Well, Oswegonians, Valentine’s Day is upon us once again, the heartfelt Hallmark holiday of corporate, capitalist confusion. We can all thank Chaucer for making us feel like shit on what used to be just a holiday of Christian observance. This day has been “converted” from the love of fellow man to the love of lovers, the sickening, smoochy kisses love that many people can’t stand, even if they are involved in a smoochy-kisses romance.
I hate the way we’ve come to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Go to your local conglomerate superstore and buy an impersonal card that says nothing of the true feelings and sentiments that go into a relationship of any type, whether spousal, friendship, or even familial. Walk around same superstore and pick out a box of chocolates shaped like a heart. Purchase flowers for 100 or more dollars. If you’re a woman, expect jewelry; if you’re a man, pick out jewelry. Go out to dinner. Bring the kids to the babysitter and “make love.” This is a total facade of a holiday.
Nevertheless, Valentine’s Day can be salvaged for the average cynic because, if nothing else, Valentine’s Day is an excuse for either the lover or the lucky-enough-not-to-be-lovered to turn off the frickin’ cell phone and hide away from the world: “Oh, my phone will be off guys, it’s Valentine’s Day. Sorry!” Fake smile. And when you hide away this Valentine’s Day, you can make this revised strawberry shortcake that is certainly worth ditching your friends for (and hiding from your lover because you’ll be sure to want two servings). I call it the “Skidmark Shortcake” because, when you’re done with this dish, the only things left in your bowl are some strawberry juice and a little brown streak of chocolate…
Skidmark Strawberry Shortcake
2 cups flour (pastry or otherwise)
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. white sugar
pinch of cinnamon
3/4 cup 1% or 2% milk
1/4 cup canola oil
2-3 oz. semi-sweet or milk chocolate
-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
-Mix the flour, baking powder, sugar, and cinnamon, then mix in the milk and oil. Do not overmix! Fold in and stir just until ingredients are combined. If your dough is really sticky and hard to handle with your hands and utensils, add in a bit more flour until it is a solid and unsticky ball.
-Very lightly oil a flat baking sheet. Instead of rolling the dough, rip it into four balls – not flattening the dough makes for very fluffy biscuits! After you’ve made four dough balls, take your chocolate – chips, bars, what have you on hand – and push into the middle of the ball until it no longer pokes out. Move the dough around if you have to – you dont’ want the chocolate to leak out and ruin the surprise in the middle!
-Place the dough balls on the baking pan and cover with brown sugar to taste. Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes, until they begin to get a little golden. They will feel stiff on the outside, but inside, they will be soft.
-While the biscuits cook, defrost frozen strawberries in individual bowls until they are hot, leaving the juice in the bottom of the bowl. Set a steaming biscuit in each bowl and dust lightly with confectioner’s sugar for a super sweet treat.
Once you enjoy these revised strawberry shortcakes, you’ll never go back to boxed cake mixes again. Frozen strawberries can be a bit on the pricey side, but I find they are much more affordable at stores like Aldi’s (where I got about 2 pounds of strawberries for less than 4 dollars) than Price Chopper. Plus, you can use leftover strawberries to sweet up plain yogurt for breakfast and lunch. Throw in a little no sugar added granola with raisins and you have parfait! I also really enjoy strawberries on a salad with soy nuts, other “cooler” vegetables like cucumbers and sprouts/mung beans, and a homemade balsamic vinaigrette with extra virgin olive oil. Mmmmmm.