I wrote about the savory part of our Memorial Day meal earlier this week — now it’s time for the sweet!
The Best Strawberry Shortcake: fresh berries, whipped cream and strawberry ice cream all on a homemade shortcake!
I mentioned that my husband was determined to prepare the quintessential all-American BBQ for Memorial Day. This included a gigantic smoked beef brisket with all the classic side dishes. Once we had everything figured out, we came to dessert, which seemed like an easy choice. After all what’s more American than strawberry shortcake?
* Okay, okay, fine — apple pie is probably more American, but shortcake has to be right up there!
We also knew we wanted to do it all from scratch, homemade shortcakes, fresh whipped cream and local strawberries macerated in sugar. Simple stuff. But my husband was also bound and determined to take it one step further by making a batch of strawberry ice cream.
He used the recipe for “Here’s your damn strawberry ice cream” from Humphry Slocombe’s Ice Cream Cookbook, which if you haven’t bought it yet, is totally worthwhile. The recipes are great but the commentary is downright hilarious. This is the first recipe we’ve made from it and my husband said the only adaption he had to do was add more red wine vinegar because our berries were too sweet. Chalk that up to another reason to love Oregon!
Anyways, he brought home a pint of the ice cream which I immediately had to taste for…quality control purposes (yeah, we’ll call it that). Upon the first bite, I can attest it was nothing short of amazing. Super creamy and full of berry love.
I love having a signature cocktail when I throw a party. Last year at my honey-themed birthday party I had a station set up where guests could make a Honey Badger (St. Germain, honey syrup and sparkling wine). So when I hosted my harvest-themed dinner party, I decided to come up with something fun to drink besides wine.
Since I had just made my own home-pressed apple cider, I used that as a base. I heated it up with some mulling spices to give it more flavor, letting it simmer for about 10 minutes with a cinnamon stick, cloves, allspice and dried orange peel. Once the spices were strained out, I contemplated my liquor cabinet.
It’s a known fact I love nothing more than to throw a party. Give me any reason whatsoever and I will come up with a theme, research recipes and try my hardest to make my house as adorable as possible. So when some of the favorite ladies in my life and I decided to plan a little drinking dinner party, I quickly volunteered to host. We decided on the seasonally appropriate theme of “Autumn Harvest” and decided to do it as a pot-luck style sit-down dinner.
I got into the spirit by decorating my house:
An autumn-inspired wreath helps corral the wine glasses
Did you catch a hint of John Irving in that title? If you did, we must be kindred spirits. The Cider House Rules is one of my favorite books, and every time I started typing anything about cider, it kept popping into my head. I couldn’t shake it.
Anyways, if it were required of me to make rules for a cider press party, it would be a simple task.
Buy apples (basically so many apples that it’s overwhelming)
Invite friends (think like Tom Sawyer, more people=less work for you!)
Make good food (this way your friends can’t blame you when they feel used)
Spend the afternoon drinking beer and making delicious fresh-pressed cider
It’s that easy! And, when you see all of the glorious fresh cider come pouring out, it’s also pretty damn exciting.
Here’s some scenes from my first cider press party, which took place the weekend before Halloween.