Lemon Balm Scones for Strawberry Shortcake

Lemon Balm Scones for Strawberry Shortcake

Right after I picked 22 pounds of strawberries at a local Oregon farm a couple of weeks ago, I knew right there I had to have strawberry shortcake! I remember when I was a little girl- maybe 4-5 years old and my grandparents took me to a strawberry festival. I was so excited! The festival basically involved lots of strawberry shortcake. YUM! There was a building and ladies by a table ladling servings of sweet strawberries over shortcake and then putting ice cream on top. I must have eaten 2-3 servings of it all by myself. I was in heaven! I'm not sure I could eat quite as much today but I enjoy it just as much. I hope that you enjoy this shortcake recipe & remember when you were a kid and relished every bite! 

Lemon Balm Scones + Strawberry Shortcake: 

Makes 6-8 servings

1/2 cup coconut milk

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

2 cups gluten free flour mix (without xanthan gum) 

2 tablespoons organic sugar + extra for dusting the tops of the shortcakes

1 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/2 teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons vegan margarine or butter

2 eggs

2 tablespoons lemon balm leaves, minced

1. Preheat your oven to 425F. Make sure there is a rack in the center of the oven. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet. 

2. Mix together the coconut milk and apple cider vinegar in a glass measuring cup. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes before proceeding with the recipe. 

3. Mix together the flour mix, sugar, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt in a large bowl. With a pastry cutter, cut the margarine or butter into the flour mixture. Make sure the margarine or butter is well incorporated and it resembles a coarse meal. 

4. Beat the eggs well in an electric mixer with a whisk attachment or until they are frothy. Add the milk mixture and flour mixture. Mix at medium low speed for 1 minute. 

5. Pat the mixture into a large round on a floured board. Make sure it is about 1 inch thick. Cut rounds out of the mixture with a cookie cutter. It will make about 6-8 large rounds that you can split in half and fill with berries for the strawberry shortcake. 

6. Place the dough rounds on the baking sheet. Brush the tops with coconut milk and sprinkle with sugar.  Place the sheet on the center rack of the oven. Lower the oven temperature to 375F. Bake the scones for 20-25 minutes or until golden.  

Strawberry Mixture: 

4 cups sliced strawberries

3 tablespoons maple syrup

Place in a bowl and mix. Let the mixture macerate for about 10-15 minutes to soak up the flavors. 

 

Strawberry Lime & Rose Mock Tail

Strawberry Lime & Rose Mock Tail

 

Here in the Portland, Oregon area the roses are starting to bloom, so it is Rose Festival Season! I just love this time of year when my rose bushes are at their prime and they have the most lovely, fragrant blooms. Since I grow my roses organically and don't use any chemicals on them, I can use them in drinks and dishes! What a win! 

I hope that you enjoy this fun and quick drink recipe that you can make to celebrate the roses this season! You could also add some rose water to amp-up the rose flavor if you desire. 

Rose, Strawberry Lime & Rose Mock Tail: 

1/2 cup chopped fresh strawberries

1 key lime, quartered

1/4 cup maple syrup with infused rose petals (you'll use 1-3 tablespoons of this for 1 drink, then save the rest) 

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup rose petals

4-5 rose petals (for muddling in drink) 

crushed ice

sparkling water

 

1. Put strawberries & lime pieces & 4-5 torn fresh rose petals into a tall glass. 

2. Make syrup: bring to a simmer the water and maple syrup. Add the 1/4 cup rose petals. Infuse the syrup for 10 minutes while it cools. 

3. Add 1-3 tablespoons of the infused syrup to the glass. Muddle with a wooden spoon or muddle. Then, add crushed ice and sparkling water to taste. Taste your drink for sweetness and add more of the syrup to taste. 

This drink is yummy and refreshing. It won't taste a lot like rose petals but it has a unqiue flavor. 

Raspberry Pico de Gallo or Salad

Raspberry Pico de Gallo or Salad

Wow! Fresh raspberry season is here and it is one of my favorite berries & my husband's favorite berry of all time. We are so fortunate that we now have mature raspberry bushes in our backyard and can gather and enjoy lots of delicious raspberries day after day. I am now able to pick a whole bowl full every single day. It is such a wonderful thing. 

As a result, I was brainstorming recipe ideas for raspberries when my husband suggested a raspberry salsa. I had never seen one before, so I decided to gather up a few ingredients and give it a go. I love the marriage of the raspberries and tomatoes and the lime juice gives it such a tangy flavor too. 

To accompany the salsa I made some fresh tortillas with corn masa mix, salt and water. These triangles topped with the raspberry salsa make a great healthy snack or appetizer. We also had the discovery that since you leave the raspberries whole in this recipe, it tastes great as a salad or side dish. It may also be used to top grilled chicken or fish. I hope that you enjoy some of this salsa today and celebrate the bounty of summer! 

Raspberry Pico de Gallo: 

Makes about 2 cups salsa or salad

1 cup fresh raspberries

1 cup finely chopped grape tomatoes

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1 large clove garlic, minced

Juice of 1 lime

3/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1. Combine all of the above ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. 

2. You may serve this salsa/salad immediately or let it sit in the fridge for a while for the flavors to meld. It is also excellent as a topper for grilled chicken or fish or as a lovely side salad. 

Baked Brown Rice Pilaf with Fresh Rosemary and Pine Nuts

Baked Brown Rice Pilaf with Fresh Rosemary and Pine Nuts

I really love how necessity breeds creativity when it comes to creating recipes in the kitchen. A few days before I made this rice dish, I had been fairly busy and had not done my weekly grocery shopping. As a result I was looking to create a meal with the items I had left in the pantry and the freezer. I had bought a small package of pine nuts for some kind of experiment- an herb-pesto of sorts, but I decided they would go really well with rice. Then, I looked out in my garden and noticed my rosemary plant growing well and just knew that all of these would make a great combination! 

I think that everything is meant to be just as it happens and it is such a joy when things come together in unexpected ways- just like this delightful rice dish. Have you ever put together different ingredients and come up with something that you just loved? I would love to hear about it in the comments below! 

 

Baked Brown Rice Pilaf with Fresh Rosemary and Pine Nuts

Adapted from the recipe "Basic Baked Brown Rice Pilaf" from Simple Bites.

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 teaspoon olive oil

 1/2 onion, chopped finely 

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

1/4 cup pine nuts

2 cups brown rice

3 1/2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth

1. Preheat the oven to 375F. 

1. Melt the coconut oil & heat up the olive oil together in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add in the onions and the garlic and saute until they are soft. 

2. Add the fresh rosemary, sea salt and pine nuts. Stir and cook for around 1 minute. 

3. Stir in the rice to toast it along with the other ingredients for around 2 minutes. Add the broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir it one time and then put a lid on the Dutch oven and place it in the oven. 

4. Cook the rice in the oven for about 40 minutes. Then, let it settle out of the oven for 10 minutes before fluffing the rice with a fork. Serve as a lovely side dish for dinner. Garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary. 

I hope that you enjoy this delicious and healthy side dish!