Spring Strawberries!

It’s really starting to look and feel like spring in Minnesota!

For better or worse, it’s not quite the same as what spring feels like in Texas or California, so we will still be importing strawberries here for another month, at least. Seeing photos of her friends picking strawberries and wanting to get in on some of the sweet strawberry action in her New York home, the Homesick Texan came up with this brilliant strawberry cobbler recipe. Oh my. Amazing! I used buttermilk instead of cream but kept everything else the same, and I would make it again and again.

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It was amazing. We had it for our dessert after Easter dinner, but it would be a great (decadent) breakfast, too. I would make (and eat) this before making strawberry shortcake or strawberry pie. It was really easy, and really, really good.

The other thing I love to do with strawberries is to add them to a salad with poppy seed dressing. I don’t know who decided that strawberries + poppy seed dressing go well together, but I agree with them. Unfortunately, I had already packed up all of my Virginia cookbooks, which are my source for poppy seed dressings of all sorts, but lucky for me, I had kept out a Houston Junior League cookbook that was given to us as part of the Palmer search process. (Those Palmers … so wise. So generous. So crafty.) I love Junior League cookbooks, and this one was no exception. The photos are gorgeous, and the recipes all look like a little taste of Texas. Their poppy seed dressing hit the spot on top of this strawberry chicken salad.

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The cookbook is in the background on the right, and the kids’ plates are behind ours. I loved this meal because there wasn’t much difference between what the kids would eat and what we wanted to eat. If I had had some slivered almonds, those would have rounded out the salad nicely, too.

Speaking of gifts from Texas, one of our very first gifts was a Texas-shaped cookie cutter, and I’ve been just dying to try it out. The problem was that I didn’t have a great sugar cookie recipe to use for it. Well, enter yet another gift from those wonderful people on the search committee: the Pioneer Woman’s holiday cookbook (and mine is autographed!). If you’re getting the sense that my affection can be bought with cookbooks and fun kitchen tools, then you’re right. I have my price, and these people found it. I used the Easter cookie and buttercream frosting recipes from the book. Even though I actually do have some Easter cookie cutters, they were packed up already, and I like the look of the Texas ones anyway. Plus, they’re big.

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Who wouldn’t love a big ol’ Texas cookie? This was, by far, the easiest sugar cookie recipe I’ve ever used – easy to roll, not too futsy, perfectly puffy and soft cookies. And the best part – they have orange zest in the dough! So they smelled amazing and tasted even better. Instead of cream in the buttercream frosting, I used orange juice to really bring out the citrus flavor. They were definitely a hit.

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