What’s Cookin’ at Callie’s Cabin: Wildflower Honey-Strawberry Shortcake | TahoeDailyTribune.com

What’s Cookin’ at Callie’s Cabin: Wildflower Honey-Strawberry Shortcake

Cal Orey

While I may adore autumn in the Sierra and fall baking, I do like summer, too, especially its wild lightning and thunderstorms, tropical rain and gray skies -and light cooking. Actually it’s the summertime that drew me to Lake Tahoe. With this season come our colorful wildflowers and fresh fruits. Think fresh, large and juicy strawberries. All week long I’ve had strawberry shortcake on the brain. And today, I finally put it together in a heartbeat (or two). It was more sophisticated than I recall when my mom made it for us as kids or the time a male friend made it for me in the Bay Area.

In my 40s, an older man cooked dinner for me. The salmon was a meltdown because of a rich commercial sauce. Ugh! Heartburn hit. The salad wasn’t fit for an iguana. Read: Iceberg lettuce doesn’t have nutrients like dark leafy green with antioxidants. But the dessert was created for a royal queen bee. I was served a huge slice of store-bought pound cake, not enough strawberries, gigantic scoops of vanilla ice cream, and whipped cream. I was in old-fashioned strawberry shortcake sugar heaven.

Today, my shortcake was made with a more sophisticated touch for health nuts who are watching calories, fat, sodium and cholesterol. First, I used a heart-healthy baking mix for the shortcake. Instead of sugar I turned to wildflower honey (one of the most popular honeys with medicinal value; 64 calories per tablespoon of the natural sweetener). Naturally, I used organic 2 percent low-fat milk and earthy spices. I zapped the artificial whipped cream and turned to calcium and vitamin A-rich real ice cream. And now I’ve got a new crush on my new, improved strawberry shortcake.

1-1 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, sliced

1 cup all purpose wheat pancake and baking mix

1/3 cup 2 percent low-fat organic milk

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3 tablespoons wildflower honey

1 teaspoon each cinnamon and nutmeg

Raw organic sugar

1/2 cup all-natural premium vanilla ice cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, mix pancake-biscuit mix, milk, spices and 1 tablespoon honey. Drop four spoonfuls on a shallow baking pan. Sprinkle with raw organic sugar. Bake for about 15 minutes (it takes longer because of the altitude) until light brown. Wash berries, put in bowl, slice and mix with 1 tablespoon of honey. Then, slice two warm halves each of the shortcakes and place on two small plain plates. Put berries on top, then top with the other halves. Add more berries and a dollop of ice cream for a pretty presentation. Drizzle with honey. Serves two. (Save the two shortcakes for another time; breakfast?)

And now that’s the story of why I’m still sassy, single and working like a worker bee at Lake Tahoe. Think persnickety like a cat. And if I can’t have my food made my way, I’ll simply take charge and do it myself with pizzazz. So, who wants a serving of Wildflower Honey-Strawberry Shortcake?

Forget boring salads with iceberg lettuce and a slice of tomato. It’s so not romantic. No need to make a great masterpiece from scratch either. If time or know how is lacking, you can pick up a store-bought complete salad mix. I love the Mediterranean ones complete with a mix of romaine lettuce (or spinach), feta cheese, dried cranberries, sliced almonds and balsamic vinegar dressing. A bonus: Add your own touches, from black olives and artichoke hearts to a splash of your favorite extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar dressing. And don’t forget warm, fresh whole grain French bread. Now that’s a sexy salad that shows how a man loves a woman or visa versa.