You know the term rising? It’s a summer term to indicate the grade a child will enter in the fall, as in will be a freshman or freshman rising. My daughter is now, at this very moment, entering her last summer rising. She will be a senior come September. We commented this past week how the college years flew by, especially compared to high school. Like the instant she graduated, we went to warp speed. Is it because at home we only see bits and pieces of her life or is it because there are fewer tortured, ingrained moments that happen in college? Despite living-on-their-own growing pains, college is relatively smooth. No driver’s ed, no puberty, no curfew arguments, no acne, no sleeping until she was home safe in bed, no standardized tests orcollege applications. She worked impressively hard in high school. Hell, sometimes I worked impressively hard. When at 11 pm, on my way to bed, she’d ask me to read through an essay and then we’d both be up into the wee hours trying to assess Gregor’s psychological change after his transformation in The Metamorphosis.
Maybe time accelerated because I was less involved, less needed (except Bank of a Mom-ica). Before you think this is woe some, it’s quite the opposite. The girl is rocking it on her own. She’s been on the dean’s list from day one at a school where Kafka is the mascot (sorry for going Facebook braggy). I get her in my lock for 18 years, then baby bird has to leave the nest and when she does so with such grace and independence, not needing me as much my own way of rocking it.
So I spent way too much time the last three years, when I was not needed for essay work, perfecting biscuits. Sad but true. Why is it that with one rock hard, flat biscuit fail, I cannot leave it alone? I mean I don’t even really desire biscuits and my husband prefers gluten-free. Why can’t I make a biscuit that’s soft inside, crispy outside, salty and sweet and lifts up higher than where we started, why? For god sake, I did that with a daughter. Then, a few months ago, I discovered a quick biscuit recipe that relied on self-rising flour. I was up for it, or is it down now,even if it meant I had to throw out dog treats to make room for yet another flour varietal. Priorities Pepper.
So now that I’m dean of biscuits and strawberries are coming out of our farmer’s ears, the quintessential summer holiday and welcome-your-daughter home from school dessert was begging to be made. I was inspired by a LudoBird honey lavender biscuit I almost ate at a Clippers game until I dropped it on a guy’s head at halftime and watched him pick the honey out of his hair for all of third quarter. I felt badly about that..that I didn’t get to eat that biscuit.
Easy enough, I have lavender outside next to the butterfly garden I planted this year, you know to save the Monarchs. Although what I spent on six milkweed plants to provide food and habitat for pupa-catepillar-butterfly would have fed a family of four humans for a week, only a few insects had come to feast, until now. So get this, on my Martha Stewart tribute day when I was clipping lavender from my backyard for my homemade biscuits for strawberry shortcake, while wearing a full-on apron to cover my new favorite t-shirt that hides neck wrinkles, a Monarch fluttered over my head and landed on that one-hundred dollar meal I planted for her (I hope). Kind of like when I flew to Chicago the week before last to eat at Alinea (note: meals and flights were free). Sometimes the perfect meal is worth the journey as confirmed here.
Today, Kendall comes home to live for one last summer. Okay we know Millennials don’t leave the house that fast, but go with me. Cue dramatic music and as I was saying, it’s one last summer where we’re certain she’ll call our address her address. Our homes will be the same. Where I can count on her bellowing out song, oozing love on our pets, chunky heels clopping on the floor above, excitement of a story told in the morning beginning with oh my god oh my god oh my god I have to tell you about last night, and the brightest most infectious energy from a girl who puts artistry into life and wisdom into thought, who brings the confidence of a seasoned adult with the delight of a child. Driver’s ed, puberty, acne, curfew arguments, lack of sleep, college apps and standardized testing perhaps all enduring and necessary science fortransforming teens into autonomous beautiful creatures able to fly on their own.
If I had only known a few years back, I might have let self-rising flour do the trick sooner.
But, wait, we have a rising freshman in high school who just barked that he hates strawberry shortcake. Maybe you’d like it better dropped on your head, honey. Transformation begins.
almost healthy strawberry shortcake w/ lavender
The recipe combines the best practices of the most respectable shortcake recipes. If you want fewer ingredients, just flour and cream will make an acceptable cake. We turned healthy where we could, but not at the expense of flavor. Essence of lavender isn’t for everyone, so just omit. We use a food processor for preparation, but you can piece it together by hand or with a pastry cutter to work in the butter into the dry ingredients before adding buttermilk.
preptime: 15 min makes 8 (depending on your cutting tool)
baketime: 13 min
- 1 3/4 cups self-rising flour (or all-purpose + Tbsp baking powder)
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 Tbsp dried lavender (optional)
- 6 Tbsp butter cut into cubes
- 3/4 cup low-fat or fat free buttermilk
- 3 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced in half
- 1/3 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed preferable
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- whipped cream
- Preheat oven to 425°.
- In a food processor, add all of the dry ingredients and pulse once or twice.
- Add the butter and pulse until it worked in to about the size of a tiny pea (or caper). You want some butter pieces remaining so they melt within the biscuit during baking, yielding a much lighter and moist pastry.
- With the motor running, add in the buttermilk in a stream and as soon as you have a dough ball, turn it off.
- On a lightly floured surface, turn out the dough, slightly knead it together and then press it to a circle shape to about 3/4″ thick.
- Using a cutting ring (fluted circles best) press straight down to cut shapes. Do not twist the cutting tool or you will seal the dough making it harder to rise.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes until the tops are golden brown. Oven vary so keep a close watch.
- In the meantime prepare the strawberries by: mashing 1 cup of the berries with orange juice, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Add the remaining berries to the bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
- When the biscuits have cooled enough, divide them in half, spoon the strawberry mixture onto the bottom half, dollop on a bit of whipped cream, top and serve.
- Strawberry mixture: Add 1/3 cup of sugar to strawberries, mix and microwave for 1 minute for a perfectly fine concoction.
- Use prepared whipped cream.
recipe provided by your friends at crunchtimefood.com