Howdy, folks, and welcome to the first Scary-Crayon article of 2006! With the dawning of a new year, people usually take a moment to reflect upon the developments of the past year. For me, that entailed five different jobs, a lot of failed attempts at mapping out plans for the future, and a ton of DVD and toy purchases -- especially ones that somehow take me back to the simpler time of my childhood. With the new He-Man's failure to strike a chord with modern audiences and Rainbow Brite's repackaged retro merch not selling well for whatever reason, I was able to snag a handful of these goodies at green-tagged prices, and Playmates' updated Ninja Turtles toy line continues to fill the shelves with worthy (albeit sometimes very stupid) turtley goodness. One of the returns that I haven't quite gotten into, however, is that of Strawberry Shortcake. Now, I strongly recall rocking out to the Pie Man's wacky songs (unless I'm thinking of that villain on Herself the Elf whose name I can no longer remember) and the Strawberry Shortcake Soundoff in the 80s, but I haven't been moved to give this new version a try. Not only are these toons apparently different, but, unlike so many other characters of yesteryear, Miss Shortcake seems to have avoided the bargain bin thus far. Is it actually doing well? Do young girls exclaim, "I'm berry glad to see you!" upon meeting their friends in this day and age? I haven't a clue.
This Strawberry has a cookbook, however, so I imagine she's doing fairly well in the new millennium. What kinds of delectable dessert recipes are contained therein, you ask? Good question! Like I said, I don't know and won't know until I find this book with a clearance sticker on it, which is largely unlikely since I avoid bookstores like the plague these days (too many horrible memories). But we're known for our culinary improvisation skills at SC, so as I sat mulling over these thoughts in the final hours of 2005, I thought to myself, "Self, to make up for our inattention to Strawberry Shortcake this past year, why not create a Strawberry Shortcake-themed dessert!" And that's precisely what I did. As you see above, the ingredients consisted of canned strawberries (once again, from the dollar store!), Cool Whip Lite, and in place of the shortcake that I did not have on hand nor intended to bake... two slices of potato wheat bread. Hey, that doesn't seem too bad, right? Right...?
At this point, I wasn't sure what to do next. I mean, I could've just spread the strawberries and whipped cream on top and been done with it, but that would've been far too mundane! So, because almost every recipe I do for Scary-Crayon involves FRYING, I whipped out the pan and oil and tossed the bread in. Yes. Note, by the way, the apparent oddness of the heat distribution on the first piece of bread. While the second piece came out pretty evenly in terms of brownness, the first piece has kind of a radial perimeter thing going on. It's pretty cool -- almost like the bread was telling me that it wanted to be the bottom half of a sandwich and that the contents should be centered in the less burned area. I heeded the bread's suggestion and proceeded accordingly.
Upon locating my trusty can opener, I unlocked the magic metal casing of the canned strawberries and sampled the contents within. Now, I don't know how regular canned strawberries taste -- as opposed to dollar store canned strawberries, I mean -- but fresh strawberries these ain't. (Two sentences into the paragraph and I've already written the word "strawberries" four times. That's berry impressive!) The best way I can describe the taste of these things is to imagine eating either strawberries that haven't quite ripened yet or ripe strawberries that have been left to soak in vinegar for fifteen minutes. If I'd had fresh strawberries on hand, I'm not certain that I wouldn't have swapped these bad boys out mid-recipe for the real thing (they're not inedible, and they'd go great in a Caesar salad or something, but this was supposed to be dessert!), but I didn't, so I piled them up in the space designated by the intelligent fried bread. A generous splash of whipped cream on the other slice and Scary-Crayon's Strawberry
Shortcake and Whipped Cream Fried Bread Sandwich was almost complete!
And above, we see the finished product. You know, there's something berry, berry disturbing about a Strawberry Shortcake-inspired dessert that's only marginally sweet and is greasy, crunchy, and slightly burned, but eh. Given the largely sour taste of the strawberries, the sandwich kinda came out like you'd expect a deep-fried BLT to taste, except with whipped cream in place of the BL and that weird porous texture on the tomatoes. Not terribly disgusting or berry delicious, but passable, though more appropriate for a breakfast item than a marked dessert offering. Hey, along those lines, maybe the sandwich would benefit from the addition of eggs? I do have half a can of strawberries left. And on that note, we'll end this piece -- stay tuned for more culinary insanity in 2006!