Strawberry Basil Shortcake with Cream Cheese Whipped Cream

I love strawberries in summertime–and I will take them in any form. I will savor them in a strawberry mint mojito, eat them raw, or cook with them and create some yummy goodness.

One of my favorite flavor combinations is strawberry and basil. The sweet tartness of the strawberries plays well with the strong flavor of basil. Basil, being part of the mint family, has a hint of mint and anise flavor. With pepper being its finishing flavor, it pairs well with sweet strawberries. It is heaven!

I am very much a savory girl, as in I do not typically crave sweets. Troy, my husband, on the other hand loves his sweets. We have a running joke that I can hold a box of girl scout cookies in the freezer for up to a year without finishing them. It drives him absolutely crazy that I can eat one of them (a single cookie) each month and be completely satisfied.

But, I will admit that my favorite dessert of all time is a classic strawberry cheesecake. I love the sharpness of the cream cheese against the sweet strawberry compote. This recipe was inspired by my love of that dessert. This strawberry shortcake recipe is a nod to my favorite dessert and flavor combo and I hope you enjoy every bite!

Happy eating!

Ingredients

1 pint of strawberries, halved

1/4 cup sugar

2 sprigs basil

1 tbs fresh lemon juice

1 block cream cheese, softened

1 pint heavy cream

4 tbs sugar, divided

1 tbs vanilla bean paste

1 can of buttermilk biscuits

milk and sugar to brush onto biscuits before baking

Instructions

Lay the biscuits out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush them with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Cook the biscuits as directed on the container.

In a small saucepan on medium heat, combine strawberries, 1/4 cup of sugar, and basil. Stir to combine and let simmer until strawberries soften, about 30 minutes. Break apart strawberries lightly as they cook down–this will help release the pectin and thicken the mixture. Add in the lemon juice, stir, and let the strawberry compote cool.

In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, pour the heavy cream, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and vanilla bean paste into the mixing bowl. Whisk on medium speed until soft peaks form. Spoon into a separate bowl and set aside.

After, place the softened cream cheese into the mixing bowl with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Whisk on medium high speed until a whipped consistency forms. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, switch to the paddle attachment, and spoon the whipped cream back into the mixing bowl. Mix on low speed until the cream cheese combines with the whipped cream, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides and lightly fold using a spatula. Cover and store in the refrigerator is not using right away.

Assembly:

Spoon the strawberry compote onto a halved biscuit. Top the compote with the cream cheese whipped cream and place the biscuit hat on top. Spoon the juice of the compote over the biscuit and enjoy!


Roasted Tomato Basil Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

Whew! What a weekend! I was lucky enough to spend my Saturday in Fredericksburg, Texas with my Mother and Sister in law. What a nice day of shopping, sipping, and enjoying some awesome company!

I woke up Sunday relaxed and ready to take on some cooking in the kitchen. I started my day off with this delicious roasted tomato basil soup.

To add a touch of smokiness and extra sweetness, I added a red bell pepper to the mix and it made for a tasty experience. I like to let my tomatoes roast until they start to flatten out and release their juices. This will help bring home the tomato flavor and add the much needed sweetness since we are not adding sugar of any kind.

The crunch of the croutons adds the needed texture while getting the pop of salt from the cheese.

I specifically asked Troy if he would not take this to work for fear that I wouldn’t see it again this week! This is a must try recipe!

Enjoy and Happy Eating!

Ingredients

10 Roma tomatoes, halved lengthwise

1 red bell pepper, de-seeded

Olive Oil

Salt and pepper

1 head of garlic

1 onion, diced

2 tbs tomato paste

1/2 cup basil

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

6 cups chicken or vegetable stock

For the Croutons

3 slices of bread, cut into crouton sized squares

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 tbs Italian seasoning

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400. Place tomatoes and red bell pepper on a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil, salt, and pepper onto them.

Cut the top off of the garlic, exposing the tops of the cloves. On a small sheet of foil, place cut garlic and drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Close the foil around the garlic completely. This will roast in the oven along with the tomatoes and red bell pepper.

Place baking sheet on bottom rack of the oven and roast for 40 minutes. Remove the bell pepper and garlic bundle. Continue roasting the tomatoes for 20 more minutes.

While the tomatoes are roasting, saute onion in a skillet with olive oil until soft. When the onions become soft, add the tomato paste and saute for 3-4 more minutes.

Once the tomatoes are out of the oven, combine 4 roasted garlic cloves, tomatoes, red bell peppers, and the onion and tomato paste mixture into a high speed blender. Pour into a pot, add the parmesan, and simmer with the lid on for 10 minutes.

Blend until you reach your desired consistency. Add the basil and pulse 5 more times.

Salt and pepper to taste.

For the Croutons:

Toss the cut bread with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and place on the top rack under broiler. Keep a close eye on them! They can burn quickly. Remove once they are crispy and toss with cheese, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Place back under broiler and broil for 1-2 minutes longer.

To plate: Spoon soup into bowl and top with cheese croutons, basil, and a sprinkle of Italian seasoning.