I could have eaten two of them in a row.
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Cheskie’s

IMG_4327On the way back from the market, I stopped by Cheskie’s for some Jewish pastries. I’d heard good things about their rugelach and I wasn’t disappointed. I’d recommend the chocolate version, although the poppyseed one was also good.

Restaurant Maison Publique

IMG_4343It was rainy and cold my last night in Montréal so I almost skipped dinner and stayed in. But then I realized I was being lame and I forced myself to go to dinner. I’m glad I chose Restaurant Maison Publique. Located in the Plateau Mont-Royal, the restaurant is more of gastropub. It had a sprawling bar and the menu is on a chalkboard. Don’t let the casual environs fool you though because the food is gourmet. I got mussels with toast, ricotta-filled ravioli with lemon cream sauce, and a rhubarb galette for dessert. The bartender also brought me a small ice cream cone at the end of the meal.

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Conclusion

So yeah. Those are my recommendations for Toronto and Montréal. Even though it was great to get away from the U.S. for a week and see new places, it was nice to come home yesterday. After mostly disastrous travel experiences early in the trip, there was a silver lining yesterday when Delta upgraded me to a better seat. I got this view of Manhattan, which is probably the best view I’ll ever have of the city. It reminded me that coming home can be just as sweet, if not sweeter, than leaving.

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Here’s a song I heard in Canada. It was the first song that played when I got in a cab to go to my Airbnb in Montréal. Oddly, it was a very fitting theme song for the trip.

 

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Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry

Chicken Stir Fry
Friday nights are usually hit or miss when it comes to cooking. Sometimes I have the time and energy to make a home cooked meal, but even if I do, I want it to be quick and simple.

Which brings me to this chicken and broccoli stir fry. I made up the recipe Friday night when it was seven o’clock and my boyfriend and I didn’t want to go out, but we still wanted to eat dinner. Also we wanted it to be healthy because we’ve been eating a lot of ice cream and cookies lately (honestly, when am I not eating ice cream and cookies?).

I’ve included a recipe below but honestly, it was one of those touch and go situations where I just threw a bunch of things in a skillet and hoped it would taste okay in the end. Sometimes those end up being the best kind of dinners; other times it ends up like charcoal. Lucky for me, the former prevailed here.

I have a couple stir fry tips that I learned from cooking this dish on Friday. The first one I remembered when it was too late: Freeze the chicken before you cut it. I didn’t really have time to freeze it anyway because we wanted to eat quickly, but if you’re planning ahead and you know you’re going to make the dish in a few hours, I would put the breasts in the freezer. It will make them much easier to slice later. You don’t have to defrost them when you’re ready to cook, you can just throw them into the skillet.

My other tip is to be careful with the oil. You want a fair amount because otherwise, the chicken and veggies won’t cook the way you want them to. But you don’t want so much oil that everything gets greasy or it’s flying all over your kitchen. Be generous but not too generous.

If you want to add different vegetables, feel free. I chose broccoli because I hardly ever eat it but I like how it tastes in stir fry and when it’s steamed. My boyfriend likes red peppers and onion so I added those, too.

This is the perfect meal to make on a weekday or weekend night when you’re short on time and you want a delicious, healthy dinner. It keeps well for a couple days so you can eat the leftovers for lunch or dinner. I served mine over orzo but you can definitely sub in brown or white rice. The stir fry would also taste good over quinoa.

Here’s a song to get you started on your stir fry journey. I heard it in a movie I watched over the weekend, “Beautiful Girls,” which I’d recommend if you’re into 90s films with an all-star cast and funny, self-deprecating characters.

Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry

Ingredients

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 red bell peppers, seeds/center removed and sliced into 1/4 inch thick pieces
2 heads of broccoli, stems removed and cut into florets
1 bunch of scallions, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
juice from half a lime
orzo, lime, and chopped scallions for serving

Directions

Heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic and sauté it for a few minutes until it browns slightly. Add the chicken and sauté until both sides of chicken are golden brown and the pink is gone from the center, about five minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, add the vegetables, half the chopped scallion, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Stir the veggies and move them around the pan so they cook evenly. Once the vegetables are tender and cooked through, add the chicken back into the pan. Warm for a couple minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and squeeze the lime juice on top. Stir to distribute the juice. Serve the stir fry over orzo with a wedge of lime and a sprinkle of chopped scallions. Enjoy!

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Honey Wheat Bread and Homemade Strawberry Jam

Honey Wheat Bread and PB and J
This blog post caps off a week of all things strawberry. Somehow I’m not sick of strawberries yet.

In fact, I love them more and more each day. I find myself taking a spoonful of strawberry jam and eating it straight out of the jar. I kind of want to go pick berries again this weekend, but I might just settle for the ones I buy at the farmers’ market and wait to go peach picking instead.

Anyway. I’m getting ahead of myself. First I have to tell you about this honey wheat bread and homemade strawberry jam. A few months ago around the holidays, my mom gifted me a bread maker. I was a little wary at first because I’m a big believer in hand making bread. It’s a lot of work so I don’t do it very often, but I think you can tell the difference between a loaf that’s been crafted by hand and one that comes out of a machine. The former is more rustic but often has more flavor.

Still, I wanted to give the bread machine a try. The other night, I took it out of the box for the first time and made a loaf of honey wheat bread.

Using a bread maker is relatively easy. The only part that requires a lot of attention is how you place the ingredients inside. Usually in a bread maker, there’s a bowl where you put all the ingredients. Make sure you start with the liquid ingredients, then add the dry ingredients such as flour, and THEN you sprinkle the yeast on the dry ingredients, trying not to get any in the liquid. This process may sound unnecessary but trust me, it’s not. It ensures that the bread will bake evenly and that you won’t end up with a hockey puck loaf or a goopy, mushy one.

The second thing to watch out for when you’re using a bread maker is the time. I’m not sure about other bread makers but mine has presets that allow you to choose a time based on what kind of loaf you’re making. I used the settings for whole wheat and my bread turned out exactly the way I wanted it to: Fluffy, hearty, slightly brown on the outsides and golden brown on the crust. I couldn’t have asked for a better first run.

Your whole house/apartment/wherever you live will smell wonderful while the bread is baking in the machine. I was a little surprised by this because I thought the smell of baking bread was something you only got from using an oven. But I guess the bread maker is like a small oven.

I topped the bread with some crunchy peanut butter (don’t even talk to me about creamy) and homemade strawberry jam. I’d highly recommend this combo. The honey whole wheat bread is hearty and slightly sweet, the peanut butter is crunchy and soft, and the strawberry jam is tart and zesty from the lemon juice I put in. It’s a win-win situation.

I guess the moral of this story is, a bread maker isn’t an essential kitchen gadget but it does come in handy if you want to make homemade bread but you can’t/won’t go through all the steps. It’s a time saver for sure, and it gives you a pretty good quality product in the end. It’s a step above store-bought bread and a step below the one you make by hand. Here’s a link to the recipe I used for the honey wheat bread.

And here’s a song to get you started on your bread and strawberry jam-making journey. Have I mentioned how much I love Now, Now?

Strawberry Jam

Ingredients

4 cups strawberries, stems and leaves removed
2 Tbsp lemon juice, to taste
3 Tbsp maple syrup

Directions

Wash and dry a few mason jars. Set aside until you’re ready to fill them with jam.

Place the berries in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the fruit starts to break down and become syrupy, about 10-15 minutes. Mash the fruit with a potato masher until it’s your desired consistency. I like to leave some chunks of fruit in mine.

Remove the pan from heat and stir in the maple syrup and lemon juice. Let the jam stand for about 10 minutes or until it’s thickened a bit. Then pour it into your prepared jars and seal. Allow the jars to come to room temperature before you refrigerate them. The jam will keep in the refrigerator for about three weeks. Enjoy!

 

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Strawberry Banana Vanilla Smoothie Bowl

Strawberry Banana Vanilla Smoothie Bowl
When I first brought ten pounds of strawberries home on Saturday, I put them all on my counter and stared at them. I was overwhelmed. I knew I wanted to make jam and shortcakes, but I was also hungry. The idea for this strawberry banana vanilla smoothie bowl was born.

I get inspiration for my smoothie bowls from two sources: The produce, or fruit itself, and necessity. If the fruit is fresh, colorful, and juicy, I’m more excited to make something out of it. Also, I try to work with what I have on hand. Sometimes my best creations are when I have the fewest ingredients. I make the most of what I have.

Strawberries pair well with lots of flavors but one of the best ones is vanilla. Strawberries–not grocery store, homogenized berries, but real strawberries—are complex. They’re sweet, tart, juicy, and if they’re really good, you can almost taste where the sun kissed them.

Vanilla is also complex but in a different way. It’s like the supporting character in a movie. It enriches everything else going on in the bowl without stealing the show.

I used Siggi’s vanilla yogurt to make the smoothie bowl but you could use another brand. Just make sure that it’s lowfat or non-fat and that it is thick enough to give the smoothie some substance. There’s nothing worse than making a smoothie bowl and having it be too runny. All the toppings with sink to the bottom.

I think I’m going to write a whole post about how to craft beautiful smoothie bowls soon. But for now, I’ll leave you with a couple tips: If you mess up, don’t panic. You can use the tip of a knife or your finger to press the toppings under the surface so you can start again. My second tip would be to put the small ingredients such as chia seeds or hemp hearts in little bowls. They’re easier to pinch that way and they won’t get stuck on your fingers and then come off in random places.

Here’s a song to get you started on your strawberry banana vanilla smoothie bowl making journey. I rarely listen to it but whenever it comes up on my Spotify, I’m reminded of how beautiful it is. I could listen to the violin solo for hours.

Strawberry Banana Vanilla Smoothie Bowl

Ingredients

1 banana, peeled
1 cup strawberries, stems and tops removed
3/4 cup vanilla almond milk
1 container of vanilla Siggi’s (nonfat)
fresh sliced strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, hemp hearts, and chia seeds for topping

Directions

Blend the banana, strawberries, vanilla almond milk, and vanilla Siggi’s in a blender on high until smooth. Top with fresh strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, hemp hearts, and chia seeds in your desired pattern. Enjoy!

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Strawberry Ice Cream

Strawberry Ice Cream
For those of you who are late to this story, I picked ten pounds of strawberries over the weekend and I’ve been trying to think of ways to use them up. Cue: This strawberry ice cream.

I made jam and shortcakes and then, I still had about five pounds of strawberries left. I hadn’t used my ice cream maker since last summer so I thought I’d break it out and make a batch of strawberry ice cream.

A lot of strawberry ice cream recipes will tell you how difficult it is to make relative to other ice creams. I guess it has to do with the fruit. There’s a lot going on in ice cream already without adding more liquid, and strawberries can get pretty juicy.

However, I didn’t find that making strawberry ice cream was any harder or easier than other types I’ve made before. Honestly, it was about the same. It was easier than making mint chip ice cream, which requires soaking mint leaves in custard overnight and then straining the mixture. It’s waaay easier than doing a flavor that requires a swirl because you can just pour the custard in the ice cream maker, walk away for a few minutes, and then you have homemade ice cream.

This ice cream is one of the best I’ve ever made. I know I say that all the time but it’s true. It tastes like my favorite cake that I make every year for my birthday, strawberry cake, and it looks a lot like it, too.

It’s bright pink and vibrant, the strawberries inside are sweet and tart, and the ice cream is flecked with real vanilla bean. It’s mellow and cooling, perfect for a summer day or night when you need to escape the heat.

A couple tips for using an ice cream maker: One, make sure you freeze the bowl overnight. If you don’t, the ice cream won’t freeze and you’ll be left with a goopy, runny mess. No one wants that.

Two, make sure you freeze the container that you want to put the ice cream in later. I like to put the container in the freezer at the same time as the bowl, and then remove each when I’m ready to use them. That way, you don’t have to worry about either being cold enough.Strawberry Ice Cream ContainerFinally, be very careful with how much custard you’re pouring into the machine. The bowl should never be more than 3/4 full. If you fill the bowl up to the top with liquid, it will overflow and get everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE: your counter, your ice cream machine, you. I’ve actually never had this happen but I’ve read about it, and I almost had it happen once when I made too much custard.

A good rule of thumb is to look at the ice cream machine’s capacity and then make sure your recipe correlates. Usually the recipe will give you a yield so you know how much ice cream you’ll end up with.

ANYWAY. Make this ice cream as soon as possible. It’s best when made with fresh berries but you can also sub in the grocery store kind if you don’t have any on hand.

Here’s a song to get you started.

Strawberry Ice Cream

Ingredients

22 oz strawberries, stems removed, sliced
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large egg yolks
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped

Directions

Place the ice cream bowl and a large container in the freezer to chill overnight.

Toss the strawberries with the lemon juice and 1/4 cup of sugar in a large bowl. Set aside to let the berries macerate.

Whisk together the yolks, salt, and remaining sugar in another bowl until the mixture turns a pale yellow color. Set aside.

Add the cream, milk, vanilla bean, and seeds to a large saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Pour a few ladles of the hot cream into the egg and sugar mixture and whisk constantly until combined. Add the tempered eggs into the saucepan with the rest of the cream while whisking constantly.

Turn the heat to low and stir the custard with a wooden spoon. Stir constantly for about four to six minutes, or until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain the custard into a large bowl that’s sitting in another bowl with an ice bath. Stir constantly until the custard has cooled down completely.

Pulse the berries and their juice in a blender or food processor until they’re chunky and jam-like. Mix into the cooled custard. Cover the bowl with the custard and put it in the fridge overnight.

When you’re ready to make the ice cream, remove the bowl from the freezer and place it in your ice cream maker. Make sure you work quickly so the bowl doesn’t defrost.

Pour the chilled custard into the machine and churn according to the machine’s directions. Wait until the ice cream has the consistency of frozen yogurt and then stop the machine and scoop the ice cream into your chilled container. I also like to see if my finger leaves a mark in the ice cream. If it leaves an indentation, it’s usually done.

Use a spatula to smooth the top of the ice cream. Seal with a lid and place the ice cream in the freezer for a few hours or overnight to firm up. Enjoy!

 

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Strawberry Shortcake with Orange Blossom Whipped Cream

Strawberry Shortcake
This is the first in a series of posts about everything I did with strawberries that I picked over the weekend. Somewhat incredibly, they’re almost all gone.

Before I went out to Eckert’s on Saturday, I knew I wanted to make two things with the fresh strawberries: Jam and shortcake. I haven’t made strawberry shortcake in years, and I’m not sure why. It’s one of the easiest things to make and it’s the perfect dessert for a hot summer night when you don’t feel like eating something heavy.

Fresh berries are key in strawberry shortcake. You can use subpar berries but trust me, it won’t be as good. You take the best berries you can find and soak them in sugar and lemon juice. This helps the strawberries break down a little and become more syrupy. It also helps if you take a few strawberries and gently crush them with a fork and add them to the bowl. Then the resulting berries will be even more juicy.

To make the shortcakes, you make the dough and then roll it out about 1/2-inch thick. I bought a special biscuit cutter to make scalloped edges but you could just use the open side of a water glass or a regular cookie cutter.

Then you get to the weird part of the recipe. You brush some melted butter on the open side of one shortcake, and then you place another cake on top of it. You’ll bake the cakes this way so make sure you have an even number on the baking sheet. I got about eight out of my dough, but depending on how thick you cut them, you may have more or less.

Don’t panic though because the cakes will still bake evenly and become golden brown. When you remove them from the oven, you pull them apart and brush more butter on the insides of the top and bottom cake. This will make them extra buttery and flaky.

Shortcakes

The last step is making the whipped cream, which is probably the easiest step if you have a stand mixer. You add some heavy whipping cream to the bowl of the mixer with a little sugar. I added some orange blossom water because I wanted the cream to have a little zest. Then you whip the cream until it forms peaks. You’ll see it happen but you can also verify by running your finger lightly down the cream. If it leaves a print, you’re in business.

I ate one of these cakes on Saturday night for dessert and my boyfriend had two. I also had one on Sunday night and Monday afternoon without the whipped cream because I ran out. The shortcakes are delicious on their own, with fresh strawberries, or with a little jam spread on top. They’re a good snack or breakfast.

Here’s a song to get you started on your strawberry shortcake journey. It reminds me of summer.

Strawberry Shortcake with Orange Blossom Whipped Cream

Ingredients

2 pints strawberries
1/2 cup sugar, or more to taste
1 Tbsp lemon juice
4 cups flour
3 Tbsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
5 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 cups butter, softened
3 cups heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp orange blossom water

Directions

Rinse the strawberries, cut off the green tops and stems, and slice in half or thirds (depending on how large the berries are). Gently crush about 1/4 of the berries with a fork. Add the crushed berries and sliced berries to a bowl and toss with the 1/2 cup sugar and lemon juice. Allow to sit for 30 minutes, covered, so the berries get juicy.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Mix the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add 3/4 cup of softened butter and mix until it looks like small peas in the flour. Add 1 1/4 cups of cream and mix until the dough comes together and there aren’t any crumbly bits at the bottom of the bowl.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times until smooth. Then roll the dough out 1/2 inch thick and cut out the shortcakes. Cut an even number of shortcakes. Place half of them on the prepared baking sheet with the cut side up and brush some melted butter on top. Leave some space in between each cake. Then top with another shortcake. You should have about eight tops and bottoms.

Bake the cakes in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until they’re golden brown on top. Remove from the oven, take them apart, and brush both cut sides with more melted butter.

To make the whipped cream, add the remaining heavy whipping cream, 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar, and 3/4 tsp orange blossom water to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk until the cream forms peaks.

To assemble, layer the cream, berries, and cakes, alternating so the top of the cake has some whipped cream and berries. Enjoy!

* You can store extra shortcakes in an airtight container at room temperature. They’ll keep for a few days.

 

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Dimanche (That Means Sunday)

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Welcome to this edition of Dimanche (That Means Sunday), a roundup of things that caught my eye this past week.

This is a slightly delayed Dimanche post because I’ve been running around picking strawberries all weekend and making a billion things with them. Yesterday I stopped by Eckert’s, a country store and farm in Belleville, IL, with my boyfriend to get some berries.

Going to Eckert’s takes me back to when I was little. I would go pick berries with my mom, grandparents, and sisters. I’m pretty sure the first time we went, my one sister was still a baby so she couldn’t do much. But there’s a photo of me and my other sister devouring vanilla custard sundaes with fresh strawberries on top. I can still remember how good that ice cream tasted with the sweet, juicy berries. It’s one of my earliest and most vivid food memories.

Last year, my first year back in St. Louis, I went strawberry picking by myself. I had a good time but I sort of got in and got out. That is to say, I picked the berries and then left quickly thereafter. I didn’t order the strawberry sundae, which was a major oversight.

This year I decided to savor the experience more. My boyfriend and I got there early and there was a long line already, but we didn’t mind. We stood talking and then we got on the tractor to go out to the fields. There were so many little kids there. It reminded me of when I was younger and I used to come with my family.

We filled up two baskets to the brim and then we got on the tractor to go back to the weighing station and store. We picked about eleven pounds of berries between us, and I was proud. I started to go over what I wanted to make with them in my head.

But before we left, I made sure we stopped by the frozen custard stand. I got a sundae with fresh berries on top and sat under the awning in the shade to eat it. It tasted exactly the way it did 26 years ago. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised.

I hope that wherever this holiday weekend takes you, you have the opportunity to get outside and appreciate what the season has to offer. Without further ado, here is Dimanche:

In case you missed it, I put a review of Good Fortune up on the blog this week. It’s one of my favorite new restaurants in St. Louis. It got me to like Chinese food more, which I thought was nearly impossible. Check out my review in this post.

Pork Dumpings

Sometimes, we need a break from the caustic news cycle. Cue: This lab and baby chicks. I was browsing Twitter earlier this week and I saw it, and I couldn’t *not* click. I’m clickbait…Oh well. Here’s the scoop in Travel + Leisure.

I got really excited earlier this week when a French political reporter said something about President Macron being an “avocado president.” I thought she was talking about what he eats for breakfast, but as it turns out, she was talking about how his environmental agenda is failing. You can read the story at Politico.

One of my favorite articles this week was a feature about food trucks. I’ve always been intrigued about how they operate. This delightful feature from The Washington Post gives you an inside look. It also includes some of my favorite D.C. food trucks such as Crêpes Parfait.

‘Tis the season for strawberry picking and no one is more excited than I am. If you’re in the St. Louis area, I’d highly recommend stopping by Eckert’s in Belleville, IL, to pick up some fresh berries. The farm lets you eat as you pick, which is dangerous but in a good way. Check out my Instagram for more info.

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I’ve always wanted to make cobbler but surprisingly, I never have. During the summer I get caught up with pies and crisps and I never think to make it. That’s all going to change this summer now that I have some insider tips from food writer Kim Severson. Check out the cobbler recipe and story behind it in this Garden & Gun story.

Last but certainly not least, Chef Tom Colicchio is opening a food hall in Kansas City. The space won’t be open until 2020 but it is definitely something to look forward to. My sister and I are big fans of Tom and I texted her when I saw the news in Feast Magazine this week.

Enjoy your holiday! Here’s a song to play during the long weekend. I’ve been *slightly* obsessed with it recently.

 

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