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Summer Strawberries


Canada Day Was spectacular. The local fireworks display was fantastic and jaw dropping for our kids, revealing, thankfully, that it was better than T.V.

Since July 1st fell on a Sunday this year, our statutory holiday is pushed to today. More relaxed and laid back of a celebration, we decided to go berry picking. It was a beautiful day and we just so happen to be smack in the middle of berry season and Mennonite country for the weekend.

Our warm summer has been mostly unwavering, not giving way to very much rain. The temperatures have fluctuated giving us breaks from unbearable heat and thankfully, today was one of those days. The hot sun and a cool breeze made  great conditions for us out on the strawberry patch and so began the search for the day’s perfect field berry.
I wasn’t surprised to find the berries so small that they could have been growing wild along the side of a country road. Obviously the warm sun and lack of rain left it’s mark on this season’s strawberries. With room to grow in clusters, the sun warmed berries came off their hosts with an audible ‘pop’. Succulent and sweet, each of these berries tasted like warm, fresh jam.
We picked as many of this summer’s little jewels we could stuff down and carry then headed back to my in-laws for more of a gluttony strawberry feast.

VEGAN STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE

1 1/2 Cups Unbleached All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Soft Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/3 Cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Shortening, cold – I keep mine in the freezer
1 1/4 Cups Soy Milk
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla

In a measuring cup, combine the lemon juice and the soy milk and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 450ºF.
Prepare a baking sheet with a fitted piece of parchment paper.
In the bowl of a food processor, quickly sift the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt with a few good pulses.
Add the shortening to the flour mixture and continue to combine in short, quick pulses until it’s well incorporated and resembles course crumbs. (If you don’t have a food processor, a fork will do. Otherwise, use a pastry cutter or two knives to cut the shortening into the flour.)
Add vanilla to soy milk mixture then drizzle over dry ingredients.
Stir with fork just until the flour is just moist, forming a soft dough.
Drop two heaping tablespoonfuls of the dough about 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets.
Alternately, for more exact shortcakes, if needed, you may sprinkle enough flour to make the dough workable. Fold the dough out onto a lightly floured board or work surface. With floured hands, pat dough into a round that is about 1-inch thick. Sprinkle approximately 1 teaspoon of sugar over dough. Using a 1/2 cup measuring cup rimmed with flour, cut the dough into rounds. Bring the dough together and reshape as needed. You should get about 10 – 12 cakes. Use spatula to transfer the dough to your baking sheet.
Bake for about 13- 15 minutes or just golden.
Transfer shortcakes to wire rack to cool.

MACERATED STRAWBERRIES

2 Cups Strawberries, hulled & sliced, if necessary
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1 Tablespoon Grand Marnier or Brandy (optional)

Mix everything together in a large bowl and allow to sit while you prepare the shortcakes.

VEGAN WHIPPED CREAM

1/2 Package Soft Silken Tofu
1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
4 Tablespoons Confectioners Sugar
3 Tablespoons Soy Milk

Combine tofu and sugar in a food processor and process until smooth.
With the machine running, add the soy milk and vanilla through the feeder cap.
Taste and adjust vanilla and soy milk for flavour and consistency, if necessary.
Refrigerate prior to serving. It will keep up to one week.

To assemble shortcakes, slice off the top of the cakes using a serrated knife.
Place bottom half, followed by a spoonful of macerated berries, cream and another spoonful of berries.
Place top half of shortcake at an angle over fillings; and serve immediately.


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