I often see people post about recipes that don't require using the oven in the summer. I never really understood that, since I don't feel like my oven really heats up the house - I never knew if it was our floorplan, the air conditioner, or what, but it just never seemed to be an issue for me. And anyway, doesn't everyone have air conditioning in this day and age? Apparently not. I spent the last several days in Minneapolis visiting my sister, and I was shocked to learn that not only does she not have a/c, but that is the norm there?? Call me sheltered, but I never even considered air conditioning to be optional. Though in all fairness, if you live in an area that has snow on the ground for 6 months out of the year, it hardly seems necessary. Sort of like having a heater in the tropics I suppose. It just never occurred to me since I was born and raised in Atlanta.
Anyway, I cooked my favorite chicken enchiladas one night, and now I stand corrected and totally get the sentiment of keeping the oven off during the summer. I was literally sweating while standing in the kitchen. So if you are suffering through the summer without air conditioning, this would be a perfect dessert for you. Plus, it is light and refreshing, portable, low-maintenance, and can easily be made ahead.
Even though the pistachio macarons seemed to be the runaway hit of my Trashy to Classy Cocktail Party, I was really partial to these strawberries. Strawberries are halved, and a bit of the inside is scooped out. They are then filled with a lightly spiced mascarpone whipped cream filling and sprinkled with cinnamon. The addition of cinnamon and cardamom seemed odd to me, but the spices gave the filling a really nice warmth. I certainly ate more than my fair share while prepping them for the party, and judging by the empty tray at the end of the night, everyone else enjoyed them just as much.
Deviled Strawberries with Spiced Mascarpone Cream
adapted from The Quinces and the Pea
- 1 pound strawberries, rinsed and dried
- 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
- 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 Tbs sugar (more if the strawberries aren't very sweet)
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped
- 1/2 tsp cardamom
- cinnamon, for sprinkling
In a medium bowl, beat the mascarpone, cream, sugar, vanilla, and cardamom until soft peaks form. Using a piping bag fitted with corner snipped off (or a round tip), fill each strawberry with the cream. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon, and serve.