My friend Kat and I are trying this thing on our blogs. What we want to do is a series of letters to each other about food and life and whatnot. We became friends in the kitchen over food and gin and photography while we were graduate students in Scotland. She was my maid of honour at my wedding. Now Kat lives in Germany and I live in the US. We miss cooking together, so this is our way of reframing that part of our now much more encompassing friendship. Katharina blogs at Tea Cake Sandwiches. This is my response to her first letter: Dear Anna – Strawberry Shortcakes or not…

Dear Kat,

As you know, I’ve been recovering from a hospital stay and so i’m only just getting back to eating normally let alone cooking. I haven’t yet cooked meat: relying on the Gluten-Free Roast Chickens (don’t laugh, of course chicken is gluten free, these just don’t have stuffing or gluten containing spices on them), and brisket from that wonderful grocery store we went to when you were here – the one with all the Jungle Animals!

Do you know what’s amazing about not eating anything for 10 days? How utterly flavorful food tastes. The sweetness of a berry, the crispness of an apple, the textural umami of a mushroom or zucchini, or the juiciness of slow cooked brisket that melts in your mouth. I really relied on sweet potatoes for the first few days – such a great source of complex carbs, and so tasty!

I can’t imagine making a shortcake in that kind of heat! Can you at least open some windows? It was over 100 degrees Fahrenheit here yesterday but to be fair, we have air conditioning, and i’m still spending quite a bit of my day resting in bed or on the couch!

As for your flour conundrum: I find that teff has such a strong flavor, that for a shortcake which you want light, almost spongelike, i would likely use a combination of coconut flour, almond flour and maybe either a little bit (a tablespoon or two) of Tapioca or potato flour. If you want it to be a bit more weighty, then you can use the teff of course, but i also like buckwheat in these situations.

I am so glad you saved the extra strawberries from your syrups! They will definitely keep for quite a while. Just make sure there is alcohol covering the fruit so you don’t end up with mould and other not so good growth!

So, the Running Man has some ideas for you: He likes the idea of the boozy strawberries finding their way into a cheesecake, or into a delectable jam that you then use as a filling for a Black forest gateau.

I know you mentioned Margaritas, and with beautiful strawberries, they would be good, they would also be pretty heavy handed. I asked the Running Man what he would do with the drowned strawberries. He likes the idea of making a variation on an Amelia: puree strawberries with some simple syrup, mix with 1.5 ounces vodka, .75 ounces elderflower liquor and .05 lemon juice, mix in a shaker with crushed ice and serve strained in a coupe glass. Oh, and he made sure to ask me to tell you to garnish it with mint!

This kind of drink is perfect for a warm evening when you’re ready to sip. You’ll love it and you’ll only want one!

Finally, if you want to head in a savory direction, he suggests experimenting with making a barbeque sauce. This was the recipe we came up with:

Stellar Strawberry-BBQ Sauce

  • 2 cups tomato puree
  • 3/4 cup of drowned strawberries in Vodka
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon of paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Gluten Free Worcestershire sauce

If you can get them, we really think some roasted green chiles pureed would give this sauce a real kick! Basically, just throw it all in a saucepan and heat until it is bubbling and then put in sterilized bottles and seal!

I’m still working on ways to cook Kale, so if you have any suggestions on that front I’d be interested. I really like sauteing it in coconut oil, minced garlic, and lemon juice. Also, have you tried Zucchini pasta for yourself? how easy is it to make spaghetti? I like Zoodles of course!

Right now the Running Man is in hard training for a big half marathon race in September so we are having lots of discussions about making sure he has enough protein every day. We’d especially love some of your great salad ideas!? the kookier, the better!

Much love,


Anna Blanch Rabe
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