Nothing Says “Summer!” Like Chowder and Strawberry Shortcake

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We had a pretty action-packed weekend around these parts. We went to my brother PJ’s house for a cookout on Friday and he grilled some of the most delicious chicken I’ve ever eaten. Justin agreed, and he expressed that by eating 1.75 whole chickens.

Okay, to be fair, one of them was a small chicken and the other one was actually a Cornish Game Hen, but pretty impressive regardless.

On Saturday, Justin and I drove up to Ogunquit, ME, which is an awesome little beach town full of cute shops and great restaurants.

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Ogunquit? Yes. Ogunquit this weekend? No.

We lounged around at the beach for a few hours, grabbed some lunch in town, and then headed home to nap and make dinner. Sunday was full of house-hunting, which was exciting and stressful and funny, depending on which house we’re talking about.

Dinner on Saturday was a highlight of the weekend because we ended up making what I consider to be a perfect summer meal: clam chowder for dinner and strawberry shortcake for dessert. I’ve been seriously craving clam chowder for a few weeks now, so Justin was nice enough to make some from scratch. He used this recipe here and it came out so, so good – restaurant quality, even.

The strawberry shortcake came out great, too. I used the biscuit recipe from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook and I think it will be my go-to recipe from now on.

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The biscuits were a great texture (not too crumbly, not too dense) and sweet, but not so sweet that they turned into little cakes. This is a favorite dessert in our household – my mom would even serve it for dinner from time to time during the summer as a special treat when I was growing up, so it is a dish that is near and dear to my heart!

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Strawberry Shortcake
makes: 8 servings / prep time: 15 minutes / bake time: 12-14 minutes
recipe adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

for the strawberries:

  • 2 quarts strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 4 tablespoons sugar

Crush half of the strawberries using a potato masher and then add the remaining half of sliced strawberries and sprinkle with sugar. Mix everything together, cover, and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

for the shortcakes:

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) of unsalted butter, cut into cubes and chilled
  • 2/3 cup half-and-half
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees. Pulse together the flour, 3 tablespoons of sugar, the baking powder, the salt, and the butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about 15 pulses. Transfer to a bowl. Blend the half-and-half with the beaten egg and pour into the bowl with the flour mixture. Stir with a rubber spatula until large clumps form and then knead lightly with your hands until the dough comes together. Use your hands to form the dough into 8 3-inch mounds, slightly flattened, and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar and bake for 12-14 minutes or until the tops are lightly browned.

for the whipped cream:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer and whip on low speed for 1 minute to combine the ingredients. Increase the mixer speed to high and continue to whip for 2-3 minutes or until soft peaks form.

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