Camp Kitchen: Strawberry Squish-Cake
Make strawberry shortcake this camp-friendly way and your family will never again want it the old way. Whipped topping or aerosol whipped cream can stay in your ice chest for several days. The same baking container is used to cook the shortbread and assemble the squish-cake.
• 1 quart strawberries
• 1/2-cup sugar
• 1 can strawberry soda
• 1-1/2 cups biscuit mix
• Half a stick of butter
• 1/3-cup sugar
• 1/3-cup dried cherries or cranberries (optional)
Trim and cut up the strawberries, put them in a nonmetal bowl or container and sprinkle with 1/2-cup sugar. Cover and set aside in a cool place. Grease a 9×12-inch baking pan or, for stovetop baking, a deep skillet 10 to 12 inches in diameter and 2 inches deep. Put the biscuit mix and 1/3-cup sugar in a bowl and use two knives, scissors style, to cut in the butter until the mixture is mealy. Add the dried fruit and use a spatula to stir in enough soda to make stiff dough. Mix just until everything is evenly moistened. Turn the dough into the greased pan and bake at 375 degrees or in a covered skillet over low flame until the dough is springy to the touch and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Biscuit will be thin. Let cool, then flip out on a large plate or cutting board.
Mash the strawberries coarsely, add the remaining soda and put half the mixture in the empty baking dish or skillet. Top with the baked biscuit, squishing it down lightly into the juicy berries. Top with remaining strawberries. If it doesn’t all fit, let it soak in before adding the last of the berries. Let it stand while you eat dinner, allowing the juices to seep into the biscuit. Spoon out individual servings and top with whipped topping or a spritz of whipped cream.
• Wash and dry stems-on strawberries and put a big bowlful of them on the table with individual bowls of vanilla or strawberry yogurt for low-cal dipping.
• Trim and cut up strawberries and splash lightly with balsamic vinegar. Let stand an hour, then spoon over sizzling-hot chicken or chops from the grill.
• Just before serving, top a store-bought cheesecake or frosted sheet cake with a solid layer of halved strawberries, cut side down.
• Mash strawberries into a brick of softened cream cheese and spread on graham crackers for dessert.
• Spread bread with peanut butter, press in a layer of sliced strawberries and top with a slice of buttered bread. Dip in milk and beaten egg and fry as for French toast.
• Make individual trifles with clear, plastic glasses and alternating layers of coarse cookie crumbs, sliced strawberries, a tiny sprinkling of miniature chocolate chips and thawed, whipped topping.
• Start with three cups instant rice made according to package directions. While it’s hot, fold in a can of sweetened, condensed milk and two cups of cut-up strawberries. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and serve for breakfast or dessert.
• String whole strawberries, pineapple chunks and miniature marshmallows on skewers or toothpicks and you have dessert kebabs.
• Make tossed salad with torn lettuce, halved strawberries, well-drained mandarin orange sections and poppy seed dressing.
• Let butter come to room temperature, mash in some fresh strawberries and a little garlic powder and chill until the butter firms up. Put a chunk of strawberry butter on each steak as it comes off the grill.