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Chocolate Porter Berry Cobblers

Chocolate Porter Berry Cobbler 3

There is this way that I make food that I can only really see in retrospect as a mirror to how I’m feeling. Messy food means that I’ve wandered into internal chaos. It’s OK, there are much less healthy ways of dealing with emotions than the culinary mood ring that my kitchen becomes.

There are some changes on my horizon, good changes, but ones that will put me on a new path. A path I’m ready for, excited for, but the thing about transition is you can only clearly see what you are giving up. What you have to gain is still a mystery, but you have a firm account of what will be lost in the shift. It takes faith in yourself, and those decision you’ve made, to keep your eyes firmly on the next trapeze bar after you’ve already let go of the one you were holding, flying through the air with nothing more than hope in what you’ve decided to do. Faith that the world will conspire in your favor.

I’m not going to keep you in the dark for long. I want you to join me in this transition, this journey. But today isn’t for that. Today is for eating chocolate, drinking beer and enjoying the moment. More about my figurative trapeze leap later.

Chocolate Porter Berry Cobbler_

Chocolate Porter Berry Cobbler

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

    Topping
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ¼ cup quick oats
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup chilled butter
  • Filling
  • 3 cups berries* (thawed if frozen)
  • 7 wt oz dark chocolate (about 1 ¼ cups)
  • ¾ cup porter or stout (I used Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean)

Directions

  1. Add the flour, oats, both sugars, and salt to a food processor, pulse to combine.
  2. Add the butter, process until combined.
  3. Place in the freezer until the filling is ready.
  4. In a double boiler over medium heat, add the chocolate and the beer, stir until melted, remove from heat.
  5. Stir in the berries.
  6. Place 4 oven safe bowls (8 to 10 fl oz size) on a baking sheet.
  7. Add the filling to the bowls, about 2/3 full.
  8. Add the topping until level with the top of the bowl.
  9. Bake at 350 until golden brown, about 45-50 minutes.

Notes

I used a combination of strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. Because overly ripe berries are so hard to ship, most pickers choose those to freeze, making frozen berries of a very high quality. Don't be afraid to use frozen berries when baking, they are often the best choice and most often frozen in season rather then grown in greenhouses out of season like some berries often are in the winter.

https://domesticfits.com/chocolate-porter-berry-cobblers/

Chocolate Porter Berry Cobbler 2

Kids Lunch Box Idea: Strawberry Lovers Lunch

I Heart California-Strawberries #BuildABetterLunchBox

This post is sponsored by California Strawberries. All thoughts, opinions, and ideas are my own.

Lunch box meals are an enormously difficult challenge. You need to have the ability to create a meal that will dazzle a tiny human (no small feat), have the staying power to last in a little box that’s been tossed around in a kids backpack and probably sit at room temperature for a while, be quick to throw together the night before, and packed with nutrition. It’s not surprising that I find it easer to plan my Thanksgiving menu than a weeks worth of unique lunch box ideas.

Lunch Box Idea- Strawberry Lovers Lunch #BuildABetterLunchBox

Strawberries are one of my favorite items to include in the lunch box, she loves strawberries as much as she loves candy but they have incredible health benefits that my growing tiny human needs in her little body. Strawberries are a super food, packed with fiber and vitamin C, plus strawberries are one of the most antioxidant dense fruits, packed with cancer fighters.

Strawerry Filled Apples #BuildABetterLunchBox But more than anything, they’re so pretty. I know she’ll reach right for them. The sauce I make is just a combination of apple sauce and strawberries giving it a gorgeous natural pink color that inspired her to name it "Princess Sauce." When trying to move my family away from all artificial food coloring, strawberries are the perfect way to add stunning color in a natural and health filled way.

Lunch Box Idea- Strawberry Lovers Lunch #BuildABetterLunchBox

I also really love to make her these Strawberry Peanut butter Burritos. The sliced berries hold up better to a lunch box environment better than jam, there isn’t the risk of soggy bread. She also loves that it’s different than your average sandwich.

Lunch Box Idea- Strawberry Lovers Lunch #BuildABetterLunchBox

This lunch box meal takes less than ten minutes to throw together, and it’s packed with fiber, antioxidants, and general goodness, although she only sees fun finger food. Just the way I want it.

Lunch Box Idea- Strawberry Lovers Lunch #BuildABetterLunchBox

Brewed Mary: Beer Bloody Mary

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup tomato juice
  • 1 cup IPA beer
  • 1/2 tsp celery salt (plus additional for glass rims)
  • 1/2 tsp Chipotle Tabasco sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp brine for a jar of spanish olive
  • 1/4 tsp cream style horseradish
  • 1 tbs lime juice (about 1 medium lime)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (about 1/2 medium lemon)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • Ice
  • Optional garnish:
  • celery stalk, olives

Directions

  1. Rim glasses with celery salt. Add all ingredients to a shaker half full of ice, swirl to combine. Strain into prepared glasses, garnish if desired.
https://domesticfits.com/kids-lunch-box-idea-strawberry-lovers-lunch/

 

Catch more great strawberry recipes on the California Strawberries Facebook page! They always find the greatest strawberry concoctions.

Strawberry Cheesecake Popsicles and I Heart California Strawberries

 

This is a sponsored post, all opinions, thoughts and ideas are my own.I Heart California-Strawberries

While standing in the middle of a strawberry field, having a true Farm to Table lunch (table in a farm?) I tried to think of one person I’ve ever met that doesn’t like strawberries. I couldn’t. I love strawberries, so when I got the invite from California Strawberry Commission to run around the beautiful strawberry fields in Oxnard I couldn’t say no.

I Heart California Strawberries23Look at those things, just  hanging out, looking so perfect. I love the California strawberries I can pick up at the grocery store and farmers markets, but right off the vine, slightly warm from the sun, those babies are incredible. By the way, if anyone ever invites you and your family to run around a strawberry farm, stuffing your face with berries right off the vine: say YES (enthusiastically).

I Heart California Strawberries8

I joined a handful of other bloggers for a day in the beautiful California sun, eating amazing food (and I’m not kidding about stuffing my face with berries right off the vine), a tour of the facility, and head farmer, Bill Reiman, joined the party to answered all of the Strawberry Question we could ever ask.

I Heart California Strawberries22

Here are a few of the Strawberry Facts I learned over the day (And by the way, I am just nerdy enough to think these are super interesting):

  1. None of the California Strawberries are GMO, all the CA strawberries that you can buy are GMO free (awesome).
  2. Strawberries will not continue to ripen once they are picked  (like tomatoes do) if you pick a green strawberry, it will never turn red.
  3. They freeze some of the best berries. They pick the berries that are so juicy and full of natural sweetness to freeze because although they are delicious, they are too fragile to pack and ship.
  4. Eating strawberries regularly has been proven to improve memory and delay the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease.

I Heart California Strawberries21

I love that I don’t have to feel guilt about buying frozen California strawberries (I’m a fresh produce girl, and I actually do feel guilty about buying frozen), this also reminded me that once my strawberries start to show their age, freezing them is a great idea. They freeze so well!

I Heart California Strawberries24

After the tour of the fields, a tour of the packing facility and a fun hay ride, the day ended with a gorgeous dinner cooked up by Tim Kilcoyne, Executive Chef and owner of The SideCar Restaurant in Ventura. The menu included:

  • Bruschetta with fava bean ricotta, house made strawberry mustard and arugula.
  • Braised Chicken Enchiladas with Swiss chard, roasted strawberry mole and queso fresco. Served with a black bean and quinoa salad
  • Chocolate Genoise with strawberry mousse, ganache and white chocolate dipped strawberry
  • Strawberry Basil Meyer Lemonade

I love the use of strawberries in a savory dish, that strawberry mole was incredible.

I Heart California Strawberries9

Apparently I was too distracted by the incredible food and the company of Farmer Bill, whom I sat next to, to photograph the dinner. My camera ended with shots of the menu.

I Heart California Strawberries20

I came home with a car load of strawberries that I couldn’t wait to use. I made popsicles that are perfect for those fresh berries that I love, but are also great for the frozen ones I now feel completly content buying.

Strawberry Cheesecake Popsicles 5

Chocolate Stout Cheesecake Fudgesicle

Yield: Yield: 8 pops

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbs whole milk
  • 1/3 cup stout
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
  • 6 standard sized graham crackers
  • 2 tbs melted butter

Directions

  1. In a bowl (or a food processor) mix together the cream cheese, sour cream and powdered sugar until well combined.
  2. Add the milk and stout, stir to combine.
  3. Add the chocolate chips to a microwave safe bowl, microwave on high for 30 seconds, stir and repeat until melted. Pour the chocolate into the cream cheese mixture, stir until combined.
  4. Pour mixture into popsicle molds, leaving about 1 inch of the top empty for the crust (if you don’t have popsicle molds, use small paper cups and popsicle sticks) tap the molds gently on the counter to remove air bubbles.
  5. In a food processor add the graham crackers, process until only crumbs remain.
  6. While food processor is running, add the melted butter in a slow stream until the mixture resembles wet sand.
  7. Divide the crust evenly between the popsicles, press down gently to compact. Insert popsicle sticks, refrigerate for at least 6 hours and up to 3 days.
https://domesticfits.com/strawberry-cheesecake-popsicles-and-i-heart-california-strawberries/

Strawberry Cheesecake Popsicles 6

 

Other Strawberry recipes:

Sweet:

Strawberry Swirl Dream Cake – Savory Simple

Chocolate Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart – Domestic Fits

Strawberry Crumble – Bake Your Day

Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes – Domestic Fits

Strawberry Beer Sorbet – The Beeroness

Strawberry Pie Sour Cream Bars – Crunchy Creamy Sweet

Savory:

Strawberry Quinoa Salad – Domestic Fits

Chilled Strawberry & Beet Consommé with Horseradish Oil – Sippity Sup

Strawberry Balsamic Bruschetta – Pinch My Salt

Drinks:

Strawberry Sriracha Margarita – Domestic Fits

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Daiquiri – Country Cleaver

Strawberry Mint Julep – Culicurious

Strawberry Beer Lemonade – The Beeroness

 

This is a sponsored post, all opinions, thoughts and ideas are my own.

Superbowl Snack: Chocolate Covered Strawberry Footballs

There are so many great things about living in Los Angeles. In my 20’s I got to partake in a lot of them. My husband is a musician and we ran around with a very Music Industry crowd. Late nights, parties, back stage passes, Rock Stars, watching our friends become famous, blah, blah.

The best thing about California? The produce.

Seriously. If you ever visit LA, skip Hollywood Blvd (don’t worry, it sucks) and head for a farmers market. We have them nearly every single day of the year, with the exception of a few major holidays.

Tuesday in October? Head to Culver City or Silverlake. Thursday in February? There is a great one in Hollywood called Yamashiro.

And Strawberries are in season nearly all year. Did you know that California grows 50% of the produce for the entire United States? It also grows 75% of the produce for the Western side of Canada.

And, California has the best strawberries in the world. If you ever make it to California, put: "Eat a real California Strawberry" on your to do list. California grows 85% of the strawberries in the US. 

I do realize that there is a chance that when that little ball game rolls around in a few weeks, (what’s it called again? The Super Bowl?) you might not live in a place as lucky as Strawberry-afornia or have access to these beauties year round. That’s OK, just tuck this idea away in your head and make them for a sports themed birthday party sometime over the summer.

 

Chocolate Strawberry Footballs
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
12-14 large strawberries
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
you will also need:
2 Coffee mugs
piping bag
#2 tip 
Parchment paper
In a microwave safe coffee mug add the dark chocolate chips. I’ve found this to be the best vessel for strawberry dipping. If the bowl you use is too wide then the melted chocolate is too shallow, and it’s hard to get the strawberries dipped. 
Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir and repeat until melted. Don’t over heat or your chocolate will seize and there is really no coming back from that. 
Grab the strawberry by the leaves (make sure strawberries are completely dry or the chocolate won’t stick).
Dip in the chocolate and swirl around carefully until coated. 
Hold above the coffee mug for a few seconds to allow the excess to drip off.
Place on a sheet of parchment paper to dry. 
Push forward slightly to avoid a pool of dried chocolate forming in the front of your berry. 

Allow to dry for about 15 minutes. 
In a separate coffee mug (or really, any microwave safe bowl will work for this), add the white chocolate. Microwave on high for 20 seconds and stir, repeat until melted. You have to be even more careful with white chocolate, it tends to seize quicker. It isn’t actually chocolate, its cocoa butter solids so it behaves differently. If it does seize, you can try and add a few drops of canola oil, but you might just need to toss it out and start over. 

Pour the white chocolate into your piping bag. Pipe on a stripe at the top and one at the bottom of your strawberries. 

Then pipe a line down the middle of the berry. 
Then pipe 5 or 6 lines across the middle line. 
Tips:
-Let the white chocolate cool a bit, but not harden, before piping. If it’s too hot, it’ll be really runny. 
-When piping the lines, double back a bit to avoid the "strings" of white chocolate from dripping down the sides. 
-Serve chilled
-Don’t make more that 24 hours in advance, strawberries tend to shrink a bit as they age. 

Santa Hat Cookies & Why I Hate Santa

I guess HATE is too strong, but I don’t like Santa.

Except maybe this Santa. He’s awesome:

(Photo taken by my brother-in-law, and Hawks fan, Austin Metz)

It all started years ago when I was working at a group home with teenage foster and probation kids in South Central Los Angeles. I know, the white girl from the farm, in South Central.

I loved it.

I was able to see these kids as more than just Gang Members with horrible parents, but human children with potential, talent, hearts and brains. Being raised by grown-up damaged children.

It changed me.

I was teased, laughed at, listen to, and trusted.

I’ve posted so many serious posts lately, I’m no going to go into great detail about that first year, the first christmas. The kids who, at 16 years old, received their first Christmas presents of their lives, or how none of the parents came to our "Holiday Party."

But I will tell you this: Nearly every kid had a story about thinking he was bad because Santa didn’t bring him presents. After all, that’s the story, right? "Santa brings presents to good boys and girls. Bad kids don’t get any."

Or knowing that Santa wasn’t real because the Christmas after he turned 5 he sat in the living room, all alone on Christmas morning with no presents because Mom was on a bender and never came home.

This probably doesn’t apply to you. You will probably never have a Christmas when your kids don’t have presents. Hopefully.

But this year, more kids than ever won’t have presents. And the last thing I would want is for my daughter to carry that message with her to the kids at school who didn’t get presents, for her to think the reason those less fortunate kids didn’t get any gifts during the holidays was because they were bad. 

And I would never want ANY kid to think that the reason he didn’t get presents was because he’s bad.

We don’t need this.

Even though I don’t like the message that comes along with Santa (and I won’t even go into my fear of Mall Santas and their inherent creepiness) Santa is still an iconic symbol of Christmas. He is a great decoration. Which is why I made these Santa Hat Cookies.

I even have one Santa decoration at my house. Just one. I bought it in Paris a few years ago because I really wanted a Christmas Ornament from France and this was all I could find in September.

Links to donate to those in need, if you want:

Toys For Tots

Salvation Army

Angle Tree

Donation Town

These Cookies are pretty adorable, and really easy to make.

Santa Hat Cookies

Sugar Cookie Base:

1 cup (2 sticks) of Butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking powder

2 cups of flour

1 tsp salt

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 package of cream cheese (8 oz) softened

1 stick of butter, 1/2 cup, room temperature (very important)

1 tsp vanilla

1/8 tsp salt

1 cup powdered sugar

Hat:

24 large strawberries, stem and leaves cut off


In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and the vanilla and beat until well combined. In another bowl, add the flour, baking powder and salt, mix with a fork until combined. Add the flour to the stand mixer and mix until the flour is just incorporated into the butter mixture.

Form into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour. It is important that the sugar cookie dough is cold or the cookies will spread too much during making.

Preheat oven to 350.

Once the dough is chilled, roll out and cut into 2 inch circles (or just larger than the base of your strawberries).

Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes or until the edges just barely start to brown. It will probably look as if they need another minute or too, but cookies continue to bake once they are out of the oven and you don’t want these to be too crispy.

Allow to cool.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese on high for about 2 minutes. Add your room temperature butter and mix until combined. Add the vanilla and beat again until combined. Turn the mixer off and add the powdered sugar, return mixer to a low speed and mix until the sugar is incorporated into the cream cheese.  Add the frosting to a piping bag. If you don’t have a piping bag, add to a large, heavy duty, zip lock bag and cut about 1cm off the bottom corner of the zip lock bag, this can be used as a make-shift piping bag.

Pipe a dime sized amount onto the cut end of the strawberry and place in the middle of your sugar cookie.

Pipe the frosting around the base of the strawberry, as well as a pea sized amount on the tip of the berry to resemble Santa’s Hat.


Party Food: Mini Galettes {Strawberry Brie & Bacon Goat Cheese}

The requirements for party food are pretty simple, but hard and fast.

  1. Yummy
  2. Must travel well
  3. Must have the ability to sit at room temperature for extended periods of time
  4. Bonus if it evokes this sentence from at least one other party goer: "Can I get that recipe from you?"
Mini galettes also have the added bonus of being adorable and fairly easy to make. If you want to make them with store bough crust, I may pound on you a little bit. The crust takes about 8 active minutes plus it’s really, really SO much better than store bought.
Feel free to make these your own and use what ever flavor combinations you love.
Miniature Galettes

CRUST

2 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1 1/2 sticks of butter

1/3 cup ice cold water

FOR THE STRAWBERRY BRIE

4 oz brie, cut into slices

3/4 cups strawberries, chopped

1 tbs butter, melted

2 tbs sugar

FOR THE BACON GOAT CHEESE

6 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped

3 oz goat cheese, crummbled

1/2 cup fresh spinach, chopped (don’t use frozen, too much water)

Makes 12 (6 of each)

In a food processor, combine 1 1/3 cup flour, salt, sugar and butter, process until well combined. Add the remaining flour and process again until combined. Transfer to a bowl and add the water with a wooden spoon (don’t add the water while the dough is in the food processor or your dough will be brittle and cracker-like). If the dough isn’t moist enough, you can add more water, a tsp at a time until the consistency is right. Form dough into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. You can make this up to 5 days ahead of time, just place the dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, in a large zip lock bag.

Place your chilled dough on a well floured surface. Top with more flour and roll until your dough is fairly thin and even. Cut out 12, 4 inch circles. I didn’t have a biscuit cutter that size so I used a margarita glass.

Place the dough circles on baking sheets that are either covered with parchment paper or sprayed with cooking spray.

Strawberry Brie:

A Trader Joe’s just opened on Friday down the street from my house. I am inappropriately excited about living within walking distance from such a fabulous food source. I bought these cute mini brie wheels. These are also fantastic to make mini baked brie out of, but that is for another post.

I cut each wheel into 3-4 slices. If you don’t live by a Trader Joe’s, you can also just use regular brie and cut it into slices small enough to fit inside the circle.

Place about 1 tbs of brie in the center of 6 of the circles. Top with about 2 tbs of strawberries.

Fold the edges up over the filling, leaving the center open. Pleat and press the edges when necessary.

Brush each of the 6 Mini Galettes with melted butter, sprinkle with about 1 tsp of sugar each.

Bacon Goat Cheese:

For the remaining 6 circles, add about 1-2 tbs of goat cheese to each circle. Top with 1-2 tbs of chopped spinach, sprinkle with bacon.

Fold the edges up over the filling, leaving the center open. Pleat and press the edges when necessary.

Brush the folded edge of each of the 6 Mini Galettes with melted butter.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, or until the crust is a light golden brown.